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PRODUCTS  •  CONVERGENT DESIGN  •  FLASHXDR
HIGH QUALITY HD/SD-SDI RECORDER/PLAYER
 

High Quality HD/SD-SDI Recorder/Player

•Extremely Low-Noise Images
•Master Quality Modes are Visually Indistinguishable from Uncompresses

Flash XDR is a revolutionary new solid-state HD/SD recorder/player that uniquely utilizes the very high-quality Sony XDCAM 4:2:2 CODEC to write native Quicktime, MXF (video/audio/time-code), or MPG files onto affordable Compact Flash media. Flash XDR breaks new ground in terms of weight, power, size, ruggedness and ease of use. We are confident you will agree that the video quality is indistinguishable from uncompressed (at 100+ Mbps Long-GOP or 180+ Mbps I-Frame modes).

FlashXDR FAQ
Video I/O
Audio Inputs and Outputs
MPEG2 Compression
ASI, Recording and Playback and Compact Flash
HDV Support, Time-Code / Real-Time Clock, File Transfer / NLE Support and User Interface / Updates / Control
Mechanical / Power / Environmental

General Questions

Flash XDR FAQ
Can I get a brief description of Flash XDR?
Flash XDR is a portable HD recorder/player designed to mount on the back of a camcorder. It is also suited for use in a studio environment.
The Flash XDR is designed to record higher quality images than the camera itself is capable of recording using the camera’s HD-SDI output.
Flash XDR accepts an incoming HD-SDI video signal, with embedded audio and timecode, and accepts external audio and timecode via a menu option.
The Flash XDR records the video/audio as MPEG2 at user selected bit-rates. This allows the user to choose, for every shoot, an appropriate image quality, file size, and maximum available length of recording.
The data is then stored on CompactFlash cards, in either Quicktime or MXF file formats.
In a future release, the Flash XDR will also fully support Asynchronous Serial Interface (ASI) for both input and output, as an extra cost option.
ASI is a streaming data format for the broadcast industry. ASI has many applications, but is commonly used by mobile units to get their video and audio signal back to the station via microwave.

What are your image quality options?
At this time, we offer two options, 50 Megabit per second (Mbps) bit-rate and 100 Mbps.
Our 50 Mbps gives you a high quality image, one better than many cameras.
The 100 Mbps option offers stunning video, and in our testing, has been shown to be visually indistinguishable from full uncompressed. The file sizes of our 100 Mbps option are very manageable compared to full uncompressed High Definition (HD) video.
In the future, we plan on offering, as an extra cost option, the ability to record full uncompressed video. With this option, we will support 10-bit color.

Will the Flash XDR work with my camera?
If your camera has an HD-SDI output, then the answer is yes.
In addition, there are “Component Video to HD-SDI adapters”, so that non-HD-SDI cameras can still benefit from using the Flash XDR.
In the future, we will be supporting SD-SDI cameras also.

Will the Flash XDR improve the image quality of my existing camera?

In most all cases, yes.
HD video produces a large amount of data, more than most all magnetic tape drives, or laser recording media, can handle.

    For example, the MiniDV tape format typically records at 25 Megabits per second (Mbps). The HD-SDI signal is at 1.485 Gigabits per second,     or 1,485 Megabits per second.
    The HD video must be highly compressed to fit on the existing tape drives or other recording media. While this compression works very well     most of the time, under certain demanding conditions, it produces a less than perfect image. Also, some of the chroma (color) data is not     recorded to achieve the necessary image compression.

The great thing about HD-SDI cameras is that the camera’s image goes through minimal processing, then out the HD-SDI output without going through compression.
HD-SDI is the best possible signal from your camera, and this signal is dramatically better than what is recorded on tape or other media. The highest of high-end cameras can also record without any, or very minimal, compression.
Difference between what is recorded to tape, or other media, and the uncompressed HD-SDI signal is very dramatic. If you have only been recording via your camera’s internal recording mechanism, in most all cases, you are losing a great degree of the quality that your existing camera can deliver.
For many cameras, the image recorded is 4:2:0, while the HD-SDI signal is 4:2:2, which is dramatically and visually better.
The difference between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 is beyond the scope of these FAQ’s. For reference, please visit the “Chroma Subsampling” article in www.wikipedia.org,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling

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Use only approved CompactFlash cards from the following list:
Transcend brand 133X CompactFlash Card, any capacity.
Transcend brand 300X CompactFlash Card, any capacity.
Lexar brand 300x UDMA CompactFlash Card, any capacity.


