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    Anyone using Convergent Design's Nano Flash?

    Is anyone using Convergent Design's Nano Flash? Could you share your experiences so far for those of us who are considering it, but not quite sure yet... Pros, cons (if any). THANKS!

    #2
    I've got mine, I'm just waiting on some other accessories to arrive to start using it.

    The BIG pro is that it basically takes an EX1 or EX3 (or any HD/SDI-equipped camera) and bypasses the XDCAM-EX 35Mbps codec, instead recording a full 4:2:2 XDCAM HD format, and at up to 220Mbps (I think that's the max). You also have the choice of recording to either .mov or .mxf format, making it easy to integrate into an existing post workflow.

    The quality of XDCAM HD 422 at 100Mbps is seen by many to be indistinguishable (or damn close) from full uncompressed HD. In fact, though you can record at higher bitrates than 100Mbps, that seems to be the sweet spot for performance/storage balance. Above that and you really won't see the difference, unless perhaps you're doing heavy grading and/or effects work.

    Recording to Compact Flash cards is also a big plus.

    Now that the units are hitting the streets, I'm sure more/others will chime in with their experiences, but from what I've seen and heard, the Nano Flash unit offers the codec performance and resolution (I guess that's the best way to put it) of a $50,000 camera in a sub-$3,000 box. Now of course if you're shooting with a 2/3" Sony HD Camera (or similar), you have the advantage of better glass and more. But I see the Nano Flash as being the perfect tool for those of us who either can't afford those cameras or can't work those beasts into our shooting/travel style.

    I'll be taking my EX1 and Nano Flash to Costa Rica in two weeks for a "fishing trip," and I'll post some footage when I can.

    --SM
    Stephen Mick
    Owner/Creative Director
    Skylark Creative

    weareskylark.com

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      #3
      I am hoping mine will arrive this week sometime, can't wait to start playing!
      Cheers

      Guy
      http://www.xdcamexinfo.com
      ________________________________
      XxS (& other SD media solutions) FAQ:
      http://www.xdcamexinfo.com/sdassxs/faq.htm
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      XxS Summary... (all you want to know about this SD as SxS stuff!)
      http://www.xdcamexinfo.com/sdassxs/

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        #4
        Originally posted by GuyB View Post
        I am hoping mine will arrive this week sometime, can't wait to start playing!
        Dont tell me you didnt buy it in Australia!?!

        ;)

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          #5
          @stephenmick:

          Thanks for the write-up on the Nano Flash! Does the cable from the EX to the unit lock, how long is the battery life and can you record to an SxS card at the same time as backup? Is there a pre-record cachce and is there a record synch or do you have to press record on the unit?
          Freelance Camera Operator/Editor/Photographer/Audio Dude

          Sony EX1 | Nikon D300 | Sennheiser EW100ENG G2 Wireless Kit | Home Recording Studio

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            #6
            Originally posted by stephenmick View Post
            The BIG pro is that it basically takes an EX1 or EX3 (or any HD/SDI-equipped camera) and bypasses the XDCAM-EX 35Mbps codec,
            It also has HDMI input, so a camera like a Sony Z7U or even something like a Canon HF10 can bypass the compression & produce a better picture.

            I am interested to see the results of some head-to-heads w/ different cameras & the Nano-Flash. I think there is a chance that in good lighting something like a HF10 w/ a Nano Flash could produce cripser HD video than a HVX200 (which doesn't have HDMI or HD/SDI).
            Last edited by zijital; 09-01-2009, 08:10 AM.
            Where are all the S-VHS hipsters?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by adamr316 View Post
              @stephenmick:

              Thanks for the write-up on the Nano Flash! Does the cable from the EX to the unit lock, how long is the battery life and can you record to an SxS card at the same time as backup? Is there a pre-record cachce and is there a record synch or do you have to press record on the unit?
              The HD-SDI cable is a locking BNC. Most users opt for the SWIT battery of the CoCo adapter (for use with the Sony battery). Both of these options have a D-Tap connection. We offer a 4-pin Hirose (the locking power connector on the nanoFlash) to D-Tap cable. Using the large Sony battery you get about 3 hours of operating time for the combination of EX1/3 and the nanoFlash.

