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Old December 2nd, 2003, 11:14 PM   #16
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Be sure to ask "Why Not???" when comparing systems

It is inevitable that some people's requirements will be much more demanding than others. But, when considering to incorporate a new, professional piece of equipment into your workflow, you should ask as many questions as you can.

One issue that should definitely be considered is how quickly you need to start capturing. Do you want your system to be remotely controlled by your camera when you hit the Rec Start button on the camera? If your system cannot be controlled by the camera, will you miss the shot if you have to look away from the viewfinder and reach over your back shoulder with your left hand to press a couple of buttons to get it to start capturing? Surely, there will be some that will say "I can deal with the lag" and many more will say "I want instant capturing!". How low-profile do you have to be? Will the movement of reaching over your right shoulder compromise your transparency, distract your subject and bust your shot?

Does your solution perform its' duties transparently? Does the solution you are considering offer you the ability to remain still and focused on the viewfinder frame by effectively being remotely controlled by your camera's REC Start/ Stop button?

How many times have you hit Record, only to realize that you were a few seconds too late? How many times have you said to yourself in post "Nice shot - if only we had some pre-roll..."? Does your solution help enable you to cover your mistakes with a Retro-Cache feature which effectively captures the shot a full 10 seconds *prior* to your decision to press Record? This can be a key feature to many shooters.

Does your solution offer you a lot of visual feedback via a large LCD display -or- does it offer you little or no feedback? Does your solution ever compromise your comfort level or "take you out of your zone" by not making it clear as to what it is doing?

What happens with your solution when your internal hard drive is maxed out? Do you have to stop what you are doing and miss the shot? Does your solution clearly tell you exactly how many minutes and seconds of recording time you have left on your drive? Ever wish that you had over 3 hours of recording time? How about over 6 hours of recording time???

Can you easily erase clips that you know you do not need in the field while shooting with an easy to understand menu-based system interface with a large LCD display? Is it easy to free up space on your disk by erasing clips that you know you do not need - without having to erase all of the clips or reformat?

Will your solution keep capturing even if the tape in your camera runs out? Does it offer you any type of warning?

What happens when you max out your drive? Will your solution allow you to spill out via a FireWire Loop-Through to another external firewire drive? Does your solution offer an additional 6-pin FireWire port for external drives? How about HDD Bypass - does your solution allow your connected Disk Drives to Mount to a computer without Disconnecting?

Does your solution allow you to format the disk AND partition without the need for a computer to be connected? Is your solution Windows-only or will it work seamlessly with either Windows or Mac?

Does your solution provide you ANY type of anti-shock protection? Does it offer a built-in RAM cache too? Does your solution offer a full 10 seconds of Anti-shock Cache, preventing lost shots during extreme shock times? Does it offer you any type of easy file-repair in case you see a corrupted clip in extreme conditions? Can you do that in the unit itself, while you are in the field shooting -or- do you have to try to repair the clip on your desktop or laptop?

Speaking of extreme conditions, how weather-resistant is your solution? Is it made of metal? Does it have an internal rubber shock gasket?

Is your solution designed only to be used as a capture drive on-camera? Or, does it also allow you to easily use it as a DV Playback/ Record deck in the studio or via Remote? Does your solution offer you RS232/ GPI and wired remote control? Does your solution offer ANY type of remote control???

When timecode is generated by your camera, does your solution capture that identical timecode to disk? Does your solution offer you the ability to also Preset your timecode -or- record timecode in Free Run Mode or time of day?

Does your solution allow you to *capture* Time Lapse? Can you easily adjust the Time Lapse Interval up to 24 hours? How about Single Frame Animation - remotely controlled?

Does your solution offer any type of capture file management in the field? Does your solution offer you the ability to handle all of the capture clip management for you - autonomously? Can you mark your clips as keepers at a moments' notice? During Recording and Playback? Can you create your own custom "Keeper" folder on disk?

