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Focus Enhancements FireStore
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 03:40 AM   #1
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FS-4 Observations

Received my FS4 here in the Uk from Holdan and firstly I had to say that I was very impressed with their customer care, not that I needed it, but they kept me informed with telephone updates.

Other than some of the areas already highlighted like the battery LED status display which has now been ammended, i would like to add the following to the mix.

1. I thik the status LED also needs revision in terms of the manual, i think I have only seen the yellow (or is it orange) light, no green light or red, also h blinking is SOOOO slight it is barely noticeable, a much more pronounced blinking would provide a better confidence indicator.

2. The WEB sites mention that the FS4 - Pro is the only unit to support linking to other FS4 units, yet the standard version that I have has that option in the menu, and the manual makes no mention of it being a pro only option as it does with other features. Does the normal version support linking then ??

3. I will like a few I guess be using it for event videos like weddings. After looking at how I might use the FS4 in that situation I figured that I would always still use tape as a backup, and indeed my PD170 does not support tapeless recording controlled via the camera, (at least I don't think it does, have only just recently upgraded from and XM2). I also thought that I would probably need to switch between slave mode whereby I can control the stop start from the camera when I film shots outside etc, but the long segments like the ceremony and speeches etc would have it on manual as I wouldn't want the FS4 to stop recording when/if the tape ran out. but my other thought was, what happens about timecode ??? The FS4 is set to read timecode from the camera so what happens when the tape runs out and the timecode does also, what does the FS4 do...Do I have for those shots also to change the TC option ??? Any advice anyone.

4. I agree with all the other comments about the battery being soooo hard to remove, not disastrous but a pain.

5. A long life battery is a must for me, I will be ordering one as soon as it becomes available.

6. The Retro Cache option is a nice surprise. Again I think early spec showed a retro mode only on the pro. I know that their is a retro cache and a retro disk which is the pro only. Therefore more value for money. Indeed the only thing I think I would use from the pro version is the option of recording certain scenes in particular folders. I thought I would probably also use the 80Gb for more storage as those types of events tend to span across at least 5 DV tapes, but then I felt that if the Fs4 was going to go faulty I stand to loose everything, all 6 hours rather than just 3, although I would have the tape backup.

Altogher looks a great piece of kit, will see how it stands up to the rigours of use in months to come. I will be buying another when holdan get them in stock again.

Regards

Mark
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 09:31 PM   #2
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Thanks Mark,

Sure appreciate your report!
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Old March 27th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #3
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Re: FS-4 Observations

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Geiser :
3. ...The FS4 is set to read timecode from the camera so what happens when the tape runs out and the timecode does also, what does the FS4 do...Do I have for those shots also to change the TC option ??? Any advice anyone.-->>>

I just did a test with the beta FS-4 I have, (I don't have a production model yet, I hope that it comes soon - so there is still the disclaimer that the beta model may be different from the production model in some ways, but I'm pretty sure that this is the same). As soon as the tape ran out, with the FS-4 in LOCAL mode (what you are calling manual) and TC set to EXTERNAL, the time code vanished from the FS-4's display. But when I dropped the clip into FCP and looked at the it there, the time code was continuous after the tape end. So, that's good news.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 03:11 AM   #4
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Daniel..

Thanks very much for trying this out, I really need to do a test myself as well I guess, I shall try this week with a production unit, and post the results..

Regards

Mark
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Old March 28th, 2005, 07:28 AM   #5
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Re: FS-4 Observations

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Geiser :
2. The WEB sites mention that the FS4 - Pro is the only unit to support linking to other FS4 units, yet the standard version that I have has that option in the menu, and the manual makes no mention of it being a pro only option as it does with other features. Does the normal version support linking then ?? -->>>

I have 3 FS-4s and just last week recorded a very long (and boring) county council meeting. I linked two units on one camera and it worked flawlessly! As soon as one was full, it began recording on the other without any dropped frames.

- Steve
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Old March 28th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #6
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Steve..

I take it these were non-pro versions ??

With that in mind have the pro versions been actually realeased yet ?

Mark
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Old March 28th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #7
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FS-4s

Mark,

These are the regular FS-4s. I remember reading a while back that they expected to ship the Pros at the end of this month.

I love my FS-4s. My only real regret is that I'd love to have 80G instead of 40G, but that's only offered with the Pro version and not even close to my budget right now. Maybe next year.

- Steve
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Old March 28th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #8
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Steve...

Thanks for the info...Yeah, when you think of the cost per MB on HD's today, the cost for the 80GB version is much higher than I would expect, I think if Focus were to maket a 80GB normal version for about 200 more then I would definately go for one of those, although as mentioned earlier you are throwing all your eggs in one basket and stand to loose much more if the FS4 HD died on an 80GB version, especially if you didn't have tape backup !!

Thanks for your help.

One things for sure though, as soon as the long life battery is released i'll be placing an order with the UK stockist, and 'm sure its only a matter of time before a stand alone charger is released, its madness to think that the only way to charge the battery is currently in situ...

Regards

Mark
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Old March 31st, 2005, 04:04 PM   #9
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Hi Steve,

Here is some answers to a couple of your questions that haven't been addressed yet.
- The FS-4 web page was inaccurate with some of the pro vs. standard features and this has now been corrected. It is possible to connect multiple FS-4s with the standard and Pro versions. Retro cache is a fixed six seconds on the standard FS-4 and variable up to 10 seconds on the Pro version. The Pro version also extends this with the Retro Disk feature which allows for ultra long retro record periods (up to the capacity of the disk).
- I expect a manual update sometime in the not too distant future. I will post here when available.
- The Pro version will be shipping very shortly.
- The PD170 does not support tapeles mode. The only Sony's that do are the DSR-370, -390, -570, -400 and -450.

Hope that helps,

Matt
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Old March 31st, 2005, 07:50 PM   #10
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Thanks Matt.

I LOVE my FS-4s! I purchased them for my home biz. I also had the school system I work for order a pair of 80G FS-4 Pros. Can't wait to use them, too!

It's nice that there are more features on the standard version than advertised initially. Both the daisy chaining and retro cache are wonderful surprises and I'm so glad that they are on the standard version. Really makes up for the long wait.

The battery exchange is a great idea. Mine are starting to loosen up and are not much of a problem anymore (or I'm just getting the hang of them). Do you have an update on the longer life batteries? Would they be available for the exchange? : )

- Steve
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