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


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Old September 2nd, 2005, 12:15 AM   #16
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I have been on holidays for a while and missed all the drama on this thread. After having carefully re-read it all, I see where Dan E. is coming from and the solution he suggests does indeed make sense.

If anyone after all this time is interested, I refer back to my earlier post (July 11) where I noted that if the FS4/FS4 pro can make Matrox type 1, Avid & Pinnacle compatible files, which use separate audio, maybe they could have an option for, for instance, avi type 2 plus extra audio.

That's all. I only bring this up again because I haven't seen a reply from Focus Enhancements on this point.

I must take exception to Dan E.'s comments about "shooting boring content" and "controlling the workflow of everyone..." What? Look back through the thread. Who brought up workflow?

Dan, do you feel you can talk down to me because I shoot wedding videos? I have also been making broadcast TV programs, commercials and corporate video including live to air news and current affairs since 1985 so I don't feel intimidated, and I am not above asking a stupid question once in a while, but there are lots of people out there without much experience who come to this fantastic site to gain knowledge from people like you and me. If they worry about being flamed they won't ask.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 01:21 AM   #17
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mark, you left out your comment that incited my response: "And if you're smart you don't shoot tapeless, you put the tape away as a backup." ... since i am intending to go tapeless, you directly insulted me by saying that i wasn't smart to do so... i see your point, but could it have been phrased better... and understand that the smiley i also posted means that it's not serious :-)

i also shoot the occasional wedding, but the short-clip shooting that i do now wrecks the tape drive of the camera, because it requires repeated short pausing... your long-form workflow needs are not applicable to what i do at all, so try to think about the logic behind going tapeless.

beyond all that, you can see that i made some phone calls and attempted to reach a happy medium with this problem, but i have not yet followed thru with testing the demo version of the downloadable focus software on the 4-channel dv data clips captured to a hard drive... if you could give that a shot it might help your(our) problem.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 03:28 AM   #18
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Sorry Dan, the "If you're smart" comment wasn't directed at you personally but to everyone in general, including myself, as I did consider shooting tapeless but I didn't feel confident with the 4-pin end at the camera staying in place. Plus my in-built fear of relying on any new piece of technology, so I don't think it is a smart (read: wise) thing to do.

I have used the FS4 now on several important shoots. Yesterday was a commercial shoot at a private school where I missed a crucial shot of a chicken hatching because the FS4 didn't go into synchro mode (It should be on tape though). The day before was a news shoot with a press conference where again I had trouble powering it up in time to get the shot on disc.

When it came time to feed out the vision to the two networks, I tried playing out from the FS4 and they said the vision wasn't stable, so I tried off tape and that was fine. I am not saying it was the FS4's fault but we didn't have time to muck around, and if I didn't have a tape to fall back on I would have failed to get the story. I don't think I'll even bother using it for news; it's just one more thing to go wrong. (having said that, I could get a massive head clog on the next shoot and record nothing!). If I was doing a lot of news I'd have to mortgage the house for an XDCAM.

Tomorrow I have a wedding - my first with the FS4. I'll let you know how I get on.

BTW Dan, what do you mean by "my long form workflow needs?"
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 04:22 AM   #19
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Sorry Dan, the "If you're smart" comment wasn't directed at you personally but to everyone in general, including myself, as I did consider shooting tapeless but I didn't feel confident with the 4-pin end at the camera staying in place. Plus my in-built fear of relying on any new piece of technology, so I don't think it is a smart (read: wise) thing to do.

I have used the FS4 now on several important shoots. Yesterday was a commercial shoot at a private school where I missed a crucial shot of a chicken hatching because the FS4 didn't go into synchro mode (It should be on tape though). The day before was a news shoot with a press conference where again I had trouble powering it up in time to get the shot on disc.

When it came time to feed out the vision to the two networks, I tried playing out from the FS4 and they said the vision wasn't stable, so I tried off tape and that was fine. I am not saying it was the FS4's fault but we didn't have time to muck around, and if I didn't have a tape to fall back on I would have failed to get the story. I don't think I'll even bother using it for news; it's just one more thing to go wrong. (having said that, I could get a massive head clog on the next shoot and record nothing!). If I was doing a lot of news I'd have to mortgage the house for an XDCAM.

