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Old March 13th, 2003, 10:22 AM   #1
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Help! Problem with FCP controlling Sony PD100A via FireWire

Can someone help? I have an problem: non-recognition of my Sony PD100A via Apple FireWire using FCP 1.2.1 on a G4/450/448. The issue has been intermittent (over the last year), but for the past week has been constant. I have a hunch it is a connection fault in my camera.

My last successful use of the camcorder to capture video with FCP ended with intermittent device control errors (i.e., loss of keyboard control of the camera), then “device not responding.” The camcorder and FW cable were not even being touched at the time.

The current problem is characterized by a slowing-down of the computer when the PD100A is turned on while connected, non-recognition of the device by FCP, and eventual freeze. Problem is the same no matter when, or in what order, the device and program are turned on. The problem exists both when attempting to capture video and print/edit to video.

If FireWire is disconnected from the camcorder while camcorder is still on, computer alerts that FireWire connection has been lost. If camcorder is turned off with FireWire still attached, computer sometimes returns to normal speed but inevitably freezes after a short while. The camcorder recognizes FW connection, reading “DV IN” while in VTR mode. I have had same problem with both of my two Apple FireWire cables, so assume they are not the problem. I have repeatedly unplugged then replugged the FW cable and favored pressure one direction then the other on the plug at the camcorder with no success in establishing connection.

Same problem exists if camcorder is plugged into alternate FW port, and if daisy-chained with external FW drives. External Lacie 75gb FW drives work fine regardless of computer port used, though they are occasionally not mounted/recognized if turned on after computer is already on, or when restarted after freeze (they always mount correctly after an intentional restart).

Prior to current problem, I reinstalled FCP and had immediate successful camcorder connection. But problem reappeared upon restart and detachment/reattachment of camcorder, suggesting it had been a coincidental fix. Subsequently did another reinstall with no success.

I have neither another device to replace the PD100A, nor another computer system to use with my camcorder, as tests to specify either the camcorder or computer as the culprit. Preferences have been checked and are correct as far as I know: Apple FireWire or FW Basic protocol, DV time, NTSC 720x480, etc. The recent loss of signal while successfully using the camcorder suggests my preferences were set correctly.

What should I check next?

Thanks in advance. Paul
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Old March 13th, 2003, 12:17 PM   #2
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What version OS are you using and what version of QuickTime? I would start to think seriously about upgrading FCP and your OS. Early versions of FCP did not have very stable FireWire Drivers. I would start by trashing FCP preferences and reinstalling the FireWire Drivers.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 08:57 AM   #3
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Software

Jeff, Thanks for the thoughts. I'm on OS 9.0.2, and Quicktime 4.0.1. Tried updating QT to 6.x last night but had an error after an hour . . . Will look into the upgrades.
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Old March 14th, 2003, 06:20 PM   #4
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Yes, you are on to your problems. Your system should be upgraded to OS 9.2.2 and then QuickTime should update properly. FCP should be updated to 1.2.5 (a free upgrade). If you run the software update control panel it will tell you if any firmware updates are required (I seem to recall there is one). You can check your firmware by selecting Apple System Profiler (in the Apple Menu). It sure sounds like you're having driver issues.
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Old March 17th, 2003, 08:35 AM   #5
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Will be attempting the fix today. Previously checked Apples support site, so am prepared to do the update. Will let you know how it turns out.
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Old March 18th, 2003, 06:47 AM   #6
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I have updated to OS 9.2.1 with QT5.x, and also to FCP 1.2.5. Preferences have been trashed, etc. Still having same problem, so will find help to determine if camcorder is the issue before upgrading. Paul
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Old March 18th, 2003, 09:17 PM   #7
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Apple lists your camera as compatabile with FCP 1.2.5 You may need to reinstall the software now that you have the system upgraded. Also I think you should upgrade to 9.2.2. You also may want to post a list of your FireWire extensions to see if any are missing
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Old March 20th, 2003, 09:29 AM   #8
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I was finally able to hook up another camcorder to my G4 ... it worked fine, and has isolated my camcorder as the problem. Am contacting Sony for service info. At least I'm now more current in my updates (I will go all the way to 9.2.2 shortly, by the way). Thanks again, Jeff.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:10 PM   #9
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It could still be old or out dated FireWire Extensions. If Sony isn't much help, post a list of your extensions and their dates and versions. If your not sure how, let me know and I'll talk you through it.
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