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Adam Smith

How does the camera compare to Red?

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I understand that with the Bayer pattern filtering you cut down on resolution, compared to 3-chip cameras. Do you get only some 1440 horizontal pixels equivalent resolution out of the 1920p chip? We discovered some 3K output on Red. Is 1440 enough as even the $7K prosumer XDCAM EX has true 1920p output? Will you ever be bringing out a camera of the image quality of Red, with 4K imager and 35 mm size?

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Who is "the invisible hand" behind this Adam Smith? Ha Ha, no judgement intended, I just couldn't help make a lame joke however, it is slightly fitting in regards to these posts.

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A quick look at all his previous posts should be plenty enough evidence that this person will never contribute anything to this forum . . . get rid of the account, at least in my book.

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It's not a 1920 chip, it is a 2048 chip. Where you get 1440 in the mix is beyond me; it has nothing to do with this camera.

 

How does the SI-2K compare with the RED One? Very well.

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How does the SI-2K compare with the RED One? Very well.

It's important not to get too hung up in numbers, in the end it comes down to what the image looks and feels like. Besides mere resolution, sharpness and color reproduction are also important. What I've seen from the SI so far looks quite nice for a digital camera. Although I still find that DSLRs invariably look nicer than the current crop of digital cameras.

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Well I would say a massive plus over the Red is SI-2K's modular design. By that, I mean it's ability to either use the big SI-2K, or take the Mini off the body and shoot with that. While it requires cords for monitor display and media output, this great helps in handhold operations or placing the camera in hard to reach places. The light weight of the mini also makes it idea for quick rigging and any mount that only holds DV camera weight. That's a huge advantage.

 

While I still get tempted by 4k resolution and ability to use 35mm, I also know that SI is working on a 35mm adapter, and that 4k is a little overkill for right now. Especially when you consider that most special effects shot, until Spider Man 2[/] were done in 2k resolution.

 

Now that SI is getting the kinks out of the post-production, it seems like a great choice for any production wishing to have HD footage with lots of control over the image from production to final edit.

 

Quick questions about the software. How is the stability of the program coming? And why did SI choose a Windows platform?

 

Thanks,

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And why did SI choose a Windows platform?

 

Windows is not nesseceraly worse! Si's choice probably is based upon combining best of both worlds - which is the future anyway - and reflects the philosophy behind it, the Joint Venture with p+s. But no worries, I've seen it work in FCP. Besides, to my experience you will not need to use the onboard software that much. All it does is interprete the Raw data. And I don't understand - maybe somebody else does - why do that on set? Furthermore the camera is pretty good, and feels nice (whilst handholding). The Optical Viewfinder option is great (and due to the very poor quality of the electric finder not a luxery at all: it strobes and makes it hard to judge focus accurately). And the option to disconnect the lens and reconnect it via a wire begs for some daring experiments! Great camera for documentaries.

 

More experiences: http://www.pachacinema.com/portal1/index.p...2&ltemin=39

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Guest Glen Alexander
Windows is not nesseceraly worse! Si's choice probably is based upon combining best of both worlds - which is the future anyway - and reflects the philosophy behind it, the Joint Venture with p+s. But no worries, I've seen it work in FCP. Besides, to my experience you will not need to use the onboard software that much. All it does is interprete the Raw data. And I don't understand - maybe somebody else does - why do that on set? Furthermore the camera is pretty good, and feels nice (whilst handholding). The Optical Viewfinder option is great (and due to the very poor quality of the electric finder not a luxery at all: it strobes and makes it hard to judge focus accurately). And the option to disconnect the lens and reconnect it via a wire begs for some daring experiments! Great camera for documentaries.

 

More experiences: http://www.pachacinema.com/portal1/index.p...2&ltemin=39

 

 

windows is the worst performing OS in terms of latency, threading, technical performance, windows stinks!

 

probably choosen because quick easy development time, no real engineering hardware uses windows for real-time processing or anything.

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windows is the worst performing OS in terms of latency, threading, technical performance, windows stinks!

