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TechBytes
Topics Arri

Yesterday, Arri released Software Update Packet (or ‘SUP’) version 3.0 for the ALEXA Mini. A highlight of the release is support for Lexar’s LC 128GB and LC 256GB 3600x CFast 2.0 cards, which provide an additional option for owners and rental houses as well as increased capacity (Lexar’s 256GB card is currently the highest available capacity approved for use with the Mini).

Also new is what Arri is calling a “beta test” of 4:3 ProRes 2.8K recording and 2x anamorphic de-squeeze in camera. This is big news for anamorphic shooters who now have the option to test drive true 2x anamorphic shooting on a lightweight, compact ALEXA body. The beta test is being made available as a free 4:3 License Key, which must be applied for on the Arri License Shop website and expires 90 days after installation. The final release of this functionality is scheduled for SUP 4.0 and will be a paid upgrade.

Other notable features included in this release are:

  • Interval Recording (intervalometer)
  • Stop Motion Mode
  • Timecode Sensor Clock Tuning
  • Viewfinder Overlay Enhancements

This update also includes a number of important bug fixes. To see the full release notes and to download SUP 3.0 for your camera, visit the Arri website.

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Geoff Smith
posted by - Thursday, 29 October 2015

Yesterday, Convergent Design – makers of the popular Odyssey7 line of monitor/recorders – announced Apollo, a new portable multicamera recorder/switcher. Using the same compact form factor and casework as their Odyssey7 monitor/recorders, the Apollo can record up to four HD camera feeds plus a fifth channel, which can be either a live-switched view or the four cameras in a quad split-screen view. The Apollo can also function as a live switcher while still recording each input individually (up to four total).

CD_Apollo

All streams use the same timecode, which means all feeds are inherently synchronized (Genlock is not needed), and all video is recorded to the same onboard media. So instead of four camera cards – potentially in different codecs or formats from different cameras – all media is consolidated, which should make offloading and ingest a breeze for post-production. Using a companion app from Convergent Design, each recorded stream can be exported as an individual QuickTime ProRes file or, using a little-known feature of QuickTime, as a single multicamera clip containing all camera streams. These multicam clips will drop right onto the timeline in supported editors like Final Cut Pro X.

The same image analysis tools available in the Odyssey7 series are available in the Apollo, enabling precise camera matching using features like vectorscopes, waveforms, histograms, spot metering, false color, focus peaking and zebras. Since all feeds can be monitored simultaneously on the unit’s high-quality OLED display, technical directors will be able to see immediately the effects of any tweaks operators make to their cameras. What’s more, a DIT or engineer can apply a preset or custom monitoring LUT, for re-application in post production, to normalize cameras.

Additional features are planned for roll out in 2016: two-channel 4K/UHD video recording; DNxHD recording; and the ability to “cascade,” which allows two or three Apollos to be interconnected for up to twelve HD channel or six 4K/UHD channel simultaneous recording.

Apollo is scheduled for release in December 2015. Convergent’s list price is $3995 and includes an SSD to USB3 adapter, a 5-pack of SSD mounting handles, and a universal AC power supply. Owners of the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ will be able to purchase an Apollo Option for their devices as an upgrade for $1795.

For more information,visit Convergent Design’s site: https://www.convergent-design.com/apollo.html

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Ian McCausland
posted by - Thursday, 01 October 2015

TVLogic has introduced their latest firmware for the VFM-058W, which displays metadata from the Arri ALEXA camera series. Users must request the firmware from TVLogic; it cannot be downloaded directly from the website. When requesting the firmware, you must have the serial number of the monitor you want to update. Here is the link to the RMA form to request the firmware:

http://tvlogicusa.com/Support/Spt_RMA.asp?L_Code=RMA

Updating the firmware on the VFM-058W is done via USB stick, but before loading the files onto the drive, you must format the drive in ExFat.

Load the .rbf & .hex file onto the drive and follow the steps below to update the monitor.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 4.23.05 PM

  • Power up the monitor. Make sure you have a fully charged battery or power supply. Firmware updates may take as long as 20 minutes.
  • Insert USB drive into the monitor.
  • Open Menu and select System Menu.

IMG_0013

  • At the bottom, will be the Firmware Update menu; select Yes.
  • The monitor will go dark while the update is taking place. There is no access to menus during firmware update. DO NOT turn off power.
  • The firmware update will take up to 15 – 20 minutes.
  • The firmware update is complete when “no video” is displayed on lower left of screen.
  • The USB can be removed. The monitor is ready to use.

