DV Rack - very nice if it works as advertized at DVinfo.net

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Old May 9th, 2004, 11:58 AM   #1
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DV Rack - very nice if it works as advertized

http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

Sign up for the free demo download (available later this year)
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Old August 6th, 2004, 01:15 AM   #2
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Free Trial Now Available

A free, fully-functional two week trial version of DV Rack is now available for download:

http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

--- Mark
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Old August 7th, 2004, 05:15 PM   #3
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Anybody give this software a shot yet? It seems amazing, but I haven't given it a shot yet.

What seems flabbergasting is that not only does it record your DV as you go, making your laptop a direct-to-disk recorder, and not only does it have all those video and audio monitoring tools right there, it also has something called an Automated Quality Manager, which, as you're recording, supposedly marks frames where it seems as though something wrong might have happened - whether it be an audio pop, a blowout, etc. And then you can backtrack after you cut and review what it found as a possible error, and you could re-shoot right then and there.

http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvraqm2.cfm?crntPage=4

At only $495 for all that, it seems too good to be true.
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Old August 11th, 2004, 08:35 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Imran Zaidi : Anybody give this software a shot yet? It seems amazing, but I haven't given it a shot yet.

What seems flabbergasting is that not only does it record your DV as you go, making your laptop a direct-to-disk recorder, and not only does it have all those video and audio monitoring tools right there, it also has something called an Automated Quality Manager, which, as you're recording, supposedly marks frames where it seems as though something wrong might have happened - whether it be an audio pop, a blowout, etc. And then you can backtrack after you cut and review what it found as a possible error, and you could re-shoot right then and there.

http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvraqm2.cfm?crntPage=4

At only $495 for all that, it seems too good to be true. -->>>

I saw it at NAB and was very impressed.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 09:20 AM   #5
 
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I've been playing with the DEMO version of Serious magic's "DV Rack" and thought I'd write a simple review of it. In short, it does what they claim it will do.

Step one is to calibrate the monitor using the built-in NTSC color bars. Calibration involves turning the chroma off and setting the black bars with brightness and contrast controls, then turning the chroma on with only the blue gun to set color. You adjust the color bars with the chroma and phase controls. Once the monitor is set to go, so are you. So far, pretty standard monitor setup procedure.

Step two is to capture some footage, which by the way, is almost too easy. You can capture footage by hitting the RECORD button in the software. As long as your camera is powered up, there's a signal coming over the firewire bus. No need to hit "record" on the camera. The capture footage resides in a special folder that DVRack creates on your hard drive; that makes the footage available to DV Rack. I experienced no dropped frames in the over 60 minutes of footage I captured. While in this folder, you can recall the footage with DVRack to scrub thru it. You can also have DVRack identify video or audio signals that exceed some preset level you have defined. While the footage is in the special folder, it's not accessible for viewing or access by any other software. IN order to view your captured footage in any other software, like your NLE or WMP, you have to eject it from DVRack. You can do this by selecting the "eject" command. Unfortunately, once you've ejected the footage, DVRack can no longer view it, it's permanently ejected. I was hoping I could load some footage I'd already captured into DVRack for analysis, and, fortunately DV Rack WILL read a video stream coming from my DSR-20. This means anything on DV Tape is available to run thru DV Rack.

Realtime monitoring of my video has proven quite valuable. I can see the effect of adjustments made on my XL1s directly in DVRacks monitor and various scopes. By the way, the scopes, like any scope, needs to have the gain and biases calibrated before you can use them. There are no directions how to do this, so, you've gotta understand what your looking at to use it effectively. Also, the screen sizes of the various components of DVRack are not adjustable. I found the Vectorscope and Waveform monitor windows to be too small to see well enough. The scales aren't large enough to see clearly. The monitor allows you to select a couple of zebra pattern modes to monitor exposure. I'm used to the over exposure zebra, but, DVRack also gives you the option of setting up an under-exposure Zebra. This is sweet!

There seemed to be some small glitches when switching from the realtime monitor to scrubbing video that hasn't been ejected from the DVRack folder yet. The image in the monitor would hang showing only half a screen image. A few tries, going back and forth, finally got the software to fix the monitor image.

All in all, I found the DVRack software to be pretty useful. I'm not convinced, however, that the full purchase price is justifiable. It seems pretty steep, but, certainly cheaper than Vectorscopes, waveform monitors and other diagnostic hardware.

Now, if only I can load this software into my palm pilot and leave my 10 lb GRT-390 laptop at home.

