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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PXW-Z280, Z190, X180 etc. (going back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.

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Old April 29th, 2011, 08:24 PM   #1
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New external recorders for EX3

After the NAB news, Im looking for a external recorder, trying to get clear quality, maybe in PRoRes 4:2:2
I was looking the HyperDeck Shuttle, it will be great shoot uncompressed video, but for a feature film project, it will need a LOT of hard disk storage.
What do you recommend me? in price/cost relationship.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #2
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

At this point, amongst the units actually shipping, I'd probably stay with the NanoFlash in terms of reliability, features, size, power requirements, and overall cost of ownership. All the other systems still have a number of 'Gotcha's' at this point, whether cost of SSD media, inability to bridge cards, minimum requirements in cf card speeds, etc As a NanoFlash owner/user I've been happy with the recorder, and very happy with the way C-D has made firmware improvements to make the recorder a lot more usable. They also have quite a head start in terms of their added features. The 8 bit Sony codec is more than sufficient to capture the quality of the signal from the EX3, so I wouldn't worry about uncompressed or 10 bit.
Just my opinions, but I'm happy with the NanoFlash.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #3
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

I'd have to agree with Dave. At this point the NF would be and is my choice of outboard recorders. It has yet to fail me (user errors excluded). I will hopefully be testing out a HyperDeck Shuttle soon to compare the picture quality and workflow as well as how it does with various cameras. At this point if the HyperDeck works out I don't see getting rid of my NF though as it can over/under crank and will allow me to record files that are directly ingestable into FCP as well as other NLE's. And, the results I've gotten with my NF + EX3 are really great.

Garrett Low
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Old April 30th, 2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

I am in total agreement about the nanoFlash as I also use it with my EX3.

AFAIK, in the sub-$3,000 range or recorders, only the nanoFlash can do under and over-cranking.

One problem with the Aja Ki Pro Mini is it only formats to HFS+ which is an Apple format. One issue with HFS+ is that most CF card readers expect CF cards to be FAT32. Also, to read it on a Windows computer requires the purchase of additional software.

Some advantages of the nanoFlash versus others:

1) it can continue recording across cards whereas the Aja cannot.

2) it is the only recorder that supports hot-swapping CF cards while recording.

3) supports under and over-cranking plus it can over/under crank certain speeds when the camera is outputting normal speeds.

4) it can record to DVD and Blu Ray compliant MPEG2 which require no extra transcoding.

5) it can record to more framerates than any other recorder (some others cannot record 720 23.98p or 1080 29.97p).

6) has a pre-record buffer allowing several seconds of video to be recorded once you hit record.

7) can be synced to another nanoFlash for 3D or genlocked recording.

One of the problems with the BM Shuttle is that it requires a computer on set to adjust settings in addition to a monitor as it has no screen. Further, just to record an hour of video, a 512GB SSD is required and NO regular off-the-shelf SSD can be used. The makers of the nanoFlash will release SSDs for their Gemini and the 512GB will cost almost $1400. Having a good knowledge of SSDs, I would never use any regular SSD for video recording so their SSDs are the only reliable option.

An issue with the Aja Mini is that it currently requires very costly CF cards.

Also, realize that Pro Res HQ at 1080 24p has a target data rate of 176Mb/s and for normal scenes, it only uses ~90% of that 176Mb/s (per the Apple white paper). In addition, the EX3 is so noisy that 10bit doesn't add anything; thus, it takes up an additional 20% of data. So, take 90% of 176Mb/s and then 80% of that and you get a real data rate of 127Mb/s at 1080 24p. Another person posted a comparison of 50Mb/s L-GOP from the nanoFlash versus Pro Res HQ and the images looked identical. So, with the nanoFlash, you can record at much higher quality with 220Mb/s and 280Mb/s I-frame and 50, 80, 100 and 140Mb/s L-GOP.

Personally, I use 50Mb/s for quick projects and 280Mb/s I-Frame for projects requiring heavy grading and greenscreen.

I have begun testing a new workflow that involves Neat Video, Premiere Pro (or After Effects) and Cineform. I record 280Mb/s in the nanoFlash from my EX3. Then, I import into Premiere Pro and use Neat Video to greatly reduce noise and export to Cineform 444, which I then grade in After Effects. So far, this process works great. I can really push colors even farther with the reduced noise.

Btw, noise really kills all codecs and uses up much more of the data rate. I encoded to Cineform 444 without Neat Video and the resulting clip was over 3 times as large as the clip with Neat Video. Due to the high noise in the EX3, having the much larger data rate of 280Mb/s really helps.
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Old May 1st, 2011, 08:42 PM   #5
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

Thank you for your comments, your experience is very helpful.
I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has used the Ninja. I was reading this company will release a SDI-HD device, the Samurai. Seems like a very attractive choice for the EX3.
Thank you in advance for your advices.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 11:51 AM   #6
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

Yes I also saw the prototype Samurai unit. The LCD sceen quality looked very close to the iphone screen. I wish the nano had an lcd playback screen though...

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Old May 5th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

I think it is all about confidence in the product. I use an NF for shooting high def and low def (IMX). I am in the process of digitising my library so that I can go totally tapeless. The NF has never missed a beat unless my operator error has come into play.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #8
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Re: New external recorders for EX3

Don't be shocked if BMD never releases the HyperDeck Shuttle. It won't be the first time with one of their products.


Blackmagic Design: H.264 Pro Recorder

Postponed it's release repeatedly for a year and a half. Vendors gave up on pre-orders.

I'd wait until vendors actually have their hands on the HyperDeck Shuttle before I placed an order. And maybe in a year and a half SSDs won't cost an arm and a leg either.

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Old May 6th, 2011, 09:50 PM   #9
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Re: New external recorders for EX3


You may be right on the BM H.264 unit, however, they did have working units at NAB. I queried several people who were high placed in engineering and marketing on the unit. The answers I got was "the hardware was finished" and they were "polishing the software". They expected the unit to be shipping in a month. I asked the shipping question in several different different ways to see if they meant it or not. I got the sense they were going to be shipping the unit very soon. Like within a few weeks.
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