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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.

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Old July 6th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #1
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SSD or CF Raid solution for SI2K

Hi everyone.
Wondering if someone has tried installing an SSD drive or a Dual CF Raid adapter to SATA inside a CRU enclosure, in order to get better performance out of the SI2K body.
My version is the 1 fan body, dont know if that changes the SATA spec or not.
My goal is to have no buffer interruptions on CF4 level compression or even some siv uncompressed recordings.

Any feedback much appreciatted,

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Old July 6th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #2
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I use SI-2K Mini with a laptop, recording on the single SATA SSD internally, and having no issues with CFHD4 Quality so far.

No experience with uncompressed video since I saw no reason to use it anyway - Cineform is so close to it quality-wise....

I was thinking SSD Raid too, but for the reasons of data safety - RAID1 comes to mind. But in reality it is bulky and I'm just recording onto a solo SSD drive sitting inside the laptop in the removable bay. Works fine so far, no issues...
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Old July 7th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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Thanks Alex.
So at least I know that an SSD can handle safely CF4.
Mind sharing which SSD you have ?
I still think that the dual CF to sata might be a cheap simple way to have a raid, be it 1 or 0.

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Old July 7th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #4
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Well, IMO you don't want Raid0 anyway, since that's a sure-fire way to lose data.

And cost-wise, CF cards are more expensive per Gb and slower than SATA SSDs. So I don't really know where do they win - except they are more compact in size.

I use an expensive

(works beautifully as both OS and Data drive), and also

in the DVD-bay enclosure. Also 320Gb SATA drive (non-SSD) in the same enclosure for long form.

You might want to take a look at some more info here:

Now don't get me wrong... if someone made a SATA SSD drive of about 320Gb capacity that is internally Raid10, I would be super happy. Until then, I just think it is impractical to lug around more and more gizmos on the location shoot - IMO, better just record to one internal/removable SSD...
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Old July 7th, 2010, 05:48 PM   #5
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Thanks Alex, sounds you've done your homework on laptop solutions.
But the issue for me is that I need a workaround that does work within the SI2K body structure... most of my rental clients will still prefer the full "body" config than a SI-Mini + laptop.
CRU bridge to the PC within the SI2K seems to be USB, so that is the current bottleneck.
Now if there was a way to enable esata to the SI2K body, that would be something!

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Old July 7th, 2010, 09:11 PM   #6
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Pedro, now I'm sure Ari/Steven will chime in on that with their knowledge, but AFAIK the SI2K Body is just based on some off-the-shelf MOBO.

Why not simply use its existing SATA connector then?

Just a thought...
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Old July 8th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #7
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Thanks, good idea

Well, try as I may, can't find how to enable an esata...
Maybe there isn't one there to begin with...

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Old July 8th, 2010, 08:31 PM   #8
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I'd try contacting Silicon Imaging directly on this. Ari/Steven have been helpful and responsive to my inquiries, both in this forum and in direct email communications.

In general however... I think this shows that Mini+laptop would probably be better, since you can configure such custom system any way you want it. Getting the Body might be convenient, but restrictive.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 09:14 AM   #9
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The current SI-2K DVR units use SATA to the CRU Frame (vs original USB). You would need an enclosure upgrade with new interface electronics to get that functionality (the mobo/processor does have the SATA).

If you just want to get better perfromance and image quality you should try out the new SiliconDVR 2.0, which uses the same core code as SI-3D. Even if you dont go for the SATA interface upgrade for the higher throughputs, you can get most of the benefits:

SiliconDVR 2.0
Key Feature Enhancements

12-Bit CineformRAW Quicktime Codec
The SI-2K can now record 12-bit Log data for maintaining maximum image data dynamic range. This is a significant image quality improvement over the original 10-bit codec.

Uncompressed and Visually Lossless recording
Users can select to record 12-bit Uncompressed data, at rates up to 100MB/sec, or use Cineform Visually Lossless codec at 3.5:1 (Filmscan 2) for the most efficient capture and data management (even on USB drive systems)

Adaptive Encoding
The adaptive encoder increases data rates under high system loads to maintain uncompressed quality, rather than reducing bit rates which can lead to compression artifacts.

Increased 2K Sensitivity with 360-Degree Modes
New 2K acquisition modes add 1-full stop of sensitivity using full frame time 360-degree shutter. It is even possible to set you shutter in either Speed or Angle.