These are only a CompactFlash cards fully qualified for use with the Flash XDR at this time.
The Transcend 133x cards can be used for recording at bit-rates up to and including 100 Mbps. The write speed of these cards is 133x and the read speed is 300x.
The Transcend 300x cards are faster for write operations and can be used for any current and envisioned recording bit-rates. The write and read speed of these cards is 300x.
Both of these Transcend card series have been proven in the lab, and in the field, to be reliable and highly reusable. These cards have a lifetime warranty from Transcend.
We expect 64 GB cards to be on the market soon, and we will quality other cards as they become available.
The use of non-qualified CompactFlash cards is not recommended and not supported.
There is a large difference, in quality, speed, and endurance, in CompactFlash cards.

Do the CompactFlash cards need special care?
We have found the CompactFlash cards to be field proven.
Reasonable care is expected.
We recommend returning the cards to their protective case when appropriate.
They should not be immersed in water. Also, it is reasonable to protect the contacts from sand and dirt. The protective cases provided with the cards provide reasonable protection. Even more secure cases are available for a reasonable cost.

What is the recording time?
Using four Transcend 32 GB 133x CompactFlash cards, the approximate recording time is:
Video Format
720p50@ 50 Mbps
1080i60 @ 50Mbps
1080i60 @ 100 Mbps
1080p24 4:2:2
10-bit Uncompressed
Record Time
4 Hours
44 minutes
4 Hours
44 minutes
2 Hours
22 Minutes
17

Using one Transcend 32 GB 133x CompactFlash cards, the approximate recording time is:
Video Format
720p50@ 50 Mbps
1080i60 @ 50Mbps
1080i60 @ 100 Mbps
1080p24 4:2:2
10-bit Uncompressed
Record Time
71 minutes
71 minutes
35 Minutes
17
How reusable are the CompactFlash cards?
The endurance of the Transcend CompactFlash cards is substantial.
For the Transcend 16 GB 300x card the endurance is greater than 1,000,000 erase/write cycles and 10,000 insertion/removal from CompactFlash card slot cycles.
http://www.transcendusa.com/Products/ModDetail.asp?ModNo=203&SpNo=3&LangNo=0
For the Transcend 32 GB 133x card the endurance is less than the 300x card but entirely adequate for repeated use as a Video/Audio recording medium.
While it is fully expected to be able to reuse a Transcend CompactFlash card for well over 50,000 times, compare this to how many times one can reuse a video tape.
In addition, quality CompactFlash cards are essentially dropout free.
Yes, there are stories of individuals that had problems with CompactFlash cards, but modern premium quality cards, from reputable manufacturers such as Transcend are extremely durable.
While we have not seen counterfeit Transcend brand CompactFlash cards, counterfeit cards using other brand names are common. The reliability, capacity, endurance and performance of counterfeit cards are suspect.
Always purchase your CompactFlash cards from a reputable source.
In a future release, the Flash XDR will be able to record to two CompactFlash cards simultaneously. In essence, then this option is enabled, you are creating two original master recordings.
With two masters, with even the remote possibility of one CompactFlash card failing, your footage will still be safe on the other master.

Can you record seamlessly from one CompactFlash card to another?

Yes, as the remaining record capacity on the current CompactFlash card reaches a critical level, the Flash XDR automatically closes the current clip (file), and then opens a new clip on the next card.
This process is completely transparent to the user, for both record and playback. No frames of video or audio are lost during this process.
This means that you are not limited, in length of recording, to the amount of footage that will fit onto one CompactFlash card.

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Can you hot-swap the CompactFlash cards?
No, not at this time. This is planned for a future firmware release.
At this time, with four 32 GB cards, we can record 4 hours and 44 minutes, using 50 Mbps, and two hours 22 minutes at 100 Mbps, without hot-swapping.
When 64 GB cards become available these times will be doubled.