              There is a 4.5 second pre-record buffer on the nanoFlash. You can record to the SxS cards and the nanoFlash simultaneously, this is in fact the preferred operation. You can set the nanoFlash to start recording on incrementing time-code. So if you set your camera to record-run time-code, the nanoFlash will automatically start recording when you press the record button on your camera.

              Best-
              Mike Schell
              Convergent Design

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by zijital View Post
                It also has HDMI input, so a camera like a Sony Z7U or even something like a Canon HF10 can bypass the compression & produce a better picture.

                I am interested to see the results of some head-to-heads w/ different cameras & the Nano-Flash. I think there is a chance that in good lighting something like a HF10 w/ a Nano Flash could produce cripser HD video than a HVX200 (which doesn't have HDMI or HD/SDI).
                I feel certain this combination will produce a better picture. While I cannont speak for the HF10, I can say that the XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC used in the nanoFlash is miles ahead of the DVCProHD CODEC in the HVX200. DVCProHD resizes the video to 1280x1080 before compression, while XDCAM maintains the full raster of 1920x1080. XDCAM 4:2:2 is also Long-GOP, which is about 2-3X more efficient than I-Frame only.

                Our 100 Mbps footage is virtually indistinguishable from uncompressed, but just in case you need the extra headroom, we also offer 160Mbps rate. If I-Frame only is an absolute requirement, we do offer a 220 Mbps selection.

                Best-
                Mike Schell
                Convergent Design

                Comment


                  #9
                  I just completed a documentary shoot with the nanoflash mounted on my Sony EX1. I recorded to 100mbps long GOP. Using a Zacuto platform, I mounted a AB Dionic 90 to the aft part of the platform and powered both the nanoflash and the EX1. After four hours of shooting, I still had battery to spare and had used less than the capacity of one 16GB CF card.

                  My only complaint with the entire system is in the method of ingesting the footage to Avid MC. While Avid will read XDCAM422 codec, it will need to be transcoded before outputting from Avid. In lieu of an Avid transcode, I prefer to disembed (demux) the native mxf files with MXF DESKTOP, then run the m2v files thru VirtualDub to produce Cineform's NeoHD. Alternatively, the m2v files can be run thru Procoder 3 for a direct transcode to Avid's 10-bit DNxHD codec, which will fast-import into Avid. This preserves the pristine files captured by the nanoflash.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by zijital View Post
                    I think there is a chance that in good lighting something like a HF10 w/ a Nano Flash could produce cripser HD video than a HVX200 (which doesn't have HDMI or HD/SDI).
                    well, there's a good chance that the hf10 already does have crisper hd video than the hvx200. I'm pretty certain the hf-s10 avchd footage already does at 900 lines resolving power.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by cuervo View Post
                      I just completed a documentary shoot with the nanoflash mounted on my Sony EX1. I recorded to 100mbps long GOP. Using a Zacuto platform, I mounted a AB Dionic 90 to the aft part of the platform and powered both the nanoflash and the EX1. After four hours of shooting, I still had battery to spare and had used less than the capacity of one 16GB CF card.

                      My only complaint with the entire system is in the method of ingesting the footage to Avid MC. While Avid will read XDCAM422 codec, it will need to be transcoded before outputting from Avid. In lieu of an Avid transcode, I prefer to disembed (demux) the native mxf files with MXF DESKTOP, then run the m2v files thru VirtualDub to produce Cineform's NeoHD. Alternatively, the m2v files can be run thru Procoder 3 for a direct transcode to Avid's 10-bit DNxHD codec, which will fast-import into Avid. This preserves the pristine files captured by the nanoflash.
                      I expect the workflow on Avid to improve in the upcoming months, but cannot go into the details. However, I can say that the next release of nanoFlash firmware (now in final test) will add MPG and M2V file formats. This may be an immediate help with ingest into Avid.

