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Nick McCarthy February 1st, 2006 12:28 AM

However, if you're more interested in DV rack for picture calibration, I believe the HVX200 has a buit in Histogram feature

Barry Gribble February 3rd, 2006 10:25 AM

Advice on Laptop purchase
I'm getting a laptop soon, and I will be getting DV-Rack with it also. I want to know what things I should look at in the laptop specs that will impact the DV-Rack performance the most.

Specific questions:

Does the type of video card matter?

Does the video memory matter?

Does 2 GB RAM matter over 1GM RAM?

Can I capture directly to a USB external hard drive hooked to the laptop?

And lastly....

Are they do for a software upgrade any time soon that may change these answers?

Thanks all...

Andrew Todd February 3rd, 2006 10:42 AM

they all matter.. im not the best to give info on computers components.. but i know you cant capture straight to an external usb harddrive. you would need a program.. you could look at direct to disk solutions but thats something different.

Don Donatello February 3rd, 2006 11:15 AM

"Can I capture directly to a USB external hard drive hooked to the laptop?"

i capture laptop to 1394/USB2 external 2 1/2" 5400rpm drive over USB2 ...

my old laptop worked with 512 ram .. current laptop has 1 gig = i see no difference = they both worked excellent with DV rack ...

old laptop video card shared memory and new laptop video card has 64mgs ram = they both worked ..

i have not seen any past upgrades to software make any current computer obsolete ( maybe DV rack with HDV might make a older slower CPU BUT that is a different product not a upgrade )

Kevin Shaw February 3rd, 2006 12:29 PM

Using DVRack to match HD cameras
Any suggestions on how to best use DVRack with the HDV upgrade for matching up the latest HD cameras for a comparison test? Serious Magic has been kind enough to give me the software needed to do this and walked me through the basic process, so I'm just looking for any further tips from DVRack users on how to get the cameras as closely matched as possible. In particular, any thoughts on how to match up a Panasonic HVX200 would be appreciated, since the only thing I can think of is to test it in DV mode before switching to HD mode for recording.

Also, any ideas on how to set exposures to deal with dark-skinned subjects against a wall-of-windows background? I could just eyeball that but would prefer a more rigorous process, plus any hints from people who have used the various HD cameras under such conditions. The test is coming up in less than two weeks, so any advice on all of this would be much appreciated.

Kevin Shaw February 3rd, 2006 12:42 PM

I was at the DVRack office yesterday and was told they're considering a P2 upgrade, but it doesn't sound like that's imminent yet. I'd suggest HVX200 owners contact both Panasonic and Serious Magic to express their interest in that.

In the meantime, would it be possible using FCP, Avid or Edius Broadcast to capture P2 data "live" via a firewire cable from the camera to a laptop?

Christopher Glaeser February 7th, 2006 01:51 PM

DV Rack with Canon XL H1 in SD mode?
My XL H1 is due to arrive tomorrow. I plan to order DV Rack HD Powerpack, but currently only have DV Rack. Will the H1 work with DV Rack in SD mode without the DV Rack Powerpack?


Kevin Shaw February 7th, 2006 01:59 PM

If the XL-H1 can downsample to SD resolution via the firewire output then I would think it should work, but to make sure try contacting DVrack tech support:


Shawn Alyasiri February 7th, 2006 02:25 PM

Please let me know what you find out - mine shows up Thursday. I expect that it will work in the 1080 60i mode, but may get flakey in 24F. I'm trying to figure out my flow or project settings for 24F anyway, so please let us know what you hear.

Thanks again

Jack Foley February 7th, 2006 03:13 PM

We used the DVrack HD Powerpack demo and it worked excellent with 25F. The "Console" tool from Canon crashed after a few seconds everytime we tried it.

I can recommend DVrack to everybody.

Christopher Glaeser February 7th, 2006 03:31 PM

Serious Magic products

Originally Posted by Jack Foley
We used the DVrack HD Powerpack demo and it worked excellent

How is the demo limited? (e.g. time limited, feature limited, or both)? I downloaded the Powerpack demo, but I'm not sure I want to install it since the licensed version of DV Rack is already installed. Perhaps I should just use DV Rack until the licensed copy of Powerpack arrives.

I also have and plan to use Serious Magic Ultra 2. Has anyone here used the H1 with Ultra?


Jack Foley February 7th, 2006 03:39 PM

It is time limited to 30 days I think, but full functional.

Karl Soule February 15th, 2006 02:14 PM

Intel Graphics are kind of hit or miss. There are some Intel chipsets that don't even support 32-bit color. Others have pretty good 3D support. Most Intel graphics chipsets that have the word "Extreme" in the title have enough 3d support to run DV Rack just fine.

Robert M Wright February 16th, 2006 11:30 PM

Playing video (even high def) doesn't require very much from the video adapter.

It's gaming, and other tasks that do 3D rendering on-the-fly and such, that really taxes a video card.

Robert M Wright February 16th, 2006 11:34 PM

A quick follow up.