Do you use FAT32 file structure?
Yes, this allows the CompactFlash media to be easily used on both the Apple Macintosh and PC.
With FAT32, the maximum file size for an individual file (clip) is limited to around 4 GB.
This would normally be a problem, but the Flash XDR seamless closes one file (clip) and starts another, even if the next file is on another CompactFlash card. A recording is not limited to the length of one clip. One can record continuously until all of the cards are full.
When editing, the individual clips can be easily put adjacent to each other on the timeline. The limited size of each clip is also desirable if one wishes to archive the clips on DVD’s or other medium which is limited in size.

Can the Flash XDR be transferred from one camera to another?
Yes, this is one of the best parts.
The Flash XDR is easily transported to another camera.
The Flash XDR is an investment in the long-term. The image quality is stunning; in our tests, it is visually indistinguishable from uncompressed.
If you upgrade to a new camera, you do not lose your investment in the Flash XDR.
There are no mechanical parts to wear out, there is no maintenance, under normal circumstances, and the unit is repairable if the need ever arises.

What recording options and formats will you support in the future?
Today we support 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps MPEG2 Long-GOP modes. These are the Master Quality and High Quality modes in the following table.
The following options are planned:
Interlaced / Progressive Formats: 1080i60/50, 1080psf30/25/24, 720p60/50, 480i/576i
Bit Rate
Compression
Audio Format
Subsampling
Raster
Comments
160 Mbps
I-Frame Only VBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:2
1920 x 1080 /
1280 x 720p
100 Mbps
I-Frame Only VBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:2
1920 x 1080 /
1280 x 720p
100 Mbps
Long-GOP CBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:2
1920 x 1080 /
1280 x 720p
Master Quality
50 Mbps
Long-GOP CBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:2
1920 x 1080 /
1280 x 720p
High Quality
35 Mbps
Long-GOP VBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:0
1440 x 1080
XDCAM HD
18 Mbps
Long-GOP VBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:0
1440 x 1080
XDCAM HD
18 Mbps
Long-GOP VBR
PCM 24-Bit 48K
4:2:0
1440 x 1080
Proxy Recording
Streaming Only
Not for Recording
25 Mbps
Long-GOP CBR
MPEG1 Layer 2
4:2:0
1440 x 1080
HDV-2
19.7 Mbps
Long-GOP CBR
MPEG1 Layer 2
4:2:0
1280 x 720p
HDV-1
18 Mbps
Long-GOP CBR
MPEG1 Layer 2
4:2:0
1440 x 1080 /
1280 x 720p
ASI

Does the Flash XDR require routine maintenance?
No. There are no moving parts, no fans, no tape path to clean, etc.
There is no fan in the unit for two reasons,
1) To ensure that the unit is absolutely silent.
2. To ensure that sand, dust, and dirt are not pulled into the unit.
Exposure to extreme conditions, such as a sand or dust storm, may require some cleaning.
All connectors, regardless of quality and manufacturer, have a finite life. Only the highest quality connectors are used in the Flash XDR, and we have a method of minimizing the wear on the connectors.
The elimination of routine and expensive maintenance of cameras and tape decks is a distinct advantage of the Flash XDR. Over time, the elimination of these expenses can easily pay for the Flash XDR.

