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Old April 10th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #1
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Not enough ports for tape capture on iMac

I have edited HDV (Tape capture only from a Sony HVR-Z7) on FCS (FCP Version 5.0) for several years now on a twin 2GHz/2GB RAM Mac Pro (Power Mac) which is a non-Intel based Mac.
Now I want to start using CF Media rather than tape, so I have to upgrade my FCS and get a new computer,
as it is does not accept FCS2 or higher (requires Intel-based Mac). I am also looking at editing existing footage with ProRes 422 HQ/long-GOP 50/100? and using a nanoFlash in the future to beef up my quality right at the roots.
The iMac i7 2.93 quad-core/16GB looks adequate for my ambitions, saves space and money, but I have one concern:

It only comes with 1 x firewire 800 port and 4 USB 2 ports. Sometimes I may still need to capture from tape,
and I only use external HDD (LaCie 2TB quadra), so I would need 2 firewire ports simultaneously. To my knowledge USB is
not ideal to either connect the camera or the external HDD (although the LaCie d2 quadra has firewire 400/800/USB2/eSATA).
I have 3 LaCie HDD, they can be daisy-chained, using 1 firewire 800 port, that's no problem.

Transferring media from the FC cards with a reader via USB2 would be fine.

Could anyone in the knowledgeable audience please suggest a surefire way out of this problem, or guide me to info on the web.

It would be most appreciated.
Thanks,
Gerd
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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Re: Not enough ports for tape capture on iMac

A FireWire 800 hub will give more ports. I have found inezpensive ones don't last. Look at a place like b&h and spend at least $100. I doubt you will find anything bigger than 3 ports.

Be forewarned that you are putting everything on one fw buss. There could be performance issues capturing to a FireWire drive from a FireWire camera. If you do, you can capture to the internal drive first and work with it there or move it to the fw disks.

This is an age old issue that you haven't felt so much on the powermac with an abundance of ports and disks.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: Not enough ports for tape capture on iMac

I have 3 options for you that might help.

1. If you get a FW800 drive that can daisy chain (G-Tech), you can get a FW800 CF card reader for fast transfer connecting to the other FW800 port on the drive (imac / external drive / card reader). Capturing this way can work too (imac / external drive / camera via FW800).

2. You can buy an iMac and send it in to OtherWorldComputing so they can install an esata port in the spot where the SSD would be. The esata port would be on the bottom, right. This gives you esata transfer to your external drive leaving your FW800 port open for CF or tape.

3. Wait until the new iMacs come out (pretty soon) that have the new MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt connectivity. This will give you a fast port for drives and the FW800 port for CF/tape capture.

For the record, I use the first option now. Option #2 can only be done with the 2010 model and up (cause it allotted space for the second SSD). Mine is a 2009 model 2.8.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 03:10 AM   #4
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Re: Not enough ports for tape capture on iMac

Dear David and Les,

thank you very much for your input. David, your option 3 looks attractive to me, I may wait for the new iMacs.

I had many problems recently with my processor (crashing for no reason, device control problems for no reason, FCP freezes while opening, not capturing systematically from tape etc.), which only strengthened my desire for a complete system change.
So far I have always been able to solve the puzzles (which Apple staff couldn't), but now it's something
more serious.

Once more thanks for your quick response.

Cheers,
Gerd
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