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Old January 28th, 2004, 11:19 PM   #1
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6-pin firewire needed for laptop?

In the past when I have tried to perform video editing on a laptop (a Dell) using its built-in 4-pin firewire connection, the video capture quality was terrible. The video skipped, jumped or failed entirely.

Now I'm looking at three different laptops as potential mobile video editing machines:
HP zd7000
Sager 8890-S
Sony GRT 290Z

Both the HP and the Sony appear to only have 4-pin firewire connections, whereas the Sager ships with a 6-pin firewire connection. Video capture on the Sager using the 6-pin firewire is quite good, so I know that works. I'd rather go with the HP, but I'm concerned that the 4-pin firewire won't capture video any better than the Dells that I tried this on. Both the Sony and the HP claim to be 'ideal' for video editing, so I have to wonder - are they recommending using the 4-pin firewire or do they recommend some kind of analog convertor into the USB port?

Any advice or insights?

Christen Bergerud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28th, 2004, 11:50 PM   #2
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Whether it's 4 pin or 6 pin doesn't really make a difference. Firewire is firewire... Look at it this way. Most DV cams, ranging from the cheapies to the DVX100, only have the smaller 4 pin connector on them. If pins was really an issue, they'd all have 6 pins.

My guess is that the previous bad experience you had was probably related to a faulty or poor quality firewire capture card in your laptop.
Imran Zaidi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #3
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Correct...4 or 6 pin does not matter....I use a dell laptop without any problems. P4, 2.4 MGHZ, 512 Mb ram, 40 Gig (5400 rpm) hard drive. I like to use a 200 Gb external drive (usb2 & firewire) for editing, so I capture directly to the external drive without a problem.
Make sure you defragment often, and don't put too much junk on it. I like to keep it with just my video tools & photo tools. Some antivirus & software firewall.

let me know if you need any more info.
Lester DeLeon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2004, 12:14 AM   #4
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My friend has a Sony laptop, the 4-pin worked. His hard drive REALLY needed defragging, but that's not related to firewire. I'm not sure if Sony is good based on other people's reports. There's lots of proprietary crap on Sony computers.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2004, 12:50 AM   #5
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Pin number as others say shouldn't be an issue.
Also be carefull what manifacturer says - when I bought my Panasonic notebook 3 years ago it was advertised as AV editing machine.
Well true it was one of the few taht had FireWire and also came with Panasonic proprietary NLE software.

My experience is that you can't really use it for NLE because of the low CPU power and the slow HDD.
If I try to capture on the internal HDD it drops frames. I'm using external drive (slow 5400rpm) and I don't drop frames.
Cam connects with 4-6 pin cable to the external drive, which connects with 6-4 pin cable to 4pin on the notebook.

Look for notebook with 5400rpm HD and buy external 7200rpm for more flexibility.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 01:00 AM   #6
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. . Oh yes, Inspirons and Film work . . . hmmmm

I've had loads of experience=head-banging with my Dell Inspiron 8000.

1 - 4pin = non-powered socket ; 6pin=powered socket. Nothing more interesting than that. However do I think the 4pin should be removed from all f/w devices YES! It is a bad design, fiddly and possibly a point at which the whole process could fail, because the plug or socket has been forced out of alignment.

2 - Okay, "Jumping & Skipping" on my DellBoy . . . After much and I mean loads and loads of suffering AND Dell telling me that the 4-pin was the and only way for the machine to ingest video streams, I persisted. I found that when the fan/s kicked in/out I'd get blue screens/frame drops on print to tape. I used the non-Dell qualified Fangui s/w that can "force" the fans on all the time, during the period I'd be PTTing . . . BUT, but, but . .the thing that really did it for me was to set up the "Power Management" so that it was "Always On". I discovered that even though I had the Dell permanently plugged into the mains, the always on option wasn't happening via the two menus for Battery and Plugged in. I had to actually go to the head option of Always On - Go Figure. After I did this the machine worked as it should ..

3 - Okay EXTRA F/Ws!!! Now, the 4-pin Dell 1394 IEEE is what is called by Dell as "Video Qualified". This I found that this IS the only way I could manage video in and out. I can ONLY get video streams VIA this 4-pin. I don't know if this 4-pin somehow "bullies" the other f/ws I've connected [ more of these in a minute - promise! ] into second place, but I couldn't get "other" f/ws to input/output at a fast enough speed to make for a consistent DV flow - yeah?

4 - Other Firewire Drives and Connections. On your Dell you will have a PCMCIA type II cards slot. Into this I've inserted a Maxtor Firewire Card. This card comes with a 2xfemale dongle-type connector. Lovely BIG 6 pinners - great! Into this I then plug in my chained 1x50gb; 1x80 and 2x 120gb external Maxtor f/w drives. EASY-peasy . . . Okay, I know I said 6 pins is for a power supply, but Maxtor also supply my drives with their own power supply modules. I used the externals as video drives. Editing in Vegas and dumping backwards and forwards Capturing AND PTTing - but all via the 4-pin. If I tried to plug the cammie OR PTTing directly from these externals it was rubbish! But via the 4-pin, no problem.

5 - Value to externals. Okay, as you would suspect having all this CPU and sys drive intensive DV stuff going on, your system is being constantly being put under a lot of demand. Having the actual drives away from the sys drive hd makes for a sweeter experience and allows your sys and internal hard drive to do its thing. Is there an argument for another internal video drive? Maybe.

. . .and finally . . . Well having got myself up to speed with what I want to do within this crazy industry, I've recently invested in a bespoke NLE pc that has my beloved Vegas on it. My external f/ws are now plugged into that and my DellBoy? Well it is use purely for "other" work now. . .it's what I'm writing this on and using the Internet.

Does ANY of this help? - In summary, you may be able to find a "cure" to what you are doing from the experiences I've outlined here. . . there again you may think Life is too short and just get on with another option altogether,

Bottom line for me is that when set up correctly the Dell can do the job. For me it was a case of taking the Dell marketing slogan "THE Dell Movie Solution" as needing a rethink . . . when I started with it, with VideoWave installed, I was really about to through the whole thing outta the window . . .

Best regards,

Graham Bernard is offline   Reply

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