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#1 Ian Hedley Wakefield

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:55 AM

Hello.

Recently I've purchased a Sony FS100 and loving it, however the intention was always to follow the purchase up with an external HDD recorder of some description.

I have been reading extensively on Steadicam Forum about the BlackMagic Hyperdeck Shuttle - uncompressed recorder and the Atomos Ninja/Samurai - ProRes recorder. Incidentally these two were the ones I had been considering due to the price point (between $500 - $1500)

The discussion quickly turned into an argument over the economy of HDDs and SSDs, whether or not one could skimp and use a HDD in the shuttle instead of a SSD - apparently data rates for uncompressed video are too much for the write speeds of a regular HDD.

One thing that nobody seemed to take into account was battery life. The Shuttle has an internal battery and a 12v power jack, the internal battery is apparently good for about an hour and after that its onto power; "okay" for an interior shoot, definately not desirable. The Ninja has slots for 2x hot-swappable Sony batteries which is by far the preferable option.


Here's a data sheet from AbelCine that compares all the major external recorders on the market currently.
http://blog.abelcine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Recorder_Comparison_Chart_051611.pdf

Apologies for the info dump/splurge but I'm hoping we can try and get some real answers from people that are using these recorders in the "real world" - also once I take the leap and get one of the two recorders I'll provide as good a review as I can.

Cheers
Ian
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 06:30 AM

Another thing to bear in mind is that the FS 100 output is only 8 bit and your recorder will need to interface with the HDMI connector. Currently, the Nanoflash seems to be the main recorder that many people are considering using with the FS 100.

There appears to be more chance of drop out due to vibration with the hard drives. Also, uncompressed data can mean a lot of storage, so what appear cheap at first can start getting expensive, especially when you need to backup and store the material longer term.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:41 AM

As to power I suspect you'll find that things like the F35 will not run for more than an hour or two with onboard power. Mostly on something of that scale it'd be plugged into a "luggable" lead-acid battery in a little flight case on the dolly. This is actually one of those things where big productions have it easier, as they tend to move more slowly and have more crew hanging around ready to change batteries.

By the time you have factored in monitoring and other accessories most camera packages chew through power.
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#4 Ian Hedley Wakefield

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:48 PM

There appears to be more chance of drop out due to vibration with the hard drives.

SSD's shouldn't be affected by vibration like a traditional platter drive. I may be wrong but that'd my understanding anyway.

I just recieved this link via my twitter this morning as I put a similar call out.

"The HDMI 1.4 port used on the FS100 outputs uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 or 8-bit RGB signals. Auto negotiation (EDID) takes place when an external recorder and FS100 are initially connected via HDMI and cable. During the EDID exchange, the FS100 and external recorder negotiate the highest quality signal common to the FS100 and recorder. From then on, the FS100 will output the negotiated signal. There is no menu in the camera to force a particular mode."

http://blog.abelcine...hdmi-clarified/

Does this mean that we actually have no real control over how good the data is coming off the camera? Obviously one can set the data rate in camera etc and in some cases on the recorder too, but it seems to me that the HDMI cable is almost a weak link in the chain now. (Please lets save a HDMI vs HD-SDI argument for another thread)

The power issue is where I personally keep getting hung up on - what happens when the shuttle runs out of power - plug it in... have enough headaches with non locking HDMI cables but a weak 12v power pin connector is not going to hold in place should it get yanked etc.

I definitely think arranging a hands on test of some devices will be the next step.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 04:27 PM

EDID negotiation on DVI devices can be an absolute can of worms and this is almost always caused by the assumption of the manufacturer that they know everything about your application. This leads them not to put a manual reversion mode in, which is a huge mistake. The industry which uses DVI needs to learn that EDID negotiation is much less reliable than it needs to be if you want to assume that auto always works.

P
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#6 Ian Hedley Wakefield

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:37 PM

Set camera to best settings and then hope for the best?

Sigh.

I love operating in the unknown.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:42 AM

Set camera to best settings and then hope for the best?




Yup.
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#8 Ian Hedley Wakefield

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 03:29 AM

Just for those interested I got in contact with Atomos regarding the Ninja and possible firmware upgrades allowing for DNxHD support etc

This is what i got back.

"Hi Ian

Thanks for getting in touch. Lots of people are using the FS100 with Ninjas now, with great results.

I'm not allowed to talk about future plans, I'm afraid.

BTW - you may want to look out for Atomos announcements from the IBC in Amsterdam, starting on Friday this week. We've got some news about a few things that we'll be mentioning for the first time there.

Best regards

Dave Shapton

Atomos"
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 06:34 AM

I'd check that you're able to use the time code being outputted through the HDMI, that appears to be an item still being worked on by the external recorder manufacturers for the FS100
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