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Old November 19th, 2005, 08:14 PM   #1
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Can anyone help me capture?

Hi. I'm a longtime film professional and pretty tech savvy on a PC, but recently migrated to the Mac (which I love) and FCP (which I want to love), so consider me a newbie on this system, but capable of keeping up with tech talk.

The system I've got is a Power Mac dual G5 2.3 Ghz with 4.5 GB RAM and 2 x 400GB hard drives. Also have all current software updates for FCP (5.0.3), OSX (10.4.3), QT (7.0.3), etc. I've got a Sony HVR Z1P (HDV) camera plugged in through the firewire port on the front. It's a pretty high-end system, and yet I can't seem to get this thing working.

I have THREE problems I hope you can help me with:


Right now I can't seem to get FCP to recognize the camera and get the error "Unable to locate the following external devices: HDV (1440 x 1080) 25 fps" (we use PAL). It's plugged in. I've tried restarting, unplugging, replugging, restarting again, trashing prefs, restarting again -- still nothing. This seems to be an intermittant problem (it's happened before, but we got it working after trashing prefs, which didn't work this time -- can't seem to find a common denominator). Is there any sort of step-by-step guide for doing this? It all seems so Plug-n-Play that when you plug and it doesn't play, you freak out.


Yesterday, when it was working, we had a very bizarre problem where we'd go to capture footage, and get the "Capturing now" screen, but when we'd hit ESC (or let it finish its batch -- we tried both ways), it only ended up saving a tiny portion of what we thought it was capturing. Example: a 60-second clip capture that appears to be going fine, but when it stops capturing, you've only got 4 seconds of the end of the clip. What could possibly be the cause that?! (And to isolate the issue, we took the camera to a colleague's iMac, where the capture worked fine, so there's no timecode problem, etc. Can't figure it out.) Any ideas???


For some reason, when capturing (on both my colleague's computer and on mine, when it would partially function), every time there was a camera stop (when, while shooting, I had stopped recording and then restarted recording), FCP is automatically creating a new clip. I couldn't figure out how to simply capture from the start of a clip to the end of a clip (and this includes using the Capture Now feature OR the Batch Capture)... if there's a camera-stop anywhere in that clip, FCP divides the capture into clips. Is there a setting somewhere I can't see that controls this? We went through System Settings and User Preferences and can't find anything.


Obviously, the first priority is getting FCP to see the camera consistently. Any suggestions? The next (huge) priority is figuring out how to actually capture the whole clips -- what could be wrong here? And then lastly, how do we make sure it doesn't divide clips into camera stop segments?

PLEEEEEASE help! We're starting production on Saturday, and need to get this figured out. Thanks SO much for any ideas you've got.


Dave Ozra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 21st, 2005, 02:01 AM   #2
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Hi Oz,

I just recently finished a one hour travel show, shot on the z1p (1080i50) and edited on my dual g4 mac, and had no problems, so your kit should be fine. I will try to come up with some suggestions:

1)Won't recognize the camera.
Make absolutely sure that you switch the Z1 to HDV mode for playback. I've had the same problem you did, and it was because we had the camera in DVCAM mode. FCP will not recognize a HDV signal as a DV signal or vice versa.

2) This is a new one on me. Sounds like the capture somehow loses the mpeg stream, I'm not sure I can help you with this one.

3) This is the default behavior on FCP for capturing HDV, breaking it up into the segments makes it easier for the machine to handle, and I used to do this anyway manually so for me it's a big help, others aren't fond of it. I believe that apple made this optional in one of the last patches for FCP5, you can enable or disable the scene detection on your capture window. the details are here:

Hope this helps,

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Old November 28th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for your note John.

1) Unfortunately, yes, I'm definitely 100% using HDV mode. I did run into that HDV/DV thing once before, but have had it set to HDV ever since. Still having the problem mentioned in my original note.

2) Would anyone else have any suggestions?

3) Thanks for that link. When the rest of it is up and running, I'll try it.

Unfortunately, I'm still having the problems mentioned earlier. We've just shot all weekend, and I've got about 2-1/2 hours of footage I need to get into the system. I could really use the help of the community... if anyone has ANY suggestions, please let me know!

Dave Ozra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2005, 04:35 PM   #4
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The only other thing that comes to mind is that even though you have the Z1P, it will also shoot NTSC 60i. This is fairly obvious, and probably not your problem, but you might double check to see that you're shooting 1080 50i and not 1080 60i.

Also (again pretty simplistic so you've probably done this already) you have to make sure i.Link conv is off and set VCR HDV/DV to HDV while the camera is in VCR mode.

