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


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Old September 14th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #31
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well, i pulled the trigger on an fs4, it should arrive today... as soon as i make any progress on the 4-channel audio i'll post it... i hope that you can get that .dv issue straightened out, mark.

thanks to jim at focus for weighing in on this issue... if i can get tapeless mode working reliably i'll figure something out for the rest of it... cheap minidv cameras are less than $300, which is a better deal than a $400 head replacement on the xl1s.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 06:11 AM   #32
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I've been reading this thread with interest. I use Avid so I'll run some tests for you guys on 4 channel 32KHz audio.

The basic problem is probaly not the software but the limitations Avid have placed on it to protect their Adrenaline range of hardware which features 8 channels of audio IO.

I can say one thing with certainty - Avid will definitely record 32KHz audio (and play it back) - I'm just not sure off the top of my head whether it will acces audio 3 & 4 in Xpress Pro.
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Old September 22nd, 2005, 11:11 PM   #33
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Problem Solved!

I had to resort to using the DV File Converter software from Focus because, as well as needing to access the second pair of audio tracks, my FS-4 recorded an entire wedding in .dv format instead of .avi.

The problem was, I couldn't get the software to work on my system, so after many emails back and forth with Focus Support, I can now convert all my files, and pull the extra audio out as a wave file.

The conversions are very fast so it will be worth the $99 for the time it will save me.

Focus Support were fantastic, despite the huge time difference (I don't live at the end of the world, but you can see it from here), particularly Attila, who went to great lengths to help me and got me up and running.

In the past 10 days I have given the FS-4 and my little old XL1S a serious workout, with nine TV commercial shoots, two football games and a modelling school graduation and it hasn't missed a beat.

My second FS-4 battery hasn't been needed yet, as all apart from the commercials shoots were on mains power. I have a small 12V to 240V inverter in the car and I charge the FS-4 in transit.

The way the files are named by date and time is perfect for organising. For example, when I was shooting commercials, I was doing three locations each day: one at 9am, one at noon and one at 3pm. When I need to find the shots for each location, the file name tells me by time of day.

To Dan, I know I've changed my tune about buying more software, etc but I can't think of a more efficient way to do it at this stage. Having the extra audio as a separate file is fine for how I work; I import it into a separate bin and only put it on the timeline when I need it on a shot by shot basis. I usually get Premiere to separate the stereo pair into two mono tracks so I can deal with them independently.

I hope you have success with your setup.
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Old September 22nd, 2005, 11:44 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Whittle
I tried a workaround, thinking I could use the AV/C mode to capture as if the FS4 was a deck, but XP finds an unknown device.

Is a driver on the way so XP recognizes this marvellous beast as a playback deck?
sound familiar? this is where i'm at right now mark, lol! i got the same error message, sure wish that it would work right.

thanks a bunch for the feedback on the focus file converter software, the demo version keeps putting the first pair of audio tracks into the wave file, not the second pair, regardless of how the software is set up... i'm amazed that you got it to work right!

btw, the tapeless mode works great so far on my xl1s... it records all 4 audio tracks, no problem, and it'll play 'em back fine, but i just can't extract the last pair :-/
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Old September 25th, 2005, 01:21 AM   #35
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Resorting to tape backup again

The saga continues. . .

After successfully extracting all 4 channels from the raw .dv files I somehow ended up recording at my last wedding, I felt confident that the fully working DV File Converter software I just bought would allow me to access 4 channels from the modelling show I recorded last weekend.

I use the avi2 file type, so I made sure that is what the FS-4 was set to and off I went. It seems that avi2, and presumably other file wrappers as well, ignore the extra pair of tracks. (See Jim's Sept 14 post)

DV File Converter just gives you tracks 0 & 1 whatever track you choose. So I thought, OK, convert back to raw .dv and they will be accessible. No such luck. Surely the file conversion process is lossless - where has the audio data gone? The files must be editable to recover the audio data? I will persue this with Focus support.

I did a quick test and dubbed a piece from tape to the FS-4, set to raw .dv, and sure enough, DV File Converter can extract all four tracks.

The solution it would seem at the moment is to record in RAW format if you want to use 4 tracks. I guess whatever file type you use, Dan, is doing the same thing, ignoring the extra audio. What a P.I.T.A!

At least Focus gives us the option of the raw format, and a means to convert it too, and it is a speedy process to convert. The P.I.T.A. part is me having to spend another Sunday capturing again, the smug look on my face when I thought I'd saved hours of time on this job is long gone.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 01:17 PM   #36
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I just have two comments about your latest experiences Mark. No, three ... first off, thanks a lot for sharing what you are going through with us (me), your trials are of great use to me, and will prevent me from repeating the problems that you are experiencing.

My other comments are; it is a darn shame that the FS-4 doesn't work the way one would hope or expect it to - especially regarding the 4 Channel issue. And it sounds like you have found a reasonable workable work-around for those of us who want, or need to shoot with 4 channel audio. Which is a very good thing, even if it is somewhat disappointing in it's needless complexity.