 

probably choosen because quick easy development time, no real engineering hardware uses windows for real-time processing or anything.

 

 

I suspect Windows was picked because of Cineform.

 

It also enables you to just use a laptop to run the SI Mini.

 

Windows works OK when you're only it to run one operation without all the bloatware. Perhaps Jason can comment on the Windows OS system as used in the camera.

 

However, I don't think you need to meet the real-time processing requirements of a weapons system here.

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I don't think Windows 'stinks' (either). And (as a cinematographer) I don't care about that, that much. Almost everybody knows that we're doing best using the benefits of both platforms. Besides that I know (from personal experiences) that the latest generation of Mac products (the Mac Book Pro for example) comes with a lot of problems. Wouldn't judge it as 'dump' though, it just needs to be fixed. I am not interested in problems, but in people helping out making things work. The Focus Puller 'pulls focus', the Loader takes care of the Data storage, the editor and colorist prepare the Raw data for further enhancements. When it works, it works. And this SI-2K works fine! So why bother about Windows? Just wouldn't connect the camera to the internet and only use legal software updates, to prevent viruses running the system down. To me what counts is what the camera allows you to do with it, as a cinematographer.

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Guest Glen Alexander
I suspect Windows was picked because of Cineform.

 

It also enables you to just use a laptop to run the SI Mini.

 

Windows works OK when you're only it to run one operation without all the bloatware.

 

no it does not, unless you have at least two cpus.

 

However, I don't think you need to meet the real-time processing requirements of a weapons system here.

 

if you ever had any intent on capturing raw, uncompressed data>=10/12bits, 4:4:4, of course you would and yes, you absolutely do need real-time processing requirements.

Edited by Glen Alexander

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Guest Glen Alexander
I don't think Windows 'stinks' (either). And (as a cinematographer) I don't care about that, that much. Almost everybody knows that we're doing best using the benefits of both platforms. Besides that I know (from personal experiences) that the latest generation of Mac products (the Mac Book Pro for example) comes with a lot of problems. Wouldn't judge it as 'dump' though, it just needs to be fixed. I am not interested in problems, but in people helping out making things work. The Focus Puller 'pulls focus', the Loader takes care of the Data storage, the editor and colorist prepare the Raw data for further enhancements. When it works, it works. And this SI-2K works fine! So why bother about Windows? Just wouldn't connect the camera to the internet and only use legal software updates, to prevent viruses running the system down. To me what counts is what the camera allows you to do with it, as a cinematographer.

 

 

works fine is subjective, since you're already dealing with wavelet compressed data, you're already throwing away valuable and expensive data. tell that the producer who is paying your salary.

 

unless the compression is guaranteed lossless, you lose information, period.

 

you want to see how, things should be done look at what these guys are doing

 

http://www.spectsoft.com/

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if you ever had any intent on capturing raw, uncompressed data>=10/12bits, 4:4:4, of course you would and yes, you absolutely do need real-time processing requirements.

 

However, in this case it is compressed 10bit 4:2:2., a compromise, but life is full of those.

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works fine is subjective, since you're already dealing with wavelet compressed data, you're already throwing away valuable and expensive data. tell that the producer who is paying your salary.

 

unless the compression is guaranteed lossless, you lose information, period.

 

you want to see how, things should be done look at what these guys are doing

 

http://www.spectsoft.com/

True, but most of this lost information will go unnoticed. I've seen comparions between uncompressed and DNxHD 220 and noticing the difference was incredibly difficult. And CineForm is supposed to be DNxHD's equal (or better) in terms of image quality.

 

BTW, I checked out the spectrasoft website, but there is no pricing info.. What does one of their HD or 2K recorders go for? Thanks!

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Guest Glen Alexander
True, but most of this lost information will go unnoticed. I've seen comparions between uncompressed and DNxHD 220 and noticing the difference was incredibly difficult. And CineForm is supposed to be DNxHD's equal (or better) in terms of image quality.

 

BTW, I checked out the spectrasoft website, but there is no pricing info.. What does one of their HD or 2K recorders go for? Thanks!

