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Alex Filacchione November 19th, 2004 12:40 PM

In general, it's best use is going to be in a situation where you will have the camera on a tripod (IOW, not moving around).

That fits a lot of what I do, so I think that for me it might be really nice. For others, not so much.

Alex F

Mark Randall November 20th, 2004 04:34 PM

With the current $200 rebate on DV Rack, the bar for what you need it to do is lower. DV Rack has a calibration feature that lets you use a laptop or PC screen to replace a broadcast field monitor. In other words, the colors will be video correct.

Using the disk recorder, another big savings is that the capturing time you have to spend is eliminated. You are ready to edit immediately.

You mention that you are dealing with mixed indoor / outdoor lighting. The vectorscope can help you manage this problem more effectively when setting up before your shoot because you'll be able to see objectively what's going on as you calibrate white balance.

I have a $3,000 DV camera. I love I often think that the LCD screen is made by Nintendo. The colors aren't right, the brightness isn't correct, and the dynamic range isn't shown properly (anything below a certain level falls to black on that screen). Lastly, the LCD screen doesn't show the entire captured area. I can't afford (nor do I want to lug) a real broadcast field monitor around but I need the capabilities of one.

--- Mark

[NOTE: I work at Serious Magic but I'm a shooter with twenty years of broadcast / industrial / film experience]

Danny Fye November 22nd, 2004 04:09 PM

"DV Rack has a calibration feature that lets you use a laptop or PC screen to replace a broadcast field monitor. In other words, the colors will be video correct."

I have a little 5" crt monitor that has been calibrated that I can use. Not very portable when combined with the other features of DV Rack but better than nothing.

"Using the disk recorder, another big savings is that the capturing time you have to spend is eliminated. You are ready to edit immediately."

I am using Ulead's Video Studio 7 for direct to hard drive recording. Video Studio 6 and lower doesn't work very well. I don't know about version 8.

I love the idea of direct to hard drive recording in that I save wear and tear on my VX2000 and I don't have to worry about tape problems such as drop-outs and running out of tape during a long service.

I am using a system where I have two computers, one at church and one at home for editing. I use a removable hard drive tray system so I can simply plug a hard drive into the church system for capture and then take it to the home system for editing. It is not hot swapable as the company claims but I don't need it to be.

I fail to see how the vector scope can help me with the white balance. I can see what is going on, I can see that no matter what I do, some areas are going to have a blue cast and others won't. I have no choice in the situation.

The most helpful use I can see with DV Rack for me is the audio tools. I have poor hearing and I can't hear a high frequency noise that may be present in the audio and with the last church service I did, I couldn't hear the low frequency noise either.

However, I could see it on my editing system at home and I effectively removed it with GoldWave software.

By the way, I don't have a lap-top or note-book computer so that would be a major additional expense for me. How would I use a removable hard drive tray system with a lap-top or note-book computer?

My problem is that I am struggling to find how I would really benefit by using DV Rack.

I can see where it would be of some help but not quite enough to justify the cost.

I wish one could buy only the modules one needs in DV Rack at a reduced cost instead of the whole thing. Then one could buy additional modules over a period of time. Sort of like a basic DV Rack to start with then build up to the full version over time. Would also allow for even more modules and upgrades of modules in the future.

I wish one could purchase it at the current price of $200.00 off without having to deal with the rebate. I love the savings of a rebate but I hate dealing with them.

Thanks to you and the others here for your replies and sorry this post got so long.

Danny Fye

Mark Randall November 22nd, 2004 05:09 PM


Ulead's (or other video editor's) direct-to-disk recording isn't the same thing as DV Rack. Video editors are designed for editing and capture, not to assist during shooting.

DV Rack has the DV QM that let's you know about potential problems. It marks the exact location of an audio problem or video-over-bright on the clip's waveform, as the clip is recording. After recording, you can then jump right to that exact location with one click to review the potential problem. Also, DV Rack slaves to the camera, which means that when you press the record button on the camera, DV Rack starts/stops without you having to be near the computer. I don't believe that video editing software does this.

The bottom line is that no video product is right for every situation. It sounds like your work is pretty limited in scope, is pretty much always the same and your current kit of gear meets your specific needs well enough.

