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-   -   Updated Convergent Designs Flash XDR F.A.Q. (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/convergent-design-odyssey/106861-updated-convergent-designs-flash-xdr-f-q.html)

Paul Leung March 5th, 2008 02:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper (Post 837544)
I'd give my left arm to have better than HDV quality again.

Hi Ethan, I agree. What I listed above is my "Affortable" Ideal Recorder. The hard fact, for me, is that I have an A1 which does not have HD-SDI nor HDMI. For the amount of $ I am prepared to invest in a DDR, I will trade 4:2:2 for lower price, smaller form factor and longer battery life. Furthermore, I have given my right arm to Canon, left foot to Microsoft, eyes to Dell already.

I understand that the XDR comes with many nice features and it opens the door to high fidelity for many. Which is great! However, I just hope that they will also produce a downgraded version that can help low budget guys like me.

Good point about battery, i have edited my last post.

Mike Schell March 5th, 2008 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Leung (Post 837535)
I have a Canon XH-A1. My primary interest is the tapeless workflow. As a wedding videographer, my ideal DDR has the following functions:

- 1394 & HDMI input/output
- S-video or composite output
- RCA audio output
- 4 CF slots. Non-raid. Concurrent recording to 2 CF for backup would be great! This way, I won't even need tapes for backup.
- B&W backlit LCD display for menu, clip deletion, storage meter, etc. Color LCD for clip viewing is nice, however, I doubt that it's important to event videographers as we download everything to the PC anyway. I will opt for B&W for lower cost and longer battery life.
- records in avi, mov, mt2, cineform avi (may be)
- pre-recording 5 seconds of footage
- Time-lapse function
- 8-bit/HDV quality is good enough for me
- different power options: AA, 12V, Camcorder batteries, etc.
- good battery life, of course.
- can be mounted between the camera and the tripod.

I am sure that you can sell tonnes of these if you can sell them for less than $2000 per unit. I bet that we will see more camcorders with integrated CF recorder coming out after NAB. However, there are many of us who have invested heavily on older HDV/DV equipment and need third party DDR. There is definitely a big market there.

Hi Paul-
Wow, that is quite a list of features for under $2,000. Are you basically wanting to move to tapeless workflow and maintain the same quality level? Do you want a CF version of the Firestore drive?

HDMI I/O implies the need for a MPEG2 HD encoder, which adds considerably to the manufacturing cost and power requirements.

Ethan Cooper March 5th, 2008 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 837702)
HDMI I/O implies the need for a MPEG2 HD encoder, which adds considerably to the manufacturing cost and power requirements.

So I'm guessing those fancy schmancy Sony MPEG2 encoders you guys are using don't come cheap. Good to know. Is it possible that you guys will be making the same box as your current design but with HDMI in place of SDI?

If so, it seems to me that the HDMI connector itself might be somewhat of a problem area. How would someone keep the connection secure while in the field? This isn't a question I'd expect you to have answered as you don't have a product using HDMI yet, just something that's rolling around in my head.

David Heath March 5th, 2008 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 837702)
Do you want a CF version of the Firestore drive?

HDMI I/O implies the need for a MPEG2 HD encoder, which adds considerably to the manufacturing cost and power requirements.

I've said in the past that a CF equivalent to the Firestore would be very desirable, the question mark now is whether Sony will sell the CF recorder that ships with the S270/Z7 as a stand alone unit in the future?

As regards Mikes second point, then if the bulk of the cost is in the MPEG2 encoder, would a device with HD-SDI AND HDMI input be a realistic option?

I see users wanting a device like the XDR for two basic reasons: increased quality over what a camera provides natively, and tapeless benefits (as Paul says). In the latter case, a "CF Firestore" gives all the tapeless benefits of solid state, without losing the tape ability and without the power etc issues that a harddrive device implies.

Ethan Cooper March 5th, 2008 11:05 AM

If companies would just build cameras that recorded higher quality to cheap tapeless media we wouldn't be having this discussion. Obviously Sony has a pretty decent MPEG2 encoder that can be had for under $3000 (a guess) so why not put that puppy in an EX1 type camera, and enable 4:2:2 and higher bitrates yourself instead of forcing us to come up with options through third parties?

