Convergent Design Announces First CompactFlash Based HD Field Recorder

"Convergent Design has announced Flash XDR (Xstream Data Recorder), the first CompactFlash based ultra-portable HD field recorder.

Flash XDR features HD-SDI (with embedded audio and time-code), 1394, LTC (time-code), and ASI (MPEG2 over SDI) I/O, 4-Channel AES inputs as well as two CompactFlash card slots in a lightweight, battery-powered box.

The innovative design utilizes scalable HD MPEG2 compression to capture video at HDV, XDCAM HD, or 50 Mbps 4:2:2 data-rates. Flash XDR carries a list price of US $4995.

By utilizing MPEG2 encoder / decoder technology combined with CompactFlash storage, Convergent Design has substantially reduced the weight (2 kg), power (8 watts), size (127x89x165 mm), noise (no fans) and cost compared to disk-drive or tape based recorders. The low-power, compact design makes it easy to carry Flash XDR on any shoot and enjoy a full-day of battery-powered operation. The rugged, all solid-state construction allows use in extreme conditions, (such as helicopters, back-packs, and race-cars), where traditional disk or tape based systems would fail.

Compactflash is now an ideal storage media for an HD field recorder. CompactFlash is an industry-standard memory, widely available, offering 2X the performance and 1/3 the cost (16GB for US $300) of proprietary flash-based cards. CompactFlash is hot-swappable, highly-reliable, and 100% solid-state; so there are no heads to crash, tapes to jam, or drop-outs. Very low power consumption (5% of disk drives), combined with long-life (10K insertions/removals, 100K read-write cycles) and price-parity with HDV Firewire drives (on a GB basis) make CompactFlash an attractive media. Capacities are ever increasing, with 16 GByte cards (69 minutes of 1080i HDV storage) readily available today and 32 / 64 GB cards expected in the near future. Finally, a Firewire-800 based reader (included with Flash XDR) supports 340 Mbps file-based transfers, so an hour of HDV (1080i) footage can be transferred to a laptop editor in under six minutes!

"Edit While You Shoot", in 50 Mbps 4:2:2 MPEG2 HD Quality Flash XDR writes video footage to CompactFlash in either QuickTime or .m2t file formats. When one of the two hot-swappable Compactflash cards is filled, Flash XDR automatically starts recording to the 2nd card. Editors can then eject the first card; quickly transfer the video (using the Firwire-800 reader) and edit while continuing to shoot. Now your laptop can be productively used as an editing tool, avoiding the lengthy ingest from the old Firewire direct-to-laptop capture method.

You are no longer limited to just HDV data-rates; dial down the compression and select XDCAM HD (35 Mbps) or 50Mbps 4:2:2 (422P@HL), full-raster 1920x1080 / 1280x720p video with up to 4-channels of uncompressed 16-bit 48Khz audio. In addition to the standard 1080i/p and 720p formats, you can also utilize 1080p23.98, perfect for digital cinematography. The high-quality Sony MPEG2 CODEC employed in Flash XDR enables selectable bit-rates, so you can match your rate to the job requirements. Non-proprietary, industry-standard MPEG2 means you have a wide range of editing and transmission options."