72 & 85FPS Slow-Mo Improved Recording Performance
At high data rates it can becomes challenging for a system to keep up with capture and recording. The new data flow architecture allows longer sustained recording times using modern high-speed SSD drives.

Auto File Recovery & Repair with Audio
Battery operated system can run out of power during recording. On next startup, the SI-2K will automatically detect unclosed files and automatically repair and recover the files with both Image and Audio data. A repair tool is also included in the player.

Project Metadata Management, File Naming & Digital Slate
Projects can now be managed with Scene, Shot, Take numbering and Production data all which can be burned into a Digital Slate for recording at the start of each clip. File naming can be done with Project-tame data, as previous, or new modes for Scene-shot or Reel-take methods. Insert a new drive and continue the project; the metadata with continue and Reel # will auto increment.

11-Zone Hot Spots
The image viewing area is now split into zones to enable direct access to 11 power visualization and control tools including the new Focus Check and Peaking mode and direct External display view cycling.

Improved Histogram & False Color Metering
New histogram scaling and color coding of the false color view enable fast and accurate feedback to overexposure and clipping conditions.

Full-Screen Smooth Preview and Record
A new full screen user interface, smooth display rendering and improved external Monitoring with independent Histogram, False Color, Egde, focus check and Guides are just a few of the viewing and monitoring improvements.

3D-Lut Look and Green/Blue Keyer Control Panel
It is now faster than ever to try out new 3D LUT views on-set with dedicated LOOK panel buttons. A new KEYER button enables quick access to GREEN and BLUE screen compositing to a Frame Store Image or Matte background. Create looks in Iridas Speedgrade and load them into the camera for recording along with the metadata and viewed/edited in post.

Timecode and Conform Tools
Improved timecode controls now allow LTC syncing from Ambient ALL-601 on each recording. Set system time or Preset timecode for Record Run or Free Run operation. For off speed shooting use the new conform to timebase tool, which sets the edit or playback speed (eg 24P) while recording at a different speed (eg. 72P)

Audio Metering & Input Level Controls
Improved level indicators for audio input are provided with added Volume input controls. Simply click on the top and bottom of the meters to adjust the levels.

SI-2K DVR Silent Fan
Request silent fan mode fan during preview for quick on-set sound check

Drive Storage Remaining Time/Size
Get instant feedback on the amount of storage in GB or Time Remaining. Just click on the meter to switch modes. The time available is based on the current encoding method and format you are shooting. Indicators go red when the Drive is almost full and stops recording automatically before drive hits 100% capacity.

Dual White Balance Presets & User Adjust
In addition to the standard 3200K and 5600K white balance, two WB user preset can be applied. The WB can be automatically extracted using a white card, pointing to white with the Spot meter or the USER Adjust function that allows setting using a full color wheel.

Black Level Calibration
An improved calibration process helps to create more uniform black clamping and extraction of greater number of deviant or sparkle pixels. If the camera is not sufficiently covered during the process a warning message will appear, requesting the used to Calibrate again; just another quality control check.

DPX Render and Export Tools
Convert CineformRAW directly into a sequence of DPX frame using as-shot White Balance and 3D LUT metadata. Select single file or convert all the files in the folder.

ALE File Creation for AVID Workflows
Each new project will create a new ALE with a log of each take including project metadata, and timecode. The ALE can be used to selectively import into AVID with Metafuse.

Final Cut and Cineform NEO Integration
The new QuickTime codec file includes .mov data structures and metadata to enable real-time Final-Cut editing using Cineform NEO tools.

Stereo-3D Dual-System Capture
Use the SI-2K in a stereo dual system recording environment or upgrade to SI-3D for unified stereo capture, control and playback.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 02:43 PM   #10
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Thanks Ari

Ok, got it, it has to do with my unit being one of the very first ones then.
Regarding the 2.0 software vs the enclosure upgrade, maybe a cost comparison would point me in the right direction.

Will PM you for details.


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Old July 9th, 2010, 11:25 PM   #11
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Is DVR 2.0 now providing only .mov (Quicktime) files or is there an .avi option so that files can be directly used in Premiere CS* for PC. Maybe the new Cineform Neo does all this for Premiere and no need for the .avi file type. I want to avoid a HDLink .mov to .avi conversion step but retain best image quality if possible.

Is HDSDI-out in full quality likely to be coming along in future?
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