A collection of high definition stock footage

The Sound Devices PIX240 SSD recorder

February 1st, 2012

PIX240 on my Panasonic HPX2700 Varicam - Rama TV commercial

The PIX240 recorder manufactured by Sound Devices is an HD video recorder utilising solid state media as a storage medium, both CF card and solid state drives can be used. The recorder has HD-SDI and HDMI in and outputs. The output to SDI and HDMI are active at the same time giving you the added bonus of having a SDI-HDMI converter. I discovered that most monitors, pro and domestic, can not display true 25p so don’t rely on them when recording in this mode on the PIX. Cameras make use of the psf system when recording in progressive mode. Progressive segmented frame is used to deal with progressive mode in an interlace system.

The unit is small enough to be mounted on the camera with an articulating arm and is useful as an on-camera monitor as well. The LCD screen is fantastic!

Recording formats to choose from include various compression rates of Proress 422 or Avid DNxHD. The Proress codec is not quite as good as the original AVC INTRA 100 codec recorded on the camera, but will definately be good enough to save you if the original footage is lost. My main motivation for owning one of these is to record simultaneously to two drives (P2 and the PIX240 SSD) for backup purposes.

Users of cameras like the Panasonic AF101 would benefit from using the PIX240 to get away from the AVCHD codec of the camera’s internal recorder. The AF101 does output only an 8bit signal, but I still think there would be an advantage to having the Proress 422 HQ footage. Cross converting between 720 and 1080 is possible as well as frame rate conversion, progressive segmented frame can be recorded as proper progressive frame and 23.98p can be converted to 24p.

The build quality is great! Switches feel like you’ve got value for your money. Menus are easy to operate and quick setup enables you to save your often used configurations. The recorder will record in tandem with your internal recorder on the camera and there are numerous options for triggering the recorder like SDI flag, timecode, LANC and others.

To download the footage simply pull the drive from the recorder in it’s caddy, connect to your computer via Firewire 800, esata or USB3, and transfer the files to the destination drive. If Proress or Avid DNxHD are your preferred codecs, you are ready to start editing.

The SSD I bought with my 240 is the “Other World Computing” Mercury EXTREME Pro. I have been using a Vertex II as well and found it is fast enough for the 240. This same drive is not happy in my Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle though.

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