Using HV10 as deck vs. firestore? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #1
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Using HV10 as deck vs. firestore?

So, I know it's not a good idea to mess up the heads on your A1 by using it to capture, but is buying the HV10 the most viable solution at this point (or the forseeable future)? I'm also curious what people think of just buying a Firestore.

Would that not be a potential solution to the problem?

I guess it depends on which model of Firestore. Maybe somebody can link me to the Firestore that works with the A1.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #2
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You'd want the FireStore FS-C (with HDV support included), specifically for Canon camcorders. The product page says XL but it'll work with an XH. The link is http://www.focusenhancements.com/sol...log.asp?id=171

The HV10 camcorder has certain features intended specifically for VTR support of the larger Canon HD cameras such as the XH and XL H1. These include Frame mode playback and 4-channel audio playback. It is the "deck" for the XH and XL H1.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
You'd want the FireStore FS-C (with HDV support included), specifically for Canon camcorders. The product page says XL but it'll work with an XH. The link is http://www.focusenhancements.com/sol...log.asp?id=171
Thanks, Chris, your comments on these matters are always appreciated. What do you think? If you were looking for a solution to the deck dilemma, would you go the Firestore route and also benefit from tapeless recording or would you buy the HV10 and end up with a nice b-roll / vacation camera? :)

I also wonder, can the A1 record to the Firestore and tape simultaneously? For archiving?
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #4
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There's a big non-benefit from tapeless recording in that you don't have your original tapes to file. Once you transfer the footage from a Firestore to your computer and edit, you'll have to eventually, before you dump it all, make copies onto a lot of DVDs or DLT tapes or something, unless you don't archive your original footage.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:22 PM   #5
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I guess that answers my question about recording to the Firestore and tape simultaneously. So, I personally find the idea of not having a taped archive not very appealing. Data is too easily corrupted.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #6
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Well, actually you *can* have it both ways... you certainly can record to tape in the camera simultaneously while recording to the FireStore; that's one of its primary features. The FireStore gives you an edit-ready file, and very long recording times beyond 60 minutes. Meanwhile the tape is your confidence copy as well as your instant archive. The FireStore can operate in slave mode, starting and stopping along with the tape as you press record and pause at will. The main thing is that it's important to realize that you can record both to tape and to FireStore together and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Re: the HV10, the big problem with using the A1 as a VTR is *not* the so-called "wear on the heads" myth. That's a non-issue. You're not going to wear out the heads. The main reason not to use the A1 for playback is that it ties up the camera in the edit suite when it should be out shooting. If it's not shooting then it's not making money. Free it up for shooting by using the HV10 for playback. Keep the A1 in the gear bag where it belongs.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:44 PM   #7
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I didn't know you could do that with the Firestore--slave it from the tape start and stop. If so, then that's cool. I assume the time code would be the same as the tape? If so, what about when you switch tapes, can you reset the TC on the firestore to match the tape?
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #8
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Now that I don't know; it's been awhile since I've used one and a number of firware updates have happened since then. However, we have a dedicated FireStore support forum here, so you might want to search through it for some answers. The link is http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisp...?s=&forumid=65
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
the HV10, the big problem with using the A1 as a VTR is *not* the so-called "wear on the heads" myth.
Is it really a myth that you can wear out your heads?

I always thought that was the reason that people don't use their camcorders as a deck.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #10
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I think the reason that people don't use their camcorders as a deck is the *fear* that they'll wear out the heads. It's never happened to me, and I've used my mine as a VTR just as much as a camera. And I don't recall anybody ever posting that it's actually happened to them. A lot of folks sure are scared of it, though.

Somebody who shoots eight hours a day, five days a week -- yes they need a VTR. Or a camcorder like the HV10 to serve as a feeder deck. Likewise for someone who edits that much, obviously they need a dedicated VTR / camcorder feeder deck. But I maintain that it's primarily a time and resource management issue more than it is a "wear on the heads" issue. If that were such a big deal, then there wouldn't be a VCR playback mode on the camera to begin with. And the owner's manual would have some kind of warning about it.

Now other people's tapes, no, I'd never play those from my camera. I keep a separate consumer camcorder around just for that purpose. However, I have no truck with using my camera to play back the tapes it shot. But then again, I'm not shooting 40 hours a week. Mileage. Vary.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #11
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That's good to know. My budget allows for the camera, and the camera only; maybe a tripod.

That myth of wearing out the heads is still scary. I know I'm still going to be paranoid about how much wear I put on the camera.

I fear sending in my camera under warranty and them saying, "It's just natural wear-and-tear. Not covered in warranty."
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #12
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If you're in a professional production situation, I think you need a deck. It's very common to pop in and out 30 or 40 tapes a day in editing a big show. You may shuttle at fast speed through half a dozen or more tapes, one right after another, looking for shots. I sometimes work with a friend's system, and he has an older "prosumer' Panasonic DV deck. It takes full size tapes but is one of the cheaper decks. It's maddening to use it because it's so slow, takes so long to interact with FCP, and takes forever to rewind and park, and even to load and eject tapes. The difference between editing with a deck like that and a deck like the DSR1800s is really significant.

However, I agree with Chris about personal projects. If you don't have clients sitting over your shoulder, and if you work on one project at a time, shooting, then maybe the next day loading all your tapes, then you can work effectively with a camera as a deck. It's not about wearing out the heads--you're only using the play heads, not the recording heads. But you do put more strain on the mechanical components. Still it's not a big deal for an individual. I think you would have to use the camera in a day to day production edit suite to cause any problems with it.

