Sony FS700R - Atomos Shogun or Convergent Design Odyssey7q+
Continuing this line of research I've come to the conclusion that the decision, for me at least, is a bit more nuanced than I was originally expecting. I began writing this post a day or so back expecting it to be a quick summary of how I'd rejected my earlier (somewhat hackey) idea of converting the component video to SDI and trying to record 10 bit 4-2-2 and had come down squarely on the side of Atomos's Shogun over Convergent Design's Odyssey7q+ as a suitable and far more cost effective recording solution for the FS700R for my specific needs which are 10bit 4-2-2 ProRes 1080 hidef with slomo @ 120fps & 240fps.
From my discussion with Matt from Atomos Support @ 503-388-3236 ext 1 I gleaned that the Shogun would give me unlimited 1080p @ 120fps and 4K (limited to 30p) and would also down-sample the raw signal to 10 bit 4-2-2 ProRes. The Shogun wouldn't currently let me record raw video, nor record at 240fps or higher, so I would have to record that internally in 8-bit AVCHD and manipulate in post. That seems like a decent solution given the cost savings. I presently don't care about 4K video and shooting at higher frame rates is a bit of a highlight type thing for me so I figured with the cost savings I could just shoot that stuff internally and it being a pretty stylized clip anyway, not worry so much about grading and things.
After speaking with Matt I felt like all of my questions had been answered so I was all set to pull the trigger without calling the Odyssey guys. Then yesterday on a whim (ok fine I was procrastinating doing some other work) I decide to call and chat with the Odyssey folks to at least hear their pitch and perhaps inform myself a bit more as well.
The person at the other end of the line I dialed picked up the phone and greeted me with “Good Afternoon, Odyssey. How may I direct your call?”
I was calling to inquire about the Odyssey7Q+ so this sounded perfectly legit. I went into a brief spiel about the FS700 and looking for a recorder and looking for some help with the decision and person on the phone suggested I might want to speak with sales. That sounded good to me so I quickly agreed but as it turned out sales was in a meeting so I was invited to leave a message and someone would call me back as soon as they were free.
I was mildly pissed at the end of the day when no one called me back and the thought flashed through my head that if that’s how they treated potential customers then I’d be quite happy with the other guy’s stuff and Matt from Atomos had been easy to reach, helpful, patient and quite genuine in our discussion. I let it rest through the end of the day and then today with even more unfinished and overdue work on my plate and therefore an even greater need to procrastinate, I took a more laid back and magnanimous view of the matter. Armed with the idea that messages can get lost and one never knows what sort of pressures the sales crew is under in their current operating environment I decided I’d be proactive about things and try and reach out once more.
“Good Afternoon, Odyssey. How may I direct your call?” said the familiar pleasant female voice on the other side and then quickly put me straight through to someone in sales...
…who listened to me thoughtfully and then for some reason spent the next few minutes trying to sell me a case for my camera.
Be careful of hasty decisions is I guess one takeaway from this even though the whole story is by now well off on a tangent at this point and most likely feeling abused, battered and abandoned and is desperately trying to get back to the space station much like what’serface in Gravity. Sandra Bullock. Good movie. Ah, an aside on a tangent. Inception! Utterly amazing movie!
Anyway, here’s the kick. Turns out the B&H sales rep thought the Odyssey7q+ was made by these guys and had given me the wrong number and email. Wrong Odyssey...which explains why no one called back.
When I dug up the right number and finally got through to the correct folks Jean greeted me cheerfully with “Convergent Design, how may I help you?” and immediately connected me with Dan Keaton, Director of Sales. Dan, much like Matt was thoughtful and pleasant and listened as much as he spoke. During the next 10 minutes or so Dan explained how the Odyssey7q+ justified its higher price point. The Odyssey7q+ offers capture in many additional codecs and supports 4K raw, and will record ProRes in UltraHD at 60fps. It will record 4K @ 120fps for 4 seconds and unlimited 2K or HD at 240 fps and the HD is created by downsampling (supersampling?) the 12 bit raw signal off the sensor (is this different from the Shogun though?) Dan also suggested that the videoscopes are better and the OLED screen is also better than one would get with the Shogun.
The Odyssey will only accept a few specific 3rd party SSDs in addition to its own brand which is byte for byte nearly twice the cost of what my Sandisk 512Gb SSD cost. That's an added expense but there are still retailers offering one or two free SSDs along with the unit at this time and the price of compatible Samsung 850 drives appears to be coming down too. One other possible slight downside of the Odyssey is the file system which will split up the files into chunks as needed by the FAT file system it uses but as those can be combined automagically on import that doesn’t appear to be as big of an issue as it is made out to be elsewhere on the net.
And there you have it. There's still some confusion in my mind over how the Shogun gets its HD and whether that is true 10 bit or simply 8-bit data in loafers lounging about in luxurious accommodations since using a Shogun doesn't require that one buy a license for Sony's raw codec. I think this will warrant one more quick call to Matt to clear it up. But at the end of the day in a nutshell I do believe the Odyssey will give me 130% of everything I want and more at a price point of say X while the Shogun will give me 90% of what I want at a price point of .66X, or even .5X used. Your mileage may vary.
Meanwhile here are some helpful links below. Oh and I do presently have my Ninja Blade up for sale.
Keywords: 10bit, 120fps, 240fps, Atomos, Convergent Design, Jackrabbit Photo, LA Commercial Photographer, Long Beach Videographer, Mark Chaudhary, Odyssey7q+, ProRes 4-2-2, Shogun, Sony FS700R
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