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


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Old July 1st, 2005, 06:21 AM   #1
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FS-4 with 4 Audio Channels

One of the main advantages of having the FS-4 is to save time capturing long takes like wedding ceremonies & speeches. The problem for me is my habit of using 2 radio mics, but I still want to have the camera mic as well for ambience, so I use 12 bit mode and capture four channels (XL1s).

My editing system is an RTX100 which lets you capture the extra channels, writing a wav file for every avi clip.

The FS4 needs to do the same. 16 bit mode: avi only; 12 bit mode: avi + wav
or if that doesn't work, a separate file type AVI 2 +2 or something.

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?

It is ironic that I have to go back to capturing the two longest files of every wedding from tape so I can get the extra audio.

Mark
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 03:51 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,

You do know that Focus offers an extra software to do just what you need? I'm kind of in the same boat, only there is nothing available for Mac users.

I just looked at the link to that product on Focus's web site but the page doesn't seem to exist anymore, or is not working at the moment.

Here it is anyway.

http://www.focusinfo.com/products/fi.../dvcsuite.html
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 07:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Daniel,

I thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Focus' attention early on so they could fix it via firmware, hopefully in the first release. It can't be that hard, the data are there, just not accessible.

I tried the web link and I too found it unavailable. The site must be under maintenance I guess.

Regards,

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Old July 6th, 2005, 12:35 PM   #4
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i doubt that it's a firmware issue, because the extra sound tracks should be recorded onto the hard drive dv data stream just like they are onto mini-dv tape.

so what you need is a way to pull the extra audio out of the hard drive files... here is the link you are looking for from focus:

http://www.focusinfo.com/dvconversionsuite/dvfc.html

i would make a swag that this software was not written by focus... i think that it's been around for a long time, in one form or another, and in fact, you might be able to find it elsewhere.

the firestore must have accessability to 4-track audio recordings before i'll buy it, so please let us know what you find out from this.
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Old July 10th, 2005, 10:48 PM   #5
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The whole point of D.T.E. is the clever stuff going on before the data get written to disc.

If the Firestore can be told to record as Matrox AVI, which is the old format where the video was avi and the audio was a separate wav, and the FS4 Pro can do Avid format which has separate audio & video files, then it must be a firmware fixable thing.

I am not buying another piece of software to achieve this when it should be simple & inexpensive to implement within the FS4.

It would be nice if someone from Focus could comment.

Mark
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Old July 11th, 2005, 12:23 AM   #6
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Comments from Focus on all topics seem to have dried up in the last two or three weeks.

Is there a problem, chaps?

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Old July 11th, 2005, 03:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i doubt that it's a firmware issue, because the extra sound tracks should be recorded onto the hard drive dv data stream just like they are onto mini-dv tape...

the firestore must have accessability to 4-track audio recordings before i'll buy it, so please let us know what you find out from this.
Thanks Dan, for the right link.

Here is a part of thread were Matt McEwen responded to my query into this matter:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....40&postcount=5

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....70&postcount=6

I'm still not ready to buy the software to try it out, though.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #8
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changing the data format that is recorded onto the hard drive on a real-time basis is not something that i want to see happen with firmware... after horsing around with that p.o.s. quickstream and it's various formats, i'd be glad to use software to change the data format... of course that will not affect the picture quality.

you really need to look at the workflow to understand the value of the software data formatting... the reality is that you shouldn't just plug this little drive into your editing bay and expect the same level of performance that you'd get off of a full-sized, modern hard drive, it's not gonna happen like that.

so my plans are to copy the dv data over to the big drive, hopefully using this data formatting software... plus, i don't want to thrash the little drive in an editing situation anyway, that's not what notebook hard drives are designed for.

if the software works like we think it should, then it ought to be free with the purchase of the firestore, no question about it.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
changing the data format that is recorded onto the hard drive on a real-time basis is not something that i want to see happen with firmware... after horsing around with that p.o.s. quickstream and it's various formats, i'd be glad to use software to change the data format... of course that will not affect the picture quality.
I am not talking about changing the data format. Direct To Edit means you tell the Firestore what system you're using (avi, mov, etc) the raw .dv stream is then "wrapped" in the appropriate file for your NLE to use without conversion. Using additional software to process this again defeats the purpose. The extra audio is there in the FS4's files, I know because I have transferred to DVCAM from the FS4 and the audio can be played from there. The "firmware" in the DVCAM deck knows how to access the data; the FS4 does not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
you really need to look at the workflow to understand the value of the software data formatting... the reality is that you shouldn't just plug this little drive into your editing bay and expect the same level of performance that you'd get off of a full-sized, modern hard drive, it's not gonna happen like that.
Who said anything about editing off the FS4? You plug the FS4 in, it appears as a HDD in your NLE, you copy to your RAID or AV drive, once you're happy it's there you format the FS4, charge her up and she's ready for the next shoot. You can start cutting right away. Unless you have to access channels 3 & 4 that is.

And if you're smart you don't shoot tapeless, you put the tape away as a backup.

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Old July 13th, 2005, 04:10 AM   #10
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Focus does advertise the FS series as Direct To Edit, which implies, that for the quickest editing, you could edit direct from the small laptop drive.

First of all Focus makes it sound like DTE is their invention, which I don't really believe, since all of the D2D devices I have played with so far (those p.o.ss citidisk and quickstream) can do this as well.

