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Old July 13th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #1
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fs-4 free run tapless timecode xl2

Hi all,

I have just unpacked some new toys :-) , (xl2 - PAL, fs-4, mini35-300, nikon primes) and am trying out the combo but am having some teething troubles with tape less time code on the fs-4. Can anybody give advice as to the settings to get free run time code from the xl2 into the fs-4.
The time code display under DV works fine when in slave mode, however remove the tape and change to tape less and the TC disappears when record starts, reappears as zeros when recording stops.

Any advice would be much appreciated

Thx
Noel
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:04 AM   #2
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Hi Noel,

I don't know if the XL-2 offers TC Free Run is a function. If it does then you need to go to the FS-4's SETUP menu and scroll down until you reach TC EXT and select that using the center navigation button.

If you were hoping that the FS-4 has TC free run, then you will be disappointed to know that only the FS-4Pro version offers that option.

As for the your TC displaying zeroing; the FS-4 displays (take) counter as default display mode. You can change the display by going to menu FUNCTIONS and set FB to DISP. That will make it possible for you to change the TC display mode by pushing the middle soft key directly below the LCD, to one of the various modes. One of them shows the TC being record to the unit, and will not zero when you stop the unit.

If you are recording "tapeless" (which I wouldn't recommend) then you have to change the TC to TC REC RUN. This will cause the FS-4 to record it's own generated TC.

I hope that this is of some help.
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Last edited by Daniel Kohl; July 14th, 2005 at 03:37 PM.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Kohl
If you are recording "tapeless" (which I wouldn't recommend)
can you please elaborate on this point? exactly why would you not want to record tapeless? do you feel that it's not reliable?

thanks!
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #4
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I think that the FS-4 is not reliable for the following reasons, which have little to do with it's reliability as a device itself.

The practical fact is, that there are two cable connection points more in your recording system (one of them in a really bad place on the XL-1 and XL-1s) than when you are just shooting to tape. I do a lot of hand camera, and I run around with the camera, in often chaotic situations, even if they are during "controlled" shoots.

The chances (alone) of one of these two connections dislodging while shooting is significant enough for me to use a tape as a back-up. Even if it is a tape that I rewind and use again.

There are also lots of other small risks that justify using tape with the recorder (like: FS-4 not booting fast enough, trigger contact between FS-4 and camera is electronically interupted, and others), and there are very few (in my opinion) reasons for not using tape parallel.

The biggest being ware and tear on the video heads. If the shoot is important, I'll always go with a tape back-up.

If I'm testing or trying things out, I sometimes go tapeless.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the prompt and detailed reply Daniel, it was indeed of great help (at least I know i am not completely loosing my mind)

the xl2 does have a good free run function, that will actually send to the fs-4 in slave mode, but swapping to tape less is when I lose the TC. Perhaps it is more a function of the xl2 that does not send the FR TC when it tape less mode.

It was indeed of help, i have also logged a request with focus to see if this a bug or function issue with the fs-4 or xl2. Will advise if i hear anything.

thanks
Noel
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Old July 15th, 2005, 12:48 PM   #6
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the firewire connector on the camera sure looks like an issue to me as well... the connection to the deck would be pretty simple to fasten down so that it won't pop out, but the camera side of things is another story.

all of the 4-pin, right-angled 1394 cables on the market have the angle going the wrong way... i took a straight 1394 cable and hacked the plastic off of the end, so that it could be bent the right way, and it made a huge difference in how much room your thumb has to access the record button... this application needs a custom cable like that, but there aren't even any of the correct right-angled connectors available on the engineering side of the market, afaik... and a way to hold the connector down to the camera so that it won't pop out.

i also shoot a couple of hours at a time shoulder-mounted, with too much starting and stopping for tape to be a viable medium anymore... new xl1s heads cost $400 to replace.
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Old July 15th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #7
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I also modified a four pin FW cable to fit behind the trigger on the XL-1s's grip.

I used hot glue to create a large surfaced connector which grips into the hole for the flash adapter.

