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Focus Enhancements FireStore
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:10 PM   #1
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Opinions on FS-4

Hi,

I am considering buying a FS-4 Pro for my DVX-100B. I would appreciate any feedback or issues that you have encountered.

Thanks.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:48 PM   #2
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After using an FS-1 for several years with my XL-1, I recently moved into an FS-4. Overall, I'm pleased with it. It seems to work as advertised. My only complaints, so far, are minor "glitches" at the 2 Meg boundries during continuous recording-- the video is seamless, but the audio is not; there are noticeable breaks. Also, the FS-4 reverts back to Raw DV when turned-off after I've set it to Quicktime. On a positive note, I have no issues with the fan noise that has been discussed in earlier strings. I have also not experienced any problems with dropped frames, as some have reported.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #3
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i don't know that i would spend the extra $$ for the pro version... if you need longer recording time, get a bigger hdd.

the fs-4 has revolutionized the way that i shoot... bugs and all, i wish that i had this thing years ago.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #4
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I agree with Dan -- unless you have a specific need for the few added features, I think the FS-4 is sufficient and considerably less expensive. I've used the FS-1 for several years, and I get depressed anytime I have to actually capture footage from tape! My workflow has really been streamlined. The one advantage my old FS-1 has over the FS-4 is capacity -- I could put any size FW drive on it that I desired. With the FS-4, I just take my laptop computer along to dump files into if I need the space.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice and feedback.

One follow-up question: Are the timecode/audio issues something to be concerned about or glitches that can be fixed?
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #6
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They might never be an issue for you.....I do a lot of continuous recording at community theater events, and typically run continuously for a full tape at a time. With both my FS-1 and now the FS-4, if there happens to be dialog, music, etc. at the 2 GB break, I can hear it on the audio track once I pull it into Final Cut Pro --it appears like a 1-2 frame drop (audio only). I always use a tape backup, so when those occur, I just capture a few seconds from the tape and edit it into the timeline. The FS-1 has a user-programmable Audio Correction parameter that I adjusted to improve it, but I'm not aware of the FS-4 having that feature.

If you're not recording past the 2 GB boundry, it won't be an issue. If you do, it might, depending on what the action is at the break. As long as you have a backup tape (and you should), it can be fixed.

Hope this helps.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #7
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Thanks, Vic. Great points.

I am close to purchasing the FS-4. I researched mounting options on this board. Is there one you would recommend over the other?
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Old February 25th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #8
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I have no comment on the Pro version. I own the FS-4 and love it. Used it today on a hike. When I got home I just threw the files onto my computer and started editing. So nice not to haveto capture. My only complaint is the relatively short battery life. It was quite cool and windy out today and I think the cold affected the battery even more.

But overall it is really great


Chris
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Old February 25th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #9
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Ken--

Focus sells a mount for the FS-4 -- it seems a little pricey. I just rubber-banded mine onto the MA-1 mounting bracket (where you would normally attach a wireless transmitter). Not the best option, but it works. For stationary tripod work, I leave it off the camera.
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 12:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Owen
With both my FS-1 and now the FS-4, if there happens to be dialog, music, etc. at the 2 GB break, I can hear it on the audio track once I pull it into Final Cut Pro --it appears like a 1-2 frame drop (audio only). I always use a tape backup, so when those occur, I just capture a few seconds from the tape and edit it into the timeline. The FS-1 has a user-programmable Audio Correction parameter that I adjusted to improve it, but I'm not aware of the FS-4 having that feature.
Hi Vic,

I don't think that this is supposed to happen. I haven't noticed this audio problem on my system. The fact that this audio drop-out problem is happening with both your FS-1 and FS-4 may indicate that it is being caused by something other than the FSs in your set-up. I can't think of what, though. Have you brought this problem to the attention of Focus? If so, what do they say?
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Old March 3rd, 2006, 03:58 PM   #11
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Yeah, I exchanged several emails with Matt McEwen when he was still active on these boards. He suggested the audio parameter change on the FS-1 that helped some. It's not out of the realm of possibilities that it's something in Final Cut Pro, although it's been there through several iterations of FCP. It's strange that it only occurs on audio and not video. I'll have to mess around with it some more, but it's pretty easy to just edit-in a few seconds captured from tape. It also doesn't happen at every boundry -- only some of them. With the FS-1, I could expand the timeline and actually see approx. 2 frames of missing audio; it's not as obvious with the FS-4. Ah, the joys of troubleshooting electronics....
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Old March 6th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #12
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I played around with this a little more. By expanding the FCP timeline, I can see where I'm dropping the first frame of the incoming audio clip. The outgoing clip is fine, and the video maintains continuity on both the outgoing and incoming clips. This has been an issue with both my G3 & DP G4 machines, and FCP versions 3 through 4.5. There must be some parameter in FCP that could be affecting it, but so far I haven't found it. The puzzle continues.....
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Old March 6th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #13
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FS-4 is a truly breakthrough product. It combines the DTE technology with a very portable and pretty rugged form factor. There have been quite a few write ups on it:

FOCUS Enhancements’ FireStore FS-4 HD Named Among the Best of 2005 by EventDV Magazine http://www.eventdv.net/articles/read...rticleid=10817

Tapeless Capturing with FireStore FS-4 and Final Cut Pro http://www.bosfcpug.org/beta/index.p...d=32&Itemid=58

DV Mag FireStore FS-4 Review http://www.dv.com/reviews/reviews_it...leId=163105772

DMN: FireStore FS-4 http://www.digitalvideoediting.com/a...e.jsp?id=32371

Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2005 http://www.videoguys.com/2005best.htm

We've got some nice bundle deals called the field kit that include an FS-4, mounting bracket and extra battery http://www.videoguys.com/FireStore.html

Gary
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Old March 8th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #14
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My two cents...

I see there have been ample responses to your original post, but I felt I should add my two cents.

I loved this product when I first got it (about two and a half months ago), but I've since experienced some glitches. When it is working properly, I'm in heaven, but this one major problem has thrown a wrench in the machine. And that is, that the unit doesn't power up. The backlit LCD will light, but remains blank. At first, depressing the 'on' button again (up to several times) would resolve the issue, and the unit would continue to boot. But now, 2 1/2 months later, the unit will no longer boot, and hangs with the LCD lit up, but blank. Like I said, when it was working, I was completely in love with the FS-4, but until Focus contacts me about either repairing the unit or replacing it, I'm going to have to advise you to be a little bit cautious. I haven't heard too many positive reviews of the support from Focus Enhancements. They have already ignored one of my phone messages to technical support. I will folow up on this once I have contacted and spoken with a Focus Enhancements rep.

Thanks for reading a boring post,

Brian Fischer
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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:00 AM   #15
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Thanks Brian for your comments. It was rather helpful. I haven't purchased the FS-4 yet. I am hearing mixed reviews of their tech support.

Let me know if they ever get back to you.
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