Can I really convert my existing camera to tapeless workflow?
Yes, while your camera may be designed for tape-based recording, the Flash XDR converts it instantly to a tapeless workflow with all the benefits therein.
For example, with tape, many film producers and crew are very reluctant to rewind a tape to review the recorded clips.
This is for many reasons, foremost is the more a tape is handled (rewound, played, fast forwarded), the more likely a dropout is to occur. Secondly, repositioning the tape after playback must be done precisely. If done incorrectly, existing footage could be overwritten.
But with the tapeless workflow, in the Flash XDR, the last clip may be played back instantly at the press of one button. Then, even while playing back a clip, the unit is ready to record instantly, and no existing footage will be overwritten.
Even more importantly, is the elimination of the capture process. Capturing takes place in real time, with the camera or tape deck playing the footage, while the computer “captures” the digital data.
With a tapeless workflow, the Flash XDR creates individual clips for each take or recording. These individual clips can be copied in bulk, faster than real-time, to your computer system. In addition, you can choose to only transfer the good takes, if preferred, without spending any time repositioning the tape.
If you have a fast CompactFlash card reader, such as the Lexar Firewire 800 unit, then you can actually play or edit the clips directly from the CompactFlash Card. Also, these readers can be daisy-chained together, so you can start a process to transfer up to four CompactFlash cards without further attention.
However, unless one is really pressed for time, we recommend copying the clips to your computer’s hard drive first, prior to editing.
Other advantages of a tapeless workflow:
a. No tape dropouts.
b. No cleaning of the tape heads and tape path.
c. CompactFlash cards are reusable thousands of times, dramatically reducing media costs. But, of course, for some applications, the media still must be archived on some medium.
d. No maintenance of the tape mechanism.
e. No expensive tape deck is necessary.
f. No rewinding or positioning a tape to find a clip.
g. Each clip has a name, timestamp, and metadata information making it easy to document and find a clip.
h. Long-Form recordings are easily achievable as a recording can go from one CompactFlash card to another seamlessly.
Just four 32 GB CompactFlash cards can hold 2 hours and 22 minutes of 100 Mbps 1080i60 footage. At 50 Mbps, this increases to 4 hours and 44 minutes.

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What cameras / camcorders are compatible with Flash XDR?
a. Sony PMW-EX1, PMW-EX3
b. Canon XL-H1, XL-H1s, G1
c. Iconix HR-1
d. Hitachi HV-HD30 and DK-H32
e. Ikegami HDL-20D
f. Camera Corps HD MiniZoom
g. Sony F900, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX
h. Sony EVI-HD1
i. JVC GY-HD250, GY-HD251
j. Panasonic GP-US932
k. Toshiba IK-HD1
l. Any HD camcorder with analog component outputs + HD-SDI converter
m. Any HDV / AVCHD camcorder with HDMI + Convergent Design nanoConnect
n. Any HD-SDI source with compatible frame rates. Dual-Link HD-SDI is not supported.

What were the design goals in developing this box?
a. Provide videographers / cinematographers, and others, with a tool to obtain master quality recording, at a higher quality than achievable using their internal recording subsystems.
b. Enable direct attachment to camcorder (for “run and gun” applications).
c. Provide a wide range or image quality / file size / recording length options.
d. Enable pull-down removal (inverse telecine) for true 24p support.
e. Provide a tapeless workflow.
f. Provide low power consumption, capable of using battery power, small size, and lightweight recording solution.
g. Provide rugged design and construction, operational over a wide temperature range.
h. Provide ASI I/O for connectivity to satellite uplink or ASI ↔ IP converters.

How can I connect Flash XDR to the Canon XL H1?

Simply connect the HD-SDI and time-code outputs from the XL H1 directly into the corresponding inputs on Flash XDR.
Since the audio is not embedded in the original Canon XL H1’s HD-SDI stream, you need to connect either balanced line or microphone level stereo inputs directly into Flash XDR.
If using microphone inputs, + 48V phantom power can be enabled.
The external balanced audio input’s, microphone inputs, are adjustable from 0, then over a range of 10 dB to 65 dB in one dB increments.
The balanced analog audio outputs can then be connected to the corresponding inputs on the Canon XL H1. This allows redundant recording of both the video and audio to the HDV tape in the camcorder, in addition to the recording to the CompactFlash cards in Flash XDR.

Can I really get 1080i recording from the JVC GY-HD250 camcorder?
Yes, the GY-HD250 can be switched to output either 720p or 1080i HD-SDI. Internally, only 720p HDV data can be recorded to tape. However, Flash XDR accepts and records in either 720p or 1080i formats.

Which HD-SDI Switchers are compatible with Flash XDR?
Flash XDR works with any HD-SDI switcher with a compatible output format (see recording option and formats section). This makes Flash XDR an ideal live event recorder.

How does Flash XDR compare to other HD Portable recorders?
Flash XDR redefines portable HD Recorders in terms of weight, size, power, and price. It is also completely silent.
Compared to portable PC based recorders, tape decks, or laptop + converter box, the Flash XDR, uses far less power, produces no noise, is more rugged and can be mounted on the back of a camcorder.
It also costs considerably less than most of these alternative solutions.

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