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


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Old April 9th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #46
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FS-4 observations

Now that I have a production model FS-4, I think that I can safely make some observations about it.

First off, I'm about to list a few shortcomings of the FS-4, in the hopes of helping anyone interested in getting one of these units, make an educated decision. The truth is that the FS-4 is a very good tool. It has a lot of nice features, and the capacity to be software upgraded over the course of time may (I hope) reverse some of faults I have found.

The FS-4 would be useable for all applications in the field where tape is now used except for these two main exceptions. The FS-4's most significant shortcoming is its fan. The fan is quiet in it initial running state, but depending on the surrounding temperature and the intensity of use, the fan kicks into second stage at around forty five minutes of continuous capturing. Stage two is too loud for professional applications where audio is an issue. I will not be able to use the FS-4 in situations where professional audio recording is being done. The FS-4 is perfect for people who are shooting events, or are shooting in situations where there is constant and sufficiently loud ambient sound to cover the fan noise.

I imagine that the fan is a consequence of the FS-4's plastic housing. The FS-3's housing is made of metal and serves as a heat sink. I don't recall there being a fan issue with the FS-3.

I wonder if it would be possible to retrofit the FS-4 with better heat sinks.

In my opinion the fan noise is the single most significant pit-fall on the FS-4.

Another thing, which prevents the FS-4 from replacing tape completely, is that it seems the FS-4 cannot create files with four channel 12 bit audio, which the Canon XL-1, XL-1s, and XL-2 offer as an audio recording option when recording to tape.

I hope that this can be fixed with a software update from Focus.

Here are some things to watch out for when using the FS-4 in the field:

It is a good idea to put a piece of tape over the DV I/O Firewire jack when going out to record. At least on two occasions it took me longer to set up a shot because I had plugged the FW cable to the camera into the wrong jack on the FS-4. (Retro cache won't help if the firewire cable is not hooked up correctly)

Practice pushing the RECORD key twice to start recording in LOCAL mode and the STOP key twice when ending a recording. Pushing REC on the FS-4 once to start recording is an easy mistake to make and will result in lost footage, or more accurately, not recorded footage. Not pushing STOP twice on the FS-4 will also result in corrupted footage (the last file segment) if this is not done before turning the unit off.

I don't know why Focus decided on this operation scheme but it is unintuitive, and tricky. I'm guessing that they had to do it this way for patent reasons, or something.

These are the main points that I think people should be aware of when purchasing an FS-4.

If anyone has contradicting experiences with the FS-4, especially concerning the fan noise, please post them.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 02:33 AM   #47
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Fs4 and FS4-Pro Problems

I have an issue with my FS4-Pro that the backlight flickers on and off and sometimes goes off and comes back on when it feels like it.

Also this morning just noticed that the FS4 (non pro) only ever shows a RED led now for charging status, on both batteries !!!

The battery looks like its getting a charge as the one I left on overnight shows full in the display. The charge indicator was working before...As I'm in the UK is it best to call Holdan in the UK or wait until the time is right to call Focus in the US.

We have used the FS4 a number of times in the field and it appears to work well. I hope these are fixable using software upgrades as opposed to hardware faults..

Regards

Mark
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Old April 13th, 2005, 03:03 AM   #48
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Played some more with the pro and no pro versions.

The non pro version now only shows red for the charging light and will NOT charge any batteries. I have tried a different PSU, tried it via firewire and still the issue. I managed to charge the batteries on my pro version so looks like a fault with the non pro version. :-((

Also the pro version still has that annoying flicker and sometimes refuses to give any backlight at all, I will contact Holdan today and see what can be done, although i know stocks are very low.

Mark
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Old April 13th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #49
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After turning my unit (FS-4) on within 15 minutes the fan speeds up to where you would not want it mounted on the camera as the onboard mic would pick it up. I also noticed that my status led is always orangish redish. I
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Old April 24th, 2005, 04:50 PM   #50
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Warning about FS-4 usage with FW hub

I want to warn people about using the FS-4 with a powered FW hub.

I have made the suggestion of using the FS-4 together with a firewire hub as a way of splitting the DV signal coming from the camera, in a previous thread. The reasoning behind this would was to make possible, making a recording to the FS-4 and another recording device, like a computer or DVD recorder, at the same time.

This set-up also did work with the beta FS-4 I was testing at the time. However, the production model FS-4 I swapped for the Beta device I had, has now been damaged by this set up.

I am pretty sure that this is due to the fact that this time there was power on the hub (which was admittedly stupid of me to have over looked) and there was none when I did this this set-up previously.

So please learn from my mistake.

DO NOT HOOK THE FS-4 TO A 6 PIN FW CABLE CONNECTED TO A POWERED FW HUB!

The power pin on the FS-4's DV I/O jack is for some reason not capped and will probably blow-out the FW DV I/O port on the FS-4 if supplied with power.
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Old April 24th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #51
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Thanks for the warning. I was going to test the FS-4 and DVD Rack throught a powered Firewire hub tomorrow. Glad I saw this. I sure hope FOCUS reads this and corrects this and other issues via a firmware update if possible.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 11:17 AM   #52
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Looking at Firestore FS-4 Portable Storage

I have been seeing the pictures of the Firestore FS-4 Portable Storage device. Would it work on our Gl2's? Do you have to have a tape loaded in the GL2 when you are using the FS-4, or do you let the GL2 flash that there is no tape inside of it while somehow you are recording a picture into the FS-4?
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Old April 30th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #53
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Barrie...