DV Rack is kind of like a Swiss army knife (SAK) or a Leatherman multi-tool. It has a bunch of blades/tools that do different useful things in different situations. You're kind of saying, "Look, I don't end up in a lot of different situations. I just need this pearing knife and these fingernail clippers because that's all I do, and I already have tools that do a fair job of the limited things I need to do".

On the other hand, if you're an outdoorsman that ends up in various different situations then an SAK or multi-tool is a no-brainer. In the same way, if you're a video person that ends up doing a variety of work, perhaps ranging from corporate interviews, industrial training, PC instructionals, video FAQs, live conferences and in-studio product shots, then having the various "blades" and tools in DV Rack at your side is also a no-brainer.

One thing I learned from years of being an "independent video producer", success required being like a boy scout, "always prepared".

The other thing that I learned was that when you are shooting, you are also always selling yourself. I've had DV Rack users tell me that one specific benefit of the product that they hadn't expected was that clients are very impressed. It's clear that you're using "real gear" and the latest tools and that makes the client feel good about you (the same factor that makes a lot of pros pay extra for bigger "shoulder cams" when a smaller cam would do, just because of the impression it makes on clients).

--- Mark

Danny Fye November 23rd, 2004 03:23 AM

I may not have the best direct-to-disk (tape-less) recording solution now, but it is a lot better than nothing at all.

Maybe I will expand and get DV Rack later on in the future and maybe there will be another rebate (hopefully a sale price) some day.?.? :)

What I would like to see most is a memory card with enough memory to record the DV and no longer have to deal with the mechanical problems like we have now.

Now the goal is no more tape. It won't take long when the goal will be no more hard drives.

Even if I have to deal with the bulky contraption I have now, (mostly due to limited budget) I am glad I at least have something to work with.

Danny Fye

Ed Frazier November 23rd, 2004 07:42 AM

It sounds like you have already talked yourself out of getting DVRack, but let me address a couple of points you mentioned that might benefit others.

DVRack will run on the computer you are currently using at the church, provided it meets minimum specs. No need to buy a laptop in your case.

You can still capture to the removable hard drive so there is no need to change anything there. If you are able to capture direct to disk now, it should work with DVRack.

I doubt you'll find DVRack at a lower price than currently offered by SeriousMagic and you get the full package, not a stripped down version, which isn't even offered now.

Your total cost to utilize the product would be $279.95 http://www.videoguys.com/dvrack.html, and an additional benefit would be that you no longer need to lug that 5" monitor around anymore.

I don't like dealing with rebates either, but for $200, I'll spend 5 minutes filling out the form and addressing an envelope any day.

Mark Randall November 23rd, 2004 12:33 PM

One other point I forgot to mention. Serious Magic doesn't monkey around with rebates like a few manufacturers. It's sad that this is the case with a few companies because rebates should be a trustworthy thing, however I've had a couple of rebate nightmares where it was apparent that the company really didn't intend to pay most of the rebates as promised.

With SM, you just fill out the form (and it's really quite short), add the receipt and send it in. You'll get your check, usually in a few weeks.

Alex Filacchione November 23rd, 2004 12:50 PM

Danny, I think that the best thing to do would be to download them demo and use it and see if it helps. The demo lasts for 14 days, and it fully functional, not crippled.

For me personally, the audio stuff is the stuff that I don't need. Coming from an audio background, spending a lot of time in recording studios, building my own project studio, etc. I have enough control over audio that I can get a good signal in and not worry about it.

The things that I like (I downloaded the demo but have not yet installed it for other reasons - I am waiting for the calibration cards to become available on the seriousmagic shop so I can get some and then install the demo and really put it through it's paces) are the "Broadcast monitor" esp the under/overscan feature, the Quality monitor to let me know if frames are bing dropped, and the calibration tools.

With something like Premiere Pro (which I have) I can get waverform monitors and vector scopes. When I record to disk I get notification if frames are being dropped.

However, I don't get the kind of notification that DVRack gives as far as where they are dropped (the display will show you exactly where in the timeline the frames were dropped and you can scrub to them and see if it is a real problem requiring a reshoot or not). I don't get the under/overscan feature in Premiere (but I think that Premiere will show the actual video footage, not just what your LCD shows). The thing that I really like is that not only does DVRack have all of those calibration features and more, DVRack seems to make it VERY easy to use them to calibrate your camera, whereas in Premiere, you just get the scopes.