Does your solution allow you to play back your clips and see them through the viewfinder of your camera? Does it allow you to preview the first frame of every clip with easy indexing Forward or Backward? How about multiple Playback functions such as Reverse Play, Multi-Speed Forward/ Reverse Search, Multi-Speed Slow Motion, Frame-by-Frame Forward/ Reverse Step and Index Clip Forward/ Reverse? Do you find yourself wishing that you could preview the last shot 2 to 3 times without having to re-cue it every time or having to re-cue the tape? Do you still suffer from tape timecode breaks because of this? Does your solution offer you a very fast way to preview your shots? Do you find yourself missing shots while previewing?

Does your solution offer a "soft-key" based Menu system, allowing for easy and quick setup and operation for any application?

Is the system OS in your solution limited? Or, is it Flash Upgradeable with an easy way for you to be Up To Date on the most current revisions? Or, will you have to buy again when the next revision and update is offered?

Does your solution offer you the ability to capture RawDV, AV1 1, AVI 2, Canopus AVI, Matrox AVI, QuickTime and AVID DV OMF? Are the capabilities of your solution upgradeable in the future?

Do you still have to convert your file captures with your solution? What if you have little or no time to edit - can you simply import your clips from your solution disk to the timeline too? Can you easily play those clips immediately once you drag them onto your timeline or do you have to re-render? What if you want to hand off your footage to another editor or production house which uses AVID OMF? What if that editor or production house tells you that "we will only accept AVID OMF." ??? Do you have the ability to Export to OMF without rendering??? You mean you have to spend hours converting your clips to OMF on your desktop? What if you could easily and much more quickly convert your clips to AVID OMF in Real Time and save yourself hours of conversion time?

Does your solution not capture properly if you accidentally create a Time Code break on the tape inside the camera? Is your solution smart enough to sense this and back you up every time by continuing to capture regardless? Or do you miss the shot?

Do you have the true ability to edit your clips on the run or are you hindered by a simple LED light or little or no display?

Does your solution allow you to completely eliminate the INGEST stage of your production workflow??? What? You mean you can't just pop in another hard drive pod and continue to shoot while your editor injests your clips? You mean you have to stop doing what you are doing, walk over to your editors' workstation, offload the clips to his drive, reformat your drive, reconnect it to your camera? Why can't you simply hand off the hard drive pod to your editing crew? Can your editor immediately start importing clips into his timeline from your hard drive pod? Can your editor use your hard drive pod as a source drive or does he have to copy all of that footage to his own drives because your solution can't play back your clips without dropping frames when connected as a playback source drive? Does your solution offer the ability to power your drive pods via 6-pin firewire bus powering or does it only offer 4-pin Firewire ports (which don't pass power to devices). Does your editor say "get that thing out of here, I'm not allowing you to connect that to my edit system!" or Does your editor breathe a sigh of relief and say "Sure, no problem, that will connect easily - go ahead!" when you try to hand him your hard drive pods? Do the hard drive pods in your system also offer ports to connect external AC-DC power adaptors? Do the hard drive pods in your system also offer the defacto standard 6-pin Firewire Input and a 6-pin FireWire Loop Through?

Does your solution perform every task that you need in the here and now - and then some? Or does your system "kinda" do the job. Can you upgrade your solution easily via software? Is the manufacturer of your solution committed to setting the Gold standard and providing you with a solution that will grow with you as your skills and needs grow? Does your solution perform effortlessly in the high-end professional DV Broadcast venue as well?

What type of warranty does your solution manufacturer offer? How about support?

These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself if you are charging for your services and looking for the best solution that will perform in any venue and grow with you.

As you can see, there are many, many questions to ask when trying to make your final decision! If you find yourself asking "Why not??? or "How come mine doesn't do that?" more often than not, then you owe yourself the opportunity to FireStore.

- don
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Old April 13th, 2004, 02:44 PM   #17
 
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Does the Pyro device record to the DV .avi file format?

Or does it record to some other intermediate file format?

Does anybody know if ADS plans to release an HDV-ready hard disk recorder?

