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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:06 PM   #1
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FireStore FS100 various topics

I have a couple of FS4's that have been great for SD. I purchased the HDV upgrade for them and I find the FS4's in HD mode to be flakey at best. For reference, I own the Z1, HD100, & H1.

I also have the HVX200, and have been very curious about the FS100. My recent experience with the FS4HD's have had me concerned, coupled with numerous reports of trouble with these units.

I'm also close to picking up the bigger SD Panny P2 - the SPX800. My question is:

1) can you use the FS-100 with the SPX800 - assuming DVCpro25/50 modes, hopefully with all framerates: 60i, 24p, 30p

2) Is it stable with the 800 - can you count on it completely, much as I do using my FS4's with my SD cams.

3) Can you record to the FS-100 AND P2 cards at the same time?

The way I see it, I would want to use the FS100 slaved to the record switch, or free-running, by which I could hopefully record a stream of video to the FS100, and do ad-hoc start-stop recording to the P2 cards (which is what I do with my SD cams - let the the firestore run, and start/stop the tape).

4) Has anyone from Focus tried this unit with this camera, or is it just theory?

I was one of the first people to buy the HD upgrade for the FS4. The support and answer for questions in relation to my HDV cams has been lacking. Big fan of the product in SD (also own three FS1's). Very concerned about HD.

Any clarification is greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much,

Shawn
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Old June 21st, 2006, 08:16 PM   #2
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By the way - referring to 'concerned about HD' for use with my HVX200 as well - I realize that the SPX800 is an SD cam.

Hopefully the FS100 works very well with the 200 in all modes (25/50/HD), and the 800 in 25/50 modes... I don't doubt that even my FS4's might work with the 800 if it was in DVCPro25 mode.

I have to add a 1394 card to get firewire capability in the 800 - so I want to make sure it's not an unnecessary add-on.

Thanks.
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Old June 21st, 2006, 09:18 PM   #3
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Hi Shawn,

To answer your questions...

FS-100 will work with any Panasonic DV/DV50/DV100 device that has a FireWire port. The SPX800 does have a FireWire card option, which as long as it streams out a regular DV/DV50 signal, it should work. Having said that, we have not tested it with the camera in our lab. I will check to see if Panasonic has. We used both the HD1200A and SD93 decks in our lab as test sources and they work fine with FS-100. As far as the frame rates go, as long as the SPX800 outputs the stream in a similar fashion to the HVX200 (base 60fps, but flags frames for 24p production etc), it should work. Control from the camera is also a good question (AV/C). I would assume it would include AV/C support as I would think the FireWire port on that camera would be useful for creating a tape backup. Another question would be if the optional 1394 port were an output only (as playback to the camera from FS-100 may not be possible. But I will see if Panasonic can answer these questions.

On the HVX, you can record to P2 card at the same time as the FS-100. I would assume the SPX800 is the same.

BTW, what edit system do you use?

Hope that helps,

Matt McEwen
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 09:18 AM   #4
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Thanks Matt.

Yes, I would appreciate whatever follow-up information you can provide. I believe the firewire output option on the 800 only provides an output stream - so it may not even have any other interaction with the camera (control, etc)? Not sure about that... It's a $900 option, so hopfully it includes whatever anyone would need.

What I do many times for event recording now on my SD cams (JVC DV500/550) is record the FS4 in an un-sync/slave mode. That is, it receives the stream from the camera, and records the whole content (start recording on only the FS4 10-15 minutes before things get going). Then I punch the tape on and off depending on how mission-critical the content is - so I have the very important stuff on tape (basically a backup), and basically everything before/during/after on the firestore. I have tried this method with my HDV cams (Z1, H1, and HD100) and it seems to mess up the FS4 - provides corrupt files, etc. The FS4 HD must be reacting to some trigger event from the recording button. Additionally, even in sync-slave mode I've had trouble when using the HDV mode. Tried the FS4HD with the H1 this last week, and couldn't get the FS4 to record/roll numbers. It was like it didn't 'see' the camera stream. Tried rebooting 3 times. It's happened before and after many reboots finally started working. I didn't have time to keep messing around with it last week, and just gave up. Not a product I'd rely on at this point...

In an ideal world, I would want to record a DVCPro50 stream from the 800 in the same way (or synchro-slave it on other shoots) as I described with my SD cams above, recording to the P2 cards for the 'critical stuff', and having all of the surrounding material on the Firestore. I figure I would need the FS100 for that (for the DVCPro50), or could possibly use my FS4's in SD mode if I set the 800 to DVC25 mode. That would be throwing away a lot of potential information though...

Once P2 cards are big enough, a lot of this becomes a non-issue. Until then, I'm big on backup and functionality. If the FS can fill this gap and be bulletproof, I'll continue to give you guys money. My experiences with the HD line really has me on the fence.

