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HyperDeck Studio Review

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Mark WallemanHyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 3, 2012 at 8:25:04 pm

This will be an "evolving" review, based on the feedback I receive from Blackmagic and other HyperDeck users.

We've purchased a HyperDeck Studio to see if it's worth using in our satellite uplink trucks. The obvious desired "and promoted" feature: Professional VTR Functionality (Though I'd settle for 3/4, Beta, or VHS functionality at this point).

I updated the firmware to the most recent version available immediately after taking it out of the box.

Now... picture your self in front of a HyperDeck Studio. Next to it, whatever flavor VTR you're used to:

You can record with it (Check!)
You can playback with it (Check!)
You can erase/copy over previously recorded content. Umm... (Nope?)
(Yes... One can remove the drive and dump it to a pc/mac, but that's not how a typical VTR functions).

ALL the buttons on your old VTR has a function. HyperDeck Studio... Nope.
Per the January 2012 manual:
DISP: This button isn’t currently used but will soon be enabled by a software update.
SET: This button isn’t currently used but will soon be enabled by a software update.

All your IO on the rear of your VTR has a function. HyperDeck Studio... Nope.
Ethernet: This port isn’t currently used but will soon be enabled by a software update.

As mentioned above, I installed the most recent software update (New codec).

Operationally, it seems to work fine unless you try to use it after leaving it on for 24 hours straight. Not recording, just powered on for a day. Well, I tried to use it just now and it's completely locked up. Requiring a hard reset (yank the power). There's no power switch/reset button on the front panel.

This may be a simpleton's observation here: Why market and sell something that hasn't been finished nor has the basic functionality of what you're selling it as?

After reading all that... You likely assume that my intention here is to bash this product. Not at all! I think that this is a very cool piece of equipment! ... For a prototype... A beta model at best. It has great potential!

We had planned on purchasing several of these. Now however, We'll likely hold off on purchasing more until BlackMagic finishes building this product... This product that some of us have already purchased.

I welcome any comments and suggestions!

Mark D. Walleman
Relay House Inc.


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Juan SalvoNo timecode
by on Feb 4, 2012 at 5:01:34 am

You're missing the single biggest glare in my opinion. The hyperdeck does not record timecode. Period. From any source. It's advertised on the product package as having full frame accurate timecode support. But in fact does nothing of the sort. The thing has been shipping since August. They've had a full hardware revision of the shuttle, and multiple firmware updates. They've added codecs. But they still haven't fixed timecode.

We've got two hyperdeck studios and one hyperdeck shuttle sitting around collecting dust because we can't use them for anything without TC.

Very frustrating.



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Mark WallemanRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 4, 2012 at 3:33:56 pm

Ahh... Thank you Juan!

In addition to his post of "They say it does Timecode" But it doesn't do anything even mildly related to timecode (Also a function of a "Professional VTR").

In testing it this very morning, I discovered:
1. Record a few minutes of footage.
2. Hit stop.
3. Record a few minutes of footage.
4. Hit stop. (Rinse and repeat).
5. So... You want to play the first clip?
6. Can't.
7. Want to play the second clip?
8. Nadda.

Let's say you record 3, 5-min clips. You can only review/play the most recently recorded clip.

Heck... I'll refer to an old CD player here: You can skip to the song you want on a CD player right? Yes, even a $1 used CD player from a 2nd-hand resale store can perform this very basic function.

The almost $1000 HyperDeck Studio??? Well... No.

Sure, I can pull the clips off the drives with a PC/Mac. But I just want to see what I recorded a few minutes ago.

More to follow I'm sure. I haven't even hooked the remote controller yet.

Mark D. Walleman
Relay House Inc.


