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Old November 27th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #1
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Can I burn out a camera from a laptop running live video?

I am curious if there is a possibility of burning out circuits in a camera if I am running THREE live to a laptop -

2 on a PCIMIA card
1 into the laptop firewire port

Any thoughts?
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Old November 27th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #2
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I regularly capture from two or three cameras to the same PC at the same time and haven't had any issues. There's really no reason why such an unfornutate thing should occur - after all, it's just a digital data transfer. If any problems do arise, they're most likely due to known issues with some brands of camcorder not dealing with hot-swapping very well - .e., frying the FireWire interface at one or both ends :-(
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Old November 28th, 2007, 07:27 AM   #3
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Which brands are you speaking of specifically?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 08:45 AM   #4
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What do you exactly mean? If you think of damage to the laptop, don't worry, you're fine.

The real question is: is the laptop capable of handling three live streams at the same time?
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Delaney View Post
Which brands are you speaking of specifically?
This is based on my (sketchy) memory of this. I seem to recall mostly reports about Panasonic and JVC but rarely Sony.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 10:38 AM   #6
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Unfortunately it does happen with Sony camcorders as well, even with $5K pro models - over in the Z1/FX1 forum we have reports of blown firewire ports. Manufacturers recommend to connect the cable to the camera first, then to the computer, better yet, power down both units, connect them, then turn on computer first, camera second.
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Old November 28th, 2007, 05:03 PM   #7
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I wonder if the camcorders are NOT plugged in (AC) and if the LAPTOP is running on battery if there is less chance of this happening.
The reason I ask is that I blew 3 camcorders with this scenario - but I always thought it was a bad firewire cable - since the repair shop never said, so I am stuck not knowing what the problem was...and more importantly - I want to go back to a live shoot, but the worry is there
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Old November 29th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #8
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It could still happen with your scenario.

The problem is static electricity that builds up (due to dry air, and especially due to artificial materials in the operator's clothing/shues), then it gets discharged via the firewire module in the camcorder - very sensitive transistors/ICs get shorted or opened by the discharge. So if you discharge both units (computer and camera) to a known good ground before connecting, you're fine.
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Old November 29th, 2007, 02:59 PM   #9
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How would I go about discharging both cameras to a ground? Is this simple?
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