Convergent Design Unveils nanoFlash
Posted Jun 17, 2008

Convergent Design announced today the nanoFlash, the second product in their line of portable HD Recorder / Player products. nanoFlash records video, audio and time-code from an HD-SDI stream onto CompactFlash(c) (CF) cards, employing the high-quality Sony 4:2:2 MPEG2 CODEC for compression. Boasting the smallest size, (4.2x3.7x1.4", 106x94x36mm) and lowest power (<10W active, <2W standby), nanoFlash is poised to revolutionize the industry with an MSRP of US $3495 coupled with low-cost CompactFlash Media.

The camera-mountable nanoFlash, a miniaturized version of the award winning Flash XDR, has two CF card slots and embedded audio support only (see Flash XDR for analog audio I/O + four CF slots). nanoFlash can be powered from a camcorder battery (6.5 to 20V) and records 1080i60/50, 1080p30/25/24 or 720p60/50 at full-raster (1920x1080i/p and 1280x720p) 4:2:2 MPEG2 at 50/100 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 100/160 Mbps (I-Frame only). As both a recorder and player, nanoFlash sports HD-SDI I/O as well as LTC-in, RS-232/485 (remote control) and a power/start/tally-light connector. High-quality MPEG2 video and up to eight-channels of embedded audio and time-code can be stored in the MXF format using the FAT32 file system. nanoFlash seamlessly records and plays back across the two CompactFlash cards.

32GB Compact Flash cards, available for US $135 each (about 1/10 the cost of other professional video cards), enable 140/70 minutes of record time of high-quality 50/100Mbps 4:2:2 footage (per load of two cards). (Note: bit-rates above 100Mbps require the 300X 16GB CF cards for US$216 each). Unlike Firewire based hard-disk recorders, which merely copy the native camera video quality, nanoFlash can encode a live camera’s "never-compressed" HD-SDI output to a much higher quality - higher bit-rate with less compression, eliminating most of the mosquito noise and blurring artifacts. Full-raster 1920x1080 (as opposed to 1440x1080 or 1280x1080) processing, coupled with 4:2:2 color (instead of 4:2:0), greatly improves horizontal resolution as well as keying and compositing operations.

Unique features such as 24p pull-down removal, image flip, time-lapse recording and RAID1 redundant recording capability (automatic backup) further enhance the workflow.

nanoFlash eliminates the need for costly tape decks. A daisy-chain of up to four stackable Lexar Firewire-800 UDMA CompactFlash readers (total cost = US $240) is the only "deck" required. Editors now have direct access to up to 280 minutes of 50 Mbps 4:2:2 footage (four CF cards) from their NLE timeline, without copying to their hard-drive. High performance (330 Mbps read-speed), coupled with very low access times (0.4 mS) enable up to four streams of 50 Mbps playback from the NLE timeline.

"nanoFlash is a fantastic addition to virtually all HD-SDI based cameras, offering high-quality recording / playback and enabling a tapeless workflow on low-cost CompactFlash media," noted Mike Schell President of Convergent Design. Additionally, finished projects can be archived by recording back to nanoFlash via the HD-SDI out from an NLE. The file(s) can then be copied from CF cards to a Blu-ray Disc for long-term storage (a 50GB Blu-ray Disc at US$35 holds 60 minutes of visually lossless 100 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP video).

nanoFlash includes a special +5V output tap for powering HDMI → HD-SDI (nanoConnect) or HD-SDI → HDMI (nanoView) converters. These converters can be mounted on the backside of nanoFlash enabling recording from HDMI based cameras or playback to HDMI/DVI monitors and projectors for presentations, museums, and client review, etc.

nanoFlash can be further enhanced with an ASI I/O firmware upgrade (pricing TBD). ASI I/O (MPEG2 TS) enables use of nanoFlash in HD ENG/EFP (live news coverage) and video over IP applications. Programmable bit-rates from 17.5 to 100 Mbps easily support microwave and satellite transmissions.

nanoFlash is priced at US $3495 and is targeted to ship in September, 2008. More information and ordering form is available at