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Tyler EdwradsRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 4, 2012 at 10:09:07 pm

I would like to second the comments and points from above. I recently purchased 5 Hyperdeck Studio units for a live production system (4 iso plus 1 directors cut). I was going to slave the entire system to house timecode via LTC. I purchased 5 Adrienne Elections LTC to RS422 converters for this purpose. No matter of cables or settings will let the hyperdeck see the timecode. The pinout of the DB9 connector is even listed in the latest manual, but seems to do nothing. I suppose until we yet another new firmware lining up visually is our only option. The other issue I'm having is the DNxHD contect is unusable in Premiere Pro Cs5.5. Calibrate software is coming out with an MXF import that will make these files available to PPro, but that's another $250 per seat. I'd very much like to see a ProRes or other .mov compression type. I think these units are excellent in what they CAN do. I'm waiting for that magic firmware update!


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Juan SalvoRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 5, 2012 at 1:21:33 am

Actually with the calibrated software you'd only need one seat as you can use Premiere or something else to rewrap the MXF into QT and then just use the free DNxHD qt codec in your NLE of choice. I'd love to have QT wrapped DNxHD, but if BMD is prioritizing... usable TC is issue #1, everything else is just an inconvenience. no timecode... makes it a doorstop.



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Patrick SprouleRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 5, 2012 at 7:23:56 pm

As much as we love (and have heaps of) Blackmagic's products, we have been using an Aja Ki-Pro since it's inception in our OB truck as a simple backup recorder. It's 4 times the price and although similarly unfinished it does address all of the issues above. Only drawback is it does not do DNxHD, which given the professional demise of FCP around here - could be an issue int he longer term.

Thanks for the review - we were close to buying a couple of Hyperdeck's for the studio but will hold off.

Pat


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Kristian LamRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 12:51:28 am

Hi guys,

Thanks very much for your feedback.

We're currently working on implementing a very popular compression format that everyone has been requesting and that's very close to being done. We should be able to support TC as well and I'll have the guys look into this as a priority.

regards

Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


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+1

Paolo CastellanoRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 5:25:47 pm

:-) Will we need Hyperdeck Shuttle 3 for this add on? ;-)

Paolo.Castellano@ivs.it
http://www.ivsEdits.com
-----------------------
"Post Fata Resurgo"


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Kristian LamRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 12:46:00 am

[Mark Walleman] "Let's say you record 3, 5-min clips. You can only review/play the most recently recorded clip.
"


Hi Mark,

This is certainly not the case. I suspect there's more going on. You should be able to browse through all your recorded clips just like a CD player. Have you contacted technical support?

regards

Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


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Mark WallemanRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 1:21:32 am

I have. I've sent two emails and have not received a single response.

I'd absolutely love to talk to them! We really love this unit and honestly want to purchase more! We just need it to work as advertised.

Learning about the lack of timecode support was a huge disappointment.

My personal email: mdwalleman@gmail.com
My company email: mark@relayhouse.com

Mark D. Walleman
Relay House Inc.


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Tyler EdwardsRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 3:32:28 am

Kristian,
In my experience with the Hyperdeck I couldn't browse clips or playback any other clips on the drive except for the last played clip. Not a HUGE issue for my install, but an issue none the less. I'm very excited to see what compression format you are rolling out and definitely the timecode.


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Kristian LamRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 4:36:44 am

[Tyler Edwards] "In my experience with the Hyperdeck I couldn't browse clips or playback any other clips on the drive except for the last played clip. Not a HUGE issue for my install, but an issue none the less. I'm very excited to see what compression format you are rolling out and definitely the timecode.
"


That's really strange. What video format are you working in? 1080i59.94? PAL?

regards

Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


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Andreas WojtaschekRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 12:23:21 pm

Hi there,

what I've noticed is that if you record in different resolutions f.e. 720p50 and then 1080i50 on the same SSD you can only play the clips that have the resolution of first clip that you have recorded.

Hyperdeck Studio cannot see the other clips, as they are in a different resolution. Same applys for different compression types: If you record something uncompressed and then compressed you can only see the clips that correspond to the actual compression setting.

But for me the big showstopper is that it can't record DNxHD in a simple Quicktime wrapper. Allthough we have a Avid license it is a totally showstopper that the files are only compatible with one NLE.