I'm glad Convergent Designs decided to help us out by building this device, but couldn't Sony (or Canon, or JVC, or Panasonic) just save everyone the trouble and make the camera we've all been wanting all along? Obviously there is a perceived demand for it, since Convergent has sunk a lot of time and money into this project feeling that it will pay off in the end.

Whatever, I'm beating a dead horse, but it is a bit frustrating.

Zack Birlew March 5th, 2008 11:13 AM

I've gone through the thread looking for it, I'm sure I asked about it at one point, but if we have an HDMI camera, an HV20 for instance, how are we supposed to power a nanoconnect in the field? I thought there was some sort of change a while back to allow for powering an HDMI to HD-SDI converter through the XDR, I could be wrong.

So far, the XDR looks like the CF recorder to beat and I'd like to get it now versus having to look into buying an HD-SDI compatible camera first. Looking around at test footage from other cameras, particularly the EX1, has made me realize that the video from my HV20 is perfectly acceptable and, many times, comparable to other 1080i/1080p cameras. It's only real weakness is tape-based HDV compression.

If there is no solution to this problem yet, then how long could it take to build a nanoconnect-like device that is powered by camera batteries? That would be perfect! =)

Mike Schell March 6th, 2008 08:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper (Post 837733)
So I'm guessing those fancy schmancy Sony MPEG2 encoders you guys are using don't come cheap. Good to know. Is it possible that you guys will be making the same box as your current design but with HDMI in place of SDI?

If so, it seems to me that the HDMI connector itself might be somewhat of a problem area. How would someone keep the connection secure while in the field? This isn't a question I'd expect you to have answered as you don't have a product using HDMI yet, just something that's rolling around in my head.

Hi Ethan-
This is the fundamental problem with HDMI..it is not a locking connector. Yes, we could make an XDR with HDMI input that would work great on the bench, but in real world applications, we see big problems keeping the HDMI cable connected.

We do have HDMI conversion products (nanoConnect and HD-Connect MI). So we are very familiar with the technology. HDMI is a great solution for the home environment where are the devices are fixed, but a run and gun application would be a disaster with HDMI cabling.

Ethan Cooper March 6th, 2008 09:35 PM

I know this may drive the price of an HDMI device up, but is there any way to make some type of proprietary locking connector for the XDR end of the box while leaving the camera side HDMI? I'd still rather a solution like that over having to buy an HDMI to SDI converter box to attach to the XDR. If I'm using an HDMI to SDI converter box in the field I'm having the same problem we've already discussed anyway while having the added headache of powering two external devices, and finding a way to mount both of them not to mention the added cost of the HDMI to SDI converter.
If you guys develop an HDMI only version of your Flash XDR with a locking connector on your end of things then that leaves me with only one iffy connection to worry about which still outweighs the other options.
Just a thought.

Tim Polster March 6th, 2008 10:36 PM

Ethan, just curious, which camera are you using that has an HDMI output?

Ethan Cooper March 7th, 2008 12:20 AM

Tim - I have an FX7 and HV20 that I wouldn't mind squeezing some better quality out of, why do you ask?

Christopher Ruffell March 7th, 2008 04:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper (Post 838617)
Tim - I have an FX7 and HV20 that I wouldn't mind squeezing some better quality out of, why do you ask?

I own Mike's naonConnect product and an HV20. I'm pleased to report, fantastic, error-free job getting live footage capture out of the HV20 - full 422 1080 HD. Used it on a controlled outdoor set with a Mac Pro w/HD-SDI - great product Mike! Well worth the cash - allowed for long cable runs with full HD.

Tim Polster March 7th, 2008 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper (Post 838617)
Tim - I have an FX7 and HV20 that I wouldn't mind squeezing some better quality out of, why do you ask?

I did not know which cameras had HDMI outputs.

Tim Polster March 7th, 2008 08:45 AM

Mike, this is an off question, but since your are knowledgeable about this space, I would like to ask.

What is the possibility of merging the XDR concept of 4:2:2 SDI recording with a laptop computer?

A combiniation of recording high bitrates along with a high resolution preview monitor would be quite a useful field tool.

Is this a remote possibility of a product offering from your company? Or at least an interface that would work with a laptop?

High resolution monitoring seems so much more important with HD that most would be lugging another device along anyway.

