Ever long for a cheaper, simpler, HD-SDI recording device? Charles d’Autremont has. An architecture student from way back, and one of the founders of New York branding and creative agency dbox, he cites accumulated negative experiences in the field as inspiration for the creation of the Cinedeck/Extreme. The portable box, which weighs less than four pounds, is the first in a series of camera-mountable devices that double as digital disk recorders and camera-mounted LCD screens.

It records 10-bit 4:2:2 or 12-bit 4:4:4 files in the CineForm intermediate codec, captured via (dual-link) HD-SDI or HDMI input, to off-the-shelf solid-state drives. (D’Autremont says it also supports MPEG-2 in an MXF wrapper and, by a target date of March 1, Avid’s DNxHD.) While it’s recording, it doubles as a capable touch-screen focus monitor, complete with on-screen histogram, aspect ratio guides, and audio recording levels. The screen resolution is half-HD, with a pixel-for-pixel option for detail viewing. It sells for $7995.

Shots can be played back immediately using on-screen controls, and the output options include the ability to burn in metadata, allowing, for example, the instant creation of dailies with burned-in timecode.

At a press briefing at the dbox offices last week, Cinedeck’s demo unit was mounted on a Canon XL H1 HDV camcorder, proving a point about portability — it’s roughly the same size and weight as a standard seven-inch on-camera monitor. Attached to a larger, heavier HD camera, it would seem even more unobtrusive.

The unit is actually a tiny computer running Windows XP, which helps explain its versatility — Cinedeck even suggests that you could use an external monitor, mouse and keyboard in the field to drive an NLE off of this box. (Optional dual-boot OS and boot disk upgrades are recommended.) But the device was designed with cinematography in mind. For example, when you begin recording, the on-board fan slows down to minimize noise during production. (It will come back on once the internal temperature becomes critical.) The fan can even be changed out for a more powerful unit, in case you’re shooting under especially hot conditions.

Cinedeck will be exhibiting at NAB in the CineForm booth. Look for word at the show about the availability of different Cinedeck configurations, including a unit in a 12-inch form factor for portable 3D viewing and another that supports 2K recording, as well as an HDMI-only version geared toward DSLRs. For more information, take a look at the press release at or visit the Web site: