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posted by - Tuesday, 17 November 2009

nanoFlash & XDCAM ProDiscThis week Convergent Design will be releasing a new firmware for their nanoFlash recorder (version 1.1.131), which contains some significant improvements. They have bumped up the data rate options once again to 180 Mbps LongGOP and 280 Mbps I-Frame. This is great for really pushing the premium video quality. But the new feature that excites me is not a new data rate, but a small change that makes the MXF files generated by the nanoFlash compatible with those on the XDCAM ProDisc. The nanoFlash utilizes the same Sony codec found in the PDW-700 and PDWF800, just at many different data rates. So CD and Sony worked together to make the two MXF files compatible. This means that material recorded in the nanoFlash at 50 Mbps LongGOP (the highest quality currently supported by the disc) can be put on a XDCAM ProDisc and played back on an XDCAM deck. This is a great option because, not only is the XDCAM disc a terrific format, but many television networks require it as a deliverable. On top of that, it makes for an excellent archiving solution. I decided to test out this new feature by combining the PMWEX1, nanoFlash, and PDW-U1 (inexpensive ProDisc reader/writer). Keep reading to see my process.

So I shot a number of short clips on to the nanoFlash at 50Mbps LongGOP, and brought them onto my MacBook Pro.

nanoFlash Clips

I also attached the PDW-U1 drive to my computer and inserted a 23 GB disc. Make sure you have the latest software and firmware (2.21) for the U1 because they just added the write back option recently. Run the U1 Utility, which is included in the Sony download, and set the naming form of the disc to “free.” This can be found on the setup page, and allows for files of any name to be written to the disc.

U1 Settings

I then ran the latest version of XDCAM Transfer (2.10.0), which automatically found my attached XDCAM disc. I had a single clip on it from before, but a fresh disc will also work. IMPORTANT NOTE: Version 2.10.0 of XDCAM Transfer has many issues in Snow Leopard, which will hopefully be resolved with a Sony 2.11.0 release.

xdcamtrans 1

Then I added the }CLIP{ folder found on the nanoFlash CF card to the XDCAM Transfer source window. This properly displayed all six clips that I just captured.

XDCAM Transfer

I selected all of my clips and selected “Export all clips to folder” from the Clip menu. And finally I chose the destination as the ‘clip’ folder on my XDCAM disc.

xdcamtransSAVE 1

After a few moments of writing I had all of the nanoFlash clips on my disc.

xdcamtransFINALFINAL 1

Just to verify, I played back the material on a PDW-F800 camera, and it looked great.

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