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Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q firmware upgrade to record 4K RAW and compressed with the Sony FS700

By technical editor Matt Allard:


The Odyssey 7Q external recorder is a terrific piece of kit that I have already discussed in an earlier review. Probably the most popular camera to pair it with has been the Sony FS700R. That’s because the Odyssey7Q is the most economical, lightest weight, lowest power draw RAW recording solution for it. Up until now the Odyssey 7Q/FS700R RAW recording combo has been limited to 2K resolution – you had to buy Sony’s own AXS-R5 recorder and HXR-IFR5 interface if you wanted 4K RAW. 

Another feature I missed when I reviewed it was the ability to record a compressed format – something that almost all competing recorders have. Although the benefits of RAW are well documented many FS700 users they simply don’t want the hassle of having to deal with the workflow and storage problems that come with it.

Luckily Convergent Design have been listening and this week announced they will support 4K RAW recording via a firmware update to the recorder – provided you have the $795 Sony RAW option installed. What has changed is that Sony appears to have officially given them access to the 4K RAW from the FS700R. In 4K RAW you will be able to record continuously at up to 60P, with high speed 120P in a four second “burst” mode.

Here’s the official press info from Convergent Design:

(Colorado Springs, CO)  Convergent Design’s Odyssey7Q is the most capable portable monitor/recorder on the market.  It can capture and display the signals from more camera systems than any other product.  That capability will soon be increased even more as we announce that recording of the 4K RAW signal from the Sony PMW-FS700 will be available in the Odyssey7Q.

4K RAW recording will be a part of the FS700 Record Option on the Odyssey7Q.  It will be made available as part of the upcoming February Firmware Update for the Odyssey7Q.  Any current owner of the FS700 Record Option will receive the 4K RAW capability as part of the firmware update and at no additional cost.

To use the FS700 Record Option on the Odyssey7Q, a FS700R camera or a FS700 with RAW upgrade from Sony is required.  In 4K RAW mode, the FS700 can output 4096×2160 up to 60p.  This signal can now be captured on the Odyssey7Q.  With the FS700 Record Option the Odyssey7Q can also record 2K RAW (2048×1080) at frame rates up to 240p.


So what does this all mean?
The Odyssey7Q can now capture any of the digital signals output from the FS700R, the new addition being the camera’s native 4K RAW – the highest resolution of the camera’s sensor (4096×2160).  Convergent Design has been working with Sony on this for more than a year and the Japanese electronics giant has allowed unprecedented access to their signal path and camera output.  4K RAW is captured as full uncompressed files in Cinema DNG format onto the Odyssey7Q’s proprietary SSD drives.

Being able to utilise 4K DNG RAW with the 7Q is great – just as long as you are aware of the limited record times, extra storage capacity and more complex post workflow you will require if you go down the RAW path. Personally I find it far more appealing that the Odyssey7Q will soon be able to use the 4K RAW signal in other clever ways.  I have it on good authority that the 7Q will soon be able to accept the 4K RAW signal, de-Bayer it, turn it into 4K video and then super-sample it down to an excellent quality 1080P HD video.  This HD video is then recorded in the ProRes in 10-bit 4:2:2 HQ quality at 220mbps.  This will be a major improvement over the camera’s internal 8-bit, 4:2:0 AVCHD at 25mbps. This should offer improved image quality and record in a much more edit friendly format that is fast to turn around.  

I’ve also learned that in the near future the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q will also be able to capture the 4K video directly in ProRes at 10-bit 422HQ. Again this has far more appeal to me than recording Cinema DNG files. 4K ProRes is exactly what mid-level, workaday cameras like the FS700R need to be able to record.   

The FS700R can also output 2K RAW (2048×1080). In this format the camera can shoot up to 240P continuously, which the Odyssey7Q can record.  In the future, the Odyssey7Q will be able to convert this 2K signal to video and capture it as well.

I continue to be impressed with the Odyssey7Q, not just as a high quality recorder but also as one of the most capable portable monitors in the industry.  With a 7” OLED panel for excellent reference-grade imagery the Odyssey7Q can be reliably used to properly evaluate the image on set.  It offers a wide array of image analysis tools such as waveform, histogram, false colour and soon a vector scope.  In fact, the Odyssey7Q is currently the ONLY 4K waveform field monitor available in the world.

The Odyssey7Q February Firmware Update will include the new capability to record FS700 4K RAW native and 4K RAW-to-HD. For more details go here.

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