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Thoughts about On Board Recorders


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#1 Iain Baird

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:12 PM

Last year I bought the BlackMagic Hyperdeck Shuttle II hoping it would be the perfect onboard recorder. It was a great price and generally I've been happy with other BM products i've used, but in this case I was immediately disappointed by it's functionality and thought of it as a FAIL.

 

It didn't auto start/stop,

No onscreen menu or Clip control

Not enough compression options

Silly mini din connectors that I feared would break with every connect/dissconnect

The necessary SSD's are as expensive as the Hyperdeck!! 

 

A rather comprehensive list of features that I would have deemed critical, and all in all I thought I was the wrong tool for the job. But since I had made the purchase and there was still hope that these shortcomings could be fixed with firmware improvements I endeavoured to make the deck part of my rig.

 

In my first attempt I mounted it to the back of the Cinetronic monitor 

Attached File  photo 1.JPG   370.42KB   14 downloads

and it stayed here for the next few months.

 

I tried a using the recorder the best I could but the process of needing two different signals - The raw LOG C that I wanted to record and then needed to loop through the Hyperdeck and into the monitor for REC playback, as well as the REC 709 that I wanted on the monitor during shooting made the procedure cumbersome and a chore to maintain. Not to mention the fact that I had to remember to Start and Stop the recording, and in todays NEVER CUT world that wasn't easy.  Forget about trying to find any portion of a clip you might want to see again - with no clip numbering or onscreen display doing anything from the Hypedeck is maddening. And truthfully the Alexa we were using has rather good playback options that are very easy to use once you get the hang of them, which made the whole struggle seem so pointless. Hell if I didn't want Video village to see what I was watching back I just had to turn off the transmitter and have at it. Even though the recoding process was a pain there were still shots that I wanted to archive and have for MY own reasons and watch on my own time. So what I started to do was use the Hyperdeck to record the takes I wanted after the fact. If there was a shot I liked or maybe I didn't like and wanted to keep it I would transfer it over to the Hyperdeck after the fact. And all of a sudden I liked the device again - I was getting high quality copies of what I wanted, and ONLY what I wanted. If the damn thing did start and stop with every take, just imagine all of the useless KEEP ROLLING crap that would be filling up the drive for me to then have to sort through later on my computer.

 

When I bought a new Monitor Bracket from Cam-Jam (awesome bracket BTW) because of the drop down offset design on the bracket I couldn't access the SSD card in the Hyperdeck without a little surgery. I started to be much more selective about what to record and then sort of tired of having to take the bracket off every time and soured on using the recorder at all. I kinda missed it, but didn't know where else to put it.

 

Now just very recently I purchased the new PRO Battery rack and I saw a chance to move the Hyperdeck to a VERY handy position on the battery rack where the third battery would normally go.

 

Attached File  photo 4.JPG   111.29KB   11 downloads

 

I'm now back to using the Hyperdeck again and have to say I'm not sure if I want them to add any of those features that I wanted before - other then maybe more file size options. I added regular BNC in/outs and I don't need an onscreen display as I only look at the clips on my computer after uploading. If it started and stopped on it's own the card would be full by the time the director had finished giving notes while we rolled. Boy do I pity the poor junior editors that have to filter through all the extra crap, why would I want to do the same?

 

Anyways, this is all just one man's opinion on how my onboard recorder became a nice addition to my rig and ultimately a WIN.

 

 

IB

 

 

 

 


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#2 PeterAbraham

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:20 PM

Interesting. Having never touched the device until yesterday, I borrowed one from Matthew Fleischmann here in NYC. ( A tip 'o the hat to a great guy and fellow Op, stepping up to loan me a bit I don't own !! )

 

Matt had 90º SMB connectors put onto his cables. Really made it fit nicely on my lower rods. My battery rods protrude past my sled base up under my monitor rods. This has allowed me to eliminate all vibration from my monitor ( I keep it rather far out from the post ), and offers me a place to mount stuff. Like this deck !

 

For what I needed it for today, it was perfect. The file format was explored on Wednesday and Matt was able to set it using the USB laptop cable. It's lightweight and did what I needed. For the price, I can see owning one.

 

Start stop automatically? Love the idea. No way on this deck. One gets what one pays for- but in terms of weight and signal quality, yeah. I'd own one.

Best to all,

 

Peter Abraham, S.O.C.


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#3 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:30 PM

Hi all, 
I use the Hyperdeck 2 on my Zephyr for about a year now. My main market is with Red Epics and the device does get the triggers from RED and SONY cameras. I am still waiting for them to update the firmware to trigger other cameras (canon and Alexa for instance) So far I have been happy with it, but it does get a bit buggy sometimes and crashes here and there (no playback etc) but it's fine. I set it in the morning and forget it. I made a DIY recorder bracket on my Zephyr to hold the device on top on the battery plate and it is great. The other hidden feature of the thing is that it is an amazing HDMI/SDI converter always gives you a loop through and a converted signal out which is nice. The SSD's are actually cheap as they are off the shelf computer SSD (make sure to get one that is compatible speed wise though)

All in all it is good, but could be better, especially with a software update (also I kinda gave up on it since it has been over a year without any news on the thing)


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#4 Iain Baird

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:31 PM

Peter...