Many thanks
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Old September 26th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #37
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as near as i can tell, raw dv is the only format that you can record in if you want to be able to access all 4 channels of audio... the workflow would look something like this:

1)plug fs-4 into computer, it shows up as another hard drive... use dv converter software to extract(aka copy) the second pair of audio channels from the fs-4 hard drive to the computer hard drive.
2)then use the dv converter software to convert(aka copy) from the raw dv file on the fs-4 hard drive to a type2 avi on the computer hard drive.

all of the filenames will be correct and relative to each other, so you'll know how to line up the second audio pair with it's matching video clip... this works for editing because you can't hear the second pair of audio tracks inside of the type2 avi file, it's like they aren't even there.

you should not need to capture from tape at all, this file conversion/copy process should be at least 4x faster(??) than a tape capture.

i wrote up a review of the fs-4 and a prototype mounting bracket that i cobbled together, daniel kohl will like this hack job :-) but i also posted some downloadable 4-channel clips, recorded in both raw dv and type2 avi.

see for yourself how difficult it is to work with this stuff... one of my biggest disappointments is with the quicktime player, because you can hear all 4 tracks playing at once in the raw dv file, but how do you extract the second pair? afaik, it doesn't even know they are there!

Firestore FS-4 Digital Video Recorder Review
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Old September 27th, 2005, 02:45 AM   #38
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Nicely done Dan,

My hat's off to you. There is not enough hot glue on your rig for my taste, but top of the line Retrofitting in my opinion.

Do you think that the additional foam padding is really necessary? I guess you do, otherwise you wouldn't have included it in the rig. I'm just asking in case you have had any specific problems with the FS-4 and jolts. Or is the padding a preventative measure. Good idea for the batteries - how long can you record with them?

And nice site by the way.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 01:20 PM   #39
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dan, i'm going to fit that hot glue in there sooner or later! it's a good idea.

i actually have the 15-minute rechargeable nimh aa's, and they are only rated at 2000mah, but that is still over twice the capacity of the standard firestore battery... so you could run the fs-4 for 6 hours on just the aa's?? i have only recorded ~4 gigs of data onto the fs-4 so far, no operational problems yet.

the only reason that i went with the foam padding is because the fs-4 will be mounted on a hand-held camera, sweeping the length of the 1/4 mile from trackside at very high rates of speed... i hope that it's enuf protection.

i hope that people try downloading and testing those raw dv and avi clips that have the 4-channel audio on 'em... we need to see some alternatives for working with this stuff... for instance, procoder will change the format very quickly, but is it lossless? is there a way to use qt to extract the audio tracks that i don't know about? etc.
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Old October 9th, 2005, 05:39 PM   #40
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Hi dan,

Your website inspired me to work on mine a little. I posted some pictures showing my use of hot glue.

http://www.marq5.de/FS-4.html
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Old October 11th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #41
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i like that custom hot glue work... and using the belt clip like that is genius potential!! so simple, yet effective, at zero additional cost.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 10:29 PM   #42
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this may be a dumb question, but what if I unplugg my front mic from my XL2, and hook in my two wirless mics, is there a way on my camera to tell only 2 channels to record, even if they are channels 3-4, or does unplugging the front mic default to anything else that might be plugged in?
In most cases I won't need channels 3/4 off the camera, but every Staurday, I do for interviews, I have to have channels 3/4 for the wireless mics, or I have to just use the tape????
Kind of defeats the purpose of buying the firestore..??
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Old February 6th, 2006, 03:47 AM   #43
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[QUOTE=Kind of defeats the purpose of buying the firestore..??[/QUOTE]

Well, if you need to record 4 channel audio, this is basically true. Dan Euritt has found a way to extract all four channels from the FS-4 by recording in RAW format on the FS-4 and then using the expensive transcoding software offered by Focus to extract the second audio pair.

See http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....3&postcount=37
(it is 6 posts back, in this thread)

Doing this does defeats one of the main advantages of the FS-4 (Edit NOT-readyŽ). However you still have some of the other advantages of the FS-4; like playback direct from the HDD, which can be handy in an interview situation (for checking previous takes quickly, and without the danger of accidental over writing)

One would hope that Focus was working on a better solution for people who want to record 4 channel using the FS-4, but I doubt that they are.

BTW you don't need to unplug the onboard mic to enable the rear audio inputs for channels 1(L) and 2(R). You can switch Audio Input channels 1(L) and 2(R) from front to rear using one of the switches next to the REC level knobs. Check the handbook for exact details.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #44
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ok so I am a little confussed, I mentioned unplugging them as a way of trying to exagerate the point that wether the stereo mic was unplugged woulf the camera default to the 3/4 channels and then the firestore would allow me to access those channels.

I don't need all 4 channels of audio, I only need channels 3/4, but I need it without buying another software to get it. If the firestore will only give you 2 channels, can I pick which two, or can I trick the camera to make 3/4 the default two that the firepod will allow me to capture without the software?
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Old February 6th, 2006, 03:24 PM   #45
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Hi Chris,

I don't want to confuse you any more than you are already.

I don't have an XL-2 and the audio set-up of the XL-2 is different from that of the XL-1s (which I am using).

But maybe some of the confusion is because channels 3 and 4 normally only come into play when you want to record four channel. I think that you are confusing the AUDIO input 2 with channels 3 and 4. This is switchable through the camera menu on the XL-1s and so I would think that it should be switchable on the XL-2 as well. That means you should be able to assign the two XLR inputs at the rear of the XL-2 to record channels 1 and 2 instead of the onboard mic.

If you don't need all four channels then you will definatly not have the same trouble those of us who would, have been having .

I hope that I have understood your problem and that this is of some help. If not, sorry - maybe someone with more experience with the XL-2 could chime in here.

Cheers,
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