 

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Geoff Smith
posted by - Wednesday, 09 September 2015
Topics Phantom

Vision Research has released the long-anticipated support for ProRes 422 HQ recording for the Flex4K camera platform through a free firmware update. This update also includes audio recording which allows a stereo AES/EBU signal to be fed to the camera. The audio file format is uncompressed .WAV files at 48KHz, 24-bit.

The addition of ProRes 422 HQ as an alternative to Cine Raw recording is big news. ProRes can be captured in full 4K 16:9 resolution (4096 x 2304 pixels) at frame rates up to 938fps in Loop mode and at up to 30fps in Run/Stop mode for longer takes with sync-sound. ProRes 422 HQ recordings will yield files approximately 2.5 times smaller than Cine Raw, making the typically very large amount of data generated by high-speed video more manageable and enabling a “ready-to-edit” workflow. ProRes is supported when recording to Phantom CineMag IV memory modules.

A new version of Phantom PCC software has also been released and is required to take advantage of the new features. In addition to enabling ProRes and audio recording, PCC 2.8.754 includes the following features:

  • Camera recordings can now be previewed and downloaded over gigabit or 10 gigabit ethernet.
  • The ACES color space is now supported through conversion of Flex4K .cine files into OpenEXR format.
  • User interface improvements including advanced control for grouped/synchronized cameras and optional preview image on timeline while scrubbing through recordings

This firmware is available now for download from the Vision Research website. Note: You will also need to upgrade your CineStation IV firmware.

Vision Research also recently announced a limited-time offer on a free 2TB CineMag IV with the purchase of any Phantom Flex4K bundle. This special ends next week on September 18.

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Now that the PIX-E5 recorder is shipping, Video Devices, the new division and name of Sound Devices’ video product line, has released a series of PDF guides on how to best integrate the most popular cameras on the market with their PIX-E series 4K recorders.

The camera guides are for 4K recording from the Sony a7S, Sony FS7, and Panasonic GH4 via HDMI. There is also an additional guide to capturing S-Log out of the SDI port on the FS7 at 1920×1080. View and download the the guides below.

Additionally, Video Devices has revealed the estimated shipping dates for the rest of the PIX-E lineup:

  • PIX-E5H — HDMI-only 4K recorder/monitor, September 1
  • PIX-LR — 2-channel add-on audio module, October 1
  • PIX-E7 — 7″ SDI and HDMI 4K monitor/recorder, Late Fall 2015

 

 

 

 

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Rokinon recently announced their new Xeen lenses. These are true cine lenses with common housing diameters and lengths for quick lens changes when using a matte box and/or follow focus. They also feature 11 iris blades for smooth out-of-focus highlight rendering (bokeh) and a long 200º focus throw for precise focusing. Geared focus and iris rings enable the use of a professional follow focus unit.

While these lenses are based on the optical designs from Rokinon’s Cine DS line, the addition of more iris blades and a new multi-coating process should ensure excellent matching when intercutting between footage shot using the different focal lengths.

Rokinon-Xeen-Cine-Lens_web

These lenses retail for about $2,500 each and are initially available in three focal lengths (24mm, 50mm and 85mm — all opening to T1.5) with more focal lengths planned for the future. The Xeens are available in five different mounts — Arri PL, Micro 4/3, Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E. The mounts are interchangeable, however, this must be done by a service tech and not in the field. Additionally, they all cover “full frame” (24×36), including RED’s forthcoming 8K sensor.

This three-lens set is a great solution for owner-operators who need a basic set of lenses to complement their camera(s) and/or to fill in gaps when renting lenses.

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Andrew Finkel
posted by - Thursday, 06 August 2015
Topics Arri, Recording

With options like SxS Pro, SxS Pro+, CFast 2.0, XR Drives, SXR Drives and more, selecting the correct media and adapters to work with a specific ARRI camera can be complex.

To make things easier, ARRI has released an illustrated configuration diagram on all the recording media and adapter options for their cameras. The chart shows which adapters work for the ALEXA Classic, AMIRA, and ALEXA Mini, along with those for the yet to be released ALEXA SXT/SXR.

To view and download ARRI’s Recording Media chart 1.6.5, visit ARRI’s site or click on the image below.

ARRI_1.6.5_Recording_Media

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Engineers at Arizona State University have developed lasers that can output white light, covering the full visible spectrum. This technology (while in its infancy) could pave the way for a future of large gamut (P3, Rec. 2020, etc.) monitors, as current display technology is mostly constrained to Rec. 709 due to the limitations of the light source. Additionally, the laser could be useful in future solid-state lighting applications, and a laser-based version of Wi-Fi called Li-Fi, which is estimated to be 10x faster than Wi-Fi.