 

 

the information goes unnoticed only if it's not used. get a good 12-bit dpx viewer and look at the raw data and adjust the gamma parameters, etc, you'll see much more detail with more bits with having to "crush blacks" for example. when you "crush the blacks", you lose a LOT of detail in the shadows and transition regions, but with higher bits you don't have to. i've got some matlab code laying around that will take up to 14-bit raw dpx files, when you compare true 12/14-bit versus 8/10-bit, you never want to touch 8-bit/10 again.

 

most commerical codecs crush everything down to 8-bit even when you've processed at >10, don't even talk about QT.

 

spectsoft pricing.

 

i don't know, i don't work for them, but discussed building a custom acquisition system for myself, portable, light, but NAB came along and now with my shooting schedule, i don't have time for digital, i'm going old school with film.

 

send an email to Romana info@spectsoft.com

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The choice for OS was really pretty easy . . . it all comes down to drivers and the ability of the OS to interact with custom hardware.

 

Good video drivers for all the real-time pixel shaders we're running in the main interface, including the 64-point 3D LUT engine.

 

Gigabit ethernet drivers for transmitting low-latency information from the camera head to the capture host computer, whether it's a laptop or the SI-2K.

 

CineForm is very important as well, with the ability to natively encode to either QT or AVI, and have the benefit of developing with the QT API and the DirectShow API, both of which are abscent on Linux. While techically CineForm could be adapted for Linux, the amount of work would be quite high, and then we'd still be stuck on the driver front.

 

The threading "issues" that are mentioned here are not really issues, especially with the speed of today's processors . . . I'm sure if processors were half as fast as they are now, then this would be a very large issue, but modern Core 2 Duo processors make any overhead that Windows might have compared to Linux miniscule.

 

Lastly, we're running Windows XP Embedded, not standard XP 32-bit. This allow us to customize the OS quite a bit, removing all the "fluff" from the commercial package, and make a very stable and controlled environment on the SI-2K.

 

I think there is some mis-information out there when people say "Linux is more stable than Windows" . . . the fact is that there is a lot of junk out there that people can mess up their Windows installs with, but at the base, core functionality of the OS's, you will find that the key to stability when integrating custom hardware is to have very stable drivers. We found that Windows was able to provide better offerings and more mature choices than the counterparts available on Linux.

 

The nice thing about Linux is that it does provide a lot of extensability, and it's kernel is very stable. With some custom development, I'm sure it would make a great OS for what we're doing. We foudn the XPe kernel to be equally as stable though, and again, there is a lot more support in the development community for the type of hardware we're using to make the camera system possible. And that's basically where the decisions to use XPe over Linux came from.

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However, in this case it is compressed 10bit 4:2:2., a compromise, but life is full of those.

 

We take the 12-bit linear RAW from the sensor head and apply a 10-bit LOG curve to the data in order to preserve the dynamic range of the information being encoded to CineForm. David Newman has a great explanation of why you want to have LOG vs. linear encoding for compressed material here on his blog:

http://cineform.blogspot.com/2007/09/10-bi...bit-linear.html

 

After compression, the RAW data decompresses to 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB, not 4:2:2 YUV. For FCP it supports the 32-bit float YUV encoding so that it can make seamless round-tripping between RGB and FCP's native YUV color-space.

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After compression, the RAW data decompresses to 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB, not 4:2:2 YUV. For FCP it supports the 32-bit float YUV encoding so that it can make seamless round-tripping between RGB and FCP's native YUV color-space.

 

I must've been thinking of their intermediate. The 4:4:4 from the RAW makes more sense.

Edited by Brian Drysdale

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Guest Glen Alexander

threading is always an issue with windows, with xpe or bart you're just limiting your liability.

 

a tuned linux or bsd kernel will always trump any microsoft os, it's the nature of the two differences in philosophy.

 

i'll take RAW LINEAR dpx uncompressed files over any compressed LOG format any day.

 

adobe QT? why bother, it's just about the worst codec available.