Tomorrow I have a wedding - my first with the FS4. I'll let you know how I get on.

BTW Dan, what do you mean by "my long form workflow needs?"
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 11:17 AM   #20
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thanks for the feedback on how the fs-4 is working... i'm probably a bit too sensitive about these recorders after the quickstream debacle, which came heavily recommended off of that panasonic forum, but turned out to be a complete p.o.s.

long-form work refers to anything where you turn the camera on and let it record until the tape is gone, without stopping... it's really difficult to use things like scene detection when capturing the footage, and with software like vegas and it's weird trimmer window, it's more of a hassle to edit... but it's easier on the heads than using pause mode all the time, like i have to do.

i can handle clogged heads, it's the $400 replacement cost that kills me... i'll use hot glue to fasten that 1394 connector in there, per mr. kohl's suggestion, but the overall reliability factor of the fs-4 sounds like it's going to be an issue.
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Old September 4th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #21
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Hi Mark,

I checked out the XDCAM after reading your last entry. Looks pretty cool, but the storage mediums seem only to hold less than an hour of footage.

Have you been following the Panasonic HVX200 thread?

I'm beginning to get the feeling that Focus has dropped the ball with the FS-4. I think that it had a really good chance at being a leading alternative to the emerging tapeless cameras, if it worked how it should have. But the FS-4 doesn't, there are just too many "small" issues that make the decision to look for other solutions a lot easier.

Of course we still can't be sure that the emerging cameras will also hold up to what they promise.

Really frustrating!
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Old September 4th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #22
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The XDCAM comes in two models: one records DVCAM only, the other records DVCAM plus IMX which is higher quality, up to 50mb/s and you can choose what bitrate you want for quality vs record time.

Most of the TV networks here are adopting or have adopted it, at least for news, where the PDW 510 (DVCAM only model) is good enough, and you get 80 minutes on disc, which is plenty.

I can remember being exited when Betacam SP came out, as it let us record an extra 10 minutes more than the 20 minute max of the original Betacam!

Whilst I would love one for most of my work, for weddings they are just too heavy for me. My XL1S is still my preferred camera for weddings and I am waiting to see if the JVC HD 101 is a worthy replacement. My preference is a lightweight shoulder-mounted camera.
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Old September 4th, 2005, 08:33 PM   #23
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To Dan Euritt, I now have no option but to use the DV file converter software, as the FS-4 has mysteriously decided to encode the files as .dv instead of .avi 2. I didn't change it and no one else has touched it so why this happened, I don't know.

Actually, I do have an option, and that is to erase the FS4 and capture from tape as normal. It depends on how fast the software can convert the files.

Stay tuned . . .
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Old September 4th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #24
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O.K. downloaded and installed DV file converter and told it to convert files to .avi type 2 but it does not recognize the .dv files from the FS4, despite the files playing fine in the quicktime player.

I tried using quicktime to convert to .avi - works but can't get the extra 2 audio tracks out.

I'm going to capture from tape. The quick time conversion was almost as slow as real time anyway, and this way I get all four tracks via Matrox's RTX plugin.

I suspect there are bugs in the FS4 causing it to change settings. This would also explain why sometimes it won't go into standby when powered up, other times it does. I have to go through the menu and put it back into syncro slave mode because it sets itself to local.
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Old September 5th, 2005, 01:08 AM   #25
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O.K. downloaded and installed DV file converter and told it to convert files to .avi type 2 but it does not recognize the .dv files from the FS4, despite the files playing fine in the quicktime player.

I tried using quicktime to convert to .avi - works but can't get the extra 2 audio tracks out.

I'm going to capture from tape. The quick time conversion was almost as slow as real time anyway, and this way I get all four tracks via Matrox's RTX plugin.