The other thing that DVRack does that is REALLY cool is the continuity tools. The ability to do split screen of previous footage with current footage will allow me to make sure that if I take a break in filming and the subject moves, that when we continue I will have framed the subject precisely to match the previous footage. That is a really cool feature that you are not going to get in a broadcast monitor.

From what I have seen, the only improvement that I would like right off of the bat (and not having used it, it could be that this feature is in there) is to layout your "rack equipment" in a side scrolling (left to right) layout as well as the standard up & down scrolling. And blank "filler" components to take up the blank spaces between devices!

I too am hoping for another rebate offer. I imagine that by the time I order the calibration cards from them and install the demo and really put DVRack thru it's paces the rebate will be gone, and thanks to the holidays so will my money! :-( However, if I really like it, I will wait for another rebate offer and buy it. My main concern right now is that it may not work with the video card built into my D2D miniPC solution (which does not allow for me to add in a "real" video card). I won't know until I try it, however.

Alex F

Danny Fye November 23rd, 2004 02:08 PM

I have a question for you. I looked at the online manual for DVRack and I noticed that it has to be activated like Windows XP does.

If I get DVRack and install it on my desk-top computer at church and then at some time in the future I get a smaller or a note-book computer, will I then be able to install it on that computer without having problems with the activation?

I don't want to be stuck in the future.

Danny Fye

Mark Randall November 23rd, 2004 02:41 PM

DV Rack permits two activations on two different machines.

--- Mark

Danny Fye November 23rd, 2004 03:29 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Ed Frazier :

Your total cost to utilize the product would be $279.95 http://www.videoguys.com/dvrack.html, and an additional benefit would be that you no longer need to lug that 5" monitor around anymore.

I don't like dealing with rebates either, but for $200, I'll spend 5 minutes filling out the form and addressing an envelope any day. -->>>

Congrats to you! You have convinced me. I just purchased DVRAck from Videoguys. I didn't know they had it for that price.

Serious Magic's web page doesn't seem to list online sellers that sell DVRack. At least I didn't find it. I saw a list of different places in different states but not online stores. Could this be an ommision?

Oh well, at least I can now really find out how useful DVRack will be.

I called Videoguys and asked about their return policy and they told me 30 days. So if I find I don't find DVRack to be useful during the 30 days, I can return it for a refund. Minus shipping of course.

Danny Fye

Danny Fye November 23rd, 2004 03:54 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Randall : DV Rack permits two activations on two different machines.

--- Mark -->>>

So what happens if one machine breaks down and/or needs a complete re-install or I get a new machine. What would be the procedure for the activation at that point.

I forgot to ask earlier, will DVRack work with my ATI All-In Wonder Radion with 16 meg of memory on it?

I noticed a discrepency on the rebate forms. On one it says, "May not be combined with any other offer or
used for purchases made through Broadfield Distributing, Inc., Wynit, Inc. or direct from Serious Magic, Inc." and on the other it says, "May not be combined with any other offer or used for
purchases made through Broadfield Distributing, Inc. or Wynit, Inc."

So, on one I can't buy it direct from Serious Magic and on the other I can. Since I already bought it, it no longer matters to me but to someone else it might.

I printed out the rebate form and it prints rather small. I can't possibly write in those teeny tiny little boxes. Would you allow that a label be placed on it instead?

I am not trying to nit-pick away at all this, I just wanted to get some answers and point out a few things that I noticed.

Thanks very much,
Danny Fye

John Jay November 24th, 2004 05:24 PM

DV rack --> 2 cam monitoring question
Just playing with the demo, for two cam operation with two firewire ports ( built-in and IBM cardbus) on max screen resolution of 1024.

My question is how to get the two field monitors side by side?

Rob Lohman November 25th, 2004 03:11 AM

Are you sure it supports that? I thought it grabbed the first
firewire camera it sees, but I could be wrong in that. For that to
work you need to have an option to pick the device it is working
with and be able to open a second instance of DV Rack.