Jerry Jones
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Old April 13th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #18
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<<<-- Originally posted by Barry Gribble : Is anyone recording directly on to a laptop?

I experimented with my XL1 and Premiere Pro on the desktop and it seemed to capture fine.... -->>>

I've shot some scenes directly to my DELL laptop for my Lady X
episode using my XL1S and Vegas capture utility. Worked
perfectly. A laptop harddisk usually is more prone to dropping
frames (they usually rotate at a slower speed) and therefor
absolutely need defragging before use. A seperate capture
partition will definitely help with this.
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Old April 26th, 2004, 10:26 PM   #19
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Chroma key implications

in recording directly to hard disk, does this benefit at all the limitations that miniDv has in chromakeying, given its weaker chroma capabilities, or does directly recording to disk not make any difference in that?
Thanks,
John
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Old April 27th, 2004, 12:20 PM   #20
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HD recording is like when you capture your miniDV footage to your HD on your editing station. It just is a transfer of the data from the camera to disk. So the miniDV format is still the same, you just bypass the tape part of it.
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Old April 27th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #21
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John: no, it will not give you any benefits other than the files
are ready to be used or you have an extra backup if you are
recording also to tape, etc. The information is the exact same,
bit for bit.

Capturing is actually the wrong word since all your doing is
copying a digital "stream" (file) from one place to another. If
your capturing a tape you simply copy that "file" to your harddisk.
If you are capturing realtime then it's simply the stream coming
of the DV encoder onboard your camera.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #22
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direct to hard disk,e t c

Thanks, Rob.

So man, the best thing would be to buy a cam that has a better output than typical miniDV like the JVC HD one? And dump it right to Hard disk? Would a firewire HD take that kind of signal?

And edit in Vegas or Premiere? Converting the files to the needed format?

Thanks for any info,
JOhn Haskins
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Old April 29th, 2004, 03:58 AM   #23
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My knowledge regarding this stuff only lies in the normal DV
consumer/pro-sumer range. I don't know much about the higher
end stuff. If the higher end still has DV then you are still using
the same compression. There is one higher DV standard (DVCPro
I think) that runs on 50 mbps instead of 25 mbps and thus has
less compression artifacting. Whether this will work good with
an NLE like Vegas or Premiere, I don't know. To the best of my
knowledge such NLE's only support the 25 mbps DV codec.

Then again, if you really want a better system direct to harddisk
might be a better option. I'm not sure there are high-end camera's
to offer this feature. I think there was one new ENG style camera
out with this option.

To the best of my knowledge higher end cams tend to use SDI
connections with dedicated SDI capture boards.
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Old April 30th, 2004, 06:13 AM   #24
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Direct to hard disc options??

Anyone have website for CitiDISC ?
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Old April 30th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #25
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The first hit from google when searching on Citidisk
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Old April 30th, 2004, 03:00 PM   #26
 
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this is identically the same unit offered by ADS Tech.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 09:34 PM   #27
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Actually the fine folks at CitiDisk are the OEM's, rather than the other way around. They brand several versions of their technology, two of which are represented on this forum - besides their own brand. It's a small world after all.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #28
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Here are pics of CitiDISK http://www.shining.com/ on XL1. Very neat & compact; smaller than a large DV CAM tape case & light, & for my use it's compatible with Macrosystems Solitaire NLE.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 10:16 PM   #29
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Well actually the folks at Shining are still working on releasing their DVR for Solitaire. It's not available today, but should be soon. But then again, Solitaire is not ready for market yet either.

Shining was the first manufacturer to utilize the Lithium Polymer internal batteries and did a very nice job. Overall they did a wonderful job of filling a niche in the DVR market unaddressed by their competitors - a low-cost, portable DVR that can capture in a limited number of native formats.

Kudos to Chris Wang for a job well done!
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:27 AM   #30
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Hi Bruce & thanks for that correction. Am I right in assuming that some NLE's don't capture in the Native format & if CitiDisk does that for Solitaire, then it's quite a good product? Cheers PC
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