Just recently the Colorado-based Convergent Design announced a new top monitor/recorder in their existing line-up, amply named the 7Q+, much to the surprise of some and at a time coinciding with the releasing of arch nemesis Atomos Shogun. And just a day after the Shogun started shipping to US customers, Convergent Design announced they have also commenced shipping their new flagship model monitor/recorder – the Odyssey7Q+ to their first pre-order customers. The new unit builds on the Odyssey Family heritage by expanding on the capabilities of its predecessor the Odyssey7Q, while maintaining all of the functionality, performance and ease of use.
Just a couple of days ago, Convergent Design also released a new firmware 4.10.100 update for the Odyssey family, enabling the Odyssey7Q+ to capture 4K and Ultra-HD video in 10-bit over HDMI as well 1080p/60 support in 10-bit over HDMI as well.
Highlights of the new firmware include:
NEW FEATURES (Odyssey7Q+)
- 4K 10-bit HDMI Support
4K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 24
UHD Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30
- 1080p60 10-bit HDMI Support
1080p Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 50p, 60p
NEW FEATURES (Odyssey7Q & Odyssey7Q+)
- Extended Warranty (Odyssey7Q only)
All Odyssey7Q warranties are automatically extended to January 1, 2016. (See bulletin to Odyssey7Q owners for details.)
- Multi-Stream HDMI Input
Allows HD video signal over HDMI as one of the inputs for Multi-Stream Monitoring.
- Multi-Stream 720p Input
Allows 720p HD video signal for Multi-Stream Monitoring. Mixable with 1080i and 1080p HD video.
- Sony FS7 (with XDAC-FS7 extension back) Support
Record modes available with FS RAW Record Option
4K RAW 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
2K RAW 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 100, 119.88 (120), 200, 239.76 (240)
4K RAW to 4K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97
4K RAW to UHD Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.08, 25, 29.97
4K RAW to 2K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
4K RAW to HD (1080p) Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
NOTE: FS7 S-Log3 supported in RAW & Apple ProRes record modes
- Sony FS700 4K RAW to 4K/2K Apple ProRes
Additional record modes available with FS RAW Record Option
4K RAW to 4K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97
4K RAW to 2K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
- Canon C500 4K/QHD RAW to 4K/UHD Apple ProRes
Additional record modes available with Canon RAW Record Option
4K RAW to 4K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30
QHD RAW to UHD Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30
NEW FEATURES (Odyssey7, Odyssey7Q, Odyssey7Q+)
- HDMI Record Trigger – Start/stop recording on Odyssey from Panasonic GH4 (with new GH4 firmware) and Sony a7S.
- HDMI Timecode Support – Capture timecode data from Panasonic GH4 (with new GH4 firmware) and Sony a7S.
- 1TB Odyssey SSD Support – Allows the use of the new Odyssey 1TB SSD in Odyssey monitor/recorder.
- Custom Frame Guides – Up to four user-programmable frame guides in six color options. All four frame guides plus one preset frame guide can be displayed concurrently.
- Playback Notes – Expanding PLAY Markers functionality, a Notes text field is now available in Clip XML data as well as a Good/Bad take indication. Used in conjunction with new CD APPLE PRORES TRANSFER UTILITY 1.5, a Final Cut XML can transfer Markers and Notes to FCPX, FCP7, Adobe Premier and Resolve 10 & 11.
- PSF Video Output Option – Certain modes add choice of true progressive (p) or Progressive-Segmented Frame (psf) video output for expanded compatibility with other equipment.
- OLED Calibration Controls – RGB Gain and Saturation controls added for the OLED display, with reset.
Download the latest firmware update 4.10.100 here.
In response to some unhappy Odyssey7Q owners out there with the inadequacy of the Loyalty programme offered by Convergent Design and the lack of buy-back options, the company released this open letter and extended the Loyalty programme even further by adding an additional year to the warranty (making it 2 years extra warranty until Jan, 1st 2017 on the Odyssey7Q), provided that same owner buys a new 7Q+, and he/she also gets any Recording License options DUPLICATED, not ported over to their new unit, in addition to the already announced $500 credit towards purchases made on the CD website.
In addition, the letter addresses the differences between the Odyssey7Q vs Odyssey7Q+:
1. Over HDMI the Odyssey7Q can accept up to 1080p/30 or 1080i60 in 4:2:2 8-bit. The Odyssey7Q+ can accept 4K/UHD up to 30p or 1080p60 in 4:2:2 10-bit.
2. The Odyssey7Q+ has a more advanced connection over its four SDI inputs, although there is currently no camera manufactured or planned (that we know of) that would take advantage of this difference. As such it may never be enabled in the Odyssey7Q+, but there was no cost in Convergent Design changing the input.
Read the letter below for more details on the Revised Loyalty programme.
December 19, 2014
From: Convergent Design
To: All Owners Of The Odyssey7Q
For more than a decade, Convergent Design has sought to make an impact on the motion picture and television production industries by designing & manufacturing innovative new products and offering exemplary client support and service. The introduction of the Odyssey7Q last year was a huge step forward as a revolutionary leap-frogging of capabilities in a monitor/recorder. It was also a slow and painful birth, from the delayed first delivery of the product to the gradual expansion of capabilities with firmware updates. Through it all we have strived to be as forthcoming and available as possible with information and support for our clients, and we thank the thousands of you who have taken this journey with us.
Last week Convergent Design announced the successor to the Odyssey7Q, the Odyssey7Q+. Many Odyssey7Q owners were upset, feeling that their Odyssey7Qs were devalued. There were some misunderstandings both in the technical differences between the models as well as the Loyalty Program we announced for those interested in upgrading from the Odyssey7Q to the Odyssey7Q+. This letter is to help provide some answers, but first another matter.
