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Old November 10th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #1
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HDV Captured to External Disk using New MacBook Pro

Has anyone here had experience capturing HDV footage (with all the functions of computer-camcorder control over firewire intact) to an external hard disk using the new single firewire 800 port MacBook Pro? Could the connection be any of the following:

1. Footage into the MBP via the sole firewire 800 port (with a firewire 400/800 adapter, of course) and out to the external disk via an eSATA port on an Express/34 card adapter if the MBP's firewire bus can't handle dual ports at the same time or

2. Footage into the MBP via a firewire 400 port on an Express/34 card adapter and out to the external disk via the MBP's built-in firewire 800 port

Or can we chain-connect by using a firewire hard disk with dual firewire ports as the link between the camcorder and the MBP?

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Old November 10th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #2
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I 've had no problem capturing HDV and DV to both external SATA drives, and USB drives with my camera hooked up to the firewire 400 port. I haven't tried the firewire 800.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #3
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I use the firewire 800 port for capture, and all my footage goes to a firewire 400 external drive. I've never had any problem. You should also be able to capture with firewire 400 and use the 800 port out to a firewire 800 or 400 drive if you want.
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Old November 10th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #4
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I have an older MBP, but "in theory" the new ones with a single FW800 port are not any different. While the older laptops have separate ports for FW400 and FW800, they are both internally connected to the same bus. And if you have a FW800 drive on one port and your camera on the other port, everything will slow down to FW400 speed anyway. Aside from having the physical "holes" in the computer to plug in separate devices, there shouldn't be any performance difference between the old and new models.

With a new machine, you could connect your external drive to the FW800 port (using an adaptor cable if it's a FW400 drive), then daisy chain your camera to the pass-through port on the hard drive.

I've bought several FW800 drives recently, and they all included a FW400 to FW800 adaptor cable, so it should be pretty cheap if you don't already have one.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #5
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if that is true, i'm quite annoyed! what is 'pro' about that?
for instance: i have an mBox pro connected to the FW 400 while i am editing HDV on a FW 800 external drive- am i only getting the 400 speeds from the 800 connection???
this seems to me ridiculous. why not just put in two FW 400 slots or remove one FW 400 all together... oh wait. they already did!!!!
if you daisy chain with audio devices like the digi 002 or the mbox, things can get buggy, so i keep things separate.
so is my use of the FW 400 slot slowing my FW 800 drive?
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Old November 11th, 2008, 02:03 AM   #6
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Thanks, everyone for your helpful advices.

I'll get one of those Express/34 adapter cards with a firewire 400 port so I can just plug in straight from the camera using a plain firewire cable and connect to an external hard drive via the MBP's firewire 800 port.

Transfer speed is never an issue here anyway as the capture can only be realtime. This used to be a non-issue even on my older and current iMacs that cost less than half the new MBP's!

Apple really knows how to make our lives difficult.

Best
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Old November 12th, 2008, 02:47 AM   #7
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i found this post (at the bottom!) which suggests if the FW 800 device is before the FW 400 in the chain, its 800 speed is preserved:
Apple - Support - Discussions - One firewire BUS or two? ...
so, if true, would the 800 slot be ummm before the 400 slot in the errrr 'slot chain' and thus not slow?
(excuse my inept technical 'knowledge'!)
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Old November 12th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #8
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Hmm, that "conclusion" was only reached in the last post of the Apple Support thread you linked to. And it was second hand information from an "Apple Store Audio Expert"....

Brian: this is nothing new for Apple hardware. To the best of my knowledge, ALL Macs have ALWAYS had a single internal firewire bus, regardless of how many physical sockets they feature. This includes desktops, laptops, iMacs... everything.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 06:55 PM   #9
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Successfully captured several HDV tapes today to an external eSata drive. Using a new Macbook Pro introduced Oct 2008, so it works as advertised. The eSata drive is running off an ExpressCard. Editing in FCP is smooth using the external drive.

I also found out that you can boot the Mac from an external eSata drive, if you have the right type ExpressCard. My particular eSata enclosures let me swap out hard drives, so it is presenting some interesting possibilities.

[EDIT] Just thought I'd mention, haven't had a chance yet to swap out the 5400rpm system drive, but performance is fine.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Michael Wisniewski;963385]After needing to swap out a bad 800-400 firewire cable today, I finally captured several HDV tapes successfully, over Firewire to an external eSata drive.

This is, thus, an alternative to the the firewire in/out capture to an external drive. On editing, this looks to maximize the system's throughput using the MBP's available ports, albeit with an Express/34 card adapter.

Just wondering, Michael, if the device control functions (camera start/stop, pause, rewind/forward etc.) work over eSATA as they do over firewire on capturing?

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Old November 13th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #11
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No. You have to use firewire to control & capture from the camera. I've never seen or heard of of a camera with an eSata port.
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Old November 14th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #12
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I'm new to all this but even I have no problem capturing directly to a Lacie 7200rpm rugged drive. FW800 from computer to Lacie, standard firewire from V1u to Lacie. I've got a lot of issues to deal with but this, at least, is working smoothly.
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