Thanks

Ethan Cooper March 7th, 2008 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim Polster (Post 838740)
I did not know which cameras had HDMI outputs.

Oh, in that case, let me list the ones I know of:

V1u
FX7
HV20/30
(the forthcoming) HCM150
and most sub $1500 AVCHD cameras of which I know little about.

Mike Schell March 27th, 2008 07:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper (Post 838576)
I know this may drive the price of an HDMI device up, but is there any way to make some type of proprietary locking connector for the XDR end of the box while leaving the camera side HDMI? I'd still rather a solution like that over having to buy an HDMI to SDI converter box to attach to the XDR. If I'm using an HDMI to SDI converter box in the field I'm having the same problem we've already discussed anyway while having the added headache of powering two external devices, and finding a way to mount both of them not to mention the added cost of the HDMI to SDI converter.
If you guys develop an HDMI only version of your Flash XDR with a locking connector on your end of things then that leaves me with only one iffy connection to worry about which still outweighs the other options.
Just a thought.

Hi Ethan-
I apologize that I missed this post. We've had our heads in the lab debugging XDR. We have a solution coming which will be introduced shortly, just working out the final specs and brochure.

Mike Schell March 27th, 2008 07:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim Polster (Post 838742)
Mike, this is an off question, but since your are knowledgeable about this space, I would like to ask.

What is the possibility of merging the XDR concept of 4:2:2 SDI recording with a laptop computer?

A combiniation of recording high bitrates along with a high resolution preview monitor would be quite a useful field tool.

Is this a remote possibility of a product offering from your company? Or at least an interface that would work with a laptop?

High resolution monitoring seems so much more important with HD that most would be lugging another device along anyway.

Thanks

Hi Tim-
Stay tuned this is in our product plans.

Ethan Cooper March 27th, 2008 07:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 849288)
Hi Ethan-
I apologize that I missed this post. We've had our heads in the lab debugging XDR. We have a solution coming which will be introduced shortly, just working out the final specs and brochure.

Mike - Thanks for the heads up. I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys offer.

Tim Polster March 27th, 2008 09:17 AM

Thanks for your reply Mike.

I look forward to hearing what you will come up with.

Chris Hurd April 13th, 2008 10:28 AM

Meant to get these posted sooner... but swamped as usual with NAB:

Dear Video Professional:

We are pleased to announce our upcoming demo of Flash XDR, our Portable HD Recorder/Player, at NAB next week. Please see the two press releases below for additional information. If you plan to attend NAB, please stop by our booth at SL7828.

Thanks -- Mike"


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flash XDR enables HD ENG at WJLA

(Colorado Springs, CO. USA, April 11, 2008) Convergent Design’s Flash XDR will soon enable HD ENG at TV stations WJLA (Washington DC). This ABC affiliate has placed a 20-unit pre-order of Flash XDR with ASI I/O, as part of their roll-out of HD ENG. Flash XDR will enable cost-effective HD-SDI to ASI encoding (on the camera) as well as ASI to HD-SDI decoding for monitoring (inside the OB truck).

Flash XDR encodes the HD-SDI (video + audio) signal at the camera into a 19 Mbps (MPEG2 TS) transport stream. The MPEG2 TS is then mapped onto a 270-Mbps ASI protocol and sent via coax cable to the OB truck. The ASI stream is then immediately relayed via microwave or satellite uplink to the local station for live-news broadcast. A second Flash XDR, inside the OB truck, is utilized to decode the incoming ASI stream (from the camera) for confidence monitoring. Alternatively, this second Flash XDR can be programmed to perform ASI encoding from a POV camera mounted on the truck or from another HD-SDI source.

In the design of this system, several connection scenarios were also considered, including HD-SDI grade coax, fiber optics, and wireless transmission from the camera to the OB truck. HD-SDI coax would reduce cable length runs from 350 down to 150 meters and required all new cabling. Fiber optical cable, while supporting very long cable runs, was considered too expensive and not rugged enough for the rough and tumble world of ENG. Wireless transmission was also deemed too expensive and added an additional potential failure mode for data transmission. All solutions required HD-SDI to ASI encoding to reduce the uncompressed HD-SDI to bit-rates compatible with microwave / satellite transmission (around 19 Mbps).

