IBC 2010 saw the official European launch of Cinedeck EXTREME v2.0, an ultra-portable cinema grade integrated High Definition monitoring, recording and playback device that has already won numerous awards and accolades since making its first public appearance at this year’s NAB Convention in Las Vegas.
Cinedeck EXTREME v2.0 incorporates a number of new enhancements including support for Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD and CineForm Uncompressed. It also now offers the Cinedeck Fullstream Uncompressed™ option, which delivers industry-first uncompressed 444 or uncompressed 422 recording on a 2.5” RAID SSD flash drive, and the Cinedeck EXSync™ timecode module, which enables single, or multiple Cinedeck EXTREME devices to jam sync to SMPTE/EBU time code from a master clock.
Created by cinematographers for cinematographers, Cinedeck is redefining mobile, digital cinematography by delivering the industry’s first extremely portable, affordable camera-mountable cinema-grade DDR and editing system.
Cinedeck founder Charles d’Autremont says: “Cinedeck was born from years of experience in the field, lugging so-called portable and very expensive tape and direct-to-disk solutions through the Panamanian rain forests, Turkish deserts, and on the back of jeeps hurtling down pot-holed roads of Kazakhstan - we finally said, this is ridiculous, we can do better.”
Although a number of other products are targeting the same market, Cinedeck’s quality, portability and reduced data footprint are giving it a distinct advantage. But perhaps even more relevant is the way in which Cinedeck LLc has canvassed the opinion of professional end users at every stage throughout the R&D phase - and been so ready to incorporate their suggestions into this latest version.
In the UK, cinematographer Dan Mulligan is one of experts that d’Autremont called upon for feedback. Mulligan’s recent work includes shooting a Gary Player commercial for IMG and filming the final series of the much loved TV comedy Last Of The Summer Wine. He is now also the first person in the UK to use the Cinedeck EXTREME recorder in anger, having recently shot a 3D trailer, which will be employed to generate budget for a full length 3D feature film.
Mulligan, who also runs equipment hire company Rogue Element Films, says: “I was invited to provide user feedback on one of the very early Cinedeck models and happily complied because the idea of a high quality, portable recorder was so intriguing. Having adopted uncompressed DPX capture many years ago and as someone who continues to pioneer file based workflows in the UK, I was keen to test the unit with our own F35’s, Viper’s and various other HD/SDI cameras. We did this by taking the 444 and 422 outputs of both and recording in various codecs and frame rates.
“Then, in December last year, we were provided with the opportunity to use it on a real shoot when we shot a 3D trailer for an upcoming Feature. For that we employed two SI2K camera heads recording to a single Cinedeck unit, which gave us a marvellous little 3D rig that was extremely portable and easy to use. This Cinedeck took the two feeds from the two SI2K cameras (via its Ethernet outputs), giving us instant playback of both left and right eye and allowed for an overlay playback also, all from the internal SSD drive.
“We choose Cinedeck for this shoot due to its compact size and hence mobility. The SI2K cameras are extremely compact and to achieve the size of rig we were looking for we needed a small mobile recording system. 3D can be quite cumbersome due to the size of the rigs employed but by marrying a Cinedeck to the SI2Ks we achieved a small, mobile and nimble 3D rig, all powered from custom battery blocks (IDXs) which allowed us to be completely cable free and extremely mobile and quick on set. This was essential as the location in London was an old warehouse where we needed to be quicker on our feet considering the number of shots and time we had for the Production. For Post we archived the rushes via eSata to external drives which were then dispatched for Post Production.
“Since then, we’ve been experimenting even more with the latest version, Cinedeck EXTREME, which incorporates a lot of the feedback we gave. For example our initial concern was that the fan was too noisy for onset use, but this has now been addressed so that it cuts out when you are turning over. Also the new additional codecs (ProRes, DNxHD with Cineform) gives us tremendous flexibility when choosing which recording codec best fits the Production’s workflow.”
Weighing in at just 3kgs, this extremely portable unit is useful in any shooting environment but it makes even more sense for production crews who want to create their art in the field. CineDeck EXTREME includes a built-in 7” high resolution screen and has an HD recording capacity of up to two hours. It digitally records HD footage from any camera that outputs HDMI or HDSDI onto its off-the-shelf, removable solid-state drives.
“It is small and does mount very neatly on a camera, which makes it very useful if you’ve got the camera on your shoulder shooting handheld, leaving you untethered to other external recording sources,” Dan Mulligan adds. “The fact that you can record to readily available solid state media makes it very cost effective, and because it is tapeless file based recording and workflow it allows you to go straight through to editing, which simplifies that workflow and saves a lot of time.”
Mulligan believes that Cinedeck EXTREME ticks a lot of boxes, not least because it gives a number of different recording options, including Cineform, ProRes and DNxHD, enabling the Cinedeck to fit nicely into Rogue Element Films long standing ethos of pioneering new ways of working and introducing new file based recording and workflow techniques.
“You can choose whatever flavour of recording you want, depending on how you plan to edit. For example if you are using Final Cut Pro you can record in Pro Res, which means you can go straight from the recorder to the edit suite without the need for transfers. The same applies for DNxHD and Avid, but today DNxHD is mostly seen and regarded as a format for TV and Features editorial.”
At IBC, Cinedeck announced that UK company Oxygen DCT had been appointed exclusive distributor for Cinedeck EXTREME in Great Britian and various other European territories.
”IBC 2010 was a critical show for Cinedeck,” says Alan Hoff, chief executive officer of Cinedeck LLC. “Following our successful US debut, we were very excited to meet European customers, prospects and partners and to hear first hand their challenges and requirements. Partnering with Oxygen DCT provides us with a direct connection to our European customers and offers them a level of service, support and expertise they’ve come to expect.”
Steve Hathaway, director of Oxygen DCT, adds: “In this cost-conscious world, any innovation that helps production companies meet film makers and broadcasters’ requirements for lower production costs is sure to be a winner – and Cinedeck EXTREME fits this brief perfectly. With a list price of just €11,000/£10,000 it enables users to shoot uncompressed, cinema-grade HD for a budget previously considered out of the reach of most.”