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Old December 1st, 2004, 07:00 AM   #1
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Got my DV Rack

Well, it is 6:42 AM and I have been up all night playing with DV Rack instead of getting any sleep.

I do have some problems.

Adjusting the brightness and contrast on the monitor according to the instructions is next to impossible.

Compared to what I am used to, the contrast acts more like what the brightness should and the brightness acts more like what the contrast should.

I gave-up and just used the defaults. Not the best way I know but I couldn't get it to adjust properly according to the manual.

I wish there was an easy way to toggle between 4:3 and 16:9. The way it is now I have to go to the menu and wait and wait for the numbers to adjust. A real pain in what DV Rack is supposed to save. GRIN!

The field guide has some errors in it.

Dynamic range in audio is NOT how wide the frequency range is. It is how much range there is from the quietest sound above the noise floor to the loudest sound without clipping or distortion.

The reason for overscan in the early days of television was that the regulation of voltages wasn't good like it is now. Because of this, the picture had to be overscanned to keep it reasonably viewable within the size of the screen. If the picture got too much smaller then one replaced horizontal and/or vertical tubes and/or parts.

I downloaded the latest patch.

I haven't activated DV Rack yet because I haven't installed it on the Church system. I will be using a hard drive tray system to transfer the video from the Church system to my editing system at home. I will also use it to activate DV Rack. The Church system is not connected to the internet.

Thanks,
Danny Fye
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Old December 1st, 2004, 04:11 PM   #2
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Danny - Let me warn you about a minor problem I recently discovered when using DVRack with removable drives.

If you plan to use the captured clips with DVRack on both systems, the drive configuration must be the same on both computers. i.e. If the clips are stored on drive E: on system #1, then that drive must also be configured as drive E: on system #2.

If the drive letter is different, when you load the DVRack project, the software is unable to locate the clips. Even though they appear in the recorder section, they will not play in the monitor.

If, on the other hand, you will only be using the clips in your NLE on system #2 and have no plans to access them with DVRack, it really doesn't matter what letter is assigned to the drive.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 07:23 PM   #3
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Re: Got my DV Rack

<<<-- Originally posted by Danny Fye :

I wish there was an easy way to toggle between 4:3 and 16:9. The way it is now I have to go to the menu and wait and wait for the numbers to adjust. -->>>

AMEN! That is a royal pain in the patootie.

Serious Magic, PLEASE GET RID OF THE "letterbox" BUTTON AND REPLACE IT WITH A 16:9/4:3 ASPECT BUTTON.

(sorry for shouting, but man, you really have to do that). The letterbox function is much less useful than a true aspect ratio button would be. We're doing a 3-camera comparison between the DVX, XL2, and FX1, in 16:9 and 4:3, and it is exceptionally annoying to have to scroll through all the aspect ratios to finally get to 1.776.

Also, is there any valid reason to have all those aspect ratios? I mean, all we *need* is 4:3 and 16:9, and I imagine some experimenters may want 2.35, but all the others are quite unnecessary...
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 01:11 PM   #4
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Guys,

We here at Serious Magic are listening, and we have plans in the works to improve the pixel aspect ratio control. I'll elaborate a bit when I have a chance, but right now we're all under the gun with an impending deadline. For More next week, but for now you can rest assured that this is on our radar screen (and has been before anyone outside of our own corridors raised the issue--too many features, too little time...)
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 05:27 PM   #5
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Excellent -- thanks for the update!
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 06:45 PM   #6
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Can't Activate

I finally installed DV Rack on the Church computer.

I then tried to activate it using the option for using another computer. I got a screen that showed what the steps are and tried to find something to click on and got no results.

Finaly I hit the enter key and got a choice of places to send to, so I chose my USB drive and it said it couldn't write to it and it may be write protected. Yet I could copy files to it. So I know it works.

I tried my removable hard drive tray and no go.

I guess I should have tried the C: drive but I spent so much time trying to figure out what to do with that first screen (press enter or whatever I was supposed to do) that I didn't have anymore time to mess with it.

I don't have a floppy drive on the Church or home systems.

There needs to be a better and more flexible way to activate this software using another computer than this.

Danny Fye
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 02:50 AM   #7
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Re: Can't Activate - Update

I did some more tests.

My Church system does not have USB-2 it has USB-1. My home editing system does have USB-2 so I shut down the internet and did a test with it and it still failed.

I re-connected my floppy drive and formatted a floppy disk making sure there were no errors and I re-booted the computer to make sure Windows XP properly recognized the floppy drive. I also did a test to make sure I could write to it. I was able to write and read some test files without any problems.

So I tried the activation feature of DVRack with the floppy drive and it still failed.

I always get the following message, "There was an error copying files to the transfer directory. Please make sure the destination is writeable."

I wanted to activate DV Rack so I could get full support but have been unable to do so. I am concerned that if I activate DV Rack on my home system in order to get full support and then later try to activate it on the Church system that I wouldn't be able to because of activating it on two computers at the same time.