The camera-mountable Flash XDR proved to be the simplest and most cost-effective approach. By encoding the HD-SDI signal to ASI at the camera, TV crews can reuse their existing (composite analog) coax cable. Also with slight reductions in the MPEG2 TS bit-rate (from the 19.7 to 19 Mbps), comprehensive error-correction could be added before microwave/satellite transmission, thus improving the overall reliability of the video.

“Stations across the country are faced with the dilemma of how to transition their ENG trucks from SD to HD for live news coverage. After extensive research, we believe Flash XDR with ASI I/O to be the cleanest and most cost-effective solution available”, noted Mark Olingy, Director of Operations and Engineering at WJLA, Washington D.C.

In addition to HD ENG, the Flash XDR Portable Recorder / Player has many widespread applications, including digital cinematography, video assist, surgical (OR) recording, race cars, flight recorders, and POV camera recorders among others. Flash XDR lists for $4995, while the ASI I/O can be added as a firmware upgrade for $995.

More info at www.convergent-design.com or at NAB booth SL7828.

Chris Hurd April 13th, 2008 10:28 AM

6 Attachment(s)
Flash XDR™ HD Portable Recorder / Player debuts at NAB

(Colorado Springs, CO. USA, 11-April-08) Convergent Design will demonstrate Flash XDR, their new portable HD Recorder / Player, at NAB (April 14-17), booth SL7828. Flash XDR will be recording and playing back an HD-SDI stream, compressed to 50Mbps MPEG 4:2:2, and stored onto a 32GByte Compact Flash card.

Flash XDR is the first portable HD field recorder which utilizes CompactFlash media coupled with the high-quality, reprogrammable Sony MPEG2 CODEC. These two key technologies allow Flash XDR to redefine HD field recorders in terms of size (8x6x2.5”), weight (3 lbs), power (10 watts), noise (no fans), and affordability (US $4995). The all solid-state construction opens up unrealized applications where older tape or disk-drive based solutions were too large, too heavy, too noisy, too costly, or too fragile.

Flash XDR records HD-SDI video compressed to MPEG2 4:2:2 full-raster (1920 x 1080) at bit-rates up to 100 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 160 Mbps (I-Frame only), either of which exceeds the recording quality of most cameras or decks. This superb video is accompanied by 4-channels of embedded or 2-channels of balanced / microphone level analog audio captured in 16/24-bit uncompressed PCM format as well as time-code (embedded or LTC). These capabilities make Flash XDR an excellent recorder/player for POV cameras (Iconix) as well as a high-quality upgrade for HDV/XDCAM/HDCAM cameras, in which the live HD-SDI output is superior to the native recording capability of the camera.

Four hot-swappable CompactFlash card slots support up to 4.5 hours of recording at 50Mbps using low-cost (US $150) 32Gbyte CF cards. Data can be recorded sequentially from card to card or two cards can be configured in RAID1 for automatic backups. Video/audio data is stored in MXF format (OP-1A) which can be readily transferred to most NLE systems via USB or Firewire readers. Four Lexar UDMA Firewire-800 readers can be daisy-chained to create a high-speed (320 Mbps) CF drive for instant edits or offload to a hard-drive.

Additional unique features of Flash XDR include time-lapse recording (popular for nature events), 24p pulldown removal (1080i60 -> 1080p24), image flip (for use with P+S Tecknik converters), and extensive meta-data support. An included PC/MAC program allows users to pre-define operating parameters (data-rates, audio input, etc.) as well as metadata (cameraman, producer, event, etc.) and to store configurations onto a CF card for easy upload into a Flash XDR.

For HD ENG as well as video-over-IP applications, Flash XDR offers an optional ASI I/O firmware upgrade (US $995). Live HD ENG events use Flash XDR to encode the HD-SDI stream at the camera (to a 19 Mbps ASI stream) for transmission over coax to the OB truck where it is relayed back to the TV station via microwave or satellite uplink. Third party ASI to IP converters enable video over IP streaming.

Flash XDR carries an MSRP of US $4995 and is expected to ship in May 2008. For those extremely demanding applications, an uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 option (firmware upgrade) will be available this fall. Flash XDR brochure, photos and FAQ are available at: http://www.convergent-design.com

(click thumbnails below to see larger images -- CH)


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