What Good's a 4K Ready Camera Without a 4K Recording Device? Convergent Design's Gemini RAW Does 4K

There is no shortage of 4K RAW ready cameras being announced recently, from the Sony FS700 to the Canon C500 (and one internally recording 4K camera). It reminds me a little of when HDTVs were first released and many didn't include HDTV tuners internally to actually get HD over the air. It's a nice gesture and a smart idea to attempt to future proof a camera line - but details are a little more hazy on actually recording those 4K video streams to external recorders. Well, for a solution right now, you need to look no further than Convergent Design's new Gemini RAW recorder.

Convergent Design has been releasing powerful products since the introduction of the nanoFlash only a few years ago. The Gemini RAW is one of the most fully featured recorders ever released, from its ability to do 4K to its Avid DNxHD record mode. Here is some basic info from their website:

Our new Gemini RAW is a more powerful version of the Gemini 4:4:4, with more inputs and outputs, and the ability to record up to four cameras simultaneously, while maintaining the same small size, weight and low power requirements of the original Gemini 4:4:4.

With the additional processing power and memory built into the Gemini RAW, it can record up to two full uncompressed  video streams, or up to four using Avid DNxHD.  And in certain modes, it can record up to 120 frames per second.

It's got a lot going for it, and with all of the new 4K ready cameras coming out, I expect quite a few more of these to be released. Some of the major specs:

  • 5.0” 800x480 LCD touch-screen
  • Six Programmable 3G-SDI ports (4-In/2-Out or 2-In/4-Out)
  • Single Stream 4K RAW up to 30p
  • Single Stream 1080p/2K RAW up to 120fps (over dual 3G-SDI)
  • Quad-stream up to 1080p30/2K RAW
  • In Some Formats, the Creation of Two Identical Masters (Auto Backup)
  • Avid DNxHD 36 for Proxies and Avid DNxHD 444 (220)
  • Dual Convergent Design 1.8" SSD Drives for Sustained Throughput
  • Transfer Station with USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Firewire 800, and Thunderbolt Ports
  • RAW and 3D are Standard on the Gemini RAW
  • 4K images Can Be Output to a 4K Monitor Using Four HD-SDI Outputs Built into the Gemini RAW.

It already supports the Arri Alexa, and compared to that camera, this recorder costs practically nothing, but if 4K is ever going to become mainstream, we're going to need some affordable 4K recording options. Though a price hasn't been released for this item yet, I can't imagine it's going to be cheaper than the Gemini 4:4:4 since it has the same feature set and much, much more. That specific recorder runs about $6000, and it seems like either they will drop the price on that one, or this one will be $7K-$8K (or more). That's not peanuts for those of us on a budget, but it's chock full of features and it's well worth the money whether you're going to buy it or rent it. Honestly, it would be hard for me to spend almost the same price on the recorder as I spent on the camera (in the case of the FS700), but depending on how cheap the Sony and Canon 4K recorder options are, this could be a good solution.

Link: Convergent Design Gemini RAW

[via Cinescopophilia & CreativeCOW]

Your Comment


Life is cycle.. All this is just the beginning of another era..people are excited about 4k as they used to be about HDTV . Spending tones of dollars to get one.. The only advice I can give right now is "don't buy just rent" ...because even these companies don't know hundred percent what they re doing yet...early buyers will always regret...lol

April 14, 2012 at 6:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Nygel bissel

I dont understand this concept of 4k future proof camera since these cameras from canon and sony will most likely be obsolete in a couple of years or less. Good time to rent both cameras and recorders.

April 14, 2012 at 9:19AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


ALthough I understand renting is allright for expensive gear, I don't understand the frenzi for getting the latest gadget out there. All of this cameras, in 5 years from now will be better than any camera we had in last few years, of course if one keep comparing to the highest part of the spectrum they will be obsolete, but not in terms of practicality. If you are able to shoot a film with them now, you will be able to shoot a film in 5 years as well with them.

April 14, 2012 at 10:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Agreed, but my comment also applies for the investment point of view. I don't want to pay $15000 in something that will be worth maybe half in 2 years.

April 14, 2012 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Same with any technology.. if you go by that policy you will never buy a computer..
although depends on how much you will be using the camera.

April 15, 2012 at 8:06AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Sorry bad english.

We must learn to filter out these marketing arguments. Several tests indicate the difficulty of designing something to 4K, 4K TV .. well, I just can not differentiate 720 of 1080 sitting 3 feet from my TV. What we really hope to advance in the next five years are technologies of color and dynamic range (even Alexa is to advance these criteria).

I believe the Canon A500 camera is the future-proof, for my requirements.

