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Focus Enhancements FireStore
Specifically for the FireStore DV Direct-To-Edit Disk Recording Solutions.

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Old March 4th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #1
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My Firestore Horror Story!

I have used my firestore extensively in the past, but never have had any significant issues with it before. So I had absolutely no reservations before tossing my gear in my car and driving six hours across the state to do a four day documentary shoot. The first couple days of the shoot went great, no issues. On the first shoot of day three however I set up the camera, hit record to start rolling on an interview- but the firestore didn't record. Instead the record symbol briefly flashed on the firestore screen, but then went back immediately to stop, the timecode not advancing at all. The firestore should have had nearly 300 minutes of recording time left, I checked all the camera settings, all the firestore settings. I reset both the camera and the firestore and reconfigured them from scratch. All the while the interview subject and crew are patiently waiting. No matter what I did though I could not get the firestore to record. We had no choice but to call the shoot off and reschedule it for the next day.

I sent an e-mail off to Focus Enhancements explaining the problem, bought a pack of tapes, and the next day continued the shoot without further incident. The previously recorded clips all seem to play back fine, so I'm not too concerned about having lost any footage. Upon completing the shoot and returning home I find Focus Enhancements had e-mailed me back and told me it sounds as if the hard drive in my firestore was having issues. This was along the lines of what I was already suspecting, but still needing to get the footage off of the device and into my edit system I connect the drive, see it come up under windows, I see my files all there sitting happily on the drive, so I try to copy them from the firestore to my media drive on my edit system only to receive an error message- The disk I was trying to copy from was corrupt, it could not copy from the location. “OK,” I say to myself, “I've seen this before.” Which I have, when copying files from one hard drive to another.... the source hard drive was having issues, but I was able to retrieve my files by running disk check. So I try to do the same with the firestore. Disk check did its thing, tells me it detected several disk errors but was able to fix them. “Good!” I think to myself. Unfortunately things were not good- when I went back into the firestore all of my files were gone. I enabled windows to show hidden files, but my files were still not there. Luckily I was able to take the drive to a data recovery firm and they were able to run forensic tools on the disk and get my video back. But it was close, and for a while I was afraid I had lost two days of shooting. Now I'm at a loss for what to do..... should I get the firestore repaired? How much will that cost? Are there competing products that do the same thing? Obviously I don't want to risk loosing my data again.... and I did learn an important lesson- Always have tapes available for backup.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 07:08 PM   #2
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It looks like it's a hdd problem, not firestore problem. HDD do break down, specially 2.5" HDD, unfortunately. Have you tried popping in another harddrive and see if firestore works?

Keep your eyes on the new compact flash recorders coming out at NAB. They would be more reliable!
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Old March 4th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #3
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That kind of thing, and the potential for losing days of work at a time, is why I bought a Sony Z7 instead of an EX-1. I will be going to both card and tape on any important shooting. When I'm done, I will label the tape and put it away, never playing it even once unless I have problems on the memory card I am also recording too.
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Old March 4th, 2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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As others have said, drives die. While I just started using a competing product I still roll a tape at all times, if I don't need the tape I simply record over it after I get home and get the footage off the drive. I would assume FE should be able to do a repair. The cost depends on them. If its all under warranty still maybe you can get it done for nothing. You can find threads here that show people changing their hard drive out. I repair laptops so the general procedure is fairly easy to do but it of course voids your warranty and if you do not put it back together correctly you could end up with nothing. The upside is that you could potentially upgrade your hard drive for a fraction of the cost. As for your question about competing products, yes there are, if you look at the main forum for direct to disk you can see 4 sub forums of each brand. I have recently wrote a review on one which can be found here on DVINfo.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #5
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I've used the Firestore, beginning with the FS-1 that used external drives, for many years. Usually, it performs as expected. However, the one burning lesson I learned long ago was to always use a DV tape for back-up (yes, there's a story there...). Additionally, I keep the DV tapes for archive & project reconstruction, since I don't have an unlimited supply of hard drives to use as a permanent archive.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 03:14 PM   #6
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OT:What cost?

Adam: Sorry to hear your having such problems. On a slightly related note, I'd like to ask who did your data recovery and (if you don't mind sharing) what it cost?

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Old March 5th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #7
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I actually have a friend who works for a computer security and forensics firm do it for me. He was able to give me a discounted rate, so it only cost me about $60- which needless to say is way less than what it usually costs. I don't want to give the name of the firm or my friend, because I don't want him to get in trouble.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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sorry about your problems. But man! Electronics are bound to fail at some point. Good thing there is tapes.
we don't know alot of genres, at least as of now.
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