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Old September 5th, 2008, 04:40 PM   #1
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Urgent Problem: Software Doesn't See Sony HDV Deck

Hi. I'm about to edit my first HDV project and basically at the moment I am at the first stage of postproduction work - getting the material from the miniDV tapes to my hard drive.

I don't own an HDV camera, so an HDV deck was rented for the job. Specifically a SONY HVR-M15E deck.

I've never worked with a deck (of any format) before, so the issues I'm addressing below might seem a bit silly, but here's the deal....

I'm sitting here in front of my computer, deck is hooked up via firewire, tape no. 1 inside, Sony Vegas 8 is open and ready to capture.... but Vegas doesn't see the deck.

I downloaded a 15-day trial version of cineform NEO to try and capture using HD-link, but it wouldn't recognize the Sony deck either. The devices pull down menu remains empty.

I figured it might be some settings issue with the deck, I see there's a menu button there, but no way to see the menu. I don't have a monitor - only two CRT computer screens. (I don't have a tv set either).

So my questions are:
1. Does this indeed look like a menu settings issue?
2. Is there a way to view the menu on computer screen?

The situation is that I'll have the deck only until tomorrow and there are about 12 hours of footage to capture :-(

I'm very sure I have everything hooked up correctly. Apart from the green light indicating that the Sony HDV deck is powered up, there are two yellow indicators lit up. One over DVCAM (rather than HDV) and another indicating 50 (the other option is 60).
Any ideas on how to help me out will be blessed!!

Thanks! .... (its half past midnight in this part of the world, but I'll stay up in hope of a life-saving answer).
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Old September 5th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #2
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The most common reason for this is a settings mismatch. If the deck is in DVCAM mode but you have Vegas looking for an HDV device because you are doing an HDV project, it won't see the device. If this is a rental deck it's possible the prior renter set the deck up to output DV or DVCAM rather than HDV. If the deck is in auto and it's indicating you have a DVCAM mode tape inside, set up a DVCAM non-HDV project in Vegas.

If you're sure you have HDV tapes you may need to set the menus of the M15 to HDV output. Make sure you are not downconverting.

IN/OUT REC -> HDV/DV SEL = HDV or AUTO
IN/OUT REC -> i.LINK SET -> HD>DV CONV = OFF. This might be set to DVCAM currently. If this is a rental you don't likely have a manual to refer to, but if you do this is on pages 46-48.

Of course, if your PC can't see the deck it's difficult to get the menus onto the screen. Can you hook up the deck directly to your monitor (or find a regular TV) via component, composite or s-video? Or maybe to a camcorder with a screen? I don't think this deck will output the menus via FW so you probably need an external monitor in any case.

Edit: I just fired up my M15 and can't find any way to output the menu screens to the PC via FW. I think this, like camera data, only goes out through analog. So you need to score a TV set, monitor or camcorder to do this.

If you are trying to do a DV project and are either using DV mode tapes or downconverting HDV tapes to DV, then make sure you have set up a DV project.

It's also possible you are missing a driver, but if you have XP SP2 or later this probably isn't it. Does Windows see the deck (i.e. "ding" when you power on the deck after plugging it in and powering up the PC)?

Finally, it's remotely possible that the deck or PC has a blown FW port or cable, which might be worth checking if all the above options turn out not to be the issue.

Last edited by Adam Gold; September 5th, 2008 at 11:53 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
The most common reason for this is a settings mismatch. If the deck is in DVCAM mode but you have Vegas looking for an HDV device because you are doing an HDV project, it won't see the device. If this is a rental deck it's possible the prior renter set the deck up to output DV or DVCAM rather than HDV. If the deck is in auto and it's indicating you have a DVCAM mode tape inside, set up a DVCAM non-HDV project in Vegas.

If you're sure you have HDV tapes you may need to set the menus of the M15 to HDV output. Make sure you are not downconverting.

Adam Gold;929861]IN/OUT REC -> HD/DV SEL = HDV or AUTO
IN/OUT REC -> i.LINK SET -> HD>DV CONV = OFF. This might be set to DVCAM currently.
Thanks for the speedy response.

Okay, to see these menu settings I need a monitor, right? Is there no chance to see the menu settings on my computer screen?


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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
If you are trying to do a DV project and are either using DV mode tapes or downconverting HDV tapes to DV, then make sure you have set up a DV project.
No, its an HDV project. The material was shot on a Sony Z-1 in HDV mode, interlaced on mini DV tapes. I've set Vegas properties to HDV 1080-50i.

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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
It's also possible you are missing a driver, but if you have XP SP2 or later this probably isn't it. Does Windows see the deck (i.e. "ding" when you power on the deck after plugging it in and powering up the PC)?
Running XP SP3. Yes, Windows recognizes the M-15 deck, its just the editing software that doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Finally, it's remotely possible that the deck or PC has a blown FW port or cable, which might be worth checking if all the above options turn out not to be the issue.
Since WinXP sees the device, can I rule this out?

