HD Data Recording Goes Portable

"Up until recently, hard drive recorders, which are increasingly being used on feature film sets to record high-resolution images as data, have been bulky, kludgey contraptions that necessitated a special rig with wheels to move them around. With the introduction of compact and feature-rich systems from suppliers like Codex Digital, SpectSoft and S.two, that’s about to change dramatically. These new systems free directors and DPs to move around the set more than they ever could before.

At the recent CineGear2007 exhibition in Los Angeles, Codex Digital showed its new portable digital cinematography recorder, which is about the size of a toaster. The Codex Portable is battery powered, and, like its larger predecessor, includes dual-channel 4:4:4 and 4K recording on removable (hot-swappable) RAID DiskPacks, an integrated touchscreen controller, 8 channels of digital audio and a Virtual File System.

Using visually lossless compression, the Codex Portable’s Virtual File System allows all recorded material to be accessed via a network in a variety of file formats, with all copying, translation and format-conversion done invisibly and on-demand. It also features a built-in touchscreen interface and dedicated transport controls.

S.two’s DFR4K Digital Field Recorder also made its debut at CineGear (although it was shown in prototype form at NAB in April). The new DFR4K features full integration with the Dalsa Origin 4K camera using InfiniBand fibre connections.

Unlike the Codex Portable, the DFR4K records uncompressed data, at up to 4K resolution. It plays Dalsa 4K images in real time up to the maximum supported frame rate of the Dalsa camera and uses 24V DC power.

The DFR4K uses S.two’s D.MAG removable hard drive system and can be configured with expandable storage capacity, depending upon the project.

Both the Codex Portable and S.two’s range of removable hard drive recording systems can work with virtually any digital cinematography camera system, such as the Sony CineAlta range, Dalsa Origin, Grass Valley Viper FilmStream, Panavision Genesis, Arri D-20, Red One Digital Cinema System and the Vision Research Phantom series.

Another HD production unit to get smaller, lighter and easier to carry around is the RaveHD Cube system from SpectSoft. It weighs about 50 lbs., is 1 cubic foot in size and can be configured with up to 8 TB of RAID0 or 7 TB of RAID5 storage. The new SATA storage array records to removable drive cartridges usable by existing RaveHD systems as well as others.

Capacity options for the RaveHD Cube include: 2 TB (160 min) to 8 TB (640 min) of 4:4:4 at 24 fps or 2 TB (134 min) to 8 TB (536 min) of 4:4:4 at 30fps. It can use the following power options: 90-264V AC at 50-400Hz; 90-380V DC; and 28VDC.

The RaveHD software package providing VTR emulation and an onboard UPS power supply (for up to 15 min. backup time at full load) are also standard. Options offered include an LCD display and embedded Monster Software Package.

RaveHD is a Linux-based, uncompressed digital disk drive recorder designed for HD and graphics production. RaveHD works natively with industry standard image sequences that sit on a standard file system and uses standard file protocols to move frames on/off the disk. The unit’s architecture allows it to work with both uncompressed standard and HD video in a variety of workflows."

By Michael Grotticelli, Studio Daily