 

if you're going compressed, look at a professional codec like one from blackmagic. www.blackmagic-design.com

 

while this product seems must more stable than red and on the market, to me the question comes down to what has been shot, who is using it, who is planning on using it? i've only read about music videos and small indie movie. while not having the red fanboys to generate PR or sodaberg or jackson, one has to wonder if eventually this will go the way of the kinetta? a good technical effort but no marketing and a recent big jump in price.

Edited by Glen Alexander

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There is a 12-bit uncompressed mode that gives you the full linear dynamic range from the sensor, pixel-for-pixel how it was transferred from the A/D converter . . . doesn't get much better than that. It's a custom file format called .SIV, but IRIDAS supports it in their SpeedGrade and FrameCycler product-line, so you can use any of those products for batch conversion to DPX files. We also have a DNG converter for the .SIV files in the camera software itself that re-wraps the RAW data from the SIV and puts a DNG header on it so that it can be opened directly in After Effects, Photoshop, or any other RAW converter that supports DNG files. Now this is the standard DNG file format from Adobe (which they have now submitted as a ISO-standard), not their "Cinema DNG" that they announced this past NAB, which is a forthcoming format.

 

Point is we can deliver a great workflow using compressed wavelet (CineForm), which BTW is very light compression at only 3.5:1 right now, or we can give you full uncompressed 12-bit linear. Your choice.

 

Finally, yes, you are right, a well tuned Linux kernel can beat the Windows XPe kernel for speed, only problem is that we would have to-do the tuning ourselves, and if you 'hand-tune' it wrong, you create instability issues . . . now when there's a "bug", you're not sure if it's at the OS level, or in your software, or what, so development/support issues get compounded and everything gets exponentially more complex. It's much easier to know you're using a stable kernel and then isolate any issues that are in the software-only rather than having to fish around for issues at the OS level.

 

If you don't tune the Linux kernel and are just using the vanilla distributions, then the differences between XPe and Linux become more subtle, especially again when you go back to the issue of custom hardware driver support, and the stability of those drivers.

 

Thanks,

 

Jason

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Guest Glen Alexander

windows is horrible with drivers and compatability. try tracking down a DCOM bug or a timing issue, and watch microsoft blame the hardware mfg, the hardware mfg blame microsoft.

 

With most linux/bsd distros you can obtain source code and re-compile. trying getting any source code for any windows driver or ms with paying huge royalty fees.

 

no one in any professional engineering environment worth their salt, would use a plain kernel out of the box and wouldn't recompile the kernel, the video drivers, network, etc. specifically tuned for their hardware.

 

a stock BSD kernel out of the box installed as server will thrash any windows os.

 

what about the marketing issues?

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no one in any professional engineering environment worth their salt, would use a plain kernel out of the box and wouldn't recompile the kernel, the video drivers, network, etc. specifically tuned for their hardware.

 

Anyone else notice the "Appeal to Authority" logical fallacy here? I detect a Linux fanboy...it's no use reasoning with fanboys of any sort.

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Jason

 

I'm following SI from the first forum announcement I followed the "spoon" demos, I also followed RED.

 

I haven't invest in RED yet.

 

My biggest problem with SI is the size of sensor. I cant accept that I will buy another 2/3 camera... SI/2K is beautiful and the experience of Alfred (P+S) is a big add. But to buy a new camera without DoF of 35mm, again! it hurts badly.

 

To have to buy a PRO35 for SI/2K with all the problems that are introduced, plus the huge cost (compared to RED or the SI/2K it self) it just meaningless.

 

I already have a Varicam that performs very reasonable but again with all the DoF adapter problems that I may have...

 

But another 2/3 is not an option for me. I wont even try the new Varicam 3700 regardless quality/resolution, never a 2/3 again in my shopping list.

 

Anyone that says that a good Digiprime 2/3 would be equivalent to 35mm DoF, he is just try to convince himself for the lack of DoF.

 

I'm not trying to round up things, no DoF 35mm IS a huge problem. Whatever you do, the feeling, the image, its not the same.

 

I have to accept this, RED has it and its a big plus...

 

But why not a 35mm size SI/2K? why didn't you build one in the first place?

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