I guess the burning questions are if I can see the menu settings on my computer screen somehow? and if not, if there is a way I can set up the menu correctly without seeing it. I see there is a reset button on the deck which I gather resets settings to some default mode. Maybe someone super experienced with these devices can tell me what to do in a remote fashion (i.e. preset RESET then MENU then press on the DOWN button three times, then press EXEC, etc). Like when traumatized ex-pilot Ted Striker took to the cockpit of a hijacked jumbo as Rex Kramer coached him through an emergency landing all the way from the control tower in the 1980 film 'Airplane'. :-)
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Old September 5th, 2008, 10:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
Okay, to see these menu settings I need a monitor, right? Is there no chance to see the menu settings on my computer screen
Yeah, I'm not a real expert on the deck -- just got it -- but I don't think there's any way to do this without a monitor because I believe all this data only goes out through analog. I guess this points up the value of the M25, which has a monitor built in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
No, its an HDV project. The material was shot on a Sony Z-1 in HDV mode, interlaced on mini DV tapes. I've set Vegas properties to HDV 1080-50i.
So based on what you said about the DVCAM light illuminated, I'm guessing that's the problem.
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Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
Since WinXP sees the device, can I rule this out?
Yes, I think it's safe to assume your problem isn't there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi Head View Post
I guess the burning questions are if I can see the menu settings on my computer screen somehow? and if not, if there is a way I can set up the menu correctly without seeing it. I see there is a reset button on the deck which I gather resets settings to some default mode. Maybe someone super experienced with these devices can tell me what to do in a remote fashion (i.e. preset RESET then MENU then press on the DOWN button three times, then press EXEC, etc).
Yes, it's quite possible that someone who knows the deck well or services decks like this will know if there is such a sequence. But your idea about RESET is a good one, but there are two different kinds of RESETs. The RESET button on the back (according to the manual) does not affect the MENU settings.... and it might switch it into 60i mode, which would make your situation worse. You can restore the menu settings to their defaults, but you ironically need to go into the menus to do it.

I think you really need to get ahold of a monitor. Let me see if I can work up a couple of sequences you can try.

Edit: OK, so I think I've got it. This is assuming that your current settings are DV or downconvert to DVCAM in their respective sub-menus below IN/OUT REC. If it's the first, it's unlikely you'd have the second situation, as if it's set to play DV it wouldn't be set to downconvert.

Which DVCAM light is lit? There are two. The one above i.LINK or the one further to the left?

To switch the deck into AUTO mode, assuming it's in DV mode (left set of lights):

M,R,R,U,U,E,M.

When you hit E the DVCAM light should move to HDV.

If the other DVCAM light to the right above where it says i.LINK is lit, it's set to downconvert to DVCAM. To change this to OFF, do the following:

M,R,D,D,D,R,R,U,E,M

Again, when you hit E the light should change.

God, I hope I got that right. It's probably something entirely unrelated.

Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes...

Last edited by Adam Gold; September 5th, 2008 at 11:43 PM.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 02:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Yes, it's quite possible that someone who knows the deck well or services decks like this will know if there is such a sequence. But your idea about RESET is a good one, but there are two different kinds of RESETs. The RESET button on the back (according to the manual) does not affect the MENU settings.... and it might switch it into 60i mode, which would make your situation worse. You can restore the menu settings to their defaults, but you ironically need to go into the menus to do it.
Not sure I understood... in your opinion would it be a good idea to press the reset button?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Which DVCAM light is lit? There are two. The one above i.LINK or the one further to the left?
Before the tape is inserted only the left DVCAM is lit. Once a tape is inserted - two more indicators light up - the small picture of the cassette and the indicator over the iLink DVCAM. So in this situation both DVCAM indicators are on.

One more thing.... when I press play with a tape inserted - the red CAUTION indicator lights up as well. :-/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
To switch the deck into AUTO mode, assuming it's in DV mode (left set of lights):
M,R,R,U,U,E,M.
When you hit E the DVCAM light should move to HDV.
If the other DVCAM light to the right above where it says i.LINK is lit, it's set to downconvert to DVCAM. To change this to OFF, do the following:
M,R,D,D,D,R,R,U,E,M
Again, when you hit E the light should change.
:-) Thanks for the effort! Yet, I tried both sequences - to no avail. Nothing has changed as far as indicators or device recognition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes...
[In voice over, with echo] I've got to concentrate! (...concentrate ...concentrate) I've got to concentrate! (...concentrate ...concentrate). Hello! (...hello! ...hello!) Echo! (...echo! ...echo!) Pinch hitting... for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... (Mota... Mota...)
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Old September 6th, 2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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Oh, well. Looks like you're going to need to take the deck back to the rental house and hook it up to a monitor and make sure you get all the green lights where you need them. No pun intended, but the caution light is obviously a red flag.

Sorry I couldn't help....

Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue...
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Old September 6th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #7
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I eventually got my hands on a small black & white monitor from a friend, I think its for CCTV or something. After that it was easy. The menu was in fact set to DVCAM and I had to change it to HDV. I think the Striker-Kramer routine didn't work because for some reason when the device is first turned on, it by default opens up the clock set function (who knows why?) so by pressing the MENU button I actually exited the clock set function rather than entering the menu as I had hoped I would.

Its going to be okay, though. I layed out the situation to the producer and they managed to arrange for the device to stay with me till tomorrow morning.

Hey Adam, thanks so much for trying to help! It was fun, really appreciate it.

Tell 'em the gear is down and we're ready to land.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 05:16 PM   #8
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Glad it worked out. Never thought about the clock set. I guess this points up how we should never rent a deck without an onboard monitor if there's no external monitor available.

I'm doing everything I can... and stop calling me Shirley.
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