Protecting your negative has always been the film loader’s number one priority. Making sure that all the film is logged, reports are filled out, canned and sent to the lab with the correct processing instructions is critical. With digital technology, the etiquette and execution has to be the same in many ways and protecting that negative is PARAMOUNT!!!!
The Fort Knox of recorders has arrived and it is built like a brick house. The Codex S Recorder has been approved to capture all Arri RAW, Canon RAW, and soon Sony S65 footage. It is incredibly lightweight and gives you assurance that your negative is under lock and key.
The Codex onboard S recorder ties into the C500 4K pipeline via single link and dual link 3G SDI cables. It records the Canon Cinema Raw to the rugged 512 Solid State Codex Capture drives, which hold up to 30 minutes of 4k footage. The onboard S recorder can be powered via 12-34 Volts Lemo, XLR, P-Tap, or AC power. It can also be controlled remotely or from a tethered computer.
Po Chan and I traveled around Asia together late last year for Canon Singapore showing The Ticket, produced by Hurlbut Visuals. Canon asked Codex to come along and give a demo and a keynote on their recorder and their Vault system. I hung out with Stephen Ceci (Codex Guru at Digilab Services) and really got a deep understanding of how good this system is and how advanced it is as well.
They have what they call a virtual file system (VFS) within the recorder that captures meta data and allows you to edit it before creating deliverables. I know this because I had to take advantage of this feature on a Ford Taurus job that I shot with Mouse McCoy and Bandito Brothers. It was a spot for Dubai and they needed it to be delivered at 25p.
We went through the post chain of Bandito and they told us to shoot it at 24p. I set all of my cameras and all of the recording decks to 24p. On the third day of shooting, Bandito came back to us and said that the post house in Dubai now wanted it at 23.98. The first word out of my mouth was unpublishable!!! Then I asked Stephen, “What can we do?” This is when he went into his techno speak and lost me at “we will….”
HA HA. In laymen’s terms, he said that it was no problem. Due to the virtual filing system, you can go right in there and change it to 23.98 without re-shooting. That was huge since we had already shot two of our three days. It was so easy.
Their workflow “thinks” like a human being and not a rocket scientist. Here is a breakdown of their workflow:
Now that I have been in production with these S recorders for over 20 days, it has been a trailblazing experience. We are putting the C500 and the Codex recorders in places that many never thought of and at speeds never traveled. With this Codex has had the most amazing customer service, which for me in the trenches and dealing with day to day filming is absolutely essential.
We would like to smash into a C500 at 90 mph, running at 120fps – a simple task if you were rolling film. Crash box, Eyemo and ROLL CAMERA. When film goes through your gate, it has already been exposed before the car hits it, so if the camera turns off, at least you have the impact. Not so with digital. The S recorder is still writing the file, so if on impact your camera gets taken out, which ours did, maybe 20 times so far, we are missing the impact point. Codex immediately addressed the first issue by writing code literally overnight in London and sending it via email. We had to shut off the door trigger because on impact the slightest gap in the door opening would cut the recorder. Once this was installed we had great success. With our GEO Film Group crash housings, the cameras have been able to take a licking and keep on ticking.
The color of the scroll wheel. We are on the bleeding edge of technology with this film. On a daily basis we employ over 28 cameras to every action sequence, not shooting all at the same time, but the ability to leap frog from one system to the next is how we keep our speed. Pushing the record button on the C500 and knowing that it is talking to the S recorder is seen with color – amber, in standby, ready to record mode, and then red when recording. We quickly learned that with so many decks and cameras that in the heat of battle, sometimes amber looks like red, whether it is being hit by hard sun, or just way up on a crane, somewhat out of sight. Another call to London and within 24 hours they had written new code that Stephen Ceci helped us with to change the wheel from green in standby ready to record mode to red for record. This big difference in color has made our camera etiquette so easy and much more idiot proof. Green usually signifies that you are in playback mode, but we rarely play back so we made this choice. This is a forward thinking company. Codex has worked with us very efficiently to make the day to day set experiences so much smoother.
With so many recorders putting all of the 0 and 1’s together, I have to say if you have the budget for this deck, then it is a no brainer. This is your PRO solution.
Now Alexa has introduced their new camera, the Alexa XT with the Codex deck built inside. I think this statement says it all.
Need for Speed photos by Derek Johnson
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