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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.

Bill Ravens September 14th, 2004 10:57 AM

Altho', I beleive they're looking at the issue as we srpeak, err...write. I can't beleive they can continue to support only DV without taking a big hit on their sales.

Christopher C. Murphy September 14th, 2004 11:45 AM

I call the guy and he said their considering HDV, but I think we need to bug them to do it.

Hey, you guys at DV Rack!! Please support HDV!!!!



Mike Gannon September 14th, 2004 01:13 PM

Thanks for the response, guys. I think we should start spamming Serious Magic to trump up the "need" for HDV support. I'm in the process of replacing my 400-series Betacam and I'd sure like to junk all the analog stuff along with it if possible.

Jim Quinlan September 14th, 2004 01:31 PM

I'll post these suggestions where I'm sure the SM DVR developers will see them.

Christopher C. Murphy September 14th, 2004 01:58 PM

I'll be a beta tester for a Mac HDV version!!!! :) :)


Steven Thompson September 23rd, 2004 01:07 PM

Serious Ultra Magic issue (Jitters)
I've downloaded and am considering buying the serious Magic Ultra keying program but I've been having problems when rendering with Vegas. When avi's are viewed with media player after creating in Ultra they look great, but after editing and rendering in Vegas (NTSC DV Template) the fine lines begin to wave,shake and jitter. I've also ran into this probem when using track motion and creating split screens with generated media, but never as bad. I've switched on the interlace flicker with no real improvement. I've also brought in AVI"s to Vegas with upper and lower fields first with no significant improvement. I haven't rendered and burnt to DVD yet to test on TV but would think the results would be the same. Is there something I'm overlooking ?? Thanks.


after furter review when I check the interlace flicker box the problem does improve but I took some frame grabs and the picture becomes blurry.

Rob Lohman September 23rd, 2004 02:27 PM

What is the source of this footage? Which camera and is it in
interlaced or progressive? Project settings in vegas should be
lower field first for interlaced or none for progressive.

Sounds like an interlacing issue as you've guessed. So your
watching the footage when capture in WMP and it is fine? Then
you render it in vegas (to DV AVI?) and play it again in WMP and
see those lines?

Steven Thompson September 23rd, 2004 02:58 PM

I'm using one of the virtual sets that come with the program. (news set) and I'm saving or rendering to uncompressed AVI file with either upper or lower fields first(both have same problem). There's a setting on Ultra that applies flicker filter and when you save, the AVI Looks better little or no flicker but it still looses some quality to the picture, but not as much as when flicker is applied to Vegas. The other questions are correct when viewed in Media player it looks fine until I render in Vegas. I would guess that these filter do some type of blending of fields or some type of D-interlacing. Is this correct in Vegas?? The softer image is usually not that much of a problem but I feel it should be my decision and I want to have the best footage going in that I can. thanks for your reply.

** I guess I should note that what i downloaded was the free demo (250mb) its fully functional but says DEMO over screen :)

Jim Quinlan September 24th, 2004 01:07 PM

Here's a project I recently created with Ultra and Vegas. I used standard settings in Vegas but in Ultra I rendered to AVI using the HuffyUV Codec.

I seem to get very good results with Ultra and it's one of my favorite tools. This project uses one of the virtual sets included with Ultra Master Set 2. http://www.magoomedia.com/media/cosmos.wmv

Steven Thompson September 24th, 2004 03:22 PM

Thanks Jim, I enjoyed your Video. I worked through the toutorials and found "Ultra" to be a very worthy tool. I'll figure out my problem this weekend when I have more time.



Rob Lohman September 26th, 2004 04:02 AM

If your footage is interlaced a de-interlace usually gives a softer
picture, that is what I would expect. However, I assume you can
also leave it in interlaced (I don't know the other program) and
this will display with interlacing jaggies on a computer but should
like fine on a TV.

Kenrick Cleveland October 27th, 2004 01:58 AM

Any suggestions on recording directly to disk (DVRack capable?)

I just got my new PD170 and am excited to put it to use.

The primary thing I'll be doing is making "How-to" DVD's. The shoots will take place in my studio.

I'd love to be able to record directly to Disk as that would sure save a step.