Regards

Andreas

--

Entertainment Producer IHK
mindandvision


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Trevor AsquerthianRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 2:15:42 pm

" for me the big showstopper is that it can't record DNxHD in a simple Quicktime wrapper."

Seems a little harsh... they implemented DNxHD primarily for Avid users. It's Avid's codec and they can limit it as they see fit.

They have uncompressed which can be recompressed for other workflows... and they seem to have a.n.other codec coming down the line.

Anyone purchasing at the moment is contributing to R&D so thanks for that from the rest of us.

Interesting that the Ki-Pro also is 'unfinished'... there's quite a bit of competition in this market and no clear winner yet.



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Andreas WojtaschekRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 5:36:36 pm

Yes it's right that Avid can limit the usage of the codec how they like it, allthough the codec is free to use - even for encoding.

What I don't like is the information policy of BMD regarding that issue. It would be fair if they would state on their hompage "DNxHD workflow is limitied to Avid Media Composer only. The MXF files will not work with any other NLE".

But BMD doesn't coment on that at all - just says that you can always use uncompressed for other NLEs - which you cannot due to recording capacity in some workflows. If BMD would be honest to say that their contract with Avid prohibits the support wrappers that support other NLEs then everything would be OK. That is only my guess btw.

But that is something BMD stays silent about.

Regards

Andreas

--

Entertainment Producer IHK
mindandvision


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Mark WallemanRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 6, 2012 at 7:26:33 pm

Whenever I'm working a NFL/ESPN gig, the truck stays in the same format all day (NFL=1080i@59.94, ESPN=720p@59.94).

I'm not mixing formats. If I record 5 clips in 720, I can only play the most recently recorded clip. Hitting either |< or >| only skips sections or beginning/end of the current clip.

I've attempted button combinations like holding "stop and |<", and every other button combination to no avail.

It does not allow you to skip to other clips. Period.

Mark D. Walleman
Relay House Inc.


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Anmol MishraRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 7, 2012 at 8:16:31 am

Will the new codec (Prores, CF, Jpeg2k, dirac ????) be implemented on the Shuttle 2 as well ?

Thanks for giving us this awesome device for 350 bucks.

Its remarkable that people charge this much for pieces of Aluminium with holes in them ..


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Jay BloomfieldRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:13:05 pm

@Kristian Lam,

I'd rather see Cineform as the codec with a MOV wrapper, but anything other than the DNxHD MXF op-atom file format, would be better for us non-Avid users. Another possibility would be to have BMD work out something with Calibrated, so that Calibrated would sell its MXF importer separate from the various decode bundles (which are not needed since the Avid QT codec is freeware), maybe in the range of $50-100 US. Unfortunately, even THAT option is considered a beta by Calibrated for the Hyperdeck DNxHD MXF files, though. I tried the demo version of the Calibrated MXF Importer with the Shuttle MXF files and it seemed to work, although you end up with 3 separate files to fool with in PPro5.

It's too bad that the open source ffmbc doesn't work with the op-atom MXF format either. Right now, all I can do is use my Shuttle 2 in uncompressed mode.


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Christopher MapesRe: HyperDeck Studio Review
by on Feb 9, 2012 at 10:09:16 am

I would agree that the Deleting of files is a much bigger problem than initially thought. Just simply for file management and drive space allocation.

another seeming troublesome problem is no ability to control file naming or convention. this is pretty much standard for digital recording devices, especially when recording to drives. would be great to have at least a roll indication/designation like to be able to select "A" "B" etc. as a prefix to the file name.

Also strange to me is the lack of an external control software that worked over ethernet or USB. This is on the luxury item list I know, but I have control software for Decklinks, ATEM, VideoHub etc. thought this would have been a natural right out of the gate that would have made me feel better about some of the other stuff. can you imagine a nice little iPad app that would allow control of multiple units and thumbnail selectable playback.


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