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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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Capture issue on Dell XPS Studio 16.

I just tried to capture on my new laptop with some unexpected and never-seen-before results: I had dropouts throughout the footage. I have tried the following:

Capturing HDV tape from a JVC deck in Sony Vegas.
Capturing HDV tape from a JVC deck in Adobe Premiere.
Capturing live from a JVC HD100u in Adobe OnLocation.

All attempts resulted in horrible dropouts and unusable footage.

I initially thought it was a problem with the camera, but I noticed if I captured multiple times, the dropouts were always in different places. So I tried capturing the tape onto my old laptop. It worked fine and the footage was perfect.

The only thing that is consistant is the laptop and the firewire port.

Has anyone seen anything like this caused by a computer? I'd call Dell but you know they won't understand the issue and will simply tell me to return the laptop - and I'm sure the replacement will have the same problem.

Here are the laptop specs:
Dell XPS Studio 16, 1.6MHz i7 proc, 6GB RAM, 500GB "free fall" hard drive.
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Capture issue on Dell XPS Studio 16.-dropoutexample.jpg  

Last edited by Chris Davis; April 3rd, 2010 at 08:29 PM.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 01:11 PM   #2
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Could be HDD speed, could be chip speed, could be you have other processes running that should be turned off (i.e. anti-virus, energy-saving mode, screen savers, etc). Maybe even a bad FW port on the new laptop (not sure what you mean by the FW cable and port are "consistent." Each laptop has its own FW port, no?).
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Old April 4th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #3
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not sure what you mean by the FW cable and port are "consistent."
I mean that the only common elements in my tests are the laptop and firewire port. Everything else was different: cable, source, software, footage, etc.

I'd like to hear from anyone else who uses a Dell Studio XPS (specifically model 1645) and has no trouble capturing.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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If all else fails, I would reinstall the OS but DOWNLOAD only the necessary drivers. Do not use Dell's CDs. This way you get up-to-date drivers and avoid any extra programs provided by Dell.

You could also try uninstalling all Dell programs and updating drivers (especially chipset drivers).

Something that just popped in my head: I bet the firewire port on the Dell is 4 pin. Can this be the problem? I have had issues in the past using 4 pin FW ports on Dell laptops and FW Midi/Audio controllers - I had to get a 6pin FW controller (expresscard). You can pick up an expresscard FW card for cheap just about anywhere. If it doesn't fix the problem, you can easily return it.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #5
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I really hate the prospect of talking to India for three hours. I have a couple spare 2.5" sata drives. I'll put one in and reinstall Windows 7 and see if that helps. If that doesn't, I'll assume it's a bad FW port and send it back. It's really quite a shame, in every other aspect this is a perfect laptop for editing on the go.

Speaking of "extra programs provided by Dell", this laptop had none of that. No AOL, Earthlink, McAfee, Norton or anything. Maybe that's an encouraging sign from Dell.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #6
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I mean that the only common elements in my tests are the laptop and firewire port.
But not between the laptop that worked and the one that didn't, right? So you still have the possibility of a bad FW port on the laptop that doesn't capture properly.

I only suggest these possibilities because they are what was suggested to me when I had similar artifacts when capturing to my desktop rig via Cineform. We never did figure it out except that it never happens when I don't use Cineform.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #7
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I've found out this is a common problem with this laptop. The solution is to buy a cheap ExpressCard with a firewire port and wait for Dell to find a permanent fix.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #8
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Have you tried capturing to an external hard drive that is connected via eSATA? If you are capturing to the same drive that your OS is on, that could possibly be a factor as well.

On a side note, I helped spec out one of these i7 Studio XPS 16 laptops for another video editor, and in the couple months he has owned it Dell has been out twice to replace the LCD screen which completely died.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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I'll give it a shot, but I've captured to the system drive on every computer I've owned and it's never been a problem. I can't imagine it would be a problem on my fastest laptop to date.

Actually, I don't think the hard drive is the issue because I get the dropouts when I'm just previewing the video before I even start capturing.
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