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Old November 24th, 2004, 05:06 AM   #1
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Are capture drives worth it?

Has anyone out there had any experience using capture drives? I've seen a few about but havent read many reviews. Does anyone have any experience of this technology i.e. are they effective or has anyone heard of any problems with any of the recent models available?

Thanks, Ian.
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Old November 24th, 2004, 05:25 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard DVInfo.net Ian!

Capture drives? I must I'm not sure what you are talking about.

Can you elaborate on what exactly you are looking for, what you
are trying to do or perhaps a link to such a "drive"?
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Old November 24th, 2004, 07:33 AM   #3
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Hi Ian,

I'm also curious what you mean by a "capture drive." I'm a huge proponent of what you might call "edit-ready drives," that is, a hard drive with a firmware layer that writes an edit-ready file to the drive. I'm guessing that a capture drive does not write an edit-ready file, and instead writes video which must be captured into the computer later on?
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Old November 26th, 2004, 06:31 AM   #4
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Capture Drives...

Hi, yes it seems that these - or at least the MCE Quickstream DV - can actually 'capture' in file formats ready for editing - such as .mov quicktime .avi mpeg2 etc but I may have read it wrong so here's some links for you to take a look at...

http://dv411.com/drdv5000u.html
http://www.mcetech.com/quickstreamdv/

These drives attach to the battery port and it would seem they are the answer to a problem I have but I havent been able to find anyone first hand experience of them. If they can truly capture with integrity then this would be great for a project I'm working on, using fixed-mount cameras, where it would be great to use this tapless solution?
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Old November 26th, 2004, 06:42 AM   #5
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I now see where you got the word "capture drive" from (from
quickstream it seems). We generally call these Direct-to-Disk
recording (as per this forums title). Quite a lot of people use this
kind of equipment (for DV mostly the Firestore's on this board,
see the subforum for that brand) here and seem to like it.

Whether it is for you depends. They can be quite costly (depending
on your budget) but do allow you to record longer than one hour
in one recording and avoid the need to capture the footage from
tape and avoid possible tape problems (bad tape, glogged heads
etc.).

Whether it is worth it is a matter of price versus worth for you.

If I had the money it would be the only way I would be shooting!
(perhaps with tape as a backup / archive)

I would also like to point out that you can record directly to a PC
(and laptop) for example with any capture program. There is even
a specialized program for this called DV Rack

Please take your time to read and browse through our DTD forums
to read what other people have to say. A lot has already been
written and discussed about this type of gear!
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Old November 26th, 2004, 08:08 AM   #6
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I statrted out using the Firestore FS-1 2 years ago and it's been great.

I edit on the road during a music tour interviewing concert goers and had to get the footage edited and encoded to the sponsor's website in less than 24 hrs.

I attached a 160Gig Western Digital external drive to the FS-1 and was capturing straight to the HDD and also tape as a backup. This year I used a 250 GIG Western Digital External.

The FS-1 worked great when I finish shooting, I just attached my HDD to my laptop through the 1394 port and edit, encode and upload.

The FS-1 and the HDD hasn't failed once in the two years that I've been using and I have shot about 120 hours of footage while traveling through 50 cities and editing on an RV.

Next spring we'll be using two FS-3s when we document a college bus tour.
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Old November 26th, 2004, 02:01 PM   #7
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Is it possible to record to an iPod? Is there some software required to re-format it correctly?

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Sorry, ignore this, I found the answer. Lazy Newbie!
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Old November 28th, 2004, 05:40 AM   #8
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Harry: welcome aboard DVInfo.net! What you want is not possible,
there is no software to enable this. It is also unknown whether
the device would be fast enough. I'm not even sure how re-
programmable it is for external parties, although I do believe
they got some form of linux running on it. So in theory it might
be possible, but at this point in time nothing exists for this.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 03:43 PM   #9
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The answer to, Is DTE worth it.

I think, the answer is: ... Yes. If you are a professional and using your camera to make money, the answer is yes.

I use FS-1 DTE recorders and I am very excited about the FS-4 because these products save money and make strong sense financially.

1. Time is money. Even when I shoot an hour long school production, with three cameras I have three hours of video to capture before editing. DTE saves that time from the schedule of getting the job completed. Not having to capture is just a lot easier and faster. For events that don't bring in the big money, this kind of technology can help make a project more worth doing.

2. Resources. While capturing video a workstation is not available for editing, or... working. I prefer not to capture when no one needs the station, because I don't want to be around when no one needs the station.

3. Wear and Tear, Reliability. If you shoot a lot of video with a high end camera, you do not want to use the camera during the capture process. You do not want to double the hours of use on your camera. I want to save those hours of reliable performance for the 4k wedding. Ok, you can buy a deck for 2.4K, or you can buy a cheap camera and use it as a deck until it dies while eating the tape of a once in a lifetime shot of a meteor hitting the ball at a pro sporting event. Or now, you can buy four FS-4's for the cost of a low end Sony deck.

4. Longer record times. This might not be an advantage to some, but it seems like everything I ever shoot is an hour and 10 minutes minimum. That means a break while changing tapes. I have also noticed that all of my cameras need a tape change at the exact same time???? The DTE runs for hours with no tape change, and because it saves everything as 2G chunks with no frame drops, you have no problems with a single 40G file that is hard to work with. (If you use tape as backup during really critical stuff or when you want an archive then my statement is not true since the DTE stops recording while you change the tapes.)

5. Legal Issues. I worry alot about legal issues with weddings so I stay very redundant, the chances of a tape problem and a DTE problem at the same time are not very good.

6. Real time editing. I do some events like seminars, where I edit real time using a video mixer. Using a DTE is a great way to capture the video. It is a lot easier than a PC which might or might not drop frames, depending on the virus of the week. A DTE is cheaper than a deck or using another camera. (If you use a DTE like this with a hard drive, you might need to cut off the earth ground connection on the hard drive to prevent ground loops through the 1394.)

7. Cool Factor. This seems silly, but you need to look right to get more and better jobs. When people see name tags, company shirts, hardcases, professional cameras and tripods, etc... They make assumptions about the quality of your work and they hire you for there event. I have had people ask if I was recording directly to hard drive in one breath and ask for my card in the next.

I think until something better comes along, DTE is a great way to go and adds a lot of value to my business model.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 03:22 AM   #10
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Which External Western Digital Hard Drive

Hi Stephen

I'm trying to find external hard drives that are compatible with FS-1. The drives enlisted on Focus support are outdated and no more available. I see that you are using Western Digital Hard drives which are easily available in the market. I will be extremely grateful if you would let me know what model of External Western Digital Hard Drive you have been using. Many Thanks

Regards
Dinesh
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Old July 13th, 2005, 06:05 AM   #11
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The one I brought last year is the Dual Option model. They have one that comes with a 8-1 card reader but i just needed the drive.

You can find them at Newegg, Frye electronics, CompUSA etc.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 11:12 PM   #12
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Direct-to-disk rocks!

I just filmed 3 ballet performances last weekend. I filmed it with 3 camera angles. Each performance was 3 hours long.

3 cameras x 3 angles x 3 performances = 27 hours of footage.

I had 2 FS-1s connected to two of the cameras and went to tape on the 3rd. Sure I had to capture 9 hours of footage but I did NOT have to capture the other 18 hours!

I am planning on upgrading next year to something more portable (once I find one with a nice battery).

I encourage everyone to go as tapeless as possible!
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