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The PIX 240 records onto SSD and CF cards, one slot for each. Inputs-outputs for video are HDMI and HDSDI -- simultaneously on the outs. The eSATA connection tucked inside the SSD slot allows for file transfers without removing the SSD card (basically using the PIX as an enclosure unit). Additionally there is an accessory box called the PIX-CADDY, which offers triple-interface connectivity for SSDs FireWire 800, eSATAp, and USB 3.0/2.0. Playback is immediately accessible via the “File” button on the front, with a scroll down using the menu knob. Play/Stop/Back/Forward buttons are large and durable specifically thought of for easy control - the specs even say, “with gloved hands." How nice to think of us in colder climates!
Audio ins and outs are XLR, two channels in, and one Stereo XLR out. It has a headphone amp too. Timecode and SYNC BNC out, as well as a Lemo for external TC in/out. Those using 3D technology in 1080HD would find this useful, as you can sync the PIXs via Lockit Boxes. The device's power supply is 12V; it comes with an AC adaptor or accepts two Sony L-like batteries on the back. There is also a keyboard USB slot if desired for controlling meta-data, useful on more than one unit at a time, I suspect, but it is seriously so easy and fast to program you might not need that option.
Record codecs are Apple ProRes - 10bit and 8bit, from proxy 36Mb/s, 100Mb/s to 220Mb/s, and DNxHD - 36Mb/s to 220Mb/s in 8 and 10 bit options. DNxHD is an AVID supported codec; ProRes is FCP supported, thus the PIX 240 files can be readied for post choices immediately in its .mov wrapper. It offers resolution record formats in all the choices you’d need between 720 and 1080, various frame rates, and PAL / NTSC. The PIX 240 is also built with a robust video scaler allowing for real-time format conversion. For example, some cameras set to record 24p send out 1080i60. The PIX can be set to convert the 1080i60 back to 24p with no quality loss. All audio is contained within the .mov file.
The PIX 240 creates options. Sound can mix remotely and run directly into the PIX 240, as well as run Time Code/SYNC in/out while bypassing the camera completely - this would make it a great tool to use when shooting with DLSRs, because of the audio and sync challenges HD DLSRs present. It can be operated to record from the device, so a director can hold it and hit record at any time while camera is live. Or a camera operator can hit record on the camera and it will automatically start recording on the PIX.
I can’t say enough about how easy and presentable the menu is. The display of picture, menu and audio channels is excellent, and one quick touch clears the picture of menu info if desired. All function controls are clearly marked at your fingertips, with the main menu knob at the side. It's also easy to navigate and program all meta-data from “Take” to “CamID”. You are given the option of choosing a “file split” time as well, up to 60 minutes. Additionally, you can “switch drives” upon reaching a full card - so, for example, if you are recording to an SSD card and ran it out while you weren’t paying attention, the PIX will continue your recording to the CF card, thus you wouldn't loose the footage near the end of that shot. And vice versa. This is a nice “got your back” touch in documentary situations especially, as a lone cinematographer has a lot to think about in the moment.
Interestingly, the PIX 240 comes with a 1/4-inch screw inset on the back of the unit, not the bottom. Although this is different from the standard insets on the bottom of most onboard monitors, a simple Cine-arm can make it adapt easily. The upside to this position is that in onboard use, it no longer becomes top heavy, as the weight is under-slung so to say. There is a small cooling fan on the back of the PIX. The fan requires a clearance for airflow, and to be honest, it is near silent.
If you drop by the CinequipWhite February Freeze event on the 8th, you can get your hands on the PIX 240 and see for yourself how easy this little black box will make your recording life!
Sarah Moffat’s camera experience includes motion picture and still photography. She has worked in drama, documentary and live broadcast.