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Old November 25th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #1
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Capturing to a MacBook w/ just one Firewire

I'm so ticked at myself for buying a MacBook thinking it had Firewire 400 AND Firewire 800. Looking at it closer, the '800' is Ethernet!! I have a Quad for editing, and the MacBook for capturing. I need the FireWire for the FX1 (HDV), and I cannot save to the internal. USB would bottleneck the process...so the only option is Ethernet.

Can I capture to the MacBook, connecting to and External connected to the Quad via Ethernet?

It would go:
Cam via Firewire 400 to MacBook
MacBook via Ethernet to Quad
Quad via Firewire 800 to External

The only other option is to sell the MacBook. Thoughts?
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Old November 25th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #2
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Ethernet speeds will not keep up with your capture rate.... you might have luck with a firewire hub... assuming it provides enough power to keep the hard drive running.... or use a USB external chassis for the drive?
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Old November 25th, 2007, 09:00 PM   #3
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I should elaborate. C|net lists the specs for my Macbook:

Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g
IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
2 x Hi-Speed USB - Hi-Speed USB, 1 x Ethernet - RJ-45

I don't understand all of it, especially as they mention Ethernet three times, but there is just one port. "Fast Ethernet" would be only 100 mbps, but "Gigabit Ethernet" would be faster than my Firewire 400 at 1000 mbps. I just don't know which mine is.

The thing that hit me is that the High Speed USB should be 480 mbps, which is also faster than the Firewire 400.

What is the best option with these specs?
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Old November 25th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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Well I tried capturing with USB to External and it bottlenecked, so it cannot be running 480mbps. It looks like I need to sell my Macbook Pro and get a newer version of the MacBook Pro with the additional FireWire (800) to be able to capture.

Very disappointing, but I should have checked. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know before I sell it.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 07:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Well I tried capturing with USB to External and it bottlenecked, so it cannot be running 480mbps. It looks like I need to sell my Macbook Pro and get a newer version of the MacBook Pro with the additional FireWire (800) to be able to capture.

Very disappointing, but I should have checked. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know before I sell it.
USB2 external drives can easily attain >20MB/s write speeds. DV and HDV are only 3.5MB/s. Even if you're capturing in AIC you should be ok, although ProRes would be iffy. I regularly capture HDV and have also captured AIC to a USB2 drive (2.5") with zero dropped frames over many hours of capture.

If your USB drive cannot handle 3.5MB/s then it might be highly fragmented, or using a USB1-only enclosure, or you have it connected through a USB1-only hub.

The extra FW800 port on the MBP won't help you much, since the two firewire ports are connected to the same bus internally. Connecting a camera will limit both ports to FW100 speeds, which is enough for capturing (H)DV to an internal/USB drive, but may cause problems trying to capture from a camera and record to a disk which are both on the same FW100 bus.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #6
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Cnet seems to be listing supported transfer protocols and ports separately. The MacBook supports up to Gigabit ethernet through its RJ-45 port, Firewire 400, and USB2.

There are network drives that will hook up to Ethernet, but the cheaper units that I've looked at have all been much slower than a Firewire drive.

You should also be able to daisy chain your camera to your Firewire hard drive, and connect to the single Firewire 400 on your computer. The 400 Mbps should be plenty to handle the 50 Mbps of traffic from the camera and hard drive. If your external drive doesn't have two Firewire ports, then an external hub basically does the same thing. I've done this with DV for years, and the HDV data rate is almost identical.

Apple's support of USB2 has tended to be slower than on Windows, such that external drives with both USB2 and Firewire 400 tend to run ~2x faster on Firewire than on USB, so if your capture problems really are due to hard drive speed, this might help your problem. That said, you should still be getting 15-20 MB/sec on USB2. Try timing a simple file duplication on your drive connected to either Firewire 400 or USB2 (something big), and divide MB / sec. Your approx. max transfer rate is twice the result (since it is reading and writing to the same drive).

-Terence
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Old November 26th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #7
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Dana,
There are gigabit ethernet raids that you could connect to both machines. You will need to get an ethernet switch that supports gigabit.

A less expensive way to go would be to buy a usb drive, plug it into the Macbook for capture then plug it into the Quad to transfer.



Below are links to what the switch and raid are but, if you go this route do sme research as to the various options that are available:

Gigabit Switch:
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch...=done&nextloc=

Eterhnet Raid:
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10953
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Old November 26th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #8
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Thank you Jason,

That's a shocker about the Firewire. I'll do some more tests with USB. I'm converting from PC/Vegas to Mac/FCS2, and I've got 3 WD drives that I'm formatting, and will give it a try.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 10:59 AM   #9
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Josh and Terrance, thank you also. Those are some great ideas. I've tried daisy chaining the Firewire, but when I have the camera in the drive. I'll try it later today with a freshly formatted drive.

I also love the idea of having both Macs connected. Would I be able to run Macbook apps on my Quad?
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Old November 26th, 2007, 12:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Can I capture to the MacBook, connecting to and External connected to the Quad via Ethernet?

It would go:
Cam via Firewire 400 to MacBook
MacBook via Ethernet to Quad
Quad via Firewire 800 to External
That will work easily Dana. Both the MacBook and the Pro have gigabit ethernet. All you need is a cheap gigabit router inbetween. I'm using this one at it works perfectly:

http://www.amazon.com/Netgear-GS108-...6101547&sr=8-1

I'm getting up to 60MB/sec over ethernet when copying files from my MacBookPro to a G5. The ethernet will definitely not be the limiting factor. It will be the external firewire drive (or the camera for that matter).
USB2 will top out at about 18MB/sec on the Mac. Thus it's not an ideal solution. Again, when copying over ethernet to a MacPro, the limiting thing will *not* be the ethernet link.

Best,
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Well I tried capturing with USB to External and it bottlenecked, so it cannot be running 480mbps. It looks like I need to sell my Macbook Pro and get a newer version of the MacBook Pro with the additional FireWire (800) to be able to capture.

Very disappointing, but I should have checked. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know before I sell it.
Hey Dana,

So, you have a MacBook or a MacBook Pro? If you have a MacBook, sounds like the Ethernet deal may work best for you. I personally have no experience with that.

If you have a MBP, a solution that works for me is capturing via the FW400, and writing to an external LaCie Little Big Disk 200GB 7200RPM drive in Raid 0 config, via FW800. This little drive is the best investment I've made yet!

Good luck!
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #12
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Thanks Jim, but my MBP only has a 400. I must have one of the first MBPs.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 07:48 PM   #13
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You could purchase an express card adapter that would let you run your hard drives from it.
Or you could plug your firewire cable from the camera into your firewire drive, and then your firewire drive into your macBook Pro's firewire port.

But my big question is... If you have a Quad, why not just capture with it,
since your are going to be editing with it anyway?
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Old November 27th, 2007, 09:13 PM   #14
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Because I want to capture job B while I edit job A. I capture seven tapes every week, so it takes awhile.

The daisy chain works sporatically. Something is wrong with the port, possibly, but I'm still problem solving...
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Thanks Jim, but my MBP only has a 400. I must have one of the first MBPs.
If I recall correctly, the first generation MacBook Pro only had Firewire 800 on the 17" model, which was an annoying downgrade from the Powerbook.

I've never tried this with Gigabit, but I think you should be able to connect your MacBook Pro straight to your Quad with a crossover cable, skipping the router. That'll at least let you capture to the Quad's hard drive, which should be faster than USB2 and would help you troubleshoot if your capture problem is hard drive speed or elsewhere.

-Terence
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