Also for your reference, I have an Edius SP system with the Broadcast upgrade/P2 support, dual 3.6 with 5.2 TB of onboard RAIDs.

Thanks for your note - you were exactly the one I was hoping would reply.


BTW - can I assume that if I picked up an FS100, I'd have no problems using it with my SD cams as well (much as I do with my FS4HD's) - also having it as an 'added FS4' for SD use? I would guess it's just a matter of changing the record settings to SD, type 2 AVI, etc? Hopefully this unit is not just/only optimized for allowing Panny capture? My guess is that it's basically an FS4, with Panny P2/MXF functionality added(?). Same question would apply to the DR-HD100 as well.

Thanks.

Last edited by Shawn Alyasiri; June 22nd, 2006 at 09:53 AM.
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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Hi Shawn,

My contact at Panasonic did run a test with FS-100 and the SPX800 and it did appear to work fine. Although the test was brief and was not a "full compatibility test", he successfully recorded 60i, 30p, 24p and 24pA of DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO with FS-100. He set 1394 CONTROL to BOTH in the SPX menu (same as the HVX BTW) and was able to record to P2 card and FS-100 simultaneously. TC also worked with FS-100 set to EXT TC. It was necessary to set the TC/UB setting on the SPX to FRM RATE (again, same as the HVX). He also checked the files in Canopus Edius Pro and they imported correctly.

Regarding FS-4 HD and your Sony Z1, did you have the EXT CONTROL MODE in the Z1's menu set to REC CNTRL MODE ->SYNCHRONOUS and STBY COMMAND-> REC PAUSE? That may have been the issue. You also have to switch the FS-4 from DV RECORDER mode to HD RECORDER mode. Also, with the Canon H1, we do have new firmware coming out for that camera shortly (the camera was released after the FS-4 HD) which fixes a playback issue, but record should have worked. The one trick with some Canon cameras is you may need to pull, the reinsert the FireWire cable on occasions. Sometimes, we have noticed that the Canon does not always see the external device.

Hope that helps,

Matt
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 12:31 PM   #6
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Forgot to answer...yes, when in DV25 mode, FS-100 will work fine with any FireWire equipped DV25 camera.

FYI...FS-100 has completely different set of electronics than an FS-4/DR-HD100 based unit. It was necessary to redesign the unit so that it could handle 100Mb/s.

Matt
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 12:53 PM   #7
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Matt,

Thanks for your very quick and helpful responses. I am now very interested in taking a look at the FS100 as part of the flow again.

Could I impose upon you to check with your Panny contact one more time? The specific test I'd like to see is if you can 'unsync' the FS100 to the camera (either 800 or 200), start recording the firewire stream on the FS100, and then punch the record button (on the camera) at ad-hoc points in time to record to the P2 cards. This is what I do with many SD shoots and it works very well... This way I have a master capture of everything surrounding the events, and punch the record button on/off for critical sections to record to tape (or for changing a tape) - my favorite functionality about the firestores (even the FS1's).

I noticed that with the HDV cams, this ends up being problematic (possibly settings that I need to adjust on the cams themselves), messing with the FS4 recording, and even creating bad/corrupt files.

If you could verify that this can be done with the 800 as well as the 200, I'd be extremely grateful - I'd probably buy 2 units tomorrow...

Thanks again very much,
Shawn
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 02:49 PM   #8
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Shawn,

If I understand this correctly, all you should have to do is set the FS-100 to LOCAL control mode, trigger record on it, and then you can trigger REC/REC-PAUSE to P2 card/tape all day, and FS-100 will just continue to record. When any FS model is in LOCAL mode, it ignores control commands from the camera.

Matt
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Old July 19th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #9
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Hey Matt...

Matt,

I'm responding from a couple of weeks ago. Would you have the ability to contact your 'contact', just to make sure that the 'local' recording mode won't impact or be impacted (trigger a stop in recording on the FS100, corrupt the stream/files, etc) by ad-hoc recording to the P2 cards (start and stop P2 card recording while the Firestore just records the whole stream straight through) on both the HDX200 and the bigger Panny 800?

This is how I currently record DV content (set the FS1's or FS4's to record straight through an event, and start/stop the DV tape for critical sections, etc). I noticed that this was glitchy in the HDV modes. Likewise, I don't recall seing a 'Local' mode in/on the FS-4 (I remember specific Local mode in the FS1) - I assume it's just a non-syncro/slaved mode(?).

Also - on the FS100, do these files sit in one main .MXF folder structure (like on a P2 card), or are there multiple folder sets/structures for each clip you shoot? I'm guessing that in Windows explorer, it looks like one big P2 card, and that there are mulitiple .mxf files inside the 'video' folder which gets muxed with the audio when you import it into the editor? Additionally, do these files top out at 2 or 4 gig on longer clips (say a recording was for 1 hour - there'd be multiple 2 or 4 gig files for that clip)?