The biggest problem I've seen from people using a camera as a deck is that if the camera's heads get out of alignment, you never know about it till it's too late...like when you take a tape to a dub house and they can't play it.

As far as making master tapes...they're going to be DVCAM, Betacam SP or Digibeta or even HDCAM for entering into festivals, so an HDV deck to record back to isn't going to do you much good. If your release is DVD, no problem. If it's going to a lab for transfer to film, you're going to send your files on a hard drive, so no problem. If you want a master tape to make dubs for various film festivals, then you probably are going to rent a Digibeta or HDCAM deck for that purpose, then have the dubs made at a dub house. If you're doing local TV spots, you probably have a Betacam deck for those and eventually will put them up on a server. If you're doing national spots, you're not going to be using this camera.

I do think the lack of a deck that plays 24F and 30F would be a problem in getting Canon cameras accepted into production houses if they wanted to shoot 24F; but for most people, using the camera will work. I intend to use it for my personal documentaries. And if you really want a separate device other than your shooting camera, the HV10 may not be as convenient and fast as a real deck, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper. I think the cheapest Sony HDV deck is over $3K. We paid $9,000 each for our DSR1800 decks.

And, one nice thing about the HV10 as a deck...I can see situations where it would be very nice to have a really small pocket camera available. I probably wouldn't go out and buy one just for taking on vacations, but if I had a secondary use for it--like, as a deck--then I could justify it.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 10:24 AM   #13
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Andrew, your post appeared before mine while I was writing mine, apparently. One thing I can point out...if you're using FCP, there's a very nice feature it has that allows you to load a whole tape all at once. Then you go into the menu and find "detect DV breaks"...something like that. I'm not at the editing computer now and don't rememeber exactly what it's called. What it does is detect every time the camea is turned on and off. Avid Xpress Pro does this too, but FCP will give you a list with a marker at every break.

Say your clip is named "Tape 1." When the above function is turned on, you turn down the arrow on your loaded clip and it will reveal every individual shot with a marker beside it labeled Tape 1.1, Tape 1.2, etc.. If you have 20 shots on the tape, there'll be a list of all 20 under the master clip icon. You can then name them whatever you want. I've found this after-the-fact naming to be faster than going through the tape marking in and out points.

This is relevant to you if you are still concerned about wear on the camera, because, as I mentioned above, the head wear is not really significant, it's the stopping, rewinding, starting, stopping you do when you mark each clip for capturing. If you just capture the tape all at once, or from beginning of where you want to the end (doesn't have to be the whole tape--just set an in point at the head of the shots you want and an end point at the end), then you're only shuttling through the tape one time, and the camera only reverses and parks at the preroll point one time for each tape.

I hope that's making sense. In other words, when you log each clip, you shuttle to an in point, stop and mark it, shuttle to an out point, stop and mark it, and usually you will go back and forth to find each point, so there's even more stopping and starting. Then when you actually capture, the camera has to go to the in point and past it, park, then play to the out point, reverse and park again for the next one, etc. So with 20 shots, you're probably activating the mechanism 40-60 times or more. By capturing everything at once and using the shot detection feature, you only go through the cycle one time.

One thing to keep in mind when using the camera as a deck is that you're going to pick up tape crud because of the shuttling. So it's probably a good idea to keep a head cleaning tape in your camera bag. (But be sure to only use it when needed and follow the directions exactly.)

As I said in the above post, I'll be using my new XH A1 (which arrives Wednesday, thank you UPS) as a deck for personal stuff because I also don't want to spend any more money at this time. I'm pretty religious about tape quality and handling, so I'm not worried about it. If I start shooting a hundred tapes for a documentary, I'll buy the HV10.

I apologize for these 2 long winded posts.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #14
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The function Bill is referring to is under "Mark > DV Start/Stop Detect" in FCP. Jsut select one of your master clips and use that function, it only takes about a minute for an hour long clip.

I've used this multiple times, and it makes it very easy to break up one huge clip into several subclips wherever you stopped and started the camera.

I agree with Bill on the wear. I used to go through each DV tape with my cheap eBay camera and select which footage I wanted to capture, then did a batch capture. It just takes forever, and I'm surprised that camera still works! I now capture a tape from start to finish then sort it out later. It takes more hard drive space to hold that unwanted footage, but with hard drives so cheap now, it's not so bad. Plus, I can capture 7 hours of tapes in about 7 hours instead of 12.
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Old November 18th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #15
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Deck vs. 2nd camcorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I sometimes work with a friend's system, and he has an older "prosumer' Panasonic DV deck. It takes full size tapes but is one of the cheaper decks. It's maddening to use it because it's so slow, takes so long to interact with FCP, and takes forever to rewind and park, and even to load and eject tapes. The difference between editing with a deck like that and a deck like the DSR1800s is really significant.
Hi Bill,

As I've never used a deck before, I'd like to ask whether the difference you describe between the older Panasonic DV deck and the DSR-1800 would be comparable to the difference between using an inexpensive camera and a DSR-11 for example.

I sometimes have a pile of tapes where I need to load and grab a section out. The response time to interact between my editor (PP 2) and the camera is frustratingly slow for jobs like that.

Assuming that at least in terms of overall speed the 1800 and 11 DSR decks would be comparable, can you quantify how much faster such a deck would be as compared to a camera?
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