Canon's official word on their firewire issues at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 09:20 AM   #1
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Canon's official word on their firewire issues

"we do not support the Firewire connection"

This from a support email (fourth in a string of support requests) in which I have tried to inform them that there is a problem with the GL2's firewire port: the fact that it is not very cooperative on a single firewire bus and will not allow Firewire-800 devices mounted at the same time.

Canon can be assured that next year's budget will NOT go towards Canon equipment. This blatent lack of support is something I would like to avoid. What a shame, because I felt the GL2 met my recording needs quite well, but I still need to perform post-production on that footage.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 09:25 AM   #2
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Donovan, I have to believe you're quoting that out of context and not telling us the full story. Just from reading posts here it does seem that Final Cut Pro has issues with some of Canon's camcorders, but people generally find work arounds. But I find it a little hard to believe that Canon "doesn't support firewire."

Can you give us a little background?
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 10:57 AM   #3
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I think the guy meant that they don't give technical support for 1394a/1394b compatibility issues.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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DV camcorders in general tend to behave best when they're the sole occupant on a PC's FireWire bus. Just about all of the documentation I've ever read cautions the user against having multiple FireWire devices connected on the same FW bus as the DV camcorder.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 04:51 PM   #5
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Context

April 22: I submit a technical support request for my issue. It is not limited to FCP. If the camera is connected and turned on, I am unable to mount a firewire-800 drive (using a dual-2.5 G5). If the drive is already mounted and I then connect the camera and turn it on, I am not able to access either the camera nor the drive. Using a Sony camera in the same situation, I do NOT have the same problems. I also don't have problems if I am using firewire-400 drives instead of firewire-800 drives.

April 22: Canon's response: "be sure that your camera display shows 'DV-IN' blah blah blah". I got a standard response that appeared to be for people who are unable to connect the camera to a computer. I did not say that I couldn't connect my camera to the computer. I wrote back to say such, and never heard back.

August 18: Submitted another tech support request including the original text and response from the April request, also indicating I had replied but had not gotten a response. Canon's response: "be sure that your camera display shows 'DV-IN' blah blah blah". Sound familiar? I immediately wrote back telling them I already got that answer, it does not address my issue, and I actually wrote what my problem is not: connecting to the computer; and simply what my problem is: the canon firewire connection does not play nice with firewire-800 devices on the same bus.

August 19: Got a reply to my reply and they said they were not aware of this problem and will have to get back to me after they have time to do some research.

August 22: Got this reply...
"Firewire 800 has backward compatibility issues when working with
standard Firewire devices. It sounds as though you have run into one of
them. The best suggestion that I can make is for you to plug the
camcorder into one of his standard Firewire 400 ports. This is not an
issue we can offer any troubleshooting for as we do not support the
Firewire connection. The only computers that are currently shipping
with Firewire 800 ports are Mac's and they all also have standard
Firewire ports for just this reason."

Who said I was plugging the camera into a firewire-800 port? I specifically told them I tried both firewire-400 ports on the mac as well as the daisy-chained firewire-400 port on the drive itself. What stuck out for me in this reply was "we do not support the firewire connection".

I've done my best to tell Canon about the problem with their firewire ports. They refuse to acknowledge it.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 05:32 PM   #6
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That last reply was pretty good compared to the first ones--you must have busted through to a level 2 tech ;>). I understand your frustration. When I asked a question about one of their specs, their only reply was to thank me for using their product and to repeat the spec verbatim from the manual.

The best answer you're going to get is Chris's post above. To give you what you want, Canon would have to spend their resources checking out the permutations of new firewire standards and implementations, and writing patches for other people's drivers. That's not their thing. They wouldn't do that for a new model, let alone a 3 year old one.

Sony may look like a better company in this comparison, but in another situation when Sony finally acknowledged hissing in the audio of the VX2000 and PD150 cams, they fixed the PD150s (professional version of the 2000) but refused to fix the VX2000s.

