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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 9th, 2022, 07:22 PM   #1
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It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

This forum is understandably 'quiet' these days, so this is more of a vent than anything ha.

I just remember shooting video back in the mid 00s and always having a hard time when it came to the edit due to hard disk space, computer power etc as I was just a regular person that somehow ended up with a PD150 and a love of shooting. So I ended up with 100+ tapes full of footage, and only rarely ever cutting them for putting online, and most of the time it was small clips that YouTube would butcher.

Still using the trusty PD a handful of years ago, I made better progress with my iMac that I'd switched to from a regular Windows PC and I remember it going... better, but not great. Boy, if only I had the good gear the pros have, I told myself.

Now I'm sitting here with a slightly newer Mac Mini (I have a 2020 as my main machine now, but this 2012 is dedicated to this purpose) and a DSR 11 sitting next to it. Nothing can stop me now!

Except it can. It's still night after night after night of new problems and banging my head against the desk. Whether it's Final Cut screwing up the audio after a glitch in a tape, or simply not ingesting 2/3 of what I thought was capturing flawlessly. So I move to Quicktime for ingest, as others say it's a great way to get around the Timecode tetchiness of FCP, and it feels like things have gone better (albeit it won't let me capture directly in DV25, and transcodes to ProRes. Fine. Whatever.) but noooo now I don't have access to the Anamoprhic Override setting for some reason, and a good chunk of my footage was shot with the Century Optics adapter. I'm nearly a week in, and I still haven't edited a damn frame!!

Oh and all my footage is in PAL interlaced, while I sit here in the US. Luckily the DSR takes care of that aspect!

I feel so, so envious of people jumping into video today with a universal resolution and aspect ratio, square pixels, native progressive scan, and files you can dump off fast cards in seconds. I'm pretty sure at one point this was supposed to be a fun project...
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Old July 10th, 2022, 07:02 AM   #2
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

I had a VX-2000, PDX-10, moved on to a Z-1 and finally an EX-1 which I still have. I shot live perfomance video for many years with those old tape-based cameras and about 10 years ago managed to get most of my original tapes back from my former employer.

Ingested well over 100 of them into Final Cut Pro - most of them with a 2012 quad-core Mini and Sony tape deck. I started the project using the old legacy version of Final Cut, then moved to Final Cut Pro X about halfway through. Yes, it can be a bit frustrating but I never really felt a need to vent.

Did you re-use your tapes? I never did. Frankly, I was suprised that I had so few problems capturing all my old tapes. Are you still using the old legacy Final Cut Pro? It got very buggy with newer versions of MacOS. Seems like anamorphic aspect ratio problems could be easily fixed. I shot everything anamorphic starting around 2003 and really had no problems capturing/editing those.

Are you still using your old tape-based cameras? I could never go back to that! I do very little video these days, but still enjoy using my EX-1 for personal projects, it's still good enough for me. Not very interested in going to 4k, the computer and storage requirements are too much for me.
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Old July 10th, 2022, 10:06 AM   #3
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

James, like you my first camera was a Sony PD-150. I always used Sony DVCAM tapes and never had drop out or tape problems. I still have my 2010 i7 iMac that I use with a JVC-BR50 tape deck for ingesting legacy tapes shot with the PD-150. The problem is many of of the tapes were ingested in the FCP “Archive” format and the current version of FCPX running on my 2017 i7 iMac no longer recognizes the “archive” format.

https://www.southernadvantage.com/pr...video-recorder
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Old July 10th, 2022, 10:31 AM   #4
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Connors View Post
Now I'm sitting here with a slightly newer Mac Mini (I have a 2020 as my main machine now, but this 2012 is dedicated to this purpose) and a DSR 11 sitting next to it. Nothing can stop me now!
From memory, your Mac Mini has a Thunderbolt 3 port. If so use Firewire to Thunderbolt cables (x 2) to capture in FCPX. Check out this video:

Chris Young

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Old July 10th, 2022, 11:34 AM   #5
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

Sorry, you are way off on this one, Thunderbolt 3 didn't appear until the 2018 Mini. The 2012 Mini actually has one firewire 800 port, a Thunderbolt 1 port and an HDMI port. This is why it works well with legacy firewire DV gear. I have a 2012, 2014 and 2018 Mini myself. :-)

https://support.apple.com/kb/sp659?locale=en_US

I have a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter and have used it with my 2013 MacBook Air. It works fine but gets really hot while plugged into the Mac, even if you aren't using it and no Firewire device is connected. I found that a bit worrisome.
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Old July 10th, 2022, 11:56 AM   #6
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

Right! Understood. Wonder why it gets so hot?

Chris Young
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Old July 10th, 2022, 12:19 PM   #7
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

Good question... I assume there's a chip in there that converts the data and runs hot. But Apple is the only company to ever make that kind of adapter, so it is what it is. To use a firewire device with a new(er) Mac, you need a thunderbolt 3 to thunderbolt 1 adapter plugged into the thunderbolt 1 to firewire adaptor and probably a firewire800 to firewire 400 adapter for most cameras and decks.

