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Sony Hard Drive and Memory Card Recorders
Including the HVR-MRC1K CF Card Recorder, HVR-DR60 Hard Disk Recorder and others.


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Old October 25th, 2008, 01:38 PM   #1
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SONY HVR-MRC1K CF Recorder

I saw where this month Sony is finally supposed to release as a stand a lone item the "Sony MRU" Compact Flash recording unit that comes with the Z7 camera.

However October is almost over and my internet search has failed to come up with much about it. B&H doesn't show it when I put the model number in their search box nor did a google, pricgrabber or nextag search bring up any merchants with it.

Does anybody have any information about this?
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Old October 26th, 2008, 11:29 AM   #2
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"Sony MRU" Compact Flash recording unit

As you are aware, the unit is included in the box when you buy the hvr-z7u camcorder.

It isn't an item that we currently stock as the only sales that we usually anticipate for this item would be if a customer needed to replace a lost or damaged unit.

However, we would be able to order one for you - the cost will be $899.95 (although I would not be able to give you an ETA at present)

Sincerely

Helen Oster
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helen.oster@adoramacamera.com
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Old October 26th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #3
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Helen,

Yes I am aware it is a part of the Z7. I am the owner of two V1U's and have been waiting for it to be sold by itself as a Sony rep told me it would be back when the Z7 came out.

It is not in my budget right now but I have been anxious to see what it is going to sell for so I can plan.

Thanks for your info!
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Old October 29th, 2008, 10:58 AM   #4
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I noticed B&H is taking orders...

Sony | HVR-MRC1 MEMORY RECORDING UNIT | HVR-MRC1 | B&H Photo
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Old November 9th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #5
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Full Compass is also taking orders as well.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 11:48 PM   #6
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Any reason this wouldn't work on a non-Sony camera (JVC 110) via firewire.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 08:55 AM   #7
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In case you want to see the operations manual....

Sony Product Detail Page - HVRMRC1K
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Old November 16th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #8
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Ray, thanks much

I saw a lot of reference to iLink throughout - it was my understanding that iLink was Sony's "brand" name for firewire (which was actually Apple's name for the same thing - otherwise knowwn as IEEE 1384) I think iLink only supports the 4 line connector, though

Which leads me to think it shuold attach to any firewire capable camera. But it would be nice to be sure before spending the $$$.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #9
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I get mine tomorrow and will be glad to post some feedback in regards to compatibility with the Z1U.

I can't wait, I love brown boxes that say BH on them.

Tim
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Old November 24th, 2008, 04:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Any reason this wouldn't work on a non-Sony camera (JVC 110) via firewire.
I think the biggest problem using this with a JVC isn't the firewire connection, or the brand of camera. The tech specs for the Sony recorder just list 1080i and 1080p, not 720p. So I think the HD100/110 is a no-go. The HD200/250 might work, if it's set to deliver 1080i over firewire.

I'd love to be proven wrong on this, but it doesn't seem the Sony CF recorder does 720p.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 05:32 AM   #11
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I have no proof. BUT I think it works by recording the raw HDV stream coming out of the firewire port. I can't see why, from a technology perspective, it couldn't support any HDV stream. Data is data, I don't think the unit does anything other than write it to CF.

I could be wrong, I haven't bought one yet but plan to soonish (For an XH-A1).
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Old November 26th, 2008, 08:53 AM   #12
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Review!!!

Ok, so I have had a little time with this recorder and I haven't had the opportunity to put it through a real world test as of yet. But I got a good handle on what it can and can't do.

WHATS IN THE BOX?
The unit comes complete with recording unit and docking station along with a firewire cable and mounting hardware for any camera with a cold shoe. A manual is included on CD as well as a second CD including all software needed to connect the device to your editing system. There isn't an external AC adaptor or battery included with this unit. These items are available as an accessory.

DURABILITY / BUILD / FORM FACTOR
I was very surprised at the size of the unit. With docking station and battery attached it was still very manageable and didn't give me any worries about attaching it to the camera. The Z1U has a mounting point on top of the built in microphone. The unit attaches directly without any shoe mounts. The screw on the mounting hardware is standard size so you could in effect mount it on any hardware available for your camera. The unit seems to be very durable and built well. It is plastic, however, all the crucial areas are covered and hidden from the elements. The CF card is located under a door on the side of the unit. Firewire is connected to the docking station as well as the mounting hardware. So in my filming situations (very hard) it seems that is will hold up very well. The only setback on the unit are the small control buttons on the device itself. The LCD screen is rather smallish. I'm still young enough that I don't think it will bother me, but I could see it being a problem for those people who have trouble seeing.

BATTERY / USE LIFE / ETC
This device uses the Sony InfoLITHIUM batteries NP-F570 through NP-F970. According to the manual you will get many hours of continuous use from the smallest batteries. Since I own (5) Z1U's and have never used the batteries that came with the cameras, this will give me an opportunity and a reason to use those batteries. According to the manual with the NP-F570 you would get 380 minutes of record time. From my limited use the device is not a power drain on the batteries. It seems that with only two of the small batteries you would get a full days worth of shooting without recharging.

