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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

ASI, Recording and Playback and Compact Flash
ASI
What is ASI and what advantages does it offer?

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.
ASI is MPEG2 mapped onto an SDI transport stream. ASI allows direct connection to satellite uplink as well as internet connectivity via an
ASI → IP converter.

What video and audio formats are supported for ASI?
ASI uses long-GOP 4:2:0 MPEG2 video and MPEG1 Layer II compressed stereo audio.

What ASI stream parameters can be programmed?
The complete list is still being defined, but video, audio PMT, and PCR PIDs, as well as the PAT TS ID are planned. These parameters can be saved and recalled for later use.

Recording and Playback
Can the box be set up for time-lapse (interval) recording?
Yes. Flash XDR has an internal clock / calendar, so interval recording over a wide range of time increments will be available. This is accomplished by recording the desired frames using I-Frame Only option. Long-GOP is not suitable for time-lapse recording.

What are the record trigger (start / stop) options?
Record start / stop can be triggered by one of 3 selectable events:
1. Incrementing time-code (Usually requires Record Run timecode)
2. Record Start/Stop button on the Flash XDR box
3. External Remote Control (GPI trigger)

Do you have protection against accidentally pressing the “Stop” button during a recording?
Yes, the Stop button must be continuously held down for three seconds before the recording will be stopped.

Can I trigger multiple cameras to start simultaneously?
Yes, the simplest approach is to connect the GPI triggers from all cameras together to one master start/stop switch.

Does Flash XDR support fast-forward, rewind, and single-step playback control?

Initially, Flash XDR will only support normal playback. These advanced modes may be supported in the future.

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Compact Flash
What is Compact Flash?
Compact Flash (CF) is an industry standard memory card widely used in digital cameras.
CF utilizes solid-state NAND Flash memory, which are extremely rugged (no moving parts), consume very little power, and are very reliable.
At this time the Convergent Design has fully qualified two CompactFlash cards:
Transcend 32 GB 133x
Transcend 16 GB 300x
As other promising cards come on the market, we will full test them for compatibly with the Flash XDR. We are expecting 64 GB cards soon.

Can I write the same data to two cards simultaneously (for auto back-up)?
This is planned for a future release. This will allow you to create two original masters simultaneously.
The same data will be written to two cards simultaneously.
Writing the video/audio to two cards simultaneously creates an automatic backup; so one card could then be safely stored away, while the second card is handed off to the editor.

How many Compact Flash card slots on Flash XDR?
Flash XDR supports four CF cards. Users can enjoy very long record times, as the Flash XDR will automatically close one clip and start another on the next available CompactFlash card. This is seamless across both record and playback.

Can I hot-swap the cards and continue recording indefinitely?
At this time no. This is planned for a future release.

When the CF card in one slot is full, will the Flash XDR automatically switch to a card in the next slot? How do I know it’s time to remove the first card?
Flash XDR automatically closes the clip (file) and switches to the next CF card when the current card is filled to capacity.
There are LEDs, next to each CompactFlash card slot, which indicate the current status of the card (idle, writing data to the card, ready to eject, etc).
The overall remaining capacity of the card will be displayed on the LCD panel.

What are typical read / write speeds and capacities for Compact Flash cards?
The read / write speeds of CF is based on the old Compact Disk standard of 1X = 150 KB/s. So, a 133X CF card is rated at 133 x 150 KB/s ≈ 20 MB/s or 160 Mb/s.
Note: At this time only two CompactFlash cards are qualified for use in the Flash XDR:
Transcend 32 GB 133x for bit-rates up to and including 100 Mbps.
Transcend 16 GB 300x for all current bit-rates.
Two notes of caution on CF cards:
    a. There have been some reports of fake CF cards on the market, so be very careful about your source for the cards.
    b. Some card manufacturers’ rate their cards based on the read speed only.
For example, one CF card manufacturer boasts 300X performance, which sounds great until you check the fine print and find it’s 300X read and 133X write. .

Does Compact Flash have sufficient read/write bandwidth for HD video?
Yes, CF has sufficient bandwidth and storage capacity for MPEG2 HD Video, provided you use the recommended CompactFlash cards, cards which we have thoroughly tested and fully qualified.

Why Compact Flash instead of SxS cards?
CompactFlash cards have been proven in professional applications, as have the SxS cards.
Our testing showed, that with the proper CompactFlash cards, we could provide safe, convenient, reliable, and highly reusable memory for the Flash XDR.
In addition, the CompactFlash cards, even the highest quality, highest speed versions are significantly less expensive than SxS cards.
The Transcend cards come with a lifetime warranty.
Finally, low-cost high-performance Firewire-800 readers are widely available for CF cards.
Four of the Lexar UDMA (US $60) readers can be daisy chained using Firewire-800, providing access to 128 GB (four 32-GB cards) of video data for editing or download.

