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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 August 16th, 2011, 05:13 AM   #1
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Questions about using HVR-MRC1K with Sony HVR-Z1E

Hi,

I am currently using a Sony HVR-Z1E and for various reasons want to go tapeless. The cheapest way to do this seems to be getting a HVR-MRC1K (if this is not the case I would be interested to here alternatives). Is anyone else using this setup? If so can you answer the following.

1) Generally now does the setup work, are there any unforeseen problems, or even advantages?

2) The manual states I must use the FOLLOW rather then SYNCRO setting and it takes up to 2 seconds to start recording after record button pressed. Is this actually up to 2 seconds after button is pressed or after tape starts recording?

3) The FOLLOW thing above makes me thing that hours will still be added to the counter and I will still need to record everything on tape? I guess reusing tapes more than a few times is not ideal as this will not be good for the heads.

4) Is there any way of recording without also using tapes.

Regards,
Ben
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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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Re: Questions about using HVR-MRC1K with Sony HVR-Z1E

I reckon you must have thought this through Ben, but have you considered selling the Z1 and going 'proper' tapeless (file-based)? You don't say what your 'various reasons' are, but adding flash memory drives with interconnects is asking for some sort of trouble. OK if you've got a Z7, but you haven't.

So, my advice is to sell the Z1 while it still has some value. Every day that passes MiniDV camcorders look more and more old fashioned and attract a smaller and smaller audience. Look to the NX5 - you'd be immediately file-based, have a 20x zoom and get MUCH sharper pictures.

tom.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: Questions about using HVR-MRC1K with Sony HVR-Z1E

I do not disagree with Tom on this --- and I do have an NX5 --- but I also recognize that there may be budgetary constraints that can make an MRC unit seem very attractive.

I'll try to answer your specific questions even though I do not have a Z1. What I have are other older model cameras with which I have been using MRC1 units. These include an FX1000 and an HDRHC1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
I am currently using a Sony HVR-Z1E and for various reasons want to go tapeless. The cheapest way to do this seems to be getting a HVR-MRC1K (if this is not the case I would be interested to here alternatives).
Datavideo DN60. Here in the US, the MRC units cost $750 ($US) and the DN60 units go for about $480 ($US).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
Generally now does the setup work, are there any unforeseen problems, or even advantages?
As you might expect, the answer to this will depend on what you do. I've found that the MRC units work especially well in my multi-cam shoots (weddings, stage productions, corporate events, etc.) where I can leave the cameras on tripods. The NX5 (and FX1000) can be noticably sharper than older cams, but this usually is not a problem for me because almost everybody is still getting DVDs rather than Blu-Rays or other HD formats.

The basic problem with an MRC on a Z1, FX etc. will be with handheld shooting. The MRC is designed to be mounted in the camera's accessory shoe, which is on top at the front of the camera. This positioning makes for front loaded and and top-heavy weighting which is to say, very awkward handling. Getting a longer firewire cable (4 pin to 6 pin) could allow you to put the MRC in a pocket or on a belt-clip. I remember several folks came up with velcro attachments for better mounting on the camera. I think I recall seeing these in the long thread here on using the MRC with the Canon XHA1.

The longer firewire cables and an off camera mounting can result in considerable wear and eventual failure of the firewire port on the camera. It is still a problem with an on-camera mount but not as bad only because you are less likely to stress the connector while the camera is in use.

A couple of possibly unforeseen advantages: capability for very long uninterrupted shooting times and the MRC units use the same batteries that your Z1 uses. If memory serves, the original battery that came with your Z1 was an NPF500 or NPF550. These can power an MRC for about 3 hours, and maybe longer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
2) The manual states I must use the FOLLOW rather then SYNCRO setting and it takes up to 2 seconds to start recording after record button pressed. Is this actually up to 2 seconds after button is pressed or after tape starts recording?
Sony's "2 seconds" is an approximation from after tape starts rolling. On my FX1000, I timed it at about 3 seconds from the button push back when I first got the unit several years ago. There is a cache setting which might get around that, but I have never tried it and cannot say whether it will work or not. So far as I know, the only Sony cams that work with the synchro setting are the Z5 and Z7. Interestingly, Canon's XHA1 and XHA1s also work with the synchro setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Edwards View Post
3) The FOLLOW thing above makes me thing that hours will still be added to the counter and I will still need to record everything on tape? I guess reusing tapes more than a few times is not ideal as this will not be good for the heads.

4) Is there any way of recording without also using tapes.

If you want to use the Z1's record button to control the unit, you will have to run tape in the camera. As far as I know, the only way to shoot tapeless with older model HDV cams (Z1, FX1000, etc.) is using the record buttons on the MRC unit itself. This is what I do for event videos where the cameras will be rolling for extended periods of time. I've improvised occasionally for run-n-gun with frequent starts and stops by wrapping my right thumb around the MRC and rolling it upward to simultaneously press the play-record buttons. Frequent practice might make this easier.
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Old August 19th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #4
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Re: Questions about using HVR-MRC1K with Sony HVR-Z1E

Thanks for the replies everyone. Sorry I took so long to get back. The DavaVideo DN-60 looks like a great option, I guess it records a HDV stream so there is no issue with quality. I like the fact that you only have to press a single button for recording. The main reason for going tapeless was that I was thinking of moving to Avid and Media Composer HDV capture is rubbish.

I am just starting a MA and am probably going to specialise in Editing so spending a wad of cash on a camera at the moment would be rather extravagant. I could get a Panasonic P2 camera used and not spend much more than the resale value of the Z1 but I would then spend thousands on P2 cards. Unless I have missed something to get 1/2 hour you need 32GB and the 156GB ones are 200. They do not look viable for documentary work.

Ben
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Old August 20th, 2011, 03:24 AM   #5
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Re: Questions about using HVR-MRC1K with Sony HVR-Z1E

Hi Ben

I now use a Sony Z7 (which is great BTW to have tape and Flash card options) but before that used a Sony FX1 and the Sony HVR DR60 hard disk drive mounted on the camera.

Whilst the weight of the unit on top of the camera made it a bit top-heavy I never had any issues with the firewire cables to and from the camera coming loose.
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