OPERATION
The device is very simple to operate. It comes out of the box ready to go. Plug and go. I literally put a CF card in the recorder, formatted it and away I went. I even tried a card that wasn't formatted and it worked flawlessly without affecting the material already on the card. The file structure is simple. If you are recording in DV you get an IDX file and an AVI file. If you are recording in HDV you get an IDX file and a M2T file. Simple enough. One interesting side note and a little concerning. You cannot record from the camera to the unit using camera control without a tape. Or at least I haven't found the way to do it yet. You can however record without a tape in the unit by pressing the record buttons on the unit. Not a big deal, however, I can see why I would want to use the camera controls in the field, much easier to hit record on the camera instead of pressing the two very small record buttons on the unit. I have figured out how to press the two buttons with one thumb, but it would still be easier using the camera.

The cache recording feature I can tell I will use a ton. This allows you to store footage in memory (about 10-14 seconds) and records that footage to the CF card when the record button is pressed. This function will allow you to not miss any part of the recording because of the Z1U's slow record startup time on tape. I have found that at times that when recording to tape it just sometimes doesn't start fast enough.

In my situation with multiple cameras you can set the camera number in the menu system. This will allow you know which camera recorded what. The camera number is also recorded onto the the file itself, making it easy to visualize the camera and take you may need. 00_0002_2008-11-25_234240.m2t is the file naming situation given - camera number, clip number, date stamp, time recorded 00:00:00:00, extension.

You must use very fast compact flash cards to avoid frame drops. The minimum is 133X, I would recommend using the fastest you can afford. The minimum card size is 2GB / 9min. With a 16GB card you can get 72min of footage, either DV or HDV. I tested with a 2GB card as my 16GB cards are on the way. I can only think that you could use larger cards, however, the manual does not talk about the use of larger cards.

TRANSFERRING / USING FILES
You have two options for transferring the files to your computer. Number 1 is to connect the device to the computer and operate it in computer mode. This works pretty quick as it is firewire. Option 2 is to remove your CF card and transfer via a transfer device of some kind. Also pretty quick if you use a firewire device. USB / USB 2.0 was very slow for my taste. When transferring via an external device you must transfer the files as they are. ALL files or FCP will have an issue and may not import correctly. When using the unit itself it all works seamlessly in the background. In FCP you will use the Log and Transfer window along with the Sony FCP plugin. It will rewrap the file into a quicktime file and drop it into your project. The files are copied to your scratch disc as quicktime files. So in essence there is no need to keep the M2T files. However, I found this to be clunky and not needed for most situations. I like the idea of importing directly into FCP, however, in my environment I need to just get the files off and deal with them later. So I tried just moving the files from the card to the place I wanted to store them. Worked fine. Then I used ClipWrap to rewrap the files into a quicktime file. More steps, but actually faster in my life as I can be shooting to another card while one is working without much issue. Also, you maintain a backup copy of the M2T. The quality of quicktime file and M2T file seem to be identical.

The sony device uses the firewire port to determine the format. For example if you are down converting via firewire, the device will automatically select the proper format. You can record HDV on tape and downconvert to DV to the MRC1K and all of this is handled on the camera. You can force the unit to record in a certain format, however, I haven't seen why I would want that yet.

CONCLUSION
The Sony HVR-MRC1K is a very robust system allowing camera operators to use CF in a stable environment. It would be nice to have quicktime support in the unit so it becomes a truly drag and drop system, but it is really close now. It works as advertised and would be a good purchase for those wanting to get away from tape. Once I have it in a real world environment I will post back some findings. But for now it was a great purchase for my use.

Last edited by Tim Snyder; November 26th, 2008 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Finish Review
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Old November 26th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #13
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Hey, Tim

I don't suppose you have access to a JVC ProHD camera, by any chance? I'm dying to find out if this thing will do 720 24p.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #14
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Hey Tim what kind and sizes of CF cards will the reader accept? I imagine you don't really need a super fast CF card to handle the HDV stream. I found a 16GB CF card from B&H for $45 and 32 GB cards for $87. This could give you much longer record times vs. tapes if these cards are compatible.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #15
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I used the SanDisk 2GB Extreme III card with 30mb write speed. The manual says that you need a minimum of 133X which is 20mb write speed. So I would stick with that or better. As far as size I would imagine you could use any size card.

9 minutes of record time for the 2GB card. So I would assume a 1GB card would net 4 minutes of record time. I have only seen the 32GB compact flash as far as the top end and I would assume you could use that as well.

I don't have access to a JVC however, the manuals specs say that it will accept 1080/60i, 30p, 24p as well as 1080/50i, 25p. I am not familiar with the JVC but I think it only sends a 720p signal. You have the progressive part covered, its the 720 that is the issue. If I was a betting man I would say it wouldn't work, but there may be smarter than me that can offer a thought process.
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