Another thing that prevents the FS-4 from completely replacing tape is it's boot up time from when it is off to when it starts recording. This can mean missing a shot on the FS-4 that you would have gotten if you were shooting to tape as well.

Another problem I have found is getting the power up order right. If I power up the FS-4 before I power up the camera the SYNC SLAVE won't work immediately, I have to reboot the FS-4 (costing even more time). But this may just be a problem with my unit (I have abused it through testing and modifications).
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:03 AM   #8
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Experiencing a similar problem to our Tourist 'Noel' and I like the explanation provided by 'Daniel' but I am still not on top of this issue (re: getting my FS-4 to work with my XL2).

After exhausting the instruction manual and the generous advice offered through these threads, this is where I am at:

1) Operating the FS-4 through the camera - not happening.
2) Operating the FS-4 manually - shows a 'record' is occuring, but still no Tape counter operating.


ARRRRGGGGHHHH. I am sure it is a personal teething problem. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:34 AM   #9
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I don't think that you will get the results you are looking for when you record to disc without a tape in the camera. I think that the FS-4 gets it's EXT TC from the tape. Or Maybe the XL2 doesn't provide TC for the FS-4 to read if there is no tape in it.

Either the FS-4 has to be set to TC REC (then it makes it's own TC (FREE RUN only with the FS-4 Pro)) or EXT TC in which case there has to be a tape in the camera. This is just a guess at the moment.

I hope that this helps
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Old July 20th, 2005, 02:59 AM   #10
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Thanks Daniel - i think your right re TC and the need for a tape in the camera.

I am a fraction further advanced since my post earlier. I reread the instructions (again) which have a section titled "Recording with FS-4". In this section it describes how to 'manually' record directly from the device and how to do it with 'Synchro slave recording'.

It is only in a section later in the manual titled 'Control Screen' that it details the function 'Tapeless Trigger' and therefore I had never selected it. It goes on to say that this trigger allows the FS-4 to be controlled by the camcorder (and even suggests that the Canon XL series are an example of where this is required).

I still only get TC on the FS-4, but can at least now control it from the camera.

Not sure whether to feel a bit silly or to just be happy with the outcome.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 11:31 AM   #11
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I am in agreement with Mr. Kohl on the whole "tapeless" issue considering mobile and shoulder-mounted shoots. Though I think the FS ENG solution, where the unit is directly mounted to the camera is the better alternative.

The XL1s, the location of firewire connector is a ridiculous location. Much of my shooting requires a tripod, and I simply capture both to tape and to HDD via firewire on a laptop. (The laptop allows me monitor what's going to the HDD, and the files are editable/previewable immediately). Anyway, using a 14 foot firewire cable presented a considerable weight issue with the small 4pin connector. I've had the cable simply fall out on it's own accord! Thank god I was recording to tape!

In any case, use the FS for it's intended purpose of saving time to edit, while having the assurance that a tape is available when cases murphy's law comes to visit. (Right now I'm rebuilding a project from tape, a last minute change after I was given approval on the project, and deleted the video files. Again, thank god I have the tapes).
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 08:58 PM   #12
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thank you all for taking the time to contribute to this thread, it has been very helpful.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #13
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We were recording 'tapeless' to FS4, after some issues with our harddrives we record with a tape as backup as well. However, I am still perturbed on how to get the 'free-run' time code to print onto the fs4 clips of our shoots.

If we do have to rebuild a project, it would be excellent to have the same timecode on the tape as was on the original fs4 clips that the first edit was done with.

I do have the FS4 set to 'TC EXT'.

Any hints from you folks out there in the great wide open?
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Old August 25th, 2005, 03:38 AM   #14
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Hi guys
I'm not sure of how the timecode works on the FS4 but would assume that it would be the same as DV cameras that start at zero when you first start recording and would assemble the timecode after you stop and start recording again. If you are recording tapeless onto the FS4 then surely you would only need to use the Internal Timecode from the FS4 and not the timecode from the camera. Or am I reading the post incorrectly.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 11:48 AM   #15
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Phil, we are trying to achieve a MATCHING timecode on both the tape and the FS-4 Clips. This is not a 'tapeless' recording.
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