Decompressing HDV isn't all that hard on a processor either. HDV is MPEG-2, which even at high def, a modern processor can handle fairly easily (MPEG-4, by comparison, takes quite a bit more processing power to decompress).

Karl Soule February 23rd, 2006 04:55 PM

The demo version
The demo version of DV Rack can be installed and run on the same system as the full version o fthe program - Windows treats them as two separate programs. I have both installed on my system here.

The demo is fully functional, and includes the HDV PowerPak functionality, but is limited to 30 days from the date installed.

(Note - if you travel across time zones, and reset your clock frequently to match local time, there's a chance that the demo may end prematurely. For this reason, we highly recommend leaving the system clock alone while running the demo, and disabling any auto-clock-set features you may have running. We do not have a way of restarting the trial period if it prematurely expires.)

We haven't qualified the H1 from Canon yet, but it conforms to the HDV spec nicely, so there shouldn't be any problem.

Marc Colemont February 24th, 2006 03:38 AM

Use the split screen feature to compare easily the different cameras.
The grey chart is a start for the comparison.
A DSC chart is 'the' tool to calibrate properly.

Seth Bloombaum February 24th, 2006 09:39 AM


Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Also, any ideas on how to set exposures to deal with dark-skinned subjects against a wall-of-windows background?

For any complexion you either need lots of interior light, perhaps daylight balanced with CTO gels (and it takes a LOT of light) or to gel down the windows, perhaps bringing them to 3200 kelvin as well to match incandescent light.

Dark-skinned subjects present particular problems - take a good look at what's been done, you'll find there is a lot of use of siders to create new highlights, then expose for the highlights and let lower skin-tones stay lower. Strong backlights too.

The only alternatives without lighting and/or gelling is to move the subjects away from the windows, or shoot them against the windows and let the windows blow out to super-white... or expose for the exterior and have your subjects as shadows with no detail... or close the shades/drapes?

More info would be found over in the photon management forum.

Steve Witt February 24th, 2006 03:28 PM

about field monitors VS. DV Rack
Really and Truly! When talking about field monitors VS. DV Rack, How do they compare. I've heard "If it is too good to be true, then it probably is". I was just looking around at real monitor prices (I'm still pretty new to video production) on B&H and couldn't believe some of the prices (very expensive). So where does DV rack fit into this? Is it like a production monitor, only the really cheap kind or is this software for real. How does it work for a B&W project. Can some one give me opinions? (those who have used both) I'm thinking about buying a monitor for my GS400 for shooting shorts.....and if the DV Rack is really a solid substitute, then I have a laptop and the decision is made. Thankyou so much in advance!!

Seth Bloombaum February 24th, 2006 03:57 PM

DVRack is a solid substitute.

First, the monitor module can be calibrated to color bars just like a field monitor, has underscan, and has its own gamma setup to be more like a crt.

Plus, it has some other features, such as two user-specified levels of zebra, split screen with live against recorded, freeze, and zoom.

Then there's the other stuff - waveform monitor! You'll not get that with your field recorder, very handy for lighting setups and etc. DVR, either for short reference pieces or record to disk and you won't have to transfer your tapes for editing (I'd still roll tape for backup in most cases). Vectorscope. Still image grabber, shot clock (a general-purpose timer), quality monitors for video and audio to identify problem areas, a camera setup routine...

But I use the field monitor and waveform monitor most often, and sometimes use the DVR. Having said all that, you need a place to put your laptop, a laptop is much more delicate and attracts more attention from potential thieves, and you'll need an external hard drive to record much with the DVR.

Really a good product for DV, we're advised that bugs in the HDV version are being addressed at last. Your mileage may vary. Sony 8" crt field monitors such as PVM-8044 remain the industry standard.

Marco Leavitt February 24th, 2006 04:31 PM

We used a professional field monitor and DV Rack side by side on a recent shoot, and there was no question that the field monitor was better in certain ways. The picture was more accurate, and possibly sharper. You can't pull focus with DV Rack because there's a slight lag. I'm not knocking it, because the extra features are great, and it's certainly more convenient, but don't kid yourself. Just to make sure it's clear, I think DV Rack is a great product and they have excellent customer support.

John Rofrano February 26th, 2006 11:13 PM

I use my Pentium M 1.6GHz laptop with 1GB memory to capture via DV Rack to an external firewire drive without any problems. No special video card. Firewire is your best option because it doesnít require the CPU. USB uses some CPU and while USB2 will have enough bandwidth, I donít believe USB1 will work. (my laptop only has USB1 which is why I use firewire)


Paul Coleman February 26th, 2006 11:23 PM

You need both. Both of them are very necessary tools.

The NTSC production monitor is the only true image. But DV Rack gives you the VectorScope and the Waveform Monitor, which in some ways are "better than your eyes". This is because your eyes are "forgiving" when looking at an image, but the scopes are pure data.

So, time to further torture your credit card. :)

Steve Witt February 27th, 2006 12:45 AM

I appreciate the insight. When talking about the waveform and vectorscope on DV Rack... This stuff works like any other waveform and vectorscope that you could purchase right? I mean putting a "separate" vectorscope unit next to your laptop that has DV Rack should yield the exact same information. Am I correct on this? The production monitor on DV Rack may lag on some things a little, but the scopes are "hard & true" info and should not differ from any other scope(???).

