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Bill Ravens August 12th, 2004 11:13 AM

DV Rack various topics
I put a summary of my experience with Serious Magic's DV Rack (Demo) here:


Imran Zaidi August 12th, 2004 11:49 AM

Thanks! Very helpful.

Kent Fraser August 26th, 2004 01:40 PM

Laptop - remote drive and DV Rack
Curious if anyone knows whether using a firewire drive or USB 2.0 drive connected to the laptop will capture properly and work with DV Rack?


Rob Lohman August 27th, 2004 02:50 AM

I don't know a thing called DV Rack so I can't comment on that.
But you can definitely capture directly to a laptop. I've done it
a couple of times on my Lady X shoot.

Barry Green August 27th, 2004 11:37 AM

DV Rack is a fantastic new software program from Serious Magic that provides software versions of a field monitor, vectorscope, waveform monitor, direct-to-disk recorder, and lots of other professional video & audio monitoring tools.

Check it out at http://www.seriousmagic.com/dvrack.cfm

Kent Fraser August 27th, 2004 02:10 PM

So what about the possibility of an external drive (firewire or USB 2) connected to a laptop? Does anyone have any experience with this?


Bill Ravens August 27th, 2004 04:16 PM

I just received my registered copy of DV Rack yesterday. It's truly awesome. Yes, in fact, I can capture straight to an external hard drive via 1394. Dunno 'bout USB, haven't tried it. I suspects that if your system can see it, DV Rack will too.

Rob Lohman August 28th, 2004 06:14 AM

I have captured straight to USB2 without any problems (on a
laptop). I've tried firewire but that didn't work since I had to
daisy chain my camera to the drive and that for some reason
resulted in dropped frames.

I've read the DV Rack program. Sounds interesting indeed. Too
bad my laptops battery will only last 1.5 hours max. Way too
short for any serious shooting.

Mark Randall August 29th, 2004 03:30 AM


Glad to hear that you're enjoying DV Rack.


Does you laptop have swappable batteries? My Dell gets about two hours per battery but they can be swapped and a second one can be inserted in place of the floppy drive.

--- Mark

Rob Lohman August 29th, 2004 08:12 AM

I think you have my old DELL laptop, hehe. It had a floppy drive
as well where a second battery could be fixed. New one doesn't
however, but it might have place for it if I remove my DVD player/
burner. I'd have to check that. But batteries are pretty expensive
for these kind of laptops and I would at least need 4 of them
(to get a max of 6 hours, but probably more around 4 - 5 hours).
That would be a minimum. The current laptop (from my work) is
just too power hungry. I'd be better off with a Pentium M laptop
I think.

Barry Green August 29th, 2004 10:12 AM

And that leads to a good question: what is Serious Magic's recommendation for a laptop? There are so many combinations possible, but obviously you'd want good performance with the software, glitch-free capture, a good screen, and long battery life. What do you guys recommend?

Imran Zaidi August 29th, 2004 10:43 AM

Pentium M laptops do indeed seem to last forever. I have one from Acer - and just the other day during the hurricane when the lights were out down here in Orlando, I watched all of American Graffiti pt. 2, which is almost 2 hours long, and still had about 40% of battery left.

So I figure in a real world shooting environment, I should be able to get 4 hours no problem. DVD watching burns more battery than just capturing would, I think.

Mark Randall September 1st, 2004 01:05 AM

It's hard to make any specific recommendation about laptops, there are so many different kinds and different trade-offs. DV Rack works with virtually all current laptops. There are a few older laptops that are too slow or don't have support in their graphics chips for overlays.

You may want to stay away from a few ultra low-end, mondo-cheapo laptops because there are still some on the market that don't have much graphics support at all. These are suitable only for web browsing & email (and who would want a laptop that can't play *any* 3D games?). In general, anything with a GeForce, Radeon or Intel 830-class graphics chip is going to be great for DV Rack. (Not that DV Rack needs all that power. Having that class of chip just means that it will have all basic functions supported and reasonably up-to-date drivers available. It also indicates that the rest of the laptop is probably well-configured (ie no crippling to save a nickel)). Also, keep in mind the requirement that the graphics card have at least 32 MB of graphics memory. This is quite standard now and I'd be suspicious of anything that didn't have that much.

As for other factors, it really depends on what you value most, speed vs. weight vs. size. Earlier this year one of the programmers who works on DV Rack bought a Celeron based laptop that's rated at 1.4 Ghz and only has a 4200 rpm drive (I think it was an HP from Costco at around $800). It works fine.

We had a guest in the office a couple months ago from Europe who had this brand new really sweet Centrino-based Fujitsu machine. That thing was thinner than Paris Hilton and even sexier. We immediately asked if we could load up a beta of DV Rack on it. It worked great. I believe that it was even under 1.4 Ghz actual clock speed.

This whole Centrino thing has confused things because we can't just say "get X.X Ghz or faster and you're set". The problem is that some of these "Centrinos" are faster MHz to MHz than a Pentium 4. Other Centrinos (like the Ultra Low Voltage variety) are slower. Grrrrr.

One thing you can do is burn the free downloadable demo onto a CD-R disc and take it with you down to the computer shop. Once they know you are a serious buyer, any reputable store should let you try loading a commercial software app on the machine to test it out (as long as it can be easily uninstalled, which it can). Bring a small DV camera and a Firewire cable and you're set for a good in-store test.

--- Mark

Mike Gannon September 14th, 2004 09:12 AM

Serious Magic DVRack
Does anyone know if the Sony flavor of HDV is compatible with DV Rack? It's still DV tape, but with the MPEG-2 compression, does that complicate matters?

Jim Quinlan September 14th, 2004 10:51 AM

The lead developer for DVR at Serious Magic told me it's not compatible with HD. I use DV Rack with my DVX100 and love it.

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