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Old March 2nd, 2006, 01:45 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
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"Capture Now" questions at seminar

Just came back from the Apple/Panasonic seminar on HVX200 in San Francisco.

I was surprised that my questions about the "Capture Now" scenario in Final Cut Pro (HVX firewire into powerbook capturing directly into FCP in the log & capture window) were met mostly with blank reactions. I don't mean this to criticize any of the people who put on the seminar. They were informative, helpful and I liked them alot.

But it seems that neither company seems to have considered "Capture Now" as a very likely scenario with the HVX. The Apple presenter at the seminar had never tried it and the HVX "expert" DP ( a very nice and knowledgeable guy) had just tried it a day or so before. They were thoroughly unprepared for questions about it.

Likewise Jan Crittendon when I asked about Robert Lane's suggestion to use a separate PCMCIA card for an extra firewire port responded by saying that he probably knew more about it than anyone else. It was a good endorsement of our own Robert Lane BTW.

Similarly Jan had to call Apple herself to find out about the timecode issue. (Apple confirms - No timecode in Capture Now).

The people running the seminar seemed to be surprised that anyone would want to work this way, though the DP (sorry his name is escaping me) volunteered that he was very attracted to this method after trying it.

A few people suggested afterward in conversation that it might be safer to pre-format a drive as Fat32 and then record to it kind of like a firestore would - only without some of the error protection and other goodies the firestore might provide. (They had only just gotten their Firestore the day before.)

Personally I was more attracted to the "Capture Now" idea as I didn't like the idea of going into a drive blind. And I also liked the ideas of being able to capture to an ordinary drive and having the producer able to look at footage immediately.

I noticed in talking to people in the audience, esp. producer types, that like me, they were generally most attracted to "Capture Now" as a way of working in controlled environments.

So I am wondering - do Apple & Panasonic not consider it safe, or did they just kind of miss the ball on this? If they don't consider it safe - why?

Were they aware of Robert's concerns about overstressing the firewire busses? Did they consider his idea of adding a PCMCIA card adapter with an extra firewire port as a way to get secure captures?
Were they worried about the stability of the powerbooks? Concerned about crashes in Log & Capture"?

And of course the big question - wel... is it safe or not?
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2006, 09:06 AM   #2
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Dang, I'm being quoted...

Hi Leonard,

You know, with my name all over this I just had to chime in... (^_^).

In point of fact, the "Capture Now" (CN) using the PowerBook setups I described have worked flawlessly. Several people that I know of including our own Hans D. have used this for commercial work without so much as a hiccup. It is a proven, stable platform.

To be honest, your experience with the lack of knowledge coming from sales reps is about the same as I've found and, I'd say it's an accurate statement that most of us who have been spending the last 4-6 months researching and testing the HDV/DVCPRO-HD environments know more than the average product rep does.

To be fair, you can't expect a sales rep to know all the ins-and-outs of every product they represent. As equipment owners we have "unlimited" time to use, test, experiment etc. Most reps don't get that luxury and are left with the high-level knowledge given to them by their technical overview training from their companies or, feedback they get from people like us on forums like this.

Being the product manager for the U.S., Jan C. has more technical know-how on the HVX than most of the field reps, however not even she has the ability to foresee every experimental setup a user might conjure up, much less test it. Unlike Apple however, if she has useful knowledge she does chime in on this forum.

Apple is aware of the lack of timecode on CN and I'd expect that will be addressed in the next web-update.

At one point Apple did have whitepaper about using a PB for direct FW video capture and the importance of creating a separate FW bus, but that was over a year ago and I don't see it in their knowledge-base anymore. My own testing with 3 different "modes" of FW setup proved this point, especially when capturing any HD codec.

If you want to use the PB & CN environment, follow my setup guide (Chris, make it a sticky?) and you'll be capturing to your hearts content.
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2006, 09:32 AM   #3
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I can see a few reasons why there is no timecode on this method of capturing.
On the Apple side they have linked machine control with the timecode stream in firewire and or 422 and there is no machine control available through this Capture method so they don't see the timecode. Apple may be able to add this on a Final Cut Upgrade if the timecode is in the Datastream but it might not.
As for the Panasonic side they have been working with Firestore for Harddrive recording and probably didn't think being tethered to a computer and a harddisk with edit software installed would fit into the portability factor of the system. Of course the advantage of playing back on the computer on set seems to be a great benefit.
Daniel Epstein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2006, 09:39 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, and especially a huge thank you for ironing this all out for all of us!
I hope I was clear that I don't blame the reps at all. They are after all doing what the companies put their priority into and everybody I've dealt with has been great.
Its really a little odd that the companies themselves just seemed to miss it.
Leonard Levy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2006, 02:36 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Its a great idea to make your set-up guide a sticky.
Do you mind if I post it ( with credit to you of course) on my web-site.
Alternately I could just make it a link (though those are always tenuous if the original changes.)
- Lenny
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