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Old February 2nd, 2005, 09:49 AM   #1
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D2D Setup including laptop, external harddrive, etc....recommendations

Ive decided to upgrade my production when shooting videos to a laptop with external hard drive and DV Rack.

Right now I use a mac G4. But would like to go with a PC laptop for the sole purpose of these types of event shooting. It would have DV Rack, Preimere, and possibly AE on it. It would not attach to the internet or need any other daily programs because I would use my mac for that. So basically what Im looking for is suggestions on brands as well as details on a
Laptop.
External Hard drive.
Anything else Im missing.

Im not looking for the minimum requirements, Im looking for fairly high performance.

Thanks
Ryan
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 05:52 AM   #2
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I have good experience with my DELL laptop and Maxtor firewire/USB2
harddisk. I would definitely get an external harddisk that has both
firewire and USB2 (because in my case daisy-chaining a DV camera
through a harddisk connected through firewire as well did NOT work!)

Make sure your harddisk is also supported with the Mac. Also make
sure the laptop has firewire.

One other thing: to the best of my knowledge the only filesystem
that both Windows and Mac OS can read is FAT(32). So format
the drive in FAT32 (maximum supporte partition size under FAT32
is 127 GB I think!!!).

This will however limit you to 4 GB files resulting in a 19 minute
maximum recording time per take.

Otherwise you will have to format it as NTFS (which a Mac CANNOT
read!!) and move the files to your Mac through another method
like a network.
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 08:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for all your help. As for the Mac PC issue. I will not be doing much if any transfering because I plan to have all editing software I need, on my laptop. Making the mac more of just a personal home use computer.

So Mac to PC compatibility isnt that important.
As for firewire, so its firewire from my camera to the comp and usb from the comp to the harddrive?

Where does the processor speed come into play in all this and how fast do I need it to be?

Also with the dells how easy is it to upgrade memory and such?

Finally, video card...I definitely know the very least about these. What should I be looking for?

Thanks for your help again, Im gonna check out the dell site now.
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Old February 4th, 2005, 03:42 AM   #4
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- yes, firewire for camera, usb for harddrive

- processor speed isn't that important for editing / capturing. It is important for rendering (effects, for example color correction) or MPEG-2 encoding for DVD

- dell has easy memory upgrade indeed, but personally I would invest to get 512 MB at least or 1 GB from the get go. If you do want to upgrade make sure there is a memory slot free

- video card, doesn't really matter (the card is always at least pretty good with DELL) as long as it can drive the screen attached to the laptop (should always be the case). Only matters if you want to do gaming on the system. What might be important is the connectors you have on the laptop. I have a normal VGA out and DVI and I can hook up a second display and run a dual monitor setup. DVI is great since it is fully digital (if you want to hook up a flatpanel LCD/TFT screen or one of those Apple screens)
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Old February 7th, 2005, 08:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for all your help...anyone else with an opinion on all this?
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Old February 8th, 2005, 11:31 AM   #6
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For DV Rack, the video card can be an important consideration. DV Rack does use the GPU on the video card for some of the analysis/processing, and we typically recommend the ATI Radeon chipset, and the nVidia GeForce chipset.

If you are looking at an older or used model laptop, and have the model number, go to the support site for the laptop manufacturer, and check the driver revision for the video card driver as well. Video drivers for laptops must be released by the laptop manufacturer, and some older model laptops never get updates. (It's not so much of a problem with newer models, but some older laptops were released with incomplete Direct 3D support in the video drivers, and no update was ever released by the manufacturer.)
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Old February 8th, 2005, 05:59 PM   #7
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I have been having second thoughts about a laptop due to lack of upgradability and expense...what is your recommendation and what do you see as the most popular PC used with DV Rack for D2D?
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Old February 8th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #8
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I wouldn't shy away from a laptop - hope I didn't scare you with that last post. It's rare nowadays to see a laptop maker not release new drivers for the video card. Dell has been very good, for example, in upgrading their drivers. The majority of today's laptops meet or exceed the specs required for a program like DV Rack.

Since I work in tech support, I hear from the minority of people who have problems, and older video drivers are one of our top issues. 95% of the time, there's an updated driver that'll fix the problem, but there are the occasional calls from people with 2 year old laptops, and the last driver was written in 2002 or earlier, and there isn't an update. It's rare, but it happens. If you are buying a used laptop to use with DV Rack, it's something to be aware of.

There is a company in Florida (www.alienware.com) that offers laptops with promised "upgradability." The video card is modular, and (in theory) Alienware can release updated video hardware modules in the future. It's still too soon to tell if this technology will take off in laptops, and how often new hardware is available.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 06:54 PM   #9
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So your saying most you have come across go with a laptop?
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Old February 9th, 2005, 05:21 PM   #10
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If you want to keep everything in the firewire domain you could try using a firewire hub. I have had great success with an Orange Micro, but any hub will provide the necessary power to an external drive. So the hookup would be 4pin to 6pin into the hub from laptop and also camera, then 6pin to 6pin into the drive.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 05:46 PM   #11
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Neil, have you had success using a FireWire hub with DV Rack?

Right now, we are NOT recommending the use of a FireWire hub with DV Rack and a hard drive. The programmers tell us there's a latency issue that could keep that configuration from performing smoothly. We usually recommend using a laptop with multiple FireWire ports, or use the built-in port and a PCMCIA card.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #12
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Sorry Karl, I have not used a hub with DV Rack. Thanks for pointing out this problem.
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