Hands-On Review: Convergent Design Gemini and nanoFlash Video Recorders

Share

Convergent Design ranks among industry leaders in the manufacture of the portable video recorder, a type of device that offers better image quality than the built-in recorder in most camcorders. Convergent Design has recently announced the Odyssey7 and Odyssey7Q monitor and recorder, their new flagship models, which should be available in July. Of course, B&H already carries Odyssey’s predecessors, the nanoFlash and the Gemini 4:4:4.

Gemini 4:4:4

The Gemini 4:4:4 is a portable video recorder and monitor that features two HD-SDI inputs, two HD-SDI outputs, one HDMI output and—most importantly—a built-in SSD recorder with dual slots for two proprietary 1.8” SSDs. Gemini can record uncompressed 1080/60p video with 10-bit RGB 4:4:4 color. Other recording formats include Avid DNxHD (QT) and a variety of optional formats via paid upgrades, including ARRIRAW, Canon 4K Cinema Raw and Stereo 3D. B&H currently offers the Gemini with two free 512GB 1.8” Convergent Design SSDs.

Recorded footage can be quickly and easily ingested by removing the proprietary 1.8" SSD and inserting it into a docking station. As a replacement for Convergent Design's original eSATA Transfer Station—which is included with the Gemini 4:4:4 video recorder—Convergent Design now also offers the Universal Transfer Station. The new Universal Transfer Station features a built-in AC power source to ensure safe data transfer. It is also compatible with a range of third-party adapters, such as Seagate's External Thunderbolt Adapter, which enables transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s.

Available firmware upgrades can enable the Gemini 4:4:4 to record ARRIRAW and Canon 4K Raw. The latter option allows Canon EOS C500 users to capture 4K Raw at up to 30 frames per second. Moreover, using the C500 with two Gemini 4:4:4 recorders, you can capture 4K Raw at up to 60 fps or 1080HD at up to 120 fps. A third, paid firmware upgrade offers support for Stereo 3d recording. The Stereo 3D option allows the Gemini 4:4:4 to record left- and right-eye channels independently to Gemini's dual SSDs. Other Stereo 3D features include side-by-side, line-by-line, anaglyph, 50% + 50%, Left/Right Luma and Right/Left Luma.

Video I/O Ports Four SDI ports: 2-In (HD-SDI Single Link/Dual Link/3G),  2-Out (HD-SDI Single Link/Dual Link),  HDMI-Out
Video Standards HD-SDI, SMPTE 292M; HD-SDI 3G, SMPTE 424M; HD-SDI Dual-Link, SMPTE 372M
Video Formats
REC 709 RGB 444 / YCC 422 1080p up to 60 fps
ARRIRAW ARRI Alexa: 16:9 (2880x1620) up to 60 fps (with optional upgrade)
Record Options
Compressed Avid DNxHD support (QT) for 1080p YCC 422 up to 30 fps
Uncompressed 1080p 10-Bit RGB 444 up to 60 fps (DPX) with TC and metadata, wav audio
RAW Formats ARRIRAW and Canon 4K Cinema Raw (with optional upgrade)
Multi-Stream (x2) Parallel recording of two RGB 444 Streams up to 1080p30 (with 3D Option)
Live Preview / Playback
Single Stream Real time decompressed / debayered output with / without LUT applied
Stereo 3D Individual output of each stream or combined streams: Side by Side, Line by Line, Anaglyph, 50/50 Composite (with optional upgrade)
Log Viewing LUTs Support for S-Log, Log-C with user programmable 1D LUTs
Other Features
Playback Control Play, Rewind, Fast-Forward, Pause and Step Control
Metadata Reel Number, Scene Number, Take Number and Project Name
Media Two Slots for 1.8" Solid-State Drives (SSD), 256GB / 512GB sizes
Transfer Station 1.8" SSD Transfer Station compatible with Seagate GoFlex Adapters (USB 3, FW-800, Thunderbolt)
Built-In LCD Monitor 5" high brightness LCD, sunlight viewable, 800 cd/m², 800 x (RGB) x 480 Pixels, 24-Bit, 900:1 True Contrast, Wide +/-85⁰ Viewing Angle (IPS Technology)
1:1 Pixel Option, with user positioning of desired window via touch control
Menu System Touch Sensitive menu system with user-defined presets and customizable level of on-screen data
Timecode HD-SDI Embedded (SMPTE RP-188) or LTC via the remote-control option
Digital Audio I/O HD-SDI Embedded 4-Channels, uncompressed, 24-Bit, 48K
Analog Audio I/O 3.5mm output jack, headphone or consumer line level
Power Requirements 6 to 19 Volts DC, 6 to 15 watts
Environmental Ambient Temp: -10 to +40⁰ C (Operating) / -20 to +70⁰ C (Storage)
Dimensions 5.4 x 4.7 x 1.45" (138 x 120 x 37mm)
Weight 1.35 lb (612 g)

nanoFlash

The nanoFlash recorder has been popular with video professionals for years. The device utilizes a camcorder’s HD-SDI or HDMI output to capture an uncompressed video signal on a CompactFlash memory card. The two CF card slots support hot swapping, and the HD-SDI and HDMI output enable external monitoring and playback. The nanoFlash is currently offered in a bundle, which includes a USB 2.0 CF card reader, a shoe mount with adjustable ball head, an HD-SDI cable, an HDMI cable, a D-Tap power cable and an AC power adapter.