Maybe there are bugs in the FS4 causing it to change settings. This would also explain why sometimes it won't go into standby when powered up, other times it does. I have to go through the menu and put it back into syncro slave mode because it sets itself to local.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:57 PM   #26
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here is a bit of a long shot mark, see if it will recognize that .dv format: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multime...onverter.shtml

once it's converted to a dv avi, the firestore dv file converter should then be able to extract the extra audio tracks.

man, it's getting kinda ugly for the fs4 :-( i wanted it work so badly, i really need that functionality.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #27
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here is another dv file converter with a 30-day trial: http://www.baobab.net/softcs.htm
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Old September 9th, 2005, 01:03 AM   #28
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well, i finally tried to work with 4-channel capturing off of dv tape to one file, so it'll look like the fs4 stuff, but scenealyzer apparently will not allow you to do that... and neither will any other dv capture app, i bet... they all want to give you a seperate wav file for the extra two audio channels.

that could mean that all dv-based editing apps aren't set up to recognize a dv avi file with 4 channels of embedded audio... ack! it's an editing nightmare... as near as i can tell, the focus software will be needed to extract a standard dv avi with the first pair of tracks, then a seperate operation will be required to bring the next pair over as a wave file... if it does indeed work in that manner??

i don't mind doing that because i don't want to edit off of the capture disk anyway, but it would be nice if it could happen in one operation... and then there is the issue of whether or not we should have to pay for extra software just to be able to edit with 4-channel dv audio.

i think you can download the gspot utility to see if there are 4 tracks of audio in the original fs4 file... there is a link at videohelp.com for the utility.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 12:27 AM   #29
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At least a partial explanation of what we're seeing on 4 channel audio

Hello, I talked with Matt McEwen & he sent me an email back -- I hope that the information provided below is at least a little helpful on the 4-channel audio issue. Here goes:
------------------
When we (FS-4) record clips on disk, we do not alter the raw dv stream at all and it is recorded to disk as it would be recorded to tape. What we do however, is we wrap that stream in an NLE native wrapper so that the particular NLE is able to recognize the stream (in and out points, locate timecode etc.). In this case, if a customer selects 4-channel audio on their camcorder (12-bit, 4-ch, 32kHz), we do indeed record all four channels in the stream (as I mentioned before, we do not modify the stream itself, so whatever the camcorder is outputting, we record it). However, in the case of the wrapper information, we only identify channels 1 and 2 as in most cases, that is all the NLE supports. So, when in the NLE, the customer may only be hearing channels 1 and 2 of a 32k recording. On the flip side, when we playback raw out of FireStore via FireWire, we are essentially ignoring the NLE wrapper and just playing the raw stream...just like a camera reads off of tape. So that is why they are hearing all four channels.
In the case of (for example) Final Cut, it is not even possible to capture off tape all four channels at once. The customer must first do a capture with channels 1 and 2 selected and then another capture with channels 3 and 4 selected. The end result is two complete captures of the same material...very time consuming. I am not totally sure how Avid works, but maybe it is similar. I did find the following in the Avid Xpress Pro/Xpress DV User Guide however...
"Avid Xpress Pro supports recording and digital cuts of 44.1kHz and 48kHz audio only. It does not support recording and digital cuts of 32kHz (12-bit audio). If you are recording DV audio, set your camcorder or deck to record 16-bit audio (48kHz)."
I think in a lot of cases, customers think FireStore will get around this issue, but at the end of the day, the NLE may not even support 32k 4-channel audio anyway. It would appear from the above info from the Avid manual that they also do not support 32kHz audio.
Hope this helps,
Matt
---------------

I hope this helps too.

Thanks,
Jim at Focus
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Old September 14th, 2005, 01:55 AM   #30
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Thanks Dan, I tried those apps you suggested but no luck; they can't work with raw .DV files. The Focus software doesn't work either, it won't recognize a .DV file either, even though it is supposed to. I am trying to resolve that issue at present with Focus Support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i think you can download the gspot utility to see if there are 4 tracks of audio in the original fs4 file... there is a link at videohelp.com for the utility.
There are indeed 4 tracks there, as Jim explains. I proved that for myself when I "dubbed" the files from the FS-4 to my DVCAM deck and then captured all 4 channels into my Matrox RTX.100.

When/if I can get Focus' File converter working, I'll let you know.
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