Well I’ve been out and shot a few short clips with the Gemini just to shake it down before I fly to Mumbai in the morning. It works well, even though the firmware is a very early development issue. First thing that got me is just how bright the screen is. Look at the picture here and compare it to the not too shabby F3 LCD!
I have a free day on Tuesday to shoot some local footage in Mumbai, which I will be doing with S-Log and the Gemini. I’ll get some frames on;one as soon as I can.
Well here it is. I’ve known about this rather amazing device for some time, but have been under NDA. I see this as the perfect companion for Sony’s PMW-F3 and with a street price of around $6,000 it’s a bit of a bargain. It is both a 4:4:4 uncompressed recorder and a rather handy monitor (it will do 3D recording and monitoring too), all in a single unit that is no bigger than most high end HD monitors. It records to readily available, cost effective SSD’s and can even make dual recordings to both drives giving an instant backup. It records uncompressed, so you get the absolute best quality possible. If you need an alternative codec then you simply transcode to your chosen codec when you ingest the material in to the edit system. When will it be available? Well CD are hoping to start shipping at the end of July, but that may slip a little, still it should not be too long to wait. Here are some of the headlines from CD’s press kit:
“Gemini enables videographers and cinematographers to capture at the ultimate video quality, in a small, low-power, lightweight package, at a very affordable price. Gemini features a built-in high-brightness 5.0” 800×480 24-bit LCD touch-screen for monitor and playback, and introduces an industry first – the ability to simultaneously record to two removable solid-state drives – creating instant backups; an invaluable insurance against lost footage, as well as, opening new workflow options.
Building on, but not replacing, the highly successful nanoFlash, Gemini records 10-bit uncompressed 4:4:4 / 4:2:2 video in most popular HD/2K/3G formats, including 1080p24 and 1080p50/60, with up to 16-channels of embedded audio and timecode. Gemini has slots for two removable 1.8” solid-state drives (SSDs), enabling recording in either parallel mode (instant backup), or spanning mode (longer record times). Sporting a lightweight milled aluminum case, Gemini is about the same size and weight as the popular SmallHD DP6 monitor, but includes Recording, Playback, Image Processing, Dual HD/3G SDI I/Os, HDMI-Out and consumer level audio I/O; while consuming only 8 to 15 watts of power.
Gemini features S-Log support, with user programmable viewing LUTs, which can be enabled selectively for either HD-SDI output. Flexible recording options, include simultaneously recording native S-Log video to one SSD (for on-line), and the same footage with burned-in LUTs to the second SSD (for faster creation of off-line proxies and/or H.264 video for mobile devices/internet).
A 3D/Stereo (extra-cost) option will also be available, enabling dual-stream recording and playback in a single Gemini unit; creating the world’s smallest, lowest-power, 3D recorder available anywhere. Gemini will record independent left/right channel files, while providing full synchronized playback of two streams as well as side-by-side, 50/50 composite, or anaglyph combinations. Gemini can uniquely output 3D in multiple formats simultaneously (ie side-by-side and 50/50 composite), to aid in camera alignment and monitoring.”
With Convergent expecting to start shipping Nano Flash HDSDi recorders at the end of the month I thought I would start looking at workflows. I already have Calibrated Q’s MXF importer for FCP and this works just fine, recognising the MXF files and allowing you to see thumbnails in Finder and then import the clips directly in to FCP. In addition Imagine Products ShotPut pro will automatically back up Compact Flash cards with NanoFlash files. As the device uses Sony’s XDCAM HD codec (but at 25mbps, 50mbps, 100mbs and higher) FCP is able to read the files. If you shoot at 100Mbps with the NanoFlash or Flash XDR then converting the files from 100Mbps to 50Mbps to export back to a Sony Professional Disc is very fast indeed taking only seconds to convert a 30 second clip.
Cinematographer and film maker Alister Chapman's Personal Website