 

It actually does Start/Stop automatically but only recognizes the Panasonic protocol (used by RED I think) or can also be set to record on TIME CODE start/stop out of the Alexa. Problem for bigger shows using the Alexa is the time code is set to Always Run on the camera for whatever reason - something to do with the clock-its from the sound dept.

 

I also have a feeling that more file size options will soon be available as they've already expanded the options on the other two larger Hyperdeck models. These were released one at a time with the top end one first, a few months later the middle version and hopefully soon the Shuttle!!

 

 

IB


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#5 Bob Gundu

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:18 PM

I've had the Samurai since they came out. Works great. Start/Stop on Epic anyway works perfect. I'd luck to upgrade mine to the Blade though. Better screen and standard BNC connections. Long Battery life is also fantastic. 


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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:42 PM

I hear the GVU5 is set to make a comeback. 


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#7 Iain Baird

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:55 PM

Charles, If it wasn't so power hungry what could be better? Next to celluloid, tape is an archive of champions!!
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#8 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:01 PM

For the folks in New York, Adorama is organizing an event: A Night With Video Recorders Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM (EST)

Convergent Design, AJA and Atomos. Attendees will see presentations on the Odyssey 7Q, Ki Pro Quad, and Samurai Blade.

Adorama will have stations set up featuring the Canon C500 paired with a respective video recorder plus Sound Devices and Codex, which attendees can visit to test drive and compare the Odyssey 7Q, Ki Pro Quad, and Samurai Blade.

Light refreshments will be served.
 
Event starts at 630pm;  Seats on a first come first serve basis.  

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#9 Andrew Stone

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:24 PM

After you power up the Hyperdeck, it is in "playback" mode. In order to get it to be in "record" mode you have to press the stop button once, and it will be in record mode. Assuming you have setup the Hyperdeck Shuttle, with the desktop app, to activate record with a change in timecode or SDI start/stop is detected it will trigger record on most cameras.

 

 

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#10 Iain Baird

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:49 PM

Andrew, I've played with the HyperDeck quite a lot and have had the Rec trigger working with the Alexa set to Run Timecode on Rec. But the Hyperdeck will only work with the Alexa in this mode, it doesn't see the trigger embedded in the SDI if the Alexa is set to always run timecode - but some other recorders do. Perhaps in future firmware but it's not presently an option I can take advantage of!!
 
IB
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#11 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

I suggest we all send an email asking for this feature to work wit Alexa and they might make it more of a priority, but I have a feeling that they are busy racing for the smallest, cheapest 4K camera on the market and all. 


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#12 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:58 AM

I started with AB plates to mount my Shuttle on the monitor. But now that I have the Gen2 monitor I want to tinker and do what Iain has done with his! I find the added monitor mass very pleasing to the balance and feel of the sled. And it's yet another way to add useful mass to the bottom and keep those big Alexa builds on a shorter post. And if I ever lose my Battery Rack II it will be so I can mount the Shuttle on the Battery Rack III! I have the Shuttle 1 so everything is uncompressed. Two 240gb SSD drives ran me $245, not bad at about $1/gb. I remember when disc drives were the same. But I use Sorenson Squeeze with a ProRes preset to run a batch on my drives and clip out/compress the good stuff. Not only does it let you scrub thru media and mark ins/outs so you don't convert excess footage, but a compression to ProRes is fast even for my 2009 MBP since its in the same codec family as Uncompressed. I still roll on most takes until I feel like we've got it but for some reason we're still doing "safety takes". But I enjoy rolling clips back from the camera, especially on off speed stuff. I've got some stunning 120fps raw footage from Harry Potter's castle that I'd otherwise never be able to have!

Edited by Mike Germond, 11 January 2014 - 12:00 PM.

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#13 PeterAbraham

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:16 AM

I hear the GVU5 is set to make a comeback.


Apparently my EVO-220 showed up at a flea market in Encino.
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#14 RonBaldwin

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 01:29 PM

I think I still have two EVO-220's!  I miss the simplicity of old-school deck operation. Flip a switch on the pro and press play on the deck and instant playback on the monitor.  

 

It's too bad one can't simply mount the thing wherever one wants and forget about it...and operate it's functions with a small remote instead of relying on the timecode or having to hit a button on the deck itself.

 

Love to hear the consensus after the recorder geek-fest on the 14th.


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#15 PeterAbraham

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 03:10 PM

Hoping to attend said GeekFestRecordCon.

 

It's a BlueTooth/ IR thing I suspect. If a deck can take either of those, and one could somehow couple Camera Run off of a Preston / BFD/ what have you, then a deck could be controlled by wireless.

 

On my sled, I had to awkwardly tip the sled to roll and cut, but again I don't live with the Shuttle and it didn't bother me much. With a different mounting form factor, I could reach down and press the Rec button easily and cut with equal ease. Not as sexy as wireless but then again, hell it's recording so much data that a few seconds wasted on either side of the slate wouldn't break my heart.


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