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design and production kicked in. Sound Devices’ mechanical and test engineers put the prototypes of the PIX recorders through demanding tests. The units went through many drop tests, vibration cycles and extreme-temperature and humidity testing. These tests resulted in the final design, which is constructed of molded carbon fiber (MCF). Sound Devices had previously pioneered the use of MCF in the industry with the 552 Production Mixer, and was confident that it could be used here as well. The resulting panels have the equivalent strength of magnesium, but with less weight and more durability. Simultaneous with the design of the recorders, Libby was directing her groups to make sure that the PIX recorders would launch on time. One of the things that many people don’t necessarily think of immediately is the number of individual parts that need to be brought in to build one unit. The PIX 240 has a large number of unique parts, and each one of these needed to be purchased, tracked, accounted for, inspected and inventoried. Libby’s staff handles all of this, while at the same time tracking the continuous changes from engineering as the product approaches availability. The manufacturing area was another challenging aspect of the birth of the PIX recorders. It was estimated that production of the PIX recorders would be a higher volume product than Sound Devices had undertaken in the past, and the manufacturing and manufacturing test areas would have to be ramped up to accommodate the expected demand. Libby headed the effort to bring on more assembly workers as well as get all new video- based test stands in operation. One of the most difficult areas in the development of the PIX recorders was the coding and testing of the software that runs the product. This code is a specially designed lightweight kernel 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE that controls all aspects of the PIX operation. This hand-crafted code was designed to be robust and efficient, requiring a lot of effort from Matt’s software engineers. The testing was especially difficult because of the sheer number of variables, including the types of camera being used, the codec being used, the time code setting, the scaler setting, etc. Several field testers were used to make sure everything worked perfectly in real situations. Results Our PIX 220 and PIX 240 video recorders add QuickTime recording using Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD to any HDMI-or HD-SDI-equipped high definition video camera. The portable PIX 220 (HDMI-only) and its sibling the PIX 240 (HDMI and HD-SDI) record QuickTime files to CompactFlash cards or removable 2.5-inch solid- state hard drives. As Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD video formats have emerged as industry standards, these I-frame codecs offer the best choices for picture quality, processing efficiency and data-storage requirements. They are ideal for editing, on-the-fly color grading and video processing. Files recorded in the field on a PIX recorder are ready for the most popular editorial workflows. A PIX-elated future We are seeing a clear industry trend where the high-end professional market is creating more and more prosumer-savvy equipment while consumer technologies are steadily moving toward the professional market. We created PIX to fulfill a need in the production space for an all-in- one audio and video recorder that is compatible with cameras ranging from small DSLR-style to full-sized, high-definition production cameras. We also place a priority on software updates. Efficiency, workflow and cost are hot topics in the industry right now. Through software updates, we can further deliver new functions and features without requiring our customers to purchase a new piece of hardware. This gives us the ability to respond to input we receive from the field and redefine a product that a customer already has in hand, all with a free software update. Conclusion, but not the end The PIX recorders were born with all the advantages of Sound Devices’ audio product expertise applied to video. The PIX 220 and PIX 240 have been one of the most successful designs and launches in Sound Devices history, thanks to the many people “behind the scenes” within the company. At the recent 2012 NAB show, we launched the latest product in the PIX line, the PIX 260. Based on Sound Devices’ field-proven PIX 220 and PIX 240 recorders, the rack-mounted PIX 260 is a file-based video/ audio recorder/player that seamlessly replaces tape-based video decks in production and post-production environments. Also using the Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD codecs, the PIX 260 records and plays files up to 220 Mbps in high-quality 10-bit 4:2:2 video, as well as 32 tracks of 48 kHz audio. Files from the PIX 260 are ready for direct import into Avid and Final Cut editing environments, eliminating time-consuming transferring and transcoding. Files can also play out of the PIX 260 for real-time applications. Sound Devices’ excellent sales, marketing and tech-support groups now carry the baton, promoting and supporting the groundbreaking and growing PIX line of recorders and associated accessories.