EDIT: I originally posted that the DV Rack would not read from my DSR-20. It turns out I was having problems with a bad 1394 cable. After reading my report on this forum, Serious Magic contacted me and made their customer support immediately available to help me. I'm quite surprised at their eagerness to correct any problems with their software. Glad to say the problem was my own clumsiness. I can certainly appreciate any company this responsive to customer problems.


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Old August 12th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #6
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Bill,

Although DV Rack was initially intended mostly for field production, we've had a lot of beta testers wanting to use it for more things. We're planning to implement a clip import function in the near future.

It's odd that your DSR deck isn't working. I believe that DV Rack has been tested with a variety of DSR series VTRs and works fine. The software doesn't try to make any distinction between a deck or camera. If it's DV on a Firewire port, DV Rack tries to read it.

During the public beta we had a couple of people with some fairly unusual DV devices (like high-end transcoders etc.) that weren't recognized. The problem was that some devices wanted slightly different flavors of a "Start" command (as in "start giving us video on the port"). We made some changes in the 1.0 version to increase the range of devices we're able to read from. As far as I know, at this point everything works.

We'd certainly like to understand what's going on with your DSR 20. If you'd be willing to work with our QA folks via direct email and phone to sort it out, please email John Merlino at jmerlino@seriousmagic.com and include a copy of this post. John will ask you for some diagnostic information and may want to you to try some specific things.

Thanks,

--- Mark
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Old August 12th, 2004, 03:32 PM   #7
 
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Interesting to know, Mark. Thanx for your reply. I'll drop them a line.
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Old August 12th, 2004, 10:09 PM   #8
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I know that the DV Rack is made for more professional projects and has more pro features, but I've been recording direct to PC (tapeless) using the WinDV freeware, and firwire out for awhile, and because I can do this while my cam is in photo mode as well, I get a wider wide angle, and psuedo progressive footage. I use WinDV for most of my captures and D->A outputs. Anybody else using WinDV?
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Old August 13th, 2004, 04:19 PM   #9
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Bill,

Glad the issue turned out to be an easily resolved cable problem. I've been bitten by bad Firewire cables twice in the last year, some of these new cables flooding the market are sub-standard and don't hold up to flexing.

Regarding scope visibility, I mentioned it to the developers and was told that there is an interactive zoom/pan feature on the waveform and vectorcope in the release version (it will work like the one on the monitor). Also, the gain knob on the scopes will have a higher peak setting which will improve visibility.

The gold master has been released to manufacturing and I understand that the first orders will start to ship one week from today.

--- Mark
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Old August 13th, 2004, 04:34 PM   #10
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Jesse,

The photo mode trick is a good idea! DV Rack will work the same way.

While WinDV is a quite different thing as compared to DV Rack, in general Serious Magic encourages producers to start doing basic PC-assisted shooting any way they can. If WinDV helps more videographers get started shooting with PC-assist then that's ultimately a good thing for Serious Magic.

We are confident in the unique (and plentiful) features in DV Rack. If videographers get used to doing PC-assisted shooting, then when they have a project with the need and budget, they'll upgrade to DV Rack.

--- Mark
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Old August 13th, 2004, 06:00 PM   #11
 
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That's great news!!
You've already got my order on your books. I'm looking forward to the first licensed release.
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Old August 13th, 2004, 11:28 PM   #12
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Yeah, I like saving the heads on my cam, and cutting out the annoying capture step before editing. I would definitely upgrade to a program like DV Rack, when I start doing more professional work.

I also think more people need to try tapless recording. When they see how much easier it is, demand will grow and it will push tapeless recording technologies further ahead, whether it be D2D, Flash Memory, or Direct to PC.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 09:02 PM   #13
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There's a new DV Rack Overview video now available for immediate streaming. Here's the link:

http://xgen.vitalstream.com/mcasx.asx?media=1865684&package=6357

--- Mark
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Old August 21st, 2004, 11:16 AM   #14
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Great Product!

Is there a Mac version in the Horizon?

I will buy it right away..

please reply and let me know if a Mac version is in the works.

regards,
Charles
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Old August 21st, 2004, 04:00 PM   #15
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From the DV Rack FAQ:

Is there a Mac version of DV Rack?

Unfortunately not, DV Rack makes extensive use of Microsoft’s DirectShow technology which is only available on Windows itself at this time. Serious Magic does not currently expect to be able to port DV Rack to the Mac platform. Fortunately, laptop PCs are quite inexpensive and DV Rack is designed to work in a multi-platform environment. It supports writing files that are compatible with popular Mac software such as Final Cut Pro, Avid and Media 100.

--- Mark
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