I have mentioned a number of issues with DV Rack here and in emails to Serious Magic and am not getting answers.

If this is the type of support I can expect from Serious Magic for DV Rack then I will return it for a refund.

The problems I am having with the activation should have been properly beta tested. Apparently it wasn't.

There should have been better replies to these issues.

Danny Fye
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 06:19 AM   #8
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SeriousMagic Support Forum

Have you tried posting your questions on the SeriousMagic support fourms? http://www.seriousmagic.com/help/dvrackindex.cfm

They have one for registered users as well as one for users of the trial versions of their software. Even though SM monitors this site, you might get a faster response over there.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 12:35 PM   #9
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Re: SeriousMagic Support Forum

<<<-- Originally posted by Ed Frazier : Have you tried posting your questions on the SeriousMagic support fourms? http://www.seriousmagic.com/help/dvrackindex.cfm

They have one for registered users as well as one for users of the trial versions of their software. Even though SM monitors this site, you might get a faster response over there. -->>>

The following is part of a reply I got from Serious Magic.

" - If you need to activate your DV Rack software and are not connected to the internet, please respond to this email with your Installation Key and Activation Code in the body of the email. Be sure that you have downloaded and run the DV Rack update patch found here: http://www.seriousmagic.com/help/dvrupdates.cfm prior to activating."

The problem is that to be able to download the patch, I need to have a name and password that I can ONLY get if I activate DV Rack first.

This creates a catch 22 problem in that I can't get one because I don't have the other. But even IF I do go ahead and activate the Church system I would have major problems because I wouldn't have been able to install the patch first.

A major problem I am having is that the Church system that I was wanting to use DV Rack on is not on the internet and I have to activate it by using my home system which is on the internet. Problem is, the procedure for doing this fails to write the needed information to any device that I try to write to.

I read a post on another forum where a person activated DV Rack before they applied the patch and then after they applied the patch they had to re-activate DV Rack but they couldn't because they used up their ability to activate DV Rack.

Serious Magic has seriously failed to get the activation process to work correctly when it comes to using two computers.

Considering other issues I have found, this software was rushed out before it was ready for prime time.

There are too many issues that I have found with it.

I will be returning it for a refund assuming Videoguys return policy is what they claim it to be.

Maybe I will get DV Rack again in the future when it is REALLY ready to be released. The new software excuse doesn't hold water in this case.

Danny Fye
Soon to be ex-DV Rack user.

P.S.

Maybe I could have gotten the answers I needed from their forums but they decided to keep it so private that others can't benefit from even just reading the posts there.

They are afraid people might say something other than praises for Serious Magic and DV Rack.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 03:14 PM   #10
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I'm sorry to hear that DVRack hasn't worked out for you, particularly since my input may have factored into your decision to purchase it. All I can say is that my experience has been quite positive and I had no problem activating the software on two systems. I guess I'm just lucky that both are connected to the internet.

I suggested using the Serious Magic forum because I didn't remember seeing you post over there and thought maybe you were not aware of its existance. Since I purchased directly from Serious Magic, they emailed my username and password immediately, allowing access to downloads and the forum prior to activation. When purchased from a third party, I don't know what their process is for getting that information. Sounds like that's an area someone needs to address though.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 10:15 PM   #11
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Thanks for the friendly reply. I guess you can say that in my case there too many areas that needed addressed. I guess it can't work out for everyone.

Because I couldn't activate Dv Rack and use it properly, plus other issues, I was never really able to determine if it would meet my needs.

I returned DV Rack for a refund today.

I will still capture the video directly to a hard drive (tapeless). This is the way to go! I just found out that my twin brother has also gone mostly tapeless with his videos.

I am looking foward to when the little gadgets that attach to the cameras go down in price and tape becomes a thing of the past.

Still, my ultimate hope is to have non-mechanical media such as a large capacity memory card or something like that.

Danny Fye


<<<-- Originally posted by Ed Frazier : I'm sorry to hear that DVRack hasn't worked out for you, particularly since my input may have factored into your decision to purchase it. All I can say is that my experience has been quite positive and I had no problem activating the software on two systems. I guess I'm just lucky that both are connected to the internet.

I suggested using the Serious Magic forum because I didn't remember seeing you post over there and thought maybe you were not aware of its existance. Since I purchased directly from Serious Magic, they emailed my username and password immediately, allowing access to downloads and the forum prior to activation. When purchased from a third party, I don't know what their process is for getting that information. Sounds like that's an area someone needs to address though. -->>>
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Old December 9th, 2004, 02:10 AM   #12
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Danny,

I just read your posts here concerning the problems you had activating DV Rack. I'm sorry you had trouble. Such reports from users of Serious Magic products are very rare

I, along with thousands of others have used SM's activation process with no trouble, even on machines not connected to the Internet. Any issues that occasionally arise with some customer configurations are easily resolved. A machine that has no internet access *and* doesn't have a floppy drive is a rare occurance. The rep that you sent your email to may not have known that was the situation he was dealing with. That's why I suggest that folks give us a call or post on our forums. Those methods of contact let us interact back and forth quickly to determine the situation and resolve it.

