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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old February 15th, 2007, 10:42 PM   #1
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Some newbie questions please

Just bought my son a VX2000 (used) that he wants to use to film skateboard movies. We got a 4 gb memory card and then found that 128 mb is the most it can take, one of his friends told him that he can record to tape and then transfer to edit it by firewire with a firewire card? I have to say I've never heard of a firewire card, can anyone tell me what I need to get him to get him going?? He uses Windows Movie Maker and Sony Vegas to do his videos.

Thanks for any help you can offer,

Michele
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Old February 16th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #2
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Deleted. Double post due to time-out.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 12:58 AM   #3
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The VX2000 came out before removable memory grew that big. That camera's normal function is to record motion images to tape not a memory card like more recent cameras can do.

To get the vision and sound out off the tape and into a computer to assemble and edit, normally there is a simple single lead which has a small plug on each end like a telehone plug. It is commonly called a firewire lead.

There are several types you can get. 4pin to 4pin, 4pin to 6pin and 6pin to 6pin. The one you will need will most likely be 4pin to 6pin. On the right-hand side of the camera close to the front is a pullout soft plastic flap. This uncovers several outlet sockets.

The firewire socket is a little square hole which takes the 4pin end of the lead.

The 6pin end goes in back of the computer. The computer must have a firewire card fitted. If there is no firewire card, the you will need to have a computer man fit one for you.

Tell your son not to try to plug the firewire lead into a USB port. A USB port looks nearly the same as a 6pin firewire port. (He will likely give you that "Hello? do I look that stupid?" look but it won't hurt to mention it.)

Very important that this firewire lead is connected between camera and computer when power for both is switched off and for the computer this means at the wall.

There have been a lot of reported failures of firewire ports when "hot swapping" has been attempted. The firewire specification is supposed to be "hot swappable" but the hardware does not know the rules and there have been expensive repair bills as a result.

The VX2000 is a good camera. television news and documentaries have been shot on it. "Open Water" the feature movie was shot on PD150's which are the prosumer development of the VX2000.

This camera is more controllable is it has more manual options than some more modern smaller consumer cameras. Once he gets to grips with all the manual functions, he should be well pleased with it. If the handbook did not come with the camera, then try to get a copy from somewhere. It is that level of a learning curve to get the best results.

When your son wants to get some shots that seem to be fast and gnarly, he is likely to ask you for a wide-angle or fisheye attachment for this camera. The front filter mount thread diameter is 58mm if he asks.

The firewire and the front filter mount 58mm need to be treated gently, not with youthful impatience as they are easily damaged if not given some respect.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #4
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Hey michele,
I too myself just bought myself (big deal as i'm only 16 ha ha) a brand new VX2100 to film skateboarding for.

Firewire is the best route for capturing video off any miniDV camera. and since your son is filming skateboarding, he's going to want to get a fisheye

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

That is a very good (i have one myself) beginners fisheye, a little on the expensive side but it's a lot better than the 800$ price tag on the "death lens"
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old February 16th, 2007, 06:46 AM   #5
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Guess its a good thing that I'm a computer person by trade! :) Do they make an external firewire port? Not that putting a card in is such a big deal, just hate to open up PC's if I don't have to.

The fisheye was already purchased and he got one that snaps on rather than screws in. He's been doing movies for awhile on our old digital camera that records for about 7 minutes at a time.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #6
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i *think* that the only external firewire ports are the expensive VTR decks, which will run you close to a grand or more...
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Old February 16th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Yelle
i *think* that the only external firewire ports are the expensive VTR decks, which will run you close to a grand or more...
Shawn, I'm not sure quite what you're referring to here - you're frightening Michele!! :-)

Michele doesn't need an external DV tape deck (costing as grand), but only a PCI FireWire card to go into her PC and a 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire lead to connect the camera to that card, which costs about 10 GPB here in UK, and probably about $10 USD over there...


(BTW: Firewire is not the "best" route to capture video into the computer, it's the only way.)
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:41 AM   #8
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I was looking for an external fireware hub so that we weren't moving the PC around all the time to get to the card in the back. I think all the components I need are readily available at the local Wal-mart, so I guess that will be tonight's project.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 10:08 AM   #9
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FIrewire and USB are different types of ports. You will need a FIREWIRE port/card for your computer. If you get a hub, that supports the firewire, it's really just an 'extension cord' for a firewire port on your computer.

Bottom line.

IF your computer does NOT have a firewire port, you will need to purchase a card and install it. Won't cost you more than twenty dollars.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 11:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Grant
I was looking for an external fireware hub so that we weren't moving the PC around all the time to get to the card in the back. I think all the components I need are readily available at the local Wal-mart, so I guess that will be tonight's project.
You plug you fire wire cable to the card in the back, leave it out front for easy hook up permanently.

VX2000 is great camera. I have one. Still love its simplicity and manual adjustment capabilities.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 11:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Grant
I was looking for an external fireware hub so that we weren't moving the PC around all the time to get to the card in the back. I think all the components I need are readily available at the local Wal-mart, so I guess that will be tonight's project.
Something like this might work well for you:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820162403

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowIm...ter+%2D+Retail
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Old February 16th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #12
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A "seven minute" camcorder. You will notice the difference with the VX2000.

If he is going to go for groundlevel moving shots like point-of-view big toe, tell him to bag the camera with just the lens glass uncovered to keep bits of grit and dust out.

Better still to make a partial crash enclosure out of a big piece of plastic sewer pipe with big holes cut in it everywhere so the camera grip handle and controls are accessable.

If the camera momentarily hits the pavement during an overbalance and recovery, or heaven forbid, a major stack, the sewer pipe and the skateboard rider lose skin and hair but the camera at least wont get scratched.

There's some cool manual settings to try.

Rear slider switch on centre position.

Shutter on 1/250th sec.

On side of camera under the flip-out screen there are other controls. Look for the "effects" button. Choose "flash" and roll the repetition rate to its fastest with the little line which appears on the LCD display at its smallest to the left. You get a nice strobey effect on motion.

Effects "flash" with 1/50th sec shutter has been given some recent mention here as a viable simulation of a 24P or motion picture "look".

The "ND filter" slider on the front left-hand side should always be used when the camera prompts for it to be used. The prompts may not appear in manual modes, so a switch back to auto (rear slider switch to top position) to trigger the ND message prompts is needed.
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