And I purchased DVRack from Serious Magic. (haven't installed it yet)

Here's the issues - my studio set up is about 25 feet from my workstation where the editing will take place.

1. Is it possible to get a fire wire cord that long? If so, where might I find one like that? What is the longest I can go?

2. That makes it a bit inconvenient to see my digital monitor to use the program - but its still basically doable.

3. I've thought of purchasing a laptop so I can have it right there near the shoot. Problem is, then I'm stuck transfering the video from the lap top to the workstation.

4. It appears that DVRack can record to both the hard drive and the DVTape at the same time. Does anyone know if that's right?

5. I'm wondering if DVRack can accept DVCAM from my PD170 and save it directly to disk. Now that would be VERY cool.

Next issue - is it possible to buy a fast, large, external firewire hard drive, attach that to my workstation, then attach my camera to the drive and have DVRack record to the external drive? That would be convenient. If this is possible, do you have any suggestions on the best types of external firewire drives for this?

Next issue - I have an Audigy 2 connector system on the front of my computer. It has a large firewire connection. Will that work, or should I consider getting a dedicated firewire card to handle this with?



Barry Green October 27th, 2004 12:22 PM

Re: Any suggestions on recording directly to disk (DVRack capable?)

1. Is it possible to get a fire wire cord that long? If so, where might I find one like that? What is the longest I can go?
The official IEEE1394 specification limits maximum firewire cable length to about 14.5 feet. However, some companies have exceeded that -- I don't know how they do it, but Laird makes cables that are 30' long and 75' long, and they make firewire repeaters that let you chain cables together to get up to 225' long.

I personally have one of their 30' cables, and it works great. So beware that while you may be technically "out of spec" by going with a longer cable, it does appear to work just fine, as long as you're getting a quality cable. I can vouch for the Laird.

3. I've thought of purchasing a laptop so I can have it right there near the shoot. Problem is, then I'm stuck transfering the video from the lap top to the workstation.
Using an external firewire or USB2 hard disk would eliminate any problem, and having the laptop would give you a field recording solution also. I use a laptop with DV Rack, works great.

4. It appears that DVRack can record to both the hard drive and the DVTape at the same time. Does anyone know if that's right?
Yep. And that's the way you'd want to do it, as tape gives you a cheap backup copy.

5. I'm wondering if DVRack can accept DVCAM from my PD170 and save it directly to disk. Now that would be VERY cool.
Sure it can.

Next issue - is it possible to buy a fast, large, external firewire hard drive, attach that to my workstation, then attach my camera to the drive and have DVRack record to the external drive?
Yes it's entirely do-able.

Next issue - I have an Audigy 2 connector system on the front of my computer. It has a large firewire connection. Will that work, or should I consider getting a dedicated firewire card to handle this with?
The Audigy 2 firewire port will work fine, that's what I've been using on my desktop with DV Rack.

Kenrick Cleveland October 28th, 2004 03:00 AM

Thanks - your answers were most helpful.

I ordered the 30 ft. Laird Firewire cord today.

Now I want to buy a firewire external drive and am considering the G-raid 2-800. Anyone have any thoughts on this drive?

Don Donatello October 29th, 2004 08:17 PM

the 1394 spec's are GENERAL and not specific to a device ...
1394 hard drives seem have the 15ft max .. however seems 1394 to camera ( 4pin) to computer can exceed the 15 ft ..as others have stated 75-125 ft seems to be OK without a repeater ... this is just sending DATA ... if you attempt to capture over 75ft you'll probably find that the camera will not operate from the computer capture program ( will not go into play , fast forward etc ) but if you push play the DATA comes thru .... got me ???

#3 - you can either transfer over the normal networking (100Mbs) to desktop ( SLOW ) or you can enable your 1394 networking .. then transfer the clips from laptop to desktop over 1394 = FAST ... ( 4pin to 6pin)
i usually disable the normal networking connection on desktop .. ( 1394 networking is enabled on both computers) .. then from desktop i find the laptop on network and go to the folder on laptop and drag it to the desktop ... when finished i enable the normal network connection on desktop. i find i have to restart the desktop computer to get it working again ...

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.

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