Read more about the technology here: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/devices/the-first-white-laser

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Blackmagic Design has released a public beta version of DaVinci Resolve 12 with significant changes and upgrades to the application’s user interface, features and capabilities. The most notable additions are in the area of non-linear editing. Blackmagic Design is clearly looking to make Resolve a competent and competitive NLE capable of running with the likes of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, Avid’s Media Composer and Apple’s Final Cut Pro X.

Previously, the free edition of Resolve was known as Resolve Lite but it’s now simply called DaVinci Resolve and is limited to UHD (3840×2160) output. The paid version ($995) is now known as DaVinci Resolve Studio and includes noise reduction, motion blur, mastering and 3D capabilities not present in the free version. Here is an exhaustive list of differences between the free and paid versions.

Below is a list of new features included in the public beta of version 12 (items with an asterisk are not currently complete and will be implemented in future beta updates).

User Interface

  • New modern, flexible and scalable user interface
  • UI designed to scale from 15” Macbook Pro to 5K Retina iMac
  • Support for high DPI monitors on Windows
  • Multiple user support is now optional
  • Postgres server is not installed by default on Mac OS X*

Non-Linear Editing

  • Multi-cam editing
  • Timeline created automatically with first edited clip
  • Guaranteed real-time audio playback for all playback speeds
  • Automatic audio pitch correction for slow or fast playback speeds on Mac OS X
  • Support for speed changing audio clips with pitch correction
  • Audio playback using JKL dynamic trim
  • VST and AU audio plugin support
  • Copy and paste audio plugins through paste attributes
  • Clip and Track automation control for audio
  • Offline reference video wipe playback on the SDI output in edit and color page
  • Curve editor for transitions
  • Smooth Cut for morphing transitions
  • Low latency JKL playback control and slow-mo playback
  • Slow-mo playback using JKL keys
  • Retime offers drop-down option to smoothen/linearize clip retime-keyframes
  • Expanded multi-selection trimming
  • Better trim behavior when sliding multiple selected clips in the same track
  • Timeline clip match frame to the media pool source clip
  • Split Clip Roll edit
  • Split edit trim maintains linked and preceding audio sync
  • Nest timelines into any other timeline
  • Motion path editing with bezier handles
  • Simplified track selection for copy/paste operations
  • Zoom to fit timeline is now a toggle operation
  • Select multiple clips along the timeline with shift-click
  • Media clips and timelines consolidated in the media pool
  • Flip/Flop and pitch/yaw in edit sizing
  • User selectable fast nudge frame count in Project Settings
  • Automatic slip and move operations for clips out of sync
  • Support for FCPX XML 1.5 DTD roundtrip
  • Support for multicam and audio layout for FCPX XML roundtrip

Coloring

  • DaVinci Resolve Color Management (RCM)
  • ACES v1.0 support
  • New custom curves with bezier handles
  • New perspective tracker
  • New 3D Keyer
  • De-spill option to automatically reduce chroma key spill
  • New matte finesse controls
  • Compound nodes to create complex looks using nested node graphs
  • Node graph clean-up tool
  • Auto shot match between two or more clips
  • Key processing is available by routing key to RGB and RGB to key in the node graph
  • Window conversion to power curve window
  • Flatten pre and post group grades into clip grade
  • Add correction with keyframes in timeline thumbnail context menu
  • Ability to ripple grade from any node to selected clips or current group
  • Ability to append current node to selected clips in timeline
  • Delete ‘Unused Versions’ option
  • Ability to view and change ISO for Blackmagic Camera RAW clips
  • Black sun highlight correction for Blackmagic Camera clips
  • Timeline Smart Filters
  • Pitch/Yaw in edit, input, node and output sizing
  • Lightbox on second screen
  • Docked scopes and Clip/System Info
  • Color page menu option to change node label
  • Option click track number to disable track auto-select in thumbnail timeline

Media Management

  • Greater layout flexibility
  • New simple clip relink
  • Drag and drop clips from Finder or Windows Explorer to media pool or timeline
  • Media storage favorites allow folder bookmarks
  • Media storage sub-clip generation
  • Media management controls to Copy, Move and Transcode
  • Project archive and restore
  • Media pool smart bins
  • Customizable metadata based display name for clips
  • Optimized media support
  • Timeline proxy mode for improved performance*
  • Automatic Dual sound system sync based on waveform
  • Optimized media thumbnail scrubbing
  • Media storage option to list individual frames as separate items
  • New format and type media pool column
  • Show all mounted volumes on window
  • Support for OS drive eject on Mac and Windows*
  • Copy/Paste of media pool items and edit events across projects