John Jay November 25th, 2004 06:49 AM

Rob 4 U >>>Setting Up More Than One Camera
DV Rack does support multiple cameras but your system must have one FireWire card for each camera installed. DV Rack does not support multiple cameras connected to one Firewire card. To switch between cameras:

Connect each camera to your computer. Then, in DV Rack, right-click and select the camera that you would like to record from from the pop-up menu.

Anyone >>>

My question is how to get the two field monitors side by side?

Rob Lohman November 25th, 2004 06:54 AM

Wow! That's a pretty nice feature, cool!!

Jim Quinlan November 25th, 2004 07:16 AM

Here's a response from serious magic on their forum from a few days ago with a similar question. Karl Soule said:

"It is possible right now to have multiple cameras hooked up to DV Rack, but DV Rack can only monitor/record from one camera at a time. You can use this to match cameras, for example. Record a small clip from Cam 1, Stop, switch to Cam 2, and compare Cam 2 to the recorded Cam 1 clip. Adjust Cam 2 as necessary. Repeat for Cam 3.

Are you looking for ISO feeds from multiple sources simultaneously, or a single feed that switches from camera to camera? Right now, DV Rack does neither, but I'm looking for feedback which way you'd like to see us develop toward. "

John Jay November 25th, 2004 07:24 AM

Hmmm <amused to death>

Think I'll wait for the F50 .......

Valeriu Campan November 27th, 2004 12:26 AM

Thank you Mark,
I contacted Mike on Friday, still hope he gets back to me before the end of the month

Cliff Hepburn November 27th, 2004 11:11 AM

DV Rack with TRV950 in Still shot mode???
I hooked up my 950 to DV Rack and switched the camera to still camera mode. It appears the entire CCD is used as opposed to the cropped image when using it in video mode.
Is there any reason I shouldn't use the camera with DV Rack this way to take advantage of the entire CCD? My goal is to crop it down to 16:9 in post production.

Ignacio Rodriguez November 27th, 2004 12:49 PM

I have never tried it. However similar setups have been discussed before. It seems that what you get in that mode through Firewire is a less than optimal deinterlaced, downscaled DV image. The deinterlacing algorithm reduces resolution, and then you will lose even more if you crop the image for 16:9. It's not the same as being able to access 30 still frames per seconds from the camera's photo mode, that would be great and you would have enough resolution to work with in native 16:9 DV afterwards. But this camera can't do that. You are better of using the camera in 16:9 DV mode, which is actually very good. I have not used DV Rack but I imagine it must be able to deal with 16:9 DV.

Boyd Ostroff November 27th, 2004 01:52 PM

Yeah, originally some people thought they were getting 30p full resolution images, but that turned out to be optimistic. I tried this myself, and even though I didn't study the captured results, I could tell on the monitor that they were pretty bad. I think I was seeing the same low res image the camera displays on its LCD screen. For example, if you went into the photo mode menus the image shown via the firewire port was identical to the LCD screen, complete with text and menus. I'd guess it was 640x480, and possibly at a low frame rate also. Right away I decided it wasn't worth further exploration. But if you liked what you saw then give it a shot and let us know how it turns out.

Cliff Hepburn November 28th, 2004 05:03 PM

Thanks, I thought I was onto something, guess not.

Michael Sinclair November 28th, 2004 05:17 PM

Interesting thread. I am a real newbie at video. However, I have been playing around with capture from my Canon Optura 300 direct to my new computer I put together. I put the Optura on still photo mode and use Vegas to capture to disk in Dv format. My family actually looked at some video transfered from the Canon to the hard drive via firewire then at some video captured to disk with the 300 on still photo mode with the SD card out of the camera. Many people asked me why the direct to disk in still camera mode looks so vivid, clear and sharp looking. I wanted to put a firewire card in my wife's laptop and use the camera on the go like that. One big problem I have is finding the best program or encoder to encode Mpeg2. My DVD renders lose quality from the original. Especially when viewing a moving subject. This is the biggest issue I see with the consumer market for archiving DV or even older home video to DVD.

Kent Dammand November 30th, 2004 10:50 PM

Dv Rack

no way to see camera menus on dv rack?

Danny Fye December 1st, 2004 06:41 AM

Re: Dv Rack
<<<-- Originally posted by Kent Dammand : testing

no way to see camera menus on dv rack? -->>>

Depending on the camera, I think there is, but why would you want to?

