Can you give a little bit of further info about your setup? Especially your HDD's, I am aslo planning to build a portable system with micro mainboards and regular batteries.
How about your workflow? And shooting conditions like could you monitor it, use histogram and waveform?
Pros cons? As you can see I want to learn
Great efforts, thanks in advance
Borrowed from another I thread I wrote on another forum.
First off the Laptop becomes my monitor for focusing,the Camera has a histogram for exposure but they are both not professional quality.I am a musician first so I am just getting into video.
I am in the UK and the laptop cost £800 + £ 200 CPU upgrade as anything under 2.4 ghz drops frames according to Cineform.Your CPU has to be up to it and your HDDs also have to be able to sustain the data rate- most modern HDDs can.I have a sony AR series laptop.2 gigs memory,2.4 gigahertz Core2duo processor,expresscard slot,2 HDDs and it works like a charm.I upgraded the CPU from 1.6 Ghz as that was dropping frames but 2.4 flies.I think Cineform recommend 2.4 or 2.6 on their website.The intensity cost £160.The Magma chassis cost £ 450.So on the setups hardware side about £ 1700.Obviously once you add a cineform license it's a bit more but reasonable in my mind.Dunno the conversion to US.$ 4000?I have tried but failed to find a portable high bandwidth recorder in this price range with the quality and failed.So I decided to build my own and go this route.Of course the Cineform recorder and Nanoflash will change cost to performance ratio but you still need to buy flash and also battery power.This investment will still work in a studio environment though.The one advantage of using this setup is that you can go as high as Film Scan 2 which could have a bandwith of something like 24 megabytes a second I think( 192 megabits per second?) so if you want ultimate quality ( Cineform calls it overkill ) then you can with a desktop or laptop that is up to spec.Don't think the portable versions will do that but hey Cineform is pretty outstanding on the high setting so I am nit-picking.
The magma chassis Expressbox1 is the one that I use.http://www.magma.com....ox1/index.html
I chose the 3m cable to connect the magma to the laptop.Please read the reply to David about some of the issues I have had.There are two flavours of expresscard.One that has an L-shape and one that is straight.Chose the most appropriate for your laptop.They do slip around as well so think of fastening them with something - I used velcro.See picture
The Laptop for £ 800 at the time...http://vaio.sony.co.....y=VN AR Series
Please note that I did a DIY cpu upgrade which would void your warranty on this model.You could buy the top end model for £ 1000 more which gives more RAM,faster CPU and Blu Ray.There are other models in between.All you need is a laptop with a fast enough CPU - 2.4 ghz and above,perhaps one with room for two HDDs - (one for system and the other for video) but you could record to compact flash,USB HDD,Firewire etc so that is not essential.They just need to be fast enough to keep up with your chosen data rate.
I made the briefcase myself by buying a laptop brief case and doing a DIY job to house everything.
I have also heard of dell laptops that have an expansion port docking station that can take a pci expresscard and overall cheaper.By my observations it appears to be an alternative as well.http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkPa.....;/dp/B000BTN1EC
Problems to watch for.
Make sure that you have the latest drivers from Blackmagic Design and also the latest software from Cineform.There have been others who had audio sync issues up until the latest updates.I have had no problems for a couple of months now.
One quirck and I am not sure what is to blame but when I have attempted to use my Xantrex portable power supply (A big battery basically) I have had the rare jittery performance so perhaps it is sensitive to power supply i.e dropped frames on battery but none on mains power.I also experienced the odd blue screens of death when my power supply temporarily cut out and shut down power to the magma chassis.This was not the Xantrex though but another portable setup.I also use an inverter in the car and if the power gets cut off such as a stall then you get an instant blue screen as well.So best to avoid a loss of power in any way while you shoot.Trust me it is easy to do such as by simply moving the setup while it is running.If you are not going to shoot with a portable power supply and the complications that brings then I can confirm that the setup is terrific!!I think on the cineform blog it is stated that cineform competes favourably against HDCAM SR or indeed outperforms it.This setup is almost equal to a little Wafian I suppose.
I am very inexpersinced in high end cameras but I think the setup beats cameras five times the price when recorded to cineform High - of course just my personal opinion.Someone on the Vimeo comments reckons it may be as sharp as a Panavision Genesis (without the depth of field of course).I dunno if I would go that far but I think it's very good.
The whole setup is not spontaneous though and it takes a wee while to setup.Boot up,connect everything, attach letus mini if I am using it etc.But it is worth it.Like I said I have also had the misfortune of bumping the Magma expresscard while it was running and incurred a blue screen of death so I have improvised and applied velcro so that I cannot pull it out as you can see in the photo.It comes out too easily otherwise.Of course for portability it sure does the biz but I cannot wait for the Cineform portable recorder.Hope these insights help.
By the way the Blackmagic Codec is not bad but it does have artifacts.It is better than HDV but trails behind cineform.Cineform is amazing in quality - it is not just hype.I can see no discernable difference from the live footage (on my Bravia 1920 X 1080) to the captured footage.The Mjpeg codec is not bad at all and you still get 8 bit 4.2.2 colour space.Cineform is described as visually lossless.Cineform is 10 bit so post processing gives better results especially colour correction or chroma keying perhaps.Yes everything else is 8 bit - camera - intensity - mjpeg codec - Vegas etc but I have been led to believe it does make a difference to capture to 10 bit but perhaps others can chime in on that.