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David Hurdon October 30th, 2004 07:01 AM

Excuse me, Kenrick, for hijacking your thread but I have to ask Barry a question. I've just installed the trial of DV Rack and it's cool enough to want even if you don't need it. But I'm having trouble imagining using it as a production team of one. With everything I carry to shoot, for example, walking tours of places like Quebec City or NYC, I can't imagine how I could add my laptop and something to sit it on, nor could I power my external hard drive. Can you tell me under what conditions you use DV Rack on a notebook in the field? Thanks,

David Hurdon

Barry Green October 30th, 2004 09:47 AM

Obviously you couldn't use it for run 'n' gun or news type productions. I use it for field production. I've got a cart that I keep loaded with lights, stands, flags, sandbags, camera, teleprompter, tripod, cords, gloves, blackwrap, gels... everything in the world, that all slides in the back of my van. Now it also includes a laptop.

If I get an EFP job I just wheel the cart to wherever the job is, and set up from there. The laptop is a very small part of the equation, but it allows me to add a monitor, waveform, vectorscope, and DDR to the package.

We shot the video for the DVX DVD using this (it was pretty much DV Rack's maiden voyage for us) and I also shot a film for a church using it, and it was completely priceless.

It will slow you down, however. If you have the opportunity to check your footage, you will, which will make you slower. If you have the opportunity to check levels and exposure, you will... which will make you slower. It will result in better quality video, but it will also inherently slow you down a bit.

Tony Hall November 4th, 2004 02:16 AM

DV Rack for editing monitor?
Ok, I know what DV Rack does and I know it has a simulated video monitor that you can actually calibrate. Now, here's my question.

There's no way that you can use DV Rack for a live preview while editing on a computer is there? In other words, is there a feature that lets you run a firewire cord from one computer to the other so that it displays your Vegas video as if it were coming from a camera? That would be really cool, but probably impossible.

Rob Lohman November 4th, 2004 04:27 AM

I highly doubt that would work because DV Rack would probably
be looking for DV VCR's on the firewire channel which another
computer not is. All NLE's that I have seen that have firewire
monitor out also look for a DV VCR which the other computer
(with DV Rack on it) isn't either. So my guess would be no.

Tony Hall November 7th, 2004 03:02 PM

You're right, I was just hoping that someone would say that they've successfully found a way to use it like that.

Ed Frazier November 10th, 2004 05:25 PM

DVRack - $200 Rebate
Serious Magic is offering a $200 rebate on DVRack. I purchased this product last week and just noticed the rebate offer yesterday. When I called to see if I qualified, they said I did, but as of this writing, the confirmation email has not yet been received. Here's the link - http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

Valeriu Campan November 12th, 2004 05:00 PM

Is this offer valid for non US buyers?
It sounds very tempting. I would prepared to buy a PC only for this application (I work with mainly AppleMacs)

Mark Mapes November 15th, 2004 06:13 PM


Yes, you can most certainly take advantage of the rebate offer on DV Rack. It does, however, take an extra step or two for folks outside the U.S. Please contact Mike Walsh (mwalsh@seriousmagic.com) in our Customer Service Department to learn what you need to do.

Danny Fye November 19th, 2004 12:32 AM

How can DV Rack help me?
I do most of my video work at church or for plays at a local theater. At Church the lighting is quite a challenge. The flood lights donít work because of problems, I get a mix of indoor light from the main sanctuary lights and outdoor light from the large windows.

I canít take my computer to the theater so that is out.

So as far as the Church is concerned, how is DV rack going to help me make better video?

As for me, a person who likes technological toys to play with, it looks like it might be fun to play with but I have to keep an eye on what I am shooting so I donít have time to look at the computer monitor much to see what it is showing me.

In a way I am trying to find a way to justify buying DV rack. So far I just canít quite seem to do it.

I was thinking about going into wedding video but I decided not to. Even if I did, I would have to ask how a wedding videographer could benefit from DV rack and not stand out like a sore thumb by carrying a notebook computer with them all over the place.

I am not knocking DV Rack or anything like that, I am just tryimg to figure out how it could benefit me.

I tried the demo and while it shows all kinds of stuff about the video, I just canít quite figure out how it would benefit me yet.

I have a degree in electronics and have worked with scopes and equipment so such equipment is not foreign to me.

Any way, that is the best I can think of in how to ask this question.

Danny Fye

Ed Frazier November 19th, 2004 05:49 AM

Hi Danny,

If you already have a laptop, the $200 rebate currently being offered by Serious Magic makes DVRack a relatively inexpensive Direct-to-Disk solution. In your church work, you would have a calibrated monitor to help with the lighting challenges and might also give you better insight into possible audio problems.

Even if you had decided to do weddings, I doubt that DVRack would be portable enough to be useful. I'm sure others will disagree with this, but the whole arrangement of camera, laptop, external hard drive (if needed), firewire and power cables makes the setup a little cumbersome, particularly if you are working alone. You are also limited by the length of your firewire cable, which BTW should be securely attached to the camera in a way to prevent stress on the camera port.

I'm finding it a fun and inovative product and will be able to use it on some projects, but certainly not all. Just one users perspective.

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

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