The onboard recorder built into many older camcorders is limited to 1440 x 1080 resolution, 25/35 Mb/s and 4:2:0 color sampling, but the nanoFlash allows users to record full-raster 1920 x 1080 with 4:2:2 color at up to 220 Mb/s. In addition to improved image quality, the nanoFlash revitalizes tape-based camcorders by recording to solid-state media. The nanoFlash can also perform real-time DVD and Blu-ray encoding by recording MPG formats.

For more information on these and other Convergent Design products, please stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, or contact a Sales Professional over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.

Video Standards HD-SDI, SMPTE 292M; SD-SDI, SMPTE 259M, HDMI 1.3a
Video Formats 1080p23.98/24/25/29.97/30; 1080i50/59.94/60; 720p23.98/24/25/29.97/30/
50/59.94/60; 576i; 480i
Video I/O Two BNCs, (1 Input, 1 output);  Two HDMI (1 Input, 1 Output) Type C;
(No SD output via HDMI)
Record Features High-Quality MPEG2 Compressed Recording using Sony hardware CODEC module, stored into Quicktime (MOV), MXF, or MPG file formats with audio
and timecode
User programmable Over/Under-Crank, Time-Lapse, 3:2 and 2:2 Pull-down Removal, On-Screen Tally, Loop Recording, Record on Power-Up, Duration Recording, Record Triggers
Pre-Record Buffer (Cache Recording): 4 or 7 Seconds, depending on Bit-Rate
MPEG2 Profiles 422P@HL: 100, 140, 180, 220, 280 Mbps VBR (1920x1080i/p, 1280x720p, 4:2:2, I-Frame)
422P@HL: 50, 100, 140, 180 Mbps VBR (1920x1080i/p, 1280x720p, 4:2:2, Long-GOP)
MP@HL: 18, 35 Mb/s VBR (1440x1080i/p, 4:2:0, Long-GOP) (XDCAM HD)
422P@ML: 30, 40, 50 Mb/s, CBR (720x480, 720x576) 4:2:2, I-Frame (IMX)
MP@ML: 3,5,6,7,8,9 Mb/s VBR (720x480, 720x576) 4:2:0, Long-GOP)
(MPG Only)
Playback Control Play, Fast-Forward (Depending on Bit-Rate), and Pause; Queue to Timecode
Media Two CompactFlash card slots, Only Qualified Cards are supported, 133x to 600x, 8GB to 128GB, Only one CompactFlash card necessary for recording, Hot-Swappable Media
Transfer Station Compact Flash to USB 2.0 Reader Included
Monitor Support External Pass Thru (E to E Direct or regular) to HD-SDI or HDMI Monitors
NLE Compatibility Final Cut Pro, 6.0.4+; Avid 3+; Adobe CS3/4 with Main Concept Codec, CS5, 5.0.3.5+; Avid < Version 5, 50 Mbps Long-GOP or any I-Frame bit-rate; Sony Vegas, 9+; Edius 5+
Menu System LCD for Menu/Status, with simple keypad to control menu system, Time Remaining in Minutes, Card Status Indicators, Timecode Display, Frame Rate Display, Battery Voltage Display, LED Status
Timecode HD-SDI Embedded (SMPTE RP-188) or LTC via the remote control input with optional cable, Internal Timecode Generator (Time of Day, Free Run, Preset/Reset, Jam Sync), Internal Clock
Digital Audio I/O HD-SDI Embedded up to 8-Channels, uncompressed, 24-Bit, 48 kHz
Analog Audio Input 3.5mm input jack, 1 balanced or 2 unbalanced, mic or line, 24-Bit, 48 kHz audio, audio level meters
Analog Audio Output 3.5mm output jack, headphone or consumer line level, monitor any channel pair, menu selectable
Remote Control (Option) Wired Remote Control with Tally Light and LTC Input, cable available at extra cost
Power Requirements 6 to 19 Volts DC, < 6 watts (active) / under 0.3 watt (automatic idle mode, with no video input)
Environmental +70⁰ C to -20⁰ C Ambient Temp (Operating);  +75⁰ C to -40⁰ C (Storage)
Dimensions 4.2 x 3.7 x 1.4” (107 x 94 x 36mm)
Weight 0.85 lb (385 g)

Add new comment

These recorders are way over-priced. They cost almost half as much as the camera in some cases or even more than the camera if you are considering a Blackmagic camera, which I highly do NOT recommend anything Blackmagic. No thanks, I'll just wait and buy a camera with these features included.

What price is your Nanoflash including delivery etc to 3, Ocean Drive, S. Ferring, W. Sussex, BN123 5QJ UK please?

Will it relate to the Panasonic AF 102 smoothly?

Does it store the Audio on a memory card? and if so, what sorts?

What is its capacity?

Which professiona film makers use it?

Thanks.