As a sign of appreciation to our Odyssey7Q owners, all Odyssey7Qs will have their warranties extended to January 1st, 2016. For recently purchased Odyssey7Qs this is a modest extension, while for early adopters it can be greater than an additional year of coverage. There is no additional purchase necessary for this warranty extension. The December 2014 firmware update (launching today) will reset the warranty information within every Odyssey7Q.
Odyssey7Q v. Odyssey7Q+
The Odyssey7Q is not obsolete. There are only two differences between the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+.
1. Over HDMI the Odyssey7Q can accept up to 1080p30 or 1080i60 in 4:2:2 8-bit. The Odyssey7Q+ can accept 4K/UHD up to 30p or 1080p60 in 4:2:2 10-bit.
2. The Odyssey7Q+ has a more advanced connection over its four SDI inputs, although there is currently no camera manufactured or planned (that we know of) that would take advantage of this difference. As such it may never be enabled in the Odyssey7Q+, but there was no cost in us changing the input.
Those are the ONLY differences between the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+. If you do not have any plans to utilize the higher formats on the HDMI input, then there is no difference between the two products. If you only shoot with SDI-based cameras, there is no difference. The central processor is the same, and with every firmware update both models will receive the same expanded functions. Record Options will be equally added to on both the Odyssey7Q and the Odyssey7Q+. So will free functions, such as the December update’s Custom Frame Guides. The Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ are effectively identical other than the HDMI input and Convergent Design is committed to continue to support all Odyssey products for years to come.
The Loyalty Program
With the new stretching of the Odyssey7Q warranty, the previously announced Odyssey7Q Owner Loyalty Program terms had to be slightly adjusted. Odyssey7Q owners who choose to participate in the revised Loyalty Program will, with the purchase of a new Odyssey7Q+, receive an additional year of warranty coverage on their Odyssey7Q (to January 1st, 2017), all purchased Record Options on the Odyssey7Q DUPLICATED (not transferred) onto the Odyssey7Q+ and $500 worth of credit coupons on the Convergent Design web store. These credits can be transferred to other registered Odyssey owners if so desired. For details of the Owner Loyalty Program, please see the accompanying document.
Why No Upgrades or Trade-Ins?
Many people asked why Convergent Design did not offer a retrofit of the Odyssey7Q, or a trade-in program. We did study all possible options extensively. This is the best deal possible. Let me explain…
The Odyssey7Q’s HDMI input receiver chip is hardware-limited to a maximum signal of 1080p30 (1080i60) in 8-bit. At the time the Odyssey7Q was developed this was the most advanced HDMI receiver chip on the market.
Convergent Design looked into numerous solutions to physically adding 4K input from HDMI sources to the Odyssey7Q. We did extensive testing on a box to accept 4K HDMI and convert it to SDI to plug into the Odyssey. It proved unreliable and degraded the signal. It was also bulky, power hungry (requiring separate power), heavy, inelegant and worst of all quite expensive. The solution would have cost more than $1000 to our clients. After trying to solve the technical issues in multiple ways, we had to abandon the option. Perhaps in the future there may be an off the shelf chip that does this work and the cost can be dramatically lowered while the functionality stabilized, but that is not the case today.
We looked into the possibility of a physical upgrade to the Odyssey7Q to turn it into an Odyssey7Q+. This is no small task. The board went through a major redesign to accommodate the new HDMI receiver chip (that’s why we had to swap the locations of the HDMI in & out ports). The only way to do it would be to rip out the old board and replace it with an entirely new one, and then go through extensive testing on what was essentially a new unit. We would have had to charge over $1000 for that as well. It would also mean clients sending in Odyssey7Qs from all over the world, being without their devices for weeks, customs and VAT issues for international trade, etc. It would have been a nightmare to deal with for you and for us.
We thought about a simple swap: send us your Odyssey7Q plus a fee and we send you an Odyssey7Q+. But this again would be a nightmare for international clients, some of whom would end up paying more to do this then they would simply buying a new Odyssey7Q+. It would also again mean you would be without your monitor/recorders for weeks. And that fee would be a bit hefty as there are substantial hard costs we have in the construction of an Odyssey7Q+. We all would like such an upgrade to only cost a few hundred dollars, but the reality is that we would once again be hovering near that $1000 mark.
So we decided to give owners a bunch of value on your original Odyssey7Q units so that if you wished you could choose to sell it yourselves. Trading in your car at the dealer is painless but you always get much less for it then if you sold the car yourself. We were trying to make it as sellable as possible. The Odyssey7Q gets a warranty extension twice as long as when it was brand new. The Record Options remain on it raising its value. And to try to ease the transition some more we include a gift of $500 on our webstore.
Convergent Design sells the Odyssey7 new for $1295. An Odyssey7Q on the resale market should easily sell for more. It would come with a longer warranty and it has far greater capabilities, such as 4K ProRes recording. Depending on the Record Options on the Odyssey7Q there is the potential to exceed the full purchase price of the Odyssey7Q+.
In the end we felt that this was the best value we could offer our clients.
On the other front of the Monitor/Recorders – the Atomos Shogun gets a meaty hands-on video by German DP and filmmaker, Stefan Czech, who was one of the first to get an early hands on with the unit. Check out his massive 40+ minute hands on video below, which includes some amazing night exteriors and bits from a music video shot with the Sony A7s.
Check out the 4K version of the music video on YouTube below.