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


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Old September 5th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #1
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Problems with overheating

I just received my new Firestore FS-4 Pro this morning.
I charged the battery for 6 hours before switching on with mains adaptor attached.
The first thing I noticed was that it took a long time to boot up ( about 4 mins).
I followed the instructions in the manual and before long I was able to capture some video to the unit. I connected the FS4 pro to my P.C. and copied the files to my hard drive. I may be doing something wrong but I find it very time consuming having to drag each 2G/B clip into my editing program, that's a file every 9 mins plus all the files created every time I stop & start the camcorder, that's all lot of files to be individually inserted into the edit program.
My main problem is the Boot-up times. Sometimes it boots up in 30 secs, sometimes 4-5 mins and other times it will not boot up at all, I then have to remove the mains adaptor and the battery to switch the unit off.
I also have a problem with overheating, after the unit was running for about 15 mins. I got an audible beep and the on-screen message *over temp*
I didn't hear any fans running so that could be the problem.
I hope I have a faulty unit because I couldn't cope with having to wait 4-5 mins for the drive to become available before I could record any video, and then it overheating on a warm 22 degrees day.
Is anyone else having these problems with boot-up times?

David
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Old September 6th, 2005, 07:19 AM   #2
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I have no connections to Focus Enhancements, but I can tell you the reason
of the 2 GB files. Units like this need to be compatible with both the Mac and
PC platform. To make this possible there really is only one file system to choose
from an that is FAT(32). This limits files to 4 GB and AVI files to 2 GB (if you
want to play safe, basically). That is the reason for that limit. Of course it
doesn't help you if you want longer "blocks", but I doubt any of such systems
offer that.

I can't comment on your other issues I'm afraid. Good luck with those!
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Old September 6th, 2005, 09:51 AM   #3
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David,

yeah, you should definately be hearing fans. Those fans are the plague of our sound design! They are LOUD! So if you're not hearing them, something is up.

On the files size stuff- what would be the difference in time if you could drag across one big 10gb file as opposed to 5 2gb files? I would think it would be pretty similar. As far as I can tell Im not missing frames between sequential 1.96gig files. So it is not really an issue for me. In fact, in may be much easier for my processor to handle smaller source clips, rather than searching through huge monstrous ones.

I think all you can do is up your computer technology to process the files faster.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 02:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for your replies,
The Firestore has been returned as faulty.
I was able to do a "factory reset" on the unit and it booted up in 10 secs, the fans came on and everything seemed to be working fine untill I noticed that it was an NTSC unit, Living in Great Britain it should be PAL.
I feel annoyed that I should have to fork out another 20 to return the faulty unit, I thought it was expensive enough at 1,070.

Stefan, After a wedding shoot I normally have approx 3 hours of video on 3 tapes, sometimes more ( these long speeches). That would be 20 seperate files at least to transfer to my hard comuters hard drive and then double click each to import into Pinnacle. I sure I will get used to it.

Thanks,
David
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Old September 7th, 2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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David,

yeah, my situation is different. After each shoot day I also have about three hours of footage. These are dragged across from the FS4 to an external harddrive for editing. I can do a mass-drag of all the files to copy them across at once. This normally sets up for a 30-45minute process. I walk away from the setup for a bit and do something else.

With Final Cut we can just import the whole folder to my bin and have access to a large set of files in final cut within a minute.

Why is it that EACH file needs to be double-clicked in pinacle? I would think there should be a way bring in a group of files or a folder so that it can doa bunch of work while you go for a smoke or something.

2- it sounds like pinacle is doing a lot of processing to bring clips in to be ediited. I dont know anything about pinacle, but what is it doing? Maybe there is a setting with either the capture settings in the drive, or on the timeline settings in pinacle that can make your project and source clips more compatable.

It takes almost NO time at all to bring clips into Final Cut Pro.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #6
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David: how do you know it was an NTSC unit? There should not be any differences
between those units except for perhaps power supplies. DV NTSC/PAL is the
same, no differences there (in being able to work with the files). Now I've
never worked with this device so I could be wrong on this, but besides power
requirements I don't see what could be different.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 03:09 AM   #7
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Rob,
I don't know what the differences are perhaps the frequency of the television being 60 Hz in America and 50 Hz here in the U.K.
Maybe it has something to do with the lines of resolution.
The reason I know it was a NTSC unit was that I found when scrolling through the menus it stated NTSC.
When I rang the focus distributers in Derbyshire the engineer said that it should say PAL and that an NTSC unit would cause me no end of problems.
I also noticed that on some of the American web sites advertising Firestore state that they only sell NTSC units so ther must be some differences.
Having said that I was still able to capture some video from my PAL camcorder and edit it on my PAL computer.
As for the FAT32 file system, maybe future units my utilise the NTFS sytem and allow for larger file size. Maybe it's possible to reformat to NTFS, I don't know.
I hope the replacement unit works properly.

David
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Old September 9th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #8
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One of the difference between the PAL and NTSC models is the time code. Because the FS-4 generates and reads TC the two models are not interchangeable. There maybe other reasons as well. But that is the most blatant.

But David, it is interesting to hear that the captured Media on your NTSC FS-4 from your PAL camera was alright.

Was there anything at all wrong with the captured media? What does it's timecode look like - is it also ok? It's too bad that you sent it back already, you could have done some tests to see if there really is a diference, between the two models, or if that is just a marketing strategy.
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Old September 10th, 2005, 03:54 AM   #9
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Daniel,
I don't know what time code was showing on the Firestore LCD when I was capturing, I didn't think to look.
But reading the code in Pinnacle looks identical on both the Firestore captured video and video I had captured previously direct from camcorder ( 25 fps).

