Firestore Hds - Any feedback? at

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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Firestore Hds - Any feedback?

My company is starting to do long amounts of filming, so we're looking at hard drives, to cut down on tape costs and capture time.

Has anyone had experience with a 101 / 110, and the firestore recorders? Would be interested to hear how they work in the field, any problems with them, or issues with capturing, and what battery life is like.

Also, there seems to be a myriad of firestore devices- which ones specifically work with JVCs?

this one seems to be specifically designed for the JVCs:

Firestore FS-4 Recorders - JVC Firestore DR-HD100 - 100Gb HDD recorder for ProHD camcorders

but is a bit pricey

but, according to the datasheet, this seems to be compatible, and is much cheaper:

Firestore FS-4 Recorders - Firestore FS-4 HD 120Gb - Portable HDD Recorder

the pdf for that one from focus enhancements website mentions recording .m2t 720p 24/25/30/50/60

Which brings me to another question. When the firestore records the raw hdv data stream, how does one capture? I assume you dont have to play it out frpom the device and capture in real time? (we're using final cut pro). Is there a plug in, so you can import directly?

sorry, full of questions. Any help would be much appreciated
Peter Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5th, 2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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The DR HD100 version is compatible with all the controls on the JVC camera, that is it can be set to record either simultaneously with a tape or separately using the cameras record buttons. All info from the drive is viewable in the camera viewfinder, drive recording, time left etc.

Files can be recorded in a variety of codecs including Quicktime.

A cable is available to power the hard drive from V lock or Anton Bauer type batteries if you have that option fitted to your camera. I normally find one 128 watt hour battery lasts all day running the camera and hard drive.

Files are transfered from the drive directly to your FCP media drive by conecting the drive to the computer via firewire and importing them. Using a G5 Dual 2.5 Mac I find this process happens at about five times the speed of real time.

I always dual record to tape and the DR HD100 for security, timecode is the same on tape and the drive images. The original tape as well as being a back up also saves the need to archive footage at the end of the edit.

In the field I've never had a problem with the hard drive, have had tape drop out problems though, this was resolved by only using one brand of tape in the camera.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Location: Creswell Oregon
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I use a Firestore DR-HD100 mounted on the back of my JVC HD110 for a couple years now. During that time I have had both positive and negative experiences.

The first issue I had was how to connect the Firestore to the camera in a secure way. The official mounting solutions cost more money than I was prepared to part with. Also I didn't trust using velcro strips on the battery and firestore. After trying may different solutions, the one I finally came up with only ended up costing $10. I found a right angle metal drywall bracket at my local hardware store which had screw holes that perfectly matched up with the screw holes on the side of my IDX battery plate. Then I used an industrial epoxy to glue the firestore's battery to the bracket. After leaving the battery clamped to the bracket for 48 hours, the epoxy formed an extremely strong bond. I also got the powertap cable to power the firestore from the camera's battery.

Once I came up with this mounting solution, using the firestore was fantastic. Not having to use tapes, clicking and dragging files directly into my editor. It was liberating. Almost like moving from horse drawn wagons to automobiles overnight.

The next headache I suffered came from time the time code. There seemed to be no way, without rolling a tape in the camera at the same time, to have a new clips time code pick up where a previous clip left off in the firestore. The time code would always start over again at 0. This made logging a huge headache. Eventually firestore released updated firmware that fixed this issue, but they wouldn't just let you download the firmware for free- you had to pay for it. This pissed me off because I had already bought the firestore, and I felt that not generating its own timecode was a mistake that shouldn't have existed in the first place and thus I shouldn't have to pay to have it fixed. The firestore people on the other hand felt time code on video was a feature, and should cost extra. Anyways, I ended up paying for the firmware update.

For a long time I was pretty happy with my set up. The firestore-camera connection worked seamlessly. I could monitor my time code and recording time left via my viewfinder, and trigger recording to start and stop via the camera's record trigger buttons. Plus I had the benefits of a completely tapeless workflow.

Then one day on a shoot, having gone nearly a year with perfect performance from my firestore, it developed free will and decided what I wanted it to do (record video) was not what it wanted to do. I was on a shoot, far from home, no tapes with me. I hit record, it ran a few seconds and stopped. I hit record again, the time code advanced one frame, then it wouldn't record. I tried playing back previous footage- it was all blocky and the the audio stuttered. Then it just froze and wouldn't do anything or respond to any of the buttons being pressed. I was 90% done with the shoot, so we took a break, rand and bought some mini-dv tapes and finished the shoot on tape.

When I got back home and tried to connect the firestore to my computer it showed there being no files on it. 90% of the shoot gone. I ended up taking apart the firestore to remove its internal hard drive, mounting that drive inside of my computer, running disk repair on it plus an entire suite of other forensic tools to try to get back my data. Finally I was able to recover most of my lost data, enough to finish the project, but the firestore's hard drive was dead.

I purchased a new hard drive for the firestore, same rpms, same interface, same power requirements, only a lot larger. I installed this new drive in the firestore, formatted it, and it seems to work fine. This was about a year ago now and I have not had any problems sense then- but for critical shoots I always roll tape at the same time now.

So that is my experiences with the firestore/HD110. Hopefully this was of some help to you. Good luck!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #4
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We have three of the DR-HD100's with our JVC 250's. Most of our experiences have been positive, but we have had a few corrupt files that refuse to play. Very un-nerving to have part of a shoot poof, but luckily it hasn't been anything critical. I talked with the manufacturer at NAB and we'll be trying to figure out the cause, but it has been so sporadic it will be difficult to pin point.

Run time on the drive has been decent and we can run them with the camera as well. Connection to the MAC and FCP is very easy and has been wonderful for logging and finding clips to used compared to digitzing. Only issue at this point is what to back up all the raw video files too once the projects are complete. So far it is a heck of a lot of dual layer DVD's and other external HDs.
Michael Rosenberger
Sure I'll shoot your wedding, for two million dollars.
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