If you do, then the menus could get recorded as well as the video.

There should be a menu item to send it out.

Danny Fye

Ed Frazier December 1st, 2004 04:14 PM

Camera menus, at least on my XL1S, can be sent out on the analog outputs, but not on the firewire output. I don't know if that is the same with all camreas though.

Barry Green December 1st, 2004 07:20 PM

On the DVX you can't send the menus out the firewire either. I can't think of a camera that does allow it, so I'm guessing that no, there will be no way to see the menus on the DV Rack monitor...

Danny Fye December 1st, 2004 08:10 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Barry Green : On the DVX you can't send the menus out the firewire either. I can't think of a camera that does allow it, so I'm guessing that no, there will be no way to see the menus on the DV Rack monitor... -->>>

I guess the question now is why would one want to?

Danny Fye

Paul Matwiy December 11th, 2004 06:02 PM

DV Rack Recording Tool
We are currently in heavy testing of Serious Magic's DV Rack. The software loads on any PC Laptop (over 1.2 GHz) and enables you to record from a DV camcoder and monitor the following:

Monitor with safe area, zebra patterns, 16x9 mask, undescan, and calibrated brightness, chroma, phase, and contrast. The software also provides the ability to frame grab, view time code and view waveform monitor and vector scope. It also contains a video analyzer (5 color spaces).

The recorder saves in avi1, avi2, QT, Canopus, and Matrox DV formats. it supports PAL and NTSC video standards, but does not support HDV strams at this time.

2 week trial is available by download. Price is $500 US


Very interesting.

Barry Green December 11th, 2004 07:31 PM

Even more interesting is that they've announced a "lite" version of DV Rack, which primarily gives the field monitor and disk recorder, for just $99. A lot of features are stripped down, but for $99, it's very interesting indeed.

Travis Maynard December 11th, 2004 08:57 PM

Ahh, DV rack looks like such a great program. Now, all I need is a laptop....Ehh, and 500$. :\

Rob Lohman December 14th, 2004 07:59 AM

The program has been discussed quite a lot here on DVInfo
already, check out the following threads:


Lauri Kettunen December 15th, 2004 01:42 AM

Does DV Rack or any other software has a buffer? (That is, when you start to record, it will store also the previous 5-30 seconds)

Rob Lohman December 15th, 2004 06:05 AM

The DV Racks feature page clearly states:

Never miss the beginning of a shot again with the Pre-record Buffer in the DVR. It can be be set to start the clip up to 30 seconds before you hit the Record button on your camera
Source: http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack/f...20benefits.cfm

Ed Frazier December 31st, 2004 06:55 AM

DVRack Rebate
Just curious if anyone that purchased DVRack during the rebate period has received a check? I posted this question over on the SeriousMagic site and received no (useful) response. It's been at least six weeks since my request was submitted and still nothing.

Hart Boyd December 31st, 2004 01:42 PM

I got a confirmation by e-mail before Christmas confirming my submission was valid and in the final stages of processing but no check as of yet.

Mark Mapes January 3rd, 2005 03:42 PM


Sorry that no one here at Serious Magic addressed your post on our forum two weeks ago. You caught us during an extraordinarily busy time--three product releases in a week followed by the usual scramble to tie up loose ends. That's no excuse for dropping the ball with a paying customer, though.

In any case, someone here contact the third party that handles rebates for us tomorrow to check on the status of yours. You should hear something from them or from us before the end of business tomorrow.

Ed Frazier January 3rd, 2005 04:02 PM

Thanks for looking into it Mark. I notice that Hart received a confirmation email after submitting his rebate request. I don't recall ever getting anything like that.

Sorry if you thought I was saying I had posted on your forum six weeks ago with no reply. What I meant was that I submitted the rebate request six weeks ago. That might not have been clear from reading my post.

Mark Randall January 4th, 2005 12:50 PM

DV Rack Contest Winning Videos Now Viewable
The winners of Serious Magic's DV Rack "Give Us Your Best Shot" Contest have been announced! The winners are viewable online now at:

Along with production stills and notes.

Congrats to all the winners and thanks to the many excellent entrants.

--- Mark

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