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XQD Media: Faster Media for 4K Productions
XQD Media seems to have sprung up in the video production market just recently, but it has been in development since 2010. There are several reasons internal and external corporate communications would incorporate XQD media into their video and photography workflows. It was originally developed for photographers to meet the demand for shooting RAW files using continuous mode. More recently, XQD media meets the demands for greater media speed and durability required for shooting ultra-high definition footage.
Only a few manufacturers produce XQD media. Sony and Lexar are the major manufacturers of XQD cards, and Sony has developed the G-Series XQD card for their 4K cameras. Sony currently has three cameras that use XQD media natively, thePXW-Z100, FDR-AX1, and the much talked about PXW-FS7.The Sony G-Series card comes in both 64GB and 128GB capacities. The 128GB card can shoot up to 20 minutes of 4K, XAVC Intra 422, 600Mbps footage at 60p. Because XQD media can capture 4K media with ease, this gives you the flexibility to use it for high-end 4K productions as well as those that require longer record times in high definition. The G-Series has been rated at 350 Mb/s read speed and 400 Mb/s write speed. For those corporate productions that require quick turnarounds, the write and read speed of XQD media is a benefit. After a shoot is completed, using USB 3.0 the G-Series XQD card touts a transfer speed of 3 minutes for 60GB of footage, so your video crew can transfer footage to an external hard drive in time for the field Producer to make the flight back home.
Lexar’s 1100x series XQD card records HD or 3D video. It captures RAW files using continuous mode. Photographing in continuous mode has become the most effective way to shoot high action; however, buffering is an issue. With all media, the processor of the camera works in conjunction with the media to deliver the image. The media will stop recording when the buffer is full, until it can catch up with the information sent from the processor. Lexar touts up to 100 RAW format pictures shooting with either its 32GB or 64GB 1100 series model before the buffer is full, which is a significant improvement over a Compact Flash card, and with less time to clear the buffer to continue shooting again. Sometimes a shoot requires one shot of a spontaneous split-second moment, and with XQD you can ensure you have the speed required to shoot as many pictures as needed to capture that moment. The Nikon D4 camera is the main DSLR camera that natively uses XQD media.
Although its market saturation is limited, XQD media provides excellent flexibility and stability for use in a corporate production environment. For projects in need of high-end 4K footage, or still shoots that need to capture a split second moment, shooting with an XQD card is one of the best options.
Does your Chicago video crew own a camera that uses XQD media? What do you think of its read and write speeds? Share with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter if you have used this technology at any regions you have filmed in.