Moire: Alexa, Red, F3 .. none of these are future-proof in my view, the basic mistake of moire.

1080/2K 12 bit 4:4:4 uncompressed: Raw is for those who prefer the computer field. I set the white point in the field, preferably keeping the camera at 5000k and control lights or using filters. Mild course grade is helpful, but not to composition. ISO in the post .... unacceptable to think that way a filmmaker.

60fps: great, more than that would be a luxury for poor filmmaker. Sure hollywood can more, which gives me the "terrible" challenge of overcoming hollywood. OK! It combines perfectly with the limitation of Time Tessive 60fps, which in my opinion VERY elevates the quality of the camera for MOVIE

With these requirements it is possible to create something that prides itself in old age, but future-proof, GREAT ART, film will remain forever, think that the technology scanners also evolve in the coming years.

April 14, 2012 at 10:51AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


ZODIAC, for me one of the best films David Fincher shot, was shot with 1080p, not 2.5K nor 4K. It´s a complete masterpiece, and IS "future proof".

AURORA, from Murnau, it´s one of the most perfect silent film, the resolution of the film that time wasn´t not even close to 4K, and is a "future proof" masterpiece for those that love cinema AS ART and not just as entertaiment for weekend to relax from a tuff capitalist or comunist or ___________ life! :D

John Cassavetes films, he shot them in 16mm, his movies are some of the most powerfull studies of passion that has ever been shot! most of it improvised plots! and his movies are for sure "future proof"!

But with the "democratization" of tools and information, everybody has the right to put energy where they can...

the creatives and artisans will put it into creating cultural artfacts that reflect their position in the socio-cultural system.

the artists will put the energy into creating art that reflects their personal and SINGULAR view and tastes for those willing to listen.

the geeks will put their energy worshiping technology and creating excuses like "Oh! but if i want to create something "future proof" i need to get that tech or this tech, etc"

Another funny example, there is an "artsy" filmmaker here in Brazil calles Glauber Rocha. He used to film with just 16mm cameras (not even S16mm) most of his time. Some of his 16mm films are spread into museum around the globe, and some of it are among the best films that inspire great masters of popular filmmaking like the great genius Martin Scorcese!
Check this video of Scorcese saying how he used to watch some of Glauber Rocha "artsy" films for inspiration for some of his work:

So, in the end, we already have the tools to express ourselves. From a simple Canon HV30+atomos ninja to a magik GH2 hacked to the more expensive FS100, these tools can do all it´s needed to shoot honest and singular artwork... One small short movie that I love to watch sometimes is the "White Red Panic", it´s simple, honest and poetic, and was shot with a "piece of crap" as HV30!!!

Not that i´m saying that nofilmschool should not talk about gadgets, but there is so much that is far more important to tell a story in cinema... from the techniques Billy Wilder used to Kubrick´s massive exploration of photography and montage to Tarkovski and Robert Bresson use of sound to Eric Rommer use of dialogues to Misoguchi use of mise en scene and atmospherics to John Ford use of discret angles when shooting to...

the real art is in the language, in the poetic, in the gut feelling and personal vision each of the great masters of cinema as ART and not just as entertainment have to offer us...

That, the ART, the mysterious "alchemy" of creation and harmony of complementary opposites, that is what makes a film "future proof", have it been shot in 16mm, S16mm, S35mm, vistavision, 1.9K, 2.5K, 3.5K 4K, 6K, 8K, 1000000000000K :D :D.

I just finished my first short, about torture and how stupid it is as a form of police investigation technique. It took me a while, it was painfull, but I´m proud of how it came out. I shot with 7D, elphel opensource camera and some shots (zoom shots) with HV30+nanoflash. I could have used more expensive cameras, since me and my bussiness partner, we have some "professional" tools for client werk, but it´s a personal project, my art, for my self expression and I decided to follow the path that Glauber Rocha developed here in my homeland... HE, Glauber, used to say "A CAMERA IN THE HANDS AND AN IDEA IN THE HEAD", that´s all an artist need. Tarkovski used to say something similar, the more an artist has constrains the better he gonna express his inner vision. Maybe ´cause of that PI is still, for me anyway, the strongest film from master Aronofsky!

BTW, How can i do to send Koo a link of my short when i put it online? Since i liked verymuch your webserie, I would love to listen to your honest opinion about it! :)

Thanks and pardon my retarded english! :)

April 14, 2012 at 2:51PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM



April 14, 2012 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


GUUUUUUYS 4k is not just a number! Its an effort by digital cinema to replicate a filmic image. 35mm film is currently the best looking image possible for movies. That is why cinematographers use it. The digital revolution is trying to catch up. The areas you need to catch up is color gamut, dynamic range and resolution. A 4k film scan will resolve 2.8k-3.2k based on the ISO. SO even at 1080, film is subsampled from 3.2 resolution. So resolution adds to the look of film, which everybody loves. If you want your digital camera to resolve like Film, you need to produce at least 3.2k. Redones and scarlets have 4k bayer pattern sensors that resolve 3.2k, its not a coincidence. Epics, c500s, and f65s resolve 4k resolution so they are all good.