Secondly, I think that this DTE functionality is only really useful for people who are shooting with an extremely fast turn around time - like for news while it is happening. I have worked on a few jobs where the edit had to be finished by the end of the event that was being shot, as a farewell trailer for the participants. That is where this DTE functionality could be theoretically useful. I say "theoretically" because practically, I always first dump the footage to my main HDD, even in this fast-paced editing situations. The reasons for this are, as Dan mentioned, but mostly because I would want to free up the FS so that it could go back out and collect more footage.

But to be completely honest, I have not yet been able to fully implement the use of the FS-4 in these situations. I am still not convinced that the fan noise problem is solved (I am working on a project at the moment, where even my modified FS-4 is audible in some shooting situations). And one would need at least two FS-4's to make full use of the DTE functionality in this type of event documentation situation.

I guess Focus was imagining that the FS-4 would be implemented in situations like they show in their amusing demo film for the FS-3. Shoot for an hour, run to the station, edit in the car on the way to the station for the news, conform the edit at the station five minutes before transmission, save the day. That is where DTE is truly invaluable.

What I don't understand is - if what Mark says is true about transferring back to a DVCAM deck from the FS-4; then the FS-4 is doing it's job of recording the two extra tracks of audio. The problem seems like it may be with our NLE systems. Why won't they recognize the two extra tracks. What makes it so hard for them to access this information?

In light of this, I think that it is justifiable for Focus, or for any other independent software maker, to ask for money for an application that bridges this gap. I wish, however that the application were better tailored to just this problem, and of course would run on a Mac.

I don't think that using a software to process the files on the FS-4 defeats the purpose of using a FS, unless you really need the DTE functionality.

I'm pretty pissed with Apple for not having addressed this issue in the new FCP5 HD software. There is so much hype about how it can capture multiple audio tracks. Only for some reason it can't do this from a FW device. I just don't get it. There must be a reason for this.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Whittle
The extra audio is there in the FS4's files, I know because I have transferred to DVCAM from the FS4 and the audio can be played from there. The "firmware" in the DVCAM deck knows how to access the data; the FS4 does not.
*of course* the extra audio tracks are there! we already knew that, it should be an exact digital copy of what is on the tape... so if you put it back to dv tape you should be able to access it via the xl1s... how is that even relevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Whittle
And if you're smart you don't shoot tapeless, you put the tape away as a backup.
guess what, not all of us shoot boring content that requires the camera to be constantly recording for long stretches of time... so please, stop trying to control the workflow of everyone out here :-)

the point that you have completely missed is that focus has a possible solution that is available NOW... since you already said that you will be copying off of the little drive to your editing drive, why complain about using their software to do it? assuming it works like i think it will, of course, you could be accessing that extra audio right now!

perhaps you are not aware that it takes time to write and q.c. firmware? i agree with your point as a preferable solution for the long haul, but what about right now?

i am kind of amazed that no one has called up focus to ask about the viability of this temporary software fix to access the extra audio tracks.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:18 PM   #12
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Dan,

You seem kind of upset.

I didn't get the feeling that anyone was trying to force anyone to work any way. And I don't get why content has to be boring in order to justify backing it up to tape.

"*of course* the extra audio tracks are there! we already knew that, it should be an exact digital copy of what is on the tape... so if you put it back to dv tape you should be able to access it via the xl1s... how is that even relevant?"

I think that this is relevant, because it shows that the files are indeed exact digital copies of what is on the tape. I was beginning to doubt that.

And finally, Focus knows about this issue, because I have brought it to there attention, via this forum.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost...270&postcount=5

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost...270&postcount=6

What else would you suggest? And why don't you call them? It seems to me that you have knowledge in this area, at least a lot more than I do. I just told Matt what I would like to have in the way of functionality, I have no idea how Focus could go about achieving this goal. It sounds like you might.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #13
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i called up focus tech support today, the person i spoke to had not seen this issue before, but we talked about downloading the demo version of the focus dv file converter to extract the extra two tracks of audio from the file: "In addition the program offers the following functionality:
...Extract DV Audio (any audio channels, mono, stereo, or quad; written to AIFF or WAV)" - http://www.focusinfo.com/products/fi.../dvcsuite.html

so you take the focus survey and download the demo software... i was able to download the software, and while i don't have the fs4, i will be editing some 4-channel dv files within the next couple of days.

those of you that do have the fs4 should download the demo software and see if this software works for extracting those extra 2 channels of audio... it puts a watermark on the video, but the hope is that we can get useable audio files without having to pay for the software.

who's up for trying this out?
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Old July 15th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #14
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I would, but the software is PC only. Matt McEwen suggested that the software would work with virtual PC on a Mac, but I don't have virtual PC yet.

So, I even have a longer workflow to look forward to if I want to have the second two audio tracks without capturing from tape.

And thanks Dan, for calling Focus about this. I guess Matt McEwen is not as connected with the R and D department at Focus as I thought. Or maybe the person you spoke to is not.

Do you understand what prevents NLE programs from seeing the extra audio channels? What do you think the DVC suite has, that other programs don't? Just curious.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:11 PM   #15
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i dialed into tech support, not the r&d department.

the guy who needs to check this out is mark.

since the digital data is the same on both the dv tape and on the firestore, i'm of the opinion that it should not be up to the firestore to seperate the extra audio tracks out for editing... would you ask your canon xl1s to seperate the extra tracks out for you? heck no, you always turn to third party capture software to do that... i use scenealyzer.

being on a mac would sure complicate this situation :-( i wonder what it is about the 4-track audio dv configuration that makes it impossible to read in an editor? that is a good question.
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