I've just upgraded to FCP 5 after working with my Z1 in PAL and NTSC SD with FCP 4.5. However I haven't seen any camera recognition problems under FCP 5 yet myself.

You didn't mention whether you had any other firewire devices connected to your computer. If so, disconnect everything except the camera. You could also try the front vs rear connectors, although this really shouldn't matter. Also, be sure to plug directly into the computer itself, and not through anything like the Cinema Display. Although I have a Cinema Display and several external firewire drives and haven't had any problems...

Finally, if all else fails have you tried Apple's support forums?

For FCP:

For G5 firewire issues:

Let us know what the problem was after you get it fixed since this may help someone else.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #5
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Dave: seeing the info in your other thread about the camera not being recognized on another Mac (which is in conflict with what you said above) would tend to imply the camera has a problem. Have you tried more than one firewire cable? Can you try on a third computer?

Also, please click on the "controls" link above and add your city/state/country to your profile so we'll know where you are. This helps people suggest places to get your camera repaired, etc.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2005, 04:57 PM   #6
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hello there,

i had similar problem as yours nr 1) - but with hdv recorder hvr m10 by sony

in my case - something went wrong with current/voltage and firewire plug was electrically destroyed. everything works fine but not firewire.

to avoid possible missleadings - please check is your camera capable to deliver normal DV or DV cam signals thru firewire. if this works - this means that you should look further.
if firewire doesn't work at all - check with service guys.

if firewire works - try to SHUT DOWN computer. not just reset. i know that this looks much more like windows based "feature" but in my cases (after repairing firewire - it worked for me (G5, 2.7MHzDP, 1,6Tb RAID). expecially if camera is not recognised after a startup.
try to FIRST switch ON camera, and then boot the MAC.

maybe this will solve your problem nr 1.

in kino (sic!) veritas
Filip Kovcin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 2nd, 2005, 03:29 AM   #7
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Since last we spoke...

Nothing's been fixed. Partly due to being busy with production (and figuring I'll worry about post in post), and partly due to having to coordinate all this isolation testing.

Here's what I've tried:

- Tried every combination of getting FCP to see the Z1P on my machine. Only had one FireWire cable, so couldn't test if that was it, but the computer couldn't see it in either HDV or DV modes. Assumption: Camera problem or FireWire problem.

- Tried taking camera and cable to friend's iMac. It wouldn't recognize HDV mode (didn't think to try DV mode on this machine). Tried his FireWire cable (and mine), still no luck. Assumption: Camera problem or FireWire problem.

- Tried taking camera to Apple reseller where I bought the PowerMac. He didn't have FCP installed, but tried to see it in iMovie. It wouldn't recognize HDV mode, and again didn't think to try DV mode. But did try a new out-of-the-packaging FireWire cable. Still no luck. Assumption: Camera problem.

- Borrowed a colleague's Canon XL1, to see if my Mac would recognize another camera. Changed settings to DV-PAL. No luck. Mac won't recognize the XL1 in either FCP or iMovie on my machine (only have the original FireWire cable to test with). Assumption: Computer problem or FireWire problem.

So now I'm stumped.

Could just be the FireWire cable, but then why wouldn't it have worked on other systems?

Could just be the Z1P, but then why wouldn't the Mac recognize the XL1?

Could just be the Mac, but then why wouldn't the other Macs recognize it?

After all this isolation testing, I'm as baffled as ever.

I'm aware that this problem is different to what was originally posted on this thread's opening post... but this problem has clearly superceded it, and needs to be resolved before the other problems can be readdressed.

Any help ANYONE can offer is greatly appreciated.

The footage we shoot tomorrow and Sunday needs to be recut quickly next week. I'm pretty desperate for a solution. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Cheers.

Dave Ozra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #8
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Alright, well, since we LAST last spoke, I've taken the camera into my friendly authorised Sony Service Centre, who tested it, and found a fault with the camera. (For those that might be interested, my Sony HVR Z1P had a faulty c.board, fp-964... whatever that is.) It was replaced, and the camera is now being recognized perfectly by the Mac.

So, original question #1 turned out to be a camera fault.

The issue mentioned in question #2 does not seem to be recurring, so it may have been a related issue.

John's answer to question #3 was correct. Under the "Clip settings" tab in the capture window is an option to "Create a new clip at stop/start", which is ticked by default. Simply untick, and away you go.

Thanks to everyone who contributed for their input!

Dave Ozra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20th, 2005, 03:39 PM   #9
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I would get the "Inside Final Cut PRo" tutorial. You can get it here:

I have it and it wa a great learning tool.
Brian Duke is offline   Reply

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