These companies are, of course, a lot more sophisticated than the impression their front line drones give. They have their meetings and consider all the angles in terms of what's good for them, and sometimes that's to cut bait.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 05:56 PM   #7
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From what I've read, even though newer Macs have both FW 400 and 800, they share a single internal bus somehow. Rather than getting more and more frustrated, why not get a firewire PCI card? I think they're pretty cheap and that will give you a truly independent port. I got a PC firewire 400 card for my Powerbook at Best Buy and it only cost $30. Not sure how much a PCI card costs, but it can't be too much. As an alternative, can you use your disk on a FW 400 port at times when the camera is connected?

I've never had any firewire issues with my 3 Sony cameras on the Powerbook or dual G5. However, all my disk drives are firewire 400 so I've never used any FW 800 devices.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
[...]As an alternative, can you use your disk on a FW 400 port at times when the camera is connected?
Yes, the firewire-400 devices work fine in conjunction with the camera. However, I was hoping to utilize the faster speed of firewire-800 drives in order to avoid dropped frames during footage import in FCP.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 01:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donovan Kruger
Yes, the firewire-400 devices work fine in conjunction with the camera. However, I was hoping to utilize the faster speed of firewire-800 drives in order to avoid dropped frames during footage import in FCP.
You shouldn't be experiencing dropped frames from a firewire 400 drive during import to FCP. I've dumped AVI files to a firewire 400 drive and then given them to an editor who plugged the drive in to his system and FCP opened them with no problem.

-gb-
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Old August 24th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #10
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I'm looking at a stack of 6 FW 400 drives in front of me right now, and there are another 3 around here somewhere. I've never had dropped frame issues with these drives on my dual G5/2.5, single g4/1.25 or Powerbook G4/1.0. Like Greg says, if the drives are 7200 RPM I think FW 400 works just fine. I've also never had problems connecting my Sony cameras on the same bus.

This summer when I had to do a lot of editing on my powerbook I picked up a firewire PC card just in case I ran into any problems while out of the country. The other advantage to having a separate firewire bus is noticeably faster copies between two firewire drives. Copying 100GB between two daisy chained FW 400 drives works fine, but takes a LONG time :-)
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Old August 26th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #11
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No sweat...

I have just bought an XM2 and found it is not as user friendly with the Mac as my old Panasonic. It often will not show that it is switched on.

I have a LaCie 320G FW 800 drive connected that I drop all video to, so I have to have it on.

I have found that doing a permissions repair with Disc Utility before opening the program and switching on the camera works every time.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 01:21 PM   #12
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I don't know if this informs the discussion or not, here's my $0.02:

Last year after taping 18 hours worth of footage from multiple performances (and multiple cameras) of a dance piece, I imported a good deal of it from my GL1 attached on the FW400 port into FCE using an attached La Cie FW800 external drive on my PowerBook.

The capture went very well and I would assume that a GL2 would more or less have the same output circuitry.

I had no problems other than FCE always complains if the camera isn't attached when the program starts up. I did have a few dropped frames problems initially which were cleared up after cleaning the heads. I was using the same brand tape from 3 different cameras - GL1, XL1, Sony ??? (it was a small 1 chipper). So, I think it is possible there is a specific issue with your GL2.

Sincerely,
Ron J.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #13
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I doubt that it is specific to my particular GL2. Here is a good recent piece from xlr8yourmac.

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/archives/aug05/081705.html

Scroll down to "G5 owner report on problems if both Canon GL2 + FW Drives connected".

Working solution: purchase and install an additional firewire controller.

Better solution: Canon fix this problem. I find it hard to swallow the fact that a $3000 camera and $3000 computer need an $80 piece of equipment to work together when a $250 camera manufactured by another company doesn't require the extra piece of equipment. Very disheartening that Canon won't troubleshoot this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Johnson
[...]So, I think it is possible there is a specific issue with your GL2.

Sincerely,
Ron J.
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