The fs4 can record manually by pressing on the buttons on the unit itself. I have a Pd170 and that will not work in tapeless mode. I also have used an XM2 (the Uk name for a GL2) and it worked fine. I also think the GL2/XM2 has the ability to work tapeless. I remember seeing some menu items allowing DV device control, maybe another member on this forum can confirm this.

If you have a tape in the camera then the FS4 can be operated automatically (Slave mode) by pressing the record button on the camera, if you want to film tapeless then it will depend on the make and model of camera used. But why go all tapeless, see the FS4 as the main record method and tape as backup, you know one day you will be glad you had both !!!

Mark
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Old May 4th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #54
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New FS-4 Pro Promotion - FREE HDV upgrade & more!

FireStore FS-4Pro Bundle $698 Savings

Purchase the FireStore FS-4Pro Bundle—featuring the FS-4Pro, FS-4Pro High-Definition Software, and the FireStore DV Conversion Suite—between May 1, 2005 and June 30,2005, and save $698 instantly.

Weighing less than one pound, the FireStore FS-4Pro Portable DTE Recorder brings Direct to Edit Technology to your handheld camcorder. With an easyto-use interface, multiple DTE recording formats, a 40GB or 80GB drive, and a removable, rechargeable battery, the FireStore FS-4Pro is the perfect DTE companion for handheld shoots. With advanced features such as time lapse, loop playback, and scene marking, the FireStore FS-4Pro provides the flexibility that video professionals demand.

FireStore FS-4Pro High-Definition Software Included free-of-charge ($299 value)
When you install the FireStore FS-4Pro High-Definition Software, your FireStore FS-4Pro will be compatible with HDV camcorders and editing systems.

FireStore DV Conversion Suite Included free-of-charge ($399 value)
Converting DV25 file formats is fast and easy with the FireStore DV Conversion Suite. In addition to converting all major DV25 formats, the software provides aspect ratio and broadcast standard conversion from DV-PAL to DV-NTSC and vice versa.

Even better news - we actually have FireStore FS-4 Pro 80GB units in stock! All backorders ar being filled today and it still leaves us about a dozen units available! We're still offering a FREE Field Kit (Extra Battery & mounting bracket) to the first 50 FS-4 Pro purchasers.

For more info http://www.videoguys.com/FireStore.html

Gary
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Last edited by Gary Bettan; May 4th, 2005 at 12:49 PM.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 11:51 AM   #55
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"save $698* instantly"

Sounds great, Gary. What does the asterisk refer to?
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Old May 4th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #56
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The asterisk was to point out that you have to wait for the HDV upgrade to be available. It is not here yet. Latest word is June.

Gary
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:16 AM   #57
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FS-4 Retro Record and Timecode Correlation

When using the retro record feature and also recording to tape, how does the FS-4 handle timecode for the six seconds of pre-roll?

My application is documentary work -- I *absolutely* love the idea of having six seconds of safety so I don't have to waste tape but I'm also concerned about creating usable batch capture lists in FCP after transferring files from the FS-4.

Oh yeah, those six seconds don't exist on the tape - duh.

Still, I'm curious: seems like there would either be no timecode for the six seconds, non-incrementing timecode, or duplicated timecode. Hmm...maybe the camera should be set to free-run timecode mode in which case the six seconds of timecode would simply start six seconds before the tape timecode start? That would be fine, I suppose at least a good compromise.

Thanks for any help on this!
Kevin Triplett
Austin, TX

Last edited by Kevin Triplett; May 5th, 2005 at 01:22 AM. Reason: shorten post
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:11 AM   #58
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Long time no see, Kevin!

I've looked briefly through the FS-4 manual (download a PDF copy from http://www.focusinfo.com/support/manuals.htm) and didn't immediately see an answer. Matt McEwen is on vacation this week; but I'm sure he'll spot this question when he returns.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #59
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Remote control of Firestore FS-4

I'm trying to control a firestore FS-4 from my computer so that I can make numerous short video clips in response to triggers coming from software I’m developing for counting marine mammals.

Option one is the GPI control which involves simply closing and opening a contact to go in and out of pause mode – fine except I need to go beyond pause and completely stop the FS-4 to save each clip before starting to refill the retro cache and the simple GPI control will not allow this.

Option 2 is to use the RS-232 interface, but this has absolutely no documentation. I can see the firestore from Windows Hyper Terminal and get an ‘F’ on the screen whenever a recording is complete – so far so good. Unfortunately, I have no idea what commands I can send back to the firestore. Does anyone know ?

Any third options ?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help,

Douglas.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #60
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Hi Kevin,

I just tried out what you are asking about. When the FS-4 is set to EXT-TC, it seems to recognize what the TC is, at where the tape is stopped. The RETRO Cache backs up the TC six seconds and loops that TC until you push record. Then the TC goes on from there. This may mean that the RETRO Cache will be reusing the TC already assigned to the previous shot on tape. But at least there is continuous TC throughout the entire RETRO Cache/shot processes.

I hope that makes sense.

My test was: to shoot with Retro Cache active on the FS-4, EXT-TC, Syncro Slave mode. I pushed the record button on my camera after waiting a while. When I looked at the footage in FCP, I had a shot with TC running for about six seconds before I heard the beep from the camera being started. The TC never flinched.
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