What advantages /disadvantages does Compact Flash offer over disk or tape-based storage systems?
Compact Flash is based on solid-state NAND FLASH memory. There are no moving parts, tapes to stretch or break, no dropouts and they are completely silent. Here’s a brief comparison of Compact Flash vs hard-disk drive:

Compact Flash
Hard Disk Drive
Mechanism
Solid State NAND FLASH
Magnetic Rotating Platters
Weight
15 g
100 g
MTBF
> 1 million hours
< 300 K Hours
Shock Resistance
2000G / 2ms
300G /2ms
Operating Temp
-25 to 85 C
5 to 55 C
Acoustics (Bels)
0
2.7
Power
0.2W
2W

Compared to tape based systems, Compact Flash offers true random access to any data file or video frame. The transfer time to your NLE is typically 2X to 6X faster (file transfer vs 1:1 video capture).
Also, Compact Flash does not exhibit dropouts like tape and has an extremely long shelf life.

How fast can I transfer the files to my NLE?
For 50 Mbps recordings, the files will transfer approximately 6 times faster than real-time. Stated differently, the transfer will take 1/6th the amount of time it takes to record, playback, or capture using tape.
For 100 Mbps recordings, the files will transfer approximately 3 times faster than realtime. Stated differently, the transfer will take 1/3rd the amount of time it takes to record, playback, or capture using tape.
    The above assumes that a Lexar Firewire 800 card reader is used with the Transcend 133x card or the Transcend 300x card. The “read     speeds” for both of these CompactFlash cards is approximately 300x.
    The transfer times will be longer with a USB 2.0 card reader.

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Can the Nexto device be used for temporary storage of the recorded clips?
Yes, our testing has shown that the Nexto DI eXtreme ND2700 device is an excellent device for the temporary storage of your clips. The 500 GB Nexto is great for off-loading your footage onto another medium, especially when a laptop or other computer is not present.
The clips on a CompactFlash card can be transferred to the Nexto’s hard drive at approximately 25 megabytes per second (MBps).
When extracting the clips to another computer, via the built-in ESATA interface, the transfer speed is approximately 60 MBps.
We recommend purchasing the extra battery with the Nexto, as the internal rechargeable battery power is limited to a transfer of approximately 80 Gigabytes.
Caution: It is risky, at any point in your production, to have your footage on any single device.
For important shoots, we highly recommend that you always have your footage on at least two devices, be they CompactFlash cards, hard drives, Nexto devices, or any other medium. This advice still applies, no matter how reliable the storage media is.
If you want to transfer your footage to the Nexto, then erase your CompactFlash cards immediately, we recommend first transferring the footage to two separate Nexto devices.

What is your recommended CompactFlash card reader?
Sandisk Extreme Firewire 800/400 CompactFlash card reader or the Lexar UDMA Firewire-800 (each approximately US $60).
The SanDisk FireWire 800/400 reader can also operate at the older 400 (1394a) rate.
The FireWire 400 read performance is similar to USB 2.0.

Is Compact Flash reliable enough for professional video?
Compact Flash has been widely adopted by professional photographers who demand the same reliability and data integrity as professional videographers.
CF card manufacturers typically specify 100,000 write cycles and 10,000 card insertion / removals (well beyond typical expected usage).
The Transcend 16 GB 300x card is rated at over 1,000,000+ write cycles, which is higher than the rating for the Transcend 32 GB 133x card. In either case, there are more write cycles than one can expect to reach.
Each write cycle applies to individual memory cells, not to the device as a whole. Thus one can easily record well over 50,000 events.
The operating temperature range for the Transcend cards is -25 to 85 degrees C, with excellent shock and vibration characteristics. Transcend offers a limited lifetime warranty.
With an all solid-state construction, and mean time between failure of greater than 1,000,000 hours (Transcend figures), Compact Flash is arguably one of the most reliable mediums available to store your video.

How can I be sure that the CF card I just loaded is working properly?
Flash XDR will automatically read the card ID parameters to ensure it has sufficient I/O performance to match the current selected bit-rate.
Additionally, a small file will be written to and read from the card to ensure basic operation each time the card is inserted into the Flash XDR.

Can the CF cards be formatted on the Flash XDR?
Yes, up to four CompactFlash cards can be formatted simultaneously. The formatting process takes under 15 seconds for four 32 GB cards.
Be certain to remove all cards with footage before formatting any cards, as the formatting process formats all cards in the Flash XDR.

In what file format is the MPEG2 data stored on Compact Flash?
In the current release, you have the option of Quicktime format, or Convergent Design’s own “CDV” format, which is similar to MXF, but without all of the header information.
In a future release, we will support MXF, OP-1A, in which the video and audio information is interleaved (same as Sony XDCAM HD)

Can I record to the internal tape on the camera (for backup) and to Compact Flash simultaneously?
Yes, but as this is a camera function, it depends on the camera.

Can I erase the last clip?
This is planned for a future release, but we are not guarantying that this feature will be released. If we find that this feature is workable, without causing negative side effects, we will release it.

Will Convergent Design publish a list of qualified cards?
As mentioned above, we have qualified the Transcend 133x and 300x cards, and the Lexar 300x UDMA CompactFlash cards.
Other promising cards will be qualified when they are released and pass our internal tests.
Transcend is a high quality card, with great performance, a good warranty, and a low price. The CompactFlash card market is very dynamic. We intend to test other promising cards in the future.

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