Other comparisons (using VideoInspector)

Previously captured video:
Video resolution = 720 x 567
Quality Factor = 58.51 b/px (Canon XM2 outside, dark night, fireworks display)

Firestore captured Video:
Video resolution = 720 x 567
Quality factor = 2.86 b/px (Canon XM2 indoors pointed at P.C. screen)

I realise that this is not a fair comparison on the Quality factor as the Firestore was faulty, but you did ask for any differences and will try comparing identical situations later when the Firestore is returned.

When I spoke to the engineer at focus to inform him of the faulty unit, he told me to return it, he said I would have nothing but trouble with it being an NTSC unit. When I asked him how long it would take to replace, he told me that he would send out a REPLACEMENT unit as soon as he received the faulty one. I posted the faulty unit on Tuesday, I then rang him on Thursday to get an update on the situation.
He told me that the hard drive was faulty and that they were waiting on a new drive arriving and to ring him again on Monday. I got the impression that they were sending me back the SAME unit when it's repaired.
It will be intresting to see if it is still NTSC or have they been able to convert it to PAL.

David
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Old September 10th, 2005, 04:32 AM   #10
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David,

This is actually quite interesting. I'm not familiar with VideoInspector so I can't say what the "Quality Factor" is. It may reflect the difference in the two images you recorded. Fireworks at night and your computer monitor are probably two things that could not be more extremely different. So this indicates that there may not be a real difference between the NTSC and PAL models.

The Focus engineers diagnosis sounds pretty convoluted in my opinion. If you were having problems with the units HDD then you would probably not have been able to record to disc at all. And the cooling fan has almost nothing to do with the HDD. So it seems to me that whoever you are dealing with is not being entirely straightforward. So maybe the "nothing but trouble with it being an NTSC unit" is just a bill of goods.

Did you send your unit back to Focus in California, or to your retailer in the UK?

Please keep us posted.
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Old September 10th, 2005, 05:09 AM   #11
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Daniel,
I sent the unit back to Focus in England.
To be fair the sounds coming from the faulty unit did sound like a hard drive struggling to boot up,the heads were clicking very eratically and only when it eventually booted up was I able to capture approx 13 mins of video.
What surprises me is the fact that they told me over the phone that the unit could not be converted to PAL, yet it appears that they will be returning the same unit to me after it is repaired.
Either that or they don't want to send me a replacement untill they find out why I was sent an NTSC unit, maybe they suspect that It was purchased overseas.

David
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Old September 10th, 2005, 05:30 AM   #12
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Daniel,
Another difference I noticed, the bitrate varied quite a bit in each of the Avi files.
The previously captured video had a bitrate of 592450 kbps
Whereas the Video captured with the Firestore was 28934 kbps.
Again I don't know if this is a fair comparison and I would need to do proper tests after I get the unit returned.

David
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Old September 10th, 2005, 08:51 AM   #13
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I think the bitrates and the "Quality Factor" are the same thing - the numbers are almost the same. And I tink that the bitrates are being effected by the amount of motion going on in what was filmed - someone correct me if I am wrong. I'm assuming that the footage you shot with the FS-4 had a lot less movement in it than what was shot on tape. I think that this bitrate difference is normal.

As for your returned unit - I assume that you have a proof of purchase, and I am sure that the unit's serial number is on that, which would make it easy to tell wether you bought it in the US or not.

Did you order your FS-4 directly from Focus UK? And what makes you think that they are going to repair the unit rather than replace it?

I'm sorry if I'm asking too many questions, but I am wondering what is going on with Focus. On the one hand they seem really forward thinking and interested in customer contact, feedback and being innovative, this impression supported by Matt McEwen's participation in this forum. And on the other hand, it seems that they are becoming a bit un-focused.

Your plight seems to illustrate this.
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Old September 10th, 2005, 10:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morton
Daniel,
Another difference I noticed, the bitrate varied quite a bit in each of the Avi files.
The previously captured video had a bitrate of 592450 kbps
Whereas the Video captured with the Firestore was 28934 kbps.
David
i believe that dv footage is always the same fixed cbr, and that the firestore footage should be an exact digital copy of what's on the tape.
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Old September 11th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #15
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Daniel,
I'm of the same opinion as Dan regarding bitrate, I believe that the bitrate captured to the hard drive should be constant (cbr) and only during the Rendering stage can you choose to have variable bit rate (vbr) where less space is taken up by scenes with little movement.

The unit was bought from a UK. based company in Manchester who Focus distribute to. I sent a copy of the sales receipt to Focus with the returned unit, unfortunately there is no details of the serial No. on the receipt.

When I found the unit to be faulty I contaced Focus because there was a registration card with the unit, it came from Focus with their address and a phone number.
When I spoke to the Focus engineer describing the problems he told me that it was faulty and needed to be returned. I told him that I had " Factory reset" the unit and that it stated in the menu that it was an NTSC version. He told me it should state PAL, I asked maybe by doing a Factory reset that I might have changed some of the settings, he had a unit in front of him and did a factory reset on that but the menu still stated that it was a PAL unit, he told be that the unit could not be changed from NTSC to PAL.
I then read out the serial No. from the back of the unit, he said that he did not recognise that series of numbers as coming from a PAL unit.
I asked him how long I would have to wait for a replacement, he told me it would be posted out the same day they receive the faulty unit. When I rang them 2 days later to see if they had received the faulty unit he confirmed that he had, I asked was a new on on it's way, he said that they were waiting on a new hard drive for the unit and to ring him again on Monday.
That makes me think that they are going to return the same unit repaired or they are trying to find the source of this seemingly rogue unit.

Sorry for such a long winded reply,
David
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