Also, you said that you need to register and activate to download the recommended update. This isn't the case as far as I can tell. The link you posted is accessible to anyone (I just logged out of SM access and tried it 'anonymous' to double check). Are you sure you couldn't get the update from our support pages?

I do have to respond to one statement that you made that is factually incorrect (so much so that it would be an injustice to leave it unanswered):

==============

"Maybe I could have gotten the answers I needed from their forums but they decided to keep it so private that others can't benefit from even just reading the posts there.

They are afraid people might say something other than praises for Serious Magic and DV Rack."

==============

Danny, our forums are *not* like other manufacturer's support forums. We do not keep them "private" to keep people from seeing what is said there. In fact our marketing folks desperately want to open our forums so they can use them to promote our legendary support and service. However, the USERS of those forums have voted to keep them private, exactly because they are such a valuable resource.

There is a thread here on our public message forums that you (and everyone else) can access that contains posts from our users about this very topic:
http://seriousmagic.ipbhost.com/foru...p?showtopic=68

I really encourage you to read the posts from real users, they say it better than I ever could.

I'm truly sorry things didn't work out for you Danny. We want all our customers to be happy. We're very proud of our insanely high customer satisfaction level (the highest I've ever seen or ever heard of in 20 years in this business). It's not completely flawless but it's pretty darn close. And it really is legendary among our users. That reputation is the result of a lot of hard work by our team of "Serious Magicians" above and beyond the call of duty. Just two weeks ago, a couple of users were having trouble installing a new downloadable 'service pack' for our Visual Communicator product (it worked fine for all the other users). These users posted on our user forums on Thanksgiving morning. The posts were seen by some of our staff who were checking the forums (on their own time, and on Thanksgiving). These magicians decided on their own to go to the office on Thanksgiving, investigated the problem, one of them contacted a senior programmer at home for a workaround and made a change on our servers to get the issue resolved. Total time to resolution: about four hours.

To others considering DV Rack, I encourage you to download the free fully functional demo of the software before ordering to ensure that it meets your needs. The demo is identical to the actual product except for the timeout and activation, so there should be no surprises. In the (very rare) event that you should have any trouble activating, I personally guarantee that we will resolve the issue quickly if you post on our user forums (I don't get the emails to our support department, so I can't guarantee that I'll personally help you if you email, but you will get expert help via email too). Customer problems are very rare, but if you have one, all we ask is that you give us a chance to fix it. On tough or unusual problems (even more rare) it may take a small amount of patience while we figure out what's going on, but hang with us and I promise, we *will* fix it.

--- Mark
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Old December 9th, 2004, 03:36 AM   #13
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"A machine that has no internet access *and* doesn't have a floppy drive is a rare occurance."

Most machines that are used for editing and even most note-book computers do not have a floppy drive and at a remote location such as the church where I was going to use DV Rack there is also no internet connection.

Even so, I re-installed the floppy drive and it still didn't work.

"Also, you said that you need to register and activate to download the recommended update. This isn't the case as far as I can tell. The link you posted is accessible to anyone (I just logged out of SM access and tried it 'anonymous' to double check). Are you sure you couldn't get the update from our support pages?"

I got an email from Ryan Thomas stating the following, "You are the first to report this catch 22. I have fixed it so that the patch is downloadable with out needing to log in."

At the time I posted my earlier reply here it was not possible to get the patch without a name and password.

Danny Fye
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Old December 9th, 2004, 03:45 AM   #14
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Mark: thank you for your explanation and support here. That IS
much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old December 9th, 2004, 04:52 AM   #15
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Danny,

Thanks for helping us find that error on our website. I'm glad that it's been discovered and resolved. Although it's bad whenever we have an error on our website, in this case, the fact there you were the first to encounter the issue does give an indication just how rare activation problems are.

I'm glad to know that Ryan Thomas was helping you. I've worked with Ryan for many years and he is an outstanding technician with excellent PC and video engineering chops (a tough combination to find). He's also a diabolical D & D player with a propensity to ask the DM to mix character classes in unorthodox ways ("No Ryan, you cannot make a 1/8 Orc, 1/4 Troll, 1/2 Druid"). I mean, when you get a tech support resume in which the applicant defines themselves as "Neutral / Good", you do have to hire them, right?

I'm confident that had you continued working with Ryan, he would have resolved your activation issue in short order.

None of our techs at Serious Magic are the typical "call center" chimps that just follow on-screen scripts of dumb questions. Our magicians are all video knowledgeable people with actual real-world experience in either IT or video production or both. They actually use our products and they do real troubleshooting on the phone with customers if problems arise.

One comment we often hear from customers on our support phones is "Oh, I must have been escalated directly to a 'senior tech' somehow". We just tell them that we only have 'senior techs' and every call is "automagically" escalated when it comes in! ;-)

--- Mark
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