I'm still waiting for my firewire board to come in for the 800, which is delaying my purchase of the FS100. Looking forward to the results and most likely another purchase.

Sounds like firmware and better cables are helping the FS100 these days? Any other current pitfalls or concerns being addressed, or should I expect a nice transition, similar to using my FS4's in DV mode (my HDV modes have been disappointing).

Thanks.
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Old July 19th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #10
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Hi Shawn,

When in Local Mode, FS-100, FS-4, DR-HD etc. ignore the commands coming from the camera. So as long as you are set to this mode, you should be fine.

With FS-100, once you have finished shooting, there is a final step called "organize P2". This step puts all the MXF clips on disk into the P2 directory structure (so that FS-100 will be recognized as a P2 device). Our last 2.0 upgrade added P2 thumbnail support.

We do expect a new software release shortly for the HDV versions of FS-4 HD. I will post here when it is available.

Hope that helps,

Matt McEwen
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Old July 26th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #11
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Can Fs-100 Be Upgraded/Downgraded to Record HDV

Hi,
I'm wondering if the FS100 can be "upgraded" to record HDV...or if anyone has tried this?
The larger capacity of the FS100 is appealing. Also for us end users (who often rent/use other cameras) would love to switch between using the Firestore on an HVX200 or a Canon XLH1/Sony Z1U in 60i.
Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks,

Brian Broz
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Old July 27th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #12
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FS-100 is the only portable DTE recorder that has completely different electronics than the other FS-4 based models (FS-4, FS-4 HD, FS-4Pro, DR-HD100, FS-C etc.). Sorry to say that HDV support is not available as an upgrade on FS-100. HDV support is available on FS-4 HD, FS-4Pro HD, DR-HD100 and FS-C.

Hope that helps.

Matt
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 08:44 AM   #13
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Matt - FS100 - What cables come with it - other brand recommendations?

Hi. I'm about to pull the trigger today on the FS100 and I wanted to confirm what cables are coming with the FS100 package.

I understand that there were some glitches in earlier units, be it firmware and/or bad cables. Can I assume that this is all taken care of with new units, or should I look towards other cables that others have mentioned?

I remember someone pointing out good firewire cables to use with the unit (some even had LEDs in the cable tips), but I can't seem to find the link. I'm planning to use this FS100 with the HVX-200 (so I assume a 6pin to 4 pin), as well as the SPX-800 (6pin to 6pin). I'd also like to know if I need the magnetic clips/blocks (ferrites?) as well? I just want to have a good experience from the get go...

Lastly - specifically Matt, are there any dangers using the Anton PowerTap to FS4 plug from B&H to power the FS4 or FS100? Also, should you remove the firestore battery (I'm assuming it's okay to leave it) when powering from an Anton battery, or can you leave it in (and maybe even charge the Firestore battery from it when the unit is turned off)? I may opt to power a camera, light and/or firestore from a Hytron or Dionic, depending on the circumstances. Here is the cable I have:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=409393&is=REG

I'm guessing you could power the FS4, FS100, JVC Firestore, etc with this plug, no problems, etc?

Please advise and thanks much,

Shawn
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 03:55 PM   #14
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Hi Matt - was hoping to catch you today...

bump on original...
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 04:03 PM   #15
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Hi Shawn,

Regarding firmware, always make sure your unit has the latest firmware loaded (even if it is a new unit). The latest version is available as a free download from the Focus support site: http://www.focusinfo.com/support/downloads.asp#expand .

The FS-100 currently comes with a 4-ft., 4-6 pin FireWire cable. Even though there has been some issues reported on forums about the reliability of the FireWire cable we ship, I am not specifically aware of a known fault. It is likely that some customers have experienced issues with the 4-pin FireWire connection on the HVX200. The 4-pin connector is somewhat delicate and with the proper care, you shouldn't have any issues. Both Panasonic and Focus tested and qualified the cable we ship with FS-100. As for alternative cables, here is some links someone posted from another forum (I cannot verify how these works as we have not tested them):

http://www.usbfirewire.com/firewire.html
http://fwdepot.com/thestore/default.php/cPath/2_97

I would warn you to stay away from cables that are outside the 1394 spec (such as long distance cables).

As for the Anton/Bauer FS-4 power tap, this will work fine with the FS-100 (or any FS-4 based version or DR-HD100/FS-C). You should always have a battery on the FS-100 when using external power...the unit was designed to always have a battery connected. There is no downside...the Anton will actually charge the FS-100 battery whenever it is connected. This will also allow you to change the Anton with power not being interrupted on the FS-100. I have run my FS-100 off of a Dionic 90 for about 6 hours.

Hope that helps,

Matt
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