                      Best-
                      Mike Schell
                      Convergent Design

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lucere View Post
                        Is anyone using Convergent Design's Nano Flash? Could you share your experiences so far for those of us who are considering it, but not quite sure yet... Pros, cons (if any). THANKS!
                        I haven't posted much in the last six months on any forum, but want to give an overview of the value and application of the NanoFlash. First, let me say that I'm from the same town that Convergent calls home (Colorado Springs) and have known these folks for a number of years. So, I'm biased, but I believe they have a product that has arrived at the perfect time, in the perfect form factor, let me explain...

                        I have an EX1 currently, and like many of you, get camera lust for the Next Greatest Thing every 18 months to 2 years. With a full raster camera like the EX1 that is capable of fantastic HD imagery, the only major room for improvement is in the on-board recording codec. Sony does a great job with 35Mb/sec, but the pristine HD-SDI out on the camera just BEGS to be ingested by some outside recorder with less compression.

                        First, it's important to understand WHAT the NanoFlash does: It has two of the very same Sony codec chips that the EX1/EX3 use. By ganging two together it is able to move from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 in a jump from 35Mb/sec to 50Mb/sec. But that's not all... the Convergent folks have "un-throttled" the chips, allowing them to work to their maximum data rate. So you can choose 100 Mb/sec and up to the max. And since the chips are able to do I-frame only as well as long GOP Mpeg, then why not offer that as well?

                        Basically, they have made a device that plays out the Sony Mpeg roadmap for the next couple generations of prosumer cameras and gives you that functionality and improvement in quality TODAY. By Sony's own charts, the Nano un-throttled can best HDCAM in color space, resolution and compression.

                        That means that one big benefit is that your current camera has new life. If you have HD-SDI out or HDMI out, you can take advantage of recording modes Sony has yet to offer and uncompressed like performance without lugging a desktop around from location to location. I've done that, and never want to do it again.

                        In addition, you have the recording option of wrapping these clips in either .mov or .mxf options. With .mov, there's even a utility to convert over to .mxf on the Mac for true cross-platform functionality.

                        Another thing I've found is the joy of picking the data rate for the job at hand; Doing talking head interviews? Then the 50Mb/sec 4:2:2 will up your standard with a minimal impact on storage space. Even long format green screen work is possible with this data rate, and the advantage of greater cable network acceptability in their standards departments. Then you move outside to get b-roll or highly detailed nature work or difficult bluescreen... jump up to 100Mb/sec or 160Mb/sec to suit, and mix these data rates effortlessly on your timeline.

                        And, there's a HUGE new market looming... for the next generation of DSLR's that will have live HDMI output. The NanoFlash with its small form factor and low power draw will be the ideal answer for a better recording solution for these cameras. And that future is very, very close.

                        I look at it this way; with the NanoFlash you have a recording solution that will move from camera to camera over the next few years. Start with your prosumer camcorder, and end up with your DSLR and keep a consistent post and file-format workflow between them.

                        Regards,

                        Jim Arthurs
                        Jim Arthurs

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                          #13
                          Sums up my thoughs exactly, Jim. The Canon 7D looks promising, but I don't know if it has full quality HDMI out.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Mike...
                            Thanx for writing the info you provided. This is really really great info. I'm currently performing two separate steps to demux video and audio. if I can export mpg2, I would be really pleased. Would it be a direct copy? I want to preserve the original data until I can save it as 10-bit.
                            Best regards,
                            cuervo(Bill Ravens)
                            Last edited by cuervo; 09-03-2009, 06:24 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Using ther nanoflash - would I need to upgrade my Gspeed es to a Gspeed espro?
                              The "pro array" can handle uncompressed.
                              What is recommended?

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