These cameras are really for people who have 30 million dollars to express their vision, and when you have that sort of responsibility, your standards for image capture are far more complex and calculated.

April 14, 2012 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


"These cameras are really for people who have 30 million dollars to express their vision, and when you have that sort of responsibility, your standards for image capture are far more complex and calculated."-Ryan

exactly! when you have a few millions into a production, the standard will for sure be the highest. But still, all that money is not helping a lot hollywood as "art" from my point of view... and Hollywood is a delicate mix of art with commerce, 1/3art, 2/3 commerce... so your point is totally right, Ryan! :)

the problem is when this start to blind indies that start to believe that theyt need to be technologicaly "future proof" :D John Cassavetes was for sure an "indie" at his time, shooting 16mm not 35mm. F for Fake, from Orson Welles is kind of an "indie" film, it´s one of the best "essays" in movie form, and the image is not the most pristine. For his Don quixote Welles even shot some closeups with the ultramodern (at that time) BETA! :D

The point is if you don´t have U$4milions (the average cost of commercial films in Brazil) and you want to share a vision what you gonna do?

Lots of film in the past were finished in 2K not even 4K, and the audience loved it too... so it´s not a hard science.

´course that for client work i use the best their money can buy, since who have the money what to see it well spent! :D

April 14, 2012 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

guto novo

4k *is* just a number. It's completely wrong to quantify and not qualify film vs digital.

You can quantify the resolving power...etc...and also the latitude...etc...but realize that these numbers ARE arbitrary. It's not just one factor or another. People complain about moire...and guess what? It will ALWAYS be there with digital arrays. (The point you get it will vary. With pixelvision, you may get it strongly on someone wearing 1/2" stripes...and with SD, it may happen with 1/8" stripes...but then with a 100k, you may get it with the actual fibers of cloth within that striped shirt...etc...)

My point is, is that 4k is an arbitrary number. What film stock are you talking about that 4k is replicating? 500ASA Kodak 5219 or 50ASA 5245? They have completely different sharpnesses (and colors)...etc... Even the shadows are handled differently, so in what part of the image are people talking about? Midtones? Shadows? 5219 (Vision3) has reduced grain in shadows for richer blacks? How does that fit into a generic evaluation of what film "equals" in pixels?

When people say things like 4k equals 35mm (or 3.2k because of something Jannard said...etc...), they don't ever seem know these specifics, and I think it's wrong for people to spout a bunch of numbers as if it's science and not a qualitative feeling about something.

I forgot who said it, but a DP in a recent interview in American Cinematographer said that digital will become fully mature when we stop comparing it to film. We limit ourselves when we take a technology and only use it to mimic something else.

April 20, 2012 at 1:50AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Daniel Mimura

Damn are you a news paper writer?
Please next time keep some for other blogs..lol

April 14, 2012 at 9:35PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Nygel bissel

:D :D sorry, mate. there is always the option to not read my shit english comment! :P

April 14, 2012 at 9:37PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

guto novo

I believe the main reason for the search for 4k for industry is to disassemble the rationale of the superiority of the film. But comparing logically, there is the resolution time, which comes from the random position of the grains. OK, also not shot on film and digital came to rescue my need for expression as well, but reinforce my belief that we all know that this race by the specifications are not honest. Watts RMS x PMPO | Contrast x Contrast Dynamic | 4k x 4k-bayered. I'm with 2K 4:4:4.

A fact: Fernando Meirelles says his average shooting / use is 35:1. A typical film of 100 hours, this medium creates 3500 minutes. Using the Sony F65 70TB would need to archive this material. To handle this estimate 3x or 210TB. This often in remote places. Imagine how many Petabytes need to Stanley Kubrick.

April 14, 2012 at 5:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Guto, escreva um blog. Nerdaiada fresca.

April 15, 2012 at 5:14PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


vou seguir tua dica, Felipe.
saca só, se quiser,
pega meu email ai e te mando o link qdo começar! :D
g u t o . n o v o @ y a h o o . c o m . b r

April 15, 2012 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

guto novo

I like the option of single Stream 1080p/2K RAW up to 120fps (over dual 3G-SDI)...do you think it will work with the Sony FS700? I heard that the FS700 has only one 3G-SDI output.
Thanks !

April 20, 2012 at 3:44AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM