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Old February 13th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #1
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AG-HVx200 and Focus DTE

I was reading the propoganda sent in my last trade mag about the AG-HVx200 and the Focus people are saying that the AG-HVx200 will put an HD signal through firewire am I missing something, because I thought that firewire could not handle an HD signal. I guess I am confused about the format I guess. I still like tape that is just me but this could be a better and maybe a more cost effective then the P2 cards. which will make me give the camera a second look!!!

http://www.focusinfo.com/solutions/catalog.asp?id=150
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Old February 13th, 2006, 06:11 PM   #2
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Firewire can perfectly handle a HD signal if it's in some way compressed. Since the HVX200 records in the DVCPro HD codec. 1080i60 DVCPro HD is about 15 MB per sec. Firewire is more then good enough for that. Oh, and the AJ-HD1200A tape player/recorder has a firewire option so this workflow is here already for a while.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 08:41 PM   #3
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Absolutely no problem at all for plain-vanilla FireWire to move 100mbps DVCPRO HD.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #4
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Apple introduced FCP4.5 almost two years ago, and the main element in that upgrade was that it supported high-def editing across firewire. So, yes, no trouble at all getting a high-def 100mbps signal recorded on a FireStore.

At DV Expo they even demonstrated it already working (to a degree).
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Old February 13th, 2006, 10:52 PM   #5
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Matthew,

My advice from extensive testing with the Focus FS-4 Pro HD and it's JVC sub-branded versions are that if you plan to use the HVX you'd be much better off with either using a PowerBook or Cineporter for external capture.

The Firestore cut it's teeth in the DV-SD realm in which it performs just fine. However, in the HD codec world we found it to be buggy and less than stable with many dropouts and timecode issues.

It was especially disappointing to learn that the Firestore (when capturing HDV) did not create an HD-Quicktime for FCP users, instead it creates an M2T file, which requires de-muxing before FCP can use it. The time required to demux M2T negates having a tapeless workflow since it is a time intensive process.

The Focus Info website claims direct compatibility with the DVCPRO-HD format, however they neglect to indicate whether or not the Firestore is actually creating a similar HVX compatible-type file or if in fact it is still another muxed file requiring de-muxing for FCP usage. That is speculation at this point since I've seen no hard evidence of exactly what format the FS-100 files will produce.

One important thing to consider in comparing your options is that the Firestore does not have any internal dampening for motion or direct-camera movement, so you are at the mercy of "spinning hard disk" syndrome, meaning you'd have the same limitations with movement or light hits to the unit as you would if you were using a laptop/PowerBook.

The Cineporter on the other hand DOES have built-in motion and (to some degree) shock dampening making it a much more robust platform and better suited to any motion or field work.

The Cineporter is also a true P2 device, plugging directly into the PCMCIA/P2 slot in the camera, not the firewire port, so the camera sees and treats it like a very large P2 card.

With the Cineporter and Firestore FS-100 being just a few dollars apart in price point, your best and most logical choice for the HVX would be the Cineporter. The ONLY benefit to having the Firestore would be to have other recording formats - not specific to the HVX - available, allowing you to use the FS-100 on just about any DV/HDV body. (see the compatibility list on the Focusinfo website)
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Old February 14th, 2006, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
It was especially disappointing to learn that the Firestore (when capturing HDV) did not create an HD-Quicktime for FCP users, instead it creates an M2T file, which requires de-muxing before FCP can use it.
just to clarify, your "HD-Quicktime for FCP" is not any kind of a video standard, like mpeg2 m2t is... so the real problem there is the ongoing failure by apple to support open codec standards like mpeg2; don't blame it on focus... you did not mention it, but i believe that apple is finally going to support native mpeg2 m2t in the next version of fcp, due out in a couple of months(??).

of course, none of that is an issue if you are editing with a pc.

i'm not sure what you mean by "dropouts" with hdv, because the data rate for hdv is basically the same as it is for dv... and since the firestore works perfectly with dv, it shouldn't have any problems keeping up with hdv.

i'm under the impression that the firestore pro has at least a 10-second ram buffer, so it's not the same thing at all... wrt shock dampening of the hdd itself, remember that it's a notebook hdd, which is designed for rugged mobile use... i have beat the tar out of my fs-4, and while there have been some bugs, it's not been with the hdd itself.

the only thing i know about the cineporter is that it's a brand new product... but it does look interesting, has anyone actually used it extensively?
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Old February 14th, 2006, 08:22 PM   #7
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ive had nothing but problems with firestore FS4, i wont risk losing work on an overpriced product which doesnt perform even with a lowly DXV100 or Z1 in DV mode.. constant resetting of itself and for on the fly fast start/stop shooting it just cant keep up
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Old February 14th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #8
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All I can relate are the results as they were when we put the Firestore through it's paces. We had "dropouts" in our captures, just like you would from tape capture.

And yes, the Cineporter is still an untested unknown however, based on the fact that it is a P2 only device and not trying to be an "everything to everybody" product like the Firestore, I highly doubt we'll see the same kind of usage failures that many like ourselves have reported with the FS-4 and it's many iterations.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #9
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this thread reminds me of when i got the citidisk... the so-called "shock dampening" was a hard rubber shell that encased the deck, which is worthless... is that what you are getting with the cineporter?

peter, i have shot well over a thousand very short clips with the fs-4, that's all i use it for... this little deck has changed the way that i acquire content, in a big way... i'd be wrecking the tape drive without it.

robert, if there was picture corruption of some sort with the fs-4, you should have been able to see it in the camera viewfinder, when you played the footage back off of the deck.

if you are referring to some issue that you saw in the editing bay, it's probably not an issue with the fs-4... we've already seen how somebody with a mac had playback speed problems, caused by the transcoding software they were using to get the footage into fcp... and of course, the first thing they did was question the fs-4.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #10
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Dan,

Based on everything I know and or have read or been told, I'd say the Firestore is unreliable across the board. Some people like yourself swear by it, others like Peter and myself report odd behavior that seems to have no fix, either by user-defined troubleshooting or getting Focus tech support involved (which we did on many occasions).

I personally never attempted the Citidisk because I was never convinced that the device would work; the company's webpage about it was weak at best, and when I called Shining Tech directly to get questions answered I could only get one person who barely spoke english to answer a few questions, and even he didn't know everything about it.

As I say, *on paper* the Cineporter promises to be a great HVX-only DTE solution, especially since the HVX was designed from it's inception to use a tapeless workflow.

Here's an interesting sidebar I just saw on BBC TV a few nights ago: (I'm still looking for the article on the web): A BBC engineer partnered with an ex-Sony research engineer and created their own version of a P2 device. They installed a hybrid of CF cards and DDR2-RAM sticks into an enclosure for a total of 72.5GB of memory and were able to connect it to a consumer-level Sony video camera and successfully recorded about 4 hours of SD-DV footage. There was no indication of what the footage looked like or how stable the capture was, but they plan to refine the concept and get investors involved.

I'd say within a few years there will be other solid-state vid-cam recording devices and our woes of spinning HDD captures will be over.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 05:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
Dan,

Based on everything I know and or have read or been told, I'd say the Firestore is unreliable across the board. Some people like yourself swear by it, others like Peter and myself report odd behavior that seems to have no fix, either by user-defined troubleshooting or getting Focus tech support involved (which we did on many occasions).

I personally never attempted the Citidisk because I was never convinced that the device would work; the company's webpage about it was weak at best, and when I called Shining Tech directly to get questions answered I could only get one person who barely spoke english to answer a few questions, and even he didn't know everything about it.

As I say, *on paper* the Cineporter promises to be a great HVX-only DTE solution, especially since the HVX was designed from it's inception to use a tapeless workflow.

Here's an interesting sidebar I just saw on BBC TV a few nights ago: (I'm still looking for the article on the web): A BBC engineer partnered with an ex-Sony research engineer and created their own version of a P2 device. They installed a hybrid of CF cards and DDR2-RAM sticks into an enclosure for a total of 72.5GB of memory and were able to connect it to a consumer-level Sony video camera and successfully recorded about 4 hours of SD-DV footage. There was no indication of what the footage looked like or how stable the capture was, but they plan to refine the concept and get investors involved.

I'd say within a few years there will be other solid-state vid-cam recording devices and our woes of spinning HDD captures will be over.

Robert,

As you pointed out, different people are getting different results, I believe to a large degree, due to workflow. In stable enviroments, such as a tripod or even mounted directly to a Steadicam; the hard drive based systems should work well, and if that is your typical workflow then they are a viable solution today. However, if your filming a reality show chasing people down a hill, you better have a proven tape based system and you should be charging your client accordingly for the apropriate equipment requirements.
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