Delivery

  • Export to ProTools
  • Render audio only*
  • Remote Rendering*
  • Bitrate slider for JPEG 2000 encoding
  • Progressive disclosure of advanced render settings

Other New Features

  • Intel GPU support on Mac and Windows
  • Modern 64-bit QuickTime support on Mac OS X
  • QuickTime support for DNxHR codec
  • Missing clips on storage show up as offline media
  • Pop-up message for missing LUTs during project load
  • Long LUT names now display in extended window width
  • Additional keyboard shortcuts
  • Workspace menu selection includes page switching
  • M4A, MP3 and CAF audio decoding support on Mac OS X
  • CinemaDNG monochrome support
  • ARRI ALEXA 65 support
  • ALEXA Open Gate and Canon RMF clip resolution improvements
  • Spanned Canon C300 clip support
  • Canon still camera RAW format CR2
  • Native M4V file support
  • Sony XAVC Intra encoding (DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio only)
  • Panasonic V35 IDT included for ACES workflows
  • Quad 3G SDI support on DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G
  • Level A SDI support with Blackmagic Desktop Video hardware
  • 2K DCI 25P/25sF support for video monitoring
  • OpenEXR v2.2.0 read/write with DWAA/DWAB compression
  • Support for 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 192 kHz audio
  • OpenFX extensions for native OpenCL/CUDA multi GPU compute
  • General performance and stability improvements

Minimum system requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite
  • 16 GB of system memory is recommended and 8 GB is the minimum supported
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video version 10.4.1 or later
  • CUDA Driver version 7.0.36
  • NVIDIA Driver version – As required by your GPU
  • RED Rocket-X Driver 2.1.19.0 and Firmware 1.3.19.7 or later
  • RED Rocket Driver 1.4.36.0 and Firmware 1.1.17.3 or later

You can download the beta versions of both Resolve 12 and Resolve 12 Studio by visiting www.blackmagicdesign.com.

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Geoff Smith
posted by - Thursday, 02 July 2015

Atomos recently released the new AtomOS v6.4 firmware for their popular Shogun recorder. Let’s see what’s in this massive new release, which is probably the most significant to date for the Shogun.

The big highlight of AtomOS release 6.4 is RAW to ProRes (or DNxHR) recording for the Sony FS-series cameras (FS7 and FS700). This capability allows 24p full 4K DCI (4096x2160p) recording of RAW data from these cameras to ProRes or DNxHR, with the ability to add LUTs for converting both S-Log2 and S-Log3 to REC709 on the recorded clips. This can be done from a dedicated tab on the interface. An option on the input page allows selection of whether or not to record with the selected LUT “baked into” the footage or direct the LUT to the SDI output for monitoring.

On-screen, LUTs can now be applied split-screen in order to see the effect and the original image at the same time. In addition to built-in LUTs for Sony’s flavors of log gamma, there are also new LUTs for Canon C-Log and Panasonic V-Log as well.

Other updates include:

  • Anamorphic de-squeeze for 2x, 1.5x, 1.33x and Panasonic 8:3 (for working with the GH4 running version 2.2 firmware)
  • Pre-roll (cache) recording of up to 8 seconds in HD and up to 2 seconds in 4K
  • Custom time lapse recording – any number of frames can be captured at any interval and multiple intervals can be keyframed with smooth transitions between them
  • Expanded metadata tagging – ten new metadata tags are now available and can be applied during recording or playback. New tags include: Favorite, Reject, Talent 1, Talent 2, Over EXP, CC Color, Bad Audio, Cut Away, Close Up and Wide Shot. Tags will appear in keyword collections upon ingest to Final Cut Pro X.
  • Playlist generation – clips can be played in recorded order, or a hand-selected playlist for playback in any order. This works with your choice of multiple clips, the “Favorite” sections of a clip (their in/out points), or a combination of both
  • Genlock activation – the genlock terminal on the back of the Shogun has been activated to allow for synchronised playout and playback
  • Option to clear all overlays from the screen – touch the centre of the monitor to cycle through 3 overlay modes
  • Increased low battery warnings – 25% and 10%

See Atomos’ website for full release notes and to download the firmware: atomos.com/support

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