Paul Coleman February 27th, 2006 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by Steve Witt
...but the scopes are "hard & true" info and should not differ from any other scope(???).

That's correct. As an example: on the Waveform Monitor during a close-up, there are two tiny spikes above the midtone "mass" of the actress. Those two spikes are the whites of her eyes!

When she blinks, the two spikes disappear. When she drops her head, the spikes disappear. That's how fine the info is.

Ken Hodson March 15th, 2006 12:21 AM

SiS chipset on-board GFX good enough?
Considering a new laptop based around the AMD Turion. It runs on a SiS chipset with SiS GFX solution. Anyone have any experience as far as how the GFX solution holds out for HDVrack?
Tested our older laptop which had built in Intel GFX, which is a few years old now, and it worked just fine. I assume the newer SiS GFX solution would be better still but I thought I would ask.

Mike Cavanaugh March 15th, 2006 01:16 PM

DV Rack connected to multiple cameras
Has anyone found a simple (inexpensive) firewire switch that would enable you to connect 2 or 3 cameras to one laptop for using DV rack as a monitoring tool?

I'm not talking about a production switcher, just simply something to enable you to jump back and forth between camera inputs for color balancing, framing etc without having to pull wires like a one-handed puppeteer!

Obviously you would not be able to use the record/capture function of DV rack, but the monitoring and calibration functions of this tool are worth the effort alone.

Seth Bloombaum March 15th, 2006 02:46 PM

ummm yeah... where was that?

Check out the Ocean Matrix OMX-8FWS. It's an 8 input punch and crunch (mechanical) switch.


I've not used it and don't know what happens when you do a mech. switch on a PC FW input.

There's also a Laird vertical interval switcher at about $900...

Stephen Finton March 16th, 2006 09:25 AM


Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum
I've not used it and don't know what happens when you do a mech. switch on a PC FW input.

Good point. You'd probably have to close DV Rack before selecting a new camera and then reopen it.

Brian Standing March 16th, 2006 03:39 PM

Actually, if you have two firewire ports in your computer (or 2 firewire cards), DV Rack will do this automatically. Hook 'em both up, right-click and switch.

Works very well.

Stephen Finton March 16th, 2006 05:23 PM


Originally Posted by Brian Standing
Actually, if you have two firewire ports in your computer (or 2 firewire cards), DV Rack will do this automatically. Hook 'em both up, right-click and switch.

Works very well.

A/B? Of course. Didn't think about that... :)

Robert M Wright March 19th, 2006 07:16 PM

You shouldn't have any problems. The requirements listed for the software don't mention anything extraordinary regarding video adapter, and it's not the type of application that would normally demand any heavy processing from the GPU.

Karl Soule March 20th, 2006 07:45 PM

Generally speaking, the SiS chipsets work fine. If you do run into problems, get the latest driver from www.sis.com and you should be fine.

John Rofrano April 9th, 2006 07:34 PM

Can Ultra 2 defocus a virtual set background?
Iím trying to achieve a greater depth of field by making the background slightly defocused in Ultra 2. This works for backgrounds that you supply yourself (just click the background or foreground layer and apply DeFocus) but no amount of clicking on the virtual set background will allow the defocus to work. Is there any way to defocus the virtual sets?


Karl Soule April 10th, 2006 04:36 PM

Go to View - Displayed Inputs - Pre-defined (or just hit Alt-P.)

Select the Vset layer you wish to defocus. Go to the Input tab, and move the Defocus slider.

John Rofrano April 10th, 2006 09:46 PM

Thanks, that works great, but only seems to work if the background is static. Iím using the Digital Studio backgrounds and the defocus control is grayed out. :( But it did work on the Library and Iím using that too. Still, the defocus is a great feature. Thanks,


Karl Soule April 11th, 2006 01:06 PM

It does depend on the set. In MSL1, since many of the sets were developed concurrently with ULTRA, some of the advanced functions like defocus were locked out. On newer tracking shots in MSL 2, 3, and 4, you can defocus during the tracking shots as well.

Karl Soule April 12th, 2006 01:08 PM

As of mid-March, the official forum has been updated and moved here: http://www.seriousmagic.com/msgboard/

Aviv Hallale April 15th, 2006 10:11 AM

Difference Between Ultra 2 and Ultra Key?
What are the differences, if any, between these two?

Karl Soule April 15th, 2006 12:07 PM

Ultra Key was the original ULTRA 1.0. It\'s the very first release of the program, which changed its name to ULTRA very shortly thereafter. Version 2 of the program was released about this time last year, and it includes a ton of new features and improvements. Some of the highlights are faster rendering, HD support up to 1920x1080/60p, user-controllable virtual shadows/reflections, paint mask, multi-point pan/zoom, and more. Here\'s a link for a full rundown: http://www.seriousmagic.com/products...hats_new_in_2/

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