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posted by - Friday, 18 November 2011

There’s a lot to be thankful for this Friday, as there have been several important firmware update announcements across the board. In addition to the ARRI ALEXA update released on Wednesday, BlackMagic Design, Sony, and Sound Devices all have announcements to get your weekend off to a great start.

BlackMagic Design HyperDeck Studio:

The uncompressed HyperDeck Studio recorder will gain compressed recording capability with a free update slated for “the end of this month.” DNxHD recording and playback of MXF files will be added, promising an expedited workflow for those working with Avid Media Composer, as well as a big advantage for those that do not require uncompressed files.

Sony NEX-FS100

Sony will be releasing an major update to the popular AVCHD Super35 NEX-FS100 by early 2012. One of the most requested features is the ability to switch between NTSC and PAL recording, which Sony has added to this free update. In addition, you will be able to:

  • Save and load camera profiles to and from a memory card
  • Additional 4x and 8x Expanded Focus magnification
  • Selectable ISO or Gain sensitivity display
  • Selectable focus indication in feet or meters (E-Mount lenses only)
  • Selectable shutter indication as exposure time or shutter angle
  • Added the following Aspect-Ratio markers: 2.35:1, 1.85:1 and 1.66:1
  • Display ON/OFF button enables Zebra and/or Histogram overlay onto video output

The new firmware will also allow you to use the new Sony LA-EA2 Alpha to E-mount adaptor with full support for continuous phase-detect autofocus, auto iris, and lens metadata on most Alpha mount lenses.

Sony PMW-F3

Due out before Thanksgiving, version 1.20 of the F3 firmware will unlock S-LOG EI (Exposure Index) mode. While this will require users to have purchased the CBK-RGB01 4:4:4 and S-Log upgrade, EI Mode essentially allows you to shift your entire dynamic range up, allowing you to retain more highlight information compared to the standard S-Log. You can shift your exposure index points up in 1/3 stop increments, all the way to 3200EI. Similar to pushing film, the EI mode will require you to gain up in post production, which may introduce noise to your shadow detail. Since the F3 is already an incredibly clean camera, it will be interesting to see how this responds in the real world when it is available.

EDIT: You can now download firmware version 1.20 directly from Sony.

Sony PVM-1741 & PVM-2541 OLED monitors

We’ve discussed some of the flickering fixes when monitoring in 24p on the OLED monitors and, while our workaround with the Decimator MD-DUCC is still a viable option, Sony will be releasing a firmware update for the PVM-1741 and PVM-2541 before the new year that promises to eliminate the flickering. When installed, this free update can be enabled via menu settings as an option.

Sound Devices PIX220 & PIX240

In addition to various bug fixes, the new 1.03 firmware for the PIX220 and PIX240 adds several key features to these powerful external recorders. Recording on the PIX240 can now be triggered via SDI start/stop flags for Canon (XF105, XF305), Sony (PMW-F3), and the Arri ALEXA. The PIX240 is also now capable of reading the HDMI timecode from the Sony NEX-FS100 and other Sony NX cameras. You can find a full list of updates and download the new firmware directly from Sound Devices.

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