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Focus Enhancements FireStore
Specifically for the FireStore DV Direct-To-Edit Disk Recording Solutions.

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Old June 17th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Vimeiro - Portugal
Posts: 255
The little magic box.

Olá (Hi) as we say over here in Portugal.

It has been a wile since I visited THE forum, a very good amount of work is the kulprit. Refreshing new look and new discussion themes, nice.

Took the plunge, an expensive one by the way, and here are my findings regarding the FS4:

As said here before, the unit delivers as advertised. No problems so far.
Used it on three weddings and gone are tape dropouts and long capture sessions. That, per si ,is a blessing!

Along with the FS4 I bought the mounting kit and an extra battery, wich brings me to one of the cons. Had Focus provided a battery with double the capacity, at least, and us customers would be much happier. I wouldn't mind the added thicness/weight of the unit because of that. Remember, in the price point/target users wich the FS4 is located, it is used to work, not to play, and it is extremely annoying to be constantly looking if the the thing as enough power left or not, or changing batteries.
I'll be looking at other options to conviniently power the FS4, one of them could be canibalizing a XL1-s double battery charger, to power the FS4 with two Canon batteries in series.
For now, I have a 12VDC to 230VAC power converter in my car wich is used to recharge the FS4's battery when travelling from the bride's house to the church and from the church to the "party place" (don't know the correct english name).

It's a bit warm in here, the wheather forecast today for Lisbon is around 34º Centigrade, I think I'm turning the fan on :) Well, the fan. That's the other allready much debated con. It's loud, too loud. I'm sorry to say but here Focus has some home work to do on this issue. Don't get me wrong, the FS4 is an outsanting piece of equipment, but the level of noise emmited by the fan it is simply not acceptable.

On the mounting side, I mounted it to my XL1-s using the MA100 metal plate, wich works very well. If you do that, mount it a bit to the right so you can connect the power plug to the FS4 without removing it from the craddle. Put some kind of marker next to the female plug (on the FS4) so you don't have to look under to see wher it is, since it is not in the middle.
If someone here has a place where some fotos can be posted, I'll be more than glad to send them so everibody can have a look.
One of the plus of buying the mounting kit is the inclusion of a Firewire cable with a 90º plug on the FS4 side, wich will make things a bit more tidy.
You MUST arrange for some sort of retention mechanism so the Firewire plug that goes into the camera does'nt come off. If you don't you'll regret it.

In the driving seat:
Going crazy because your camera takes those eternal 5 seconds to power up? Take a pill and relax. That's nothing compared to what's coming your way.
Now, seriousy, it's more a matter of getting used to it. When you are in the field, remember to do the power up sequence as soon you can, preferably, as soon as you step out of the car. Don't rush too much or you end up waisting precious time, meaning, power the camera and give it time to power up completely, if you don't and engage the FS4 right away, it won't comunicate with the camera. Next, power the FS4, go to the CONTROL menu and select "slave sync". Push the camera's record button to check if the FS4 timecode is running, wich means its recording. Stop recording. Push the "LOCK" button on the FS4 so it's status cannot be modified accidentaly. Before pushing "LOCK" I normaly put the counter in "REMAINING".

One other thing you need to get used to is looking at the second "RECORD" indicator wich will appear on your camera's viewfinder. Now you'll have two. one for the tape and another for the FS4. By the way, you have to go to your camera menu and activate DV CONTROL.

Very important !!! --> Never forget BEFORE turning the camera off, to stop the FS4 (it will come out of slave sync mode). After that you can power down the camera and the FS4.

Back to the cave:
Now comes the sweet part of the deal. Plug it to you computer, sing a song, and the files are at your disposal for copying, editing and, be carefull, deleting.

Best regards to you all.
Arnaldo Paixao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 18th, 2005, 01:15 AM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Bunbury, Western Australia
Posts: 153
Thanks Arnaldo,

Your information was very useful to me. My FS-4 arrived yesterday and I am anxious to give it a thorough test before using it on a job.

Here in Australia it is winter so no weddings to worry about but plenty of other work. I also have an XL1s. I can guess that the biggest hassle will be trying to press the record button with the DV cable in the way. What solution have you found for this and stopping the plug coming out?

Your English is as good as those of us who speak it as a first language, and considerably better than many. (I am envious of multilingual people!). Over here the place where the dinner, speeches and dancing occur is called the reception, likely because the new couple "receive" their guests, I presume.

I think I prefer your term "party place."

Like you I plan to get a power converter to charge the battery while I'm driving. I do this now with a 12V charger I bought for the XL1 batteries. My house is full of battery chargers already - now the car will be too!

Thanks again for the user tips,

Mark Whittle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2005, 05:07 AM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Vimeiro - Portugal
Posts: 255
From Lisbon to Downunder.

Hi Mark.

My English is a added benefit I gained from living in South Africa for 3 years. Pitty the way that country is going.

Regarding the Firewire plug wich will be pluged into the XL1-s, take an Xacto nife and trim away the excess plastic on the side that faces the RECORD button. That will not solve entirely the problem but, at least, will give you a bit more room for your finger.
To secure the plug to the camera body, I used plastic cable ties and a four ??? (don't know the name in English) plastic things fitted with self addesive tape to wich the cable ties are attached to.

Best regards,
Arnaldo Paixao is offline   Reply

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