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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old October 21st, 2005, 04:08 PM   #1
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FX1 dropouts

Got hit by my first FX1 dropout, a half second of video just shows as black on the Vegas timeline. Ouch. I'm using Pana AY-DVM63MQ ("master quality") tapes which are supposedly very good for preventing dropouts. Fortunately it was a two-camera shoot and the second camera shot was usable. What is your experience with dropouts? There are no retakes in weddings- does this mean I can only do 2-camera shoots if I use HDV? Is there any affordable HDV-compatable HDD recorder yet?
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Old October 21st, 2005, 04:43 PM   #2
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Ive had 7 DO's in about 120 hours recording and they were mainly in the early usage while the heads were bedding in, I cant remember the last drop out but I've developed a strategy to handle this

1 use a laptop if possible

2 use two cam shoot

3 for mission critical stuff where the above is not practical use a prerecorded tape that is known to be DO free. (label them DOFREE and store them for later use). As the DO is a tape quality issue a second use is likely to be statistically safer than an unknown fresh tape -similiar to the old days of blacking for timecode where the tape is used twice.

4 simultaneously record FX1 S-video into a cheap pocket sized palm cam - ok its SD but at least you get a picture and sound which is better than black
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Old October 21st, 2005, 05:09 PM   #3
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laptops for HDV recording

Thanks for the very useful info! I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 that I have used for HDV recording, but with the 17" screen it is bigger than I want for location work. Any suggestions for the smallest laptop that is usable for reliable HDV recording? I guess that implies running either Vegas 6 or DVRack with HDV pack
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Old October 21st, 2005, 05:30 PM   #4
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nice to give you back some info John after all I've got from visiting your site over the years

I dont use DVRack because it needs a laptop of a much higher spec than I own, however if you get CAPDVHS (free over the web - google!) an old P3 600 should suffice - make sure you run it at 800x600 so the interface looks as big as possible from a distance - 100Gb Hard Drives are as cheap as chips these days - and as long as you see the capture time increasing you know you are safe.

also if you still have that little Sony DV deck you could probably do 4) above and make it look like a focus adjust at no extra cost - just a thought
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Old October 21st, 2005, 05:43 PM   #5
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CapDVHS works (on one of my WinXP boxes anyway)

Thanks for that tip, never heard of CapDVHS before but it looks like just what I want. So far I haven't got it to work with my FX1 camera though, any ideas? I'm using this on my WinXP desktop system for now. The FX1 is properly detected as Capture Device: Microsoft DV Camera and VCR (Unknown Video #1)

but when I press the "Rec." button I just get

Error 80040217: Cannot connect SampleGrabber

Edit: oops, never mind. CAPDVHS does work OK on my laptop. It sees "Capture Device: Microsoft DV Camera and VCR (Sony HDR-FX1 #1)" and the record to disk function works just fine. This is odd since both laptop and desktop are running Windows XP with all the latest patches, and Vegas 6 can capture HDV ok on my desktop. Oh well!
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Old October 21st, 2005, 06:09 PM   #6
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mine reads

Microsoft AV/C Tape Subunit Device (Sony HDR-FX1 #1)

check you have HDV forced playback (rather than auto) in the VCR format menu

PS when running; for added security remove all non essential programs from memory including start up items

good luck
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Old October 21st, 2005, 06:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Beale
Got hit by my first FX1 dropout, a half second of video just shows as black on the Vegas timeline. Ouch. I'm using Pana AY-DVM63MQ ("master quality") tapes which are supposedly very good for preventing dropouts. Fortunately it was a two-camera shoot and the second camera shot was usable. What is your experience with dropouts? There are no retakes in weddings- does this mean I can only do 2-camera shoots if I use HDV?
Sony's statement on HDV and dropouts:
http://www.css.ap.sony.com/consumer/....aspx?Id=44872

Quote:
Is there any affordable HDV-compatable HDD recorder yet?
Depends on your definition of affordable. It is my understanding that Focus is not yet shipping the HDV-upgraded FS-4; adding HDV to the FS-4 raises the price by $299. Should be ready very very soon though.
http://www.focusinfo.com/sales/promotions/HDUpgrade.pdf
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Old October 22nd, 2005, 05:42 PM   #8
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I use the Sony DVM63HD tapes. Pricey at $13 a piece, but I've shot almost ten hours and have yet to experience a single dropout.
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Old October 22nd, 2005, 08:34 PM   #9
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Ditto what Dick says.

I have never seen a dropout using the Sony HDV tapes. I think that the drop out issue is a massive beatup - you are far more likely to have other things wreck your footage than the chance of a dropout.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 12:01 AM   #10
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sony digital master

40 hours w. sony recommended digital master. So far not a dropout.

Muprhy's Law is certainly in effect and heading for me.

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Old October 23rd, 2005, 02:45 AM   #11
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No drops (knock on wood!)

Some 40-50 hours shot + some extra 10 hours of "tests/domestic" footage, all shot on Sony DVC Execellnce DV tapes. Not a single drop.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 12:21 PM   #12
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DV vs HDV tapes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis Lehman
40 hours w. sony recommended digital master. So far not a dropout.

Muprhy's Law is certainly in effect and heading for me.

lewis
The digital master, and the DVC Excellence tapes are actually standard DV tapes correct? When I shot in DV I always used the DV excellence tapes and had very little problems with dropouts (over 5 years).

So should I stick with these guys or pay more for the HDV tapes? I read sony's statement (thanks for that post). I don't understand why this format woudl need a different kind of tape. The data rate is similar (I think?) and I know the tapes moving at the same speed over the heads (I think?).

Am I understanding this correctly?
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 02:35 PM   #13
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Daniel,

You don't need the HDV tapes - DV excellence also work very well - they are supposedly just more resistant to tape drop outs. As I and others have said - they are very rare - unless you use cheap tapes.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 01:02 PM   #14
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I've shot about 20 hours on Sony Premium DV tapes (DVM60PR3). Cheap tapes and so far no dropouts. For weddings I'd agree that the S-Video out to a second SD backup cam is a great idea.

Better yet, put that cheap palm cam on a tripod at an extreme closeup (holding hands, minister's face). That way you can dissolve to it if need be and it will look like you just took an extreme closeup from the HD fotage for dramatic effect.

With the S-Video idea dropout coverage would look like this:

HDV -> DV -> HDV

But it would all be the same shot, so the resolution would momentarily drop then come back up again.

Shooting from a different angle or focal length would give you a reason to cut to that shot.

So yes, if I were shooting a wedding I'd have a backup cam just in case.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 05:18 AM   #15
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About twenty hours on everything from Sony HDV tapes down to $2 TDK DV tapes, and no dropouts so far.
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