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AQUISITION Professional Media Card Readers Meeting today’s demanding production requirements by Greg LaPorte, Sonnet Technologies Y ou’re on location and you’re done shooting for the day and you have a sizeable stack of fully recorded memory cards. It’s a complex shoot, perhaps with multiple cameras from different vendors recording on different memory card formats. Now, how do you get the raw video files from all of those cameras into your production systems as quickly as possible to create dailies or kick off the editing workflow? Ingest, or the process of reading the data from recording media and converting it into a format that can be used in production and post-production, is a key part of video acquisition. But it can be a thorny challenge for any fi lm, video, or broadcast project thanks to the wide array of camcorders from various manufacturers. Depending on the camcorder brand, the video and audio is recorded in a variety of specifi c formats organized within specifi c directory structures. A few media format examples are SxS™, P2, CF, SDHC™, SDXC™, and CompactFlash®. High-speed ingest of media cards for a wide variety of Mac or PC workfl ows is a critical requirement for production and post-production pros. With the growth and increasing sophistication of digital cameras and fi le-based workfl ows, professional-grade media card readers play an important role in ingest by reading the video fi les from the camera media and writing them to the computer. It’s easy to fi nd a high-performance, single-slot card reader that is specifi c to a certain media format, but what happens if you have many different readers and a limited number of computer ports to plug them into? Also, the process of mounting and ejecting one card after another can be time-consuming, and having to keep track of multiple card readers is one more equipment burden for a location shoot. The industry’s response to these challenges has been the introduction of multi-slot card readers, but not all solutions are equal. It goes without saying that the card reader should offer maximum transfer speed by ingesting all the cards simultaneously and at full card speed, but fl exibility is also important – the reader should support the broadest range of formats possible and should enable the user to move freely from computer to computer as required. Known for its comprehensive line of Thunderbolt™ PCIe expansion solutions, pro media readers, and pro storage systems, Sonnet Technologies has focused signifi cant effort on designing pro media card readers that address the complex requirements of today’s broadcast and fi lm productions. The company’s Qio™ family is the fi rst range of card readers to support all major HD video memory card formats in a single compact, high-performance device. The Qio and Qio MR each feature the capability to simultaneously ingest multiple SxS, P2, CF, SDHC, and SDXC cards through a high-speed, multi-slot interface. These devices can read fi les from any combination of cards with an aggregate bandwidth up to 200 MB/sec, much faster than FireWire® or USB adapters. Sonnet also offers the Qio CF4 and Qio E3 dedicated multi-slot readers for CompactFlash and SxS media, respectively, with the ability to ingest multiple cards with an aggregate bandwidth of up to 400 MB/sec. All Qio models are available with a choice of interface (PCIe® or ExpressCard®) card, or a Thunderbolt™ interface kit option that provides a connection from Qio media readers to any iMac®, Mac® mini, Mac Pro®, MacBook Air®, and MacBook Pro® computer equipped with a Thunderbolt port. Speaking of Thunderbolt, Sonnet’s Echo™ ExpressCard Pro Thunderbolt adapter is the fastest, least-expensive single-slot SxS media reader available that also doubles as an ExpressCard/34 adapter enabling the use of a wide variety of ExpressCard/34 cards to add a range of interfaces and capabilities to the workfl ow. The latest addition to Sonnet Technologies’ pro media card reader family is the Thunderbolt Pro P2 Card Reader, a new single-slot P2 memory card reader with a Thunderbolt interface. The Thunderbolt Pro is a rugged, pocket-size device for videographers using Panasonic P2 HD and P2 VariCam® camcorders. With its ability to ingest footage 70 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 94 OCTOBER 2014 TV-BAY094OCT14 v118.indd 70 07/10/2014 15:42