Probably works, but seems pretty dicey to me. A computer like the 2012 Mini that actually has a firewire port seems like a more elegant solution (although I still need a FW 800 to FW 400 adapter). Support for the 2012 Mini ended with Catalina (which I am still using) so that might be problematic if you want to run the newest version of Final Cut Pro. But the 2012 Mini can also run Mountain Lion, which is a plus if you still want to use legacy Final Cut Pro or other 32-bit software.

I used to have mine setup to dual boot into both systems, depending on the software I wanted to use. However, I retired the 2012 Mini from daily use when I got the 2018 Mini and now it's a headless file and time machine server with 20tb of storage.
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Old July 10th, 2022, 12:32 PM   #8
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Re: It's been over 15 years... and I still want to scream!

Oh wow, I was actually expecting to just be yelling into the void with this post... just a vent to clear my head then try another approach. Spoiler: the new approach has actually gone really well! I'll post about it at the end once I've replied to everyone who graciously responded to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
I had a VX-2000, PDX-10, moved on to a Z-1 and finally an EX-1 which I still have. I shot live perfomance video for many years with those old tape-based cameras and about 10 years ago managed to get most of my original tapes back from my former employer.

Ingested well over 100 of them into Final Cut Pro - most of them with a 2012 quad-core Mini and Sony tape deck. I started the project using the old legacy version of Final Cut, then moved to Final Cut Pro X about halfway through. Yes, it can be a bit frustrating but I never really felt a need to vent.

Did you re-use your tapes? I never did. Frankly, I was suprised that I had so few problems capturing all my old tapes. Are you still using the old legacy Final Cut Pro? It got very buggy with newer versions of MacOS. Seems like anamorphic aspect ratio problems could be easily fixed. I shot everything anamorphic starting around 2003 and really had no problems capturing/editing those.

Are you still using your old tape-based cameras? I could never go back to that! I do very little video these days, but still enjoy using my EX-1 for personal projects, it's still good enough for me. Not very interested in going to 4k, the computer and storage requirements are too much for me.
Yeah, alas even the price of buying MiniDV tapes constantly was beyond me based on how much I was shooting/my meager wage at the time, so there's definitely some reuses. Not all, but definitely a bunch. Also a friend who worked for a broadcaster who naturally don't reuse tapes gave me a bag full of single used Sony tapes (including a handful of Mini DVCAM ones, always nice!) that I used a bunch of during the end. I should've done some better working practices and blanked them out properly with a constant timecode etc, but I've noticed more problems occur towards the end of the tapes than anywhere else so the camera undoubtedly needed a service too, but again... more $$$ I didn't have.

Like you, virtually all my tapes are live gigs. Lots of local and touring bands from punk and metal gigs, the PD really kicked ass in those situations because those clubs are not well lit and the TRV950 I had next to it couldn't hold a candle to its much praised low light capabilities. I don't shoot video at all anymore, the PD got left behind when I emigrated (the firewire port had broken so I left it with a friend to see if it could be repaired and we're not in contact anymore, I don't have much use for it anymore anyway) but I have the TRV with me for anything I might've shot in LP or just an alternate source if the DSR doesn't like something. I have my DSLR camera now, and for some reason haven't ever really given video on it much thought. Maybe one day!

I only have the dual 2012 for this, but I have the i7 in the other room (it's just nice to finally have a dedicated machine for this stuff, even if it's not the latest and greatest. At least manipulating DV isn't an issue for a 2012 machine!) but sounds like a similar setup other than that. I'm on the latest MacOS which is Catalina, and the latest version of FCP that runs on this before they increased the minimum OS requirement. Yeah the aspect ratio stuff is a scratcher, it's definitely something to do with FCPs limitations on what it thinks it can apply it to, and the format that comes in from QT just not meeting those requirements. Luckily... that's been solved!

Quote:
Originally Posted by W. Bill Magac View Post
James, like you my first camera was a Sony PD-150. I always used Sony DVCAM tapes and never had drop out or tape problems. I still have my 2010 i7 iMac that I use with a JVC-BR50 tape deck for ingesting legacy tapes shot with the PD-150. The problem is many of of the tapes were ingested in the FCP “Archive” format and the current version of FCPX running on my 2017 i7 iMac no longer recognizes the “archive” format.

https://www.southernadvantage.com/pr...video-recorder
Ouch, I was wondering if I should use the Archive feature I see offered and whether it would make a difference, I'm glad I didn't now! That's a real pain... the whole point of archiving seems to have been missed with that feature! I had those JVC decks on my wishlist too when I was shopping around, as I believe that model is also NTSC/PAL switchable which is essential to me unless I imported from Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
From memory, your Mac Mini has a Thunderbolt 3 port. If so use Firewire to Thunderbolt cables (x 2) to capture in FCPX. Check out this video:

Chris Young

Firewire Mini DV Capture with FCP & Quicktime in 2022 - YouTube
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
Sorry, you are way off on this one, Thunderbolt 3 didn't appear until the 2018 Mini. The 2012 Mini actually has one firewire 800 port, a Thunderbolt 1 port and an HDMI port. This is why it works well with legacy firewire DV gear. I have a 2012, 2014 and 2018 Mini myself. :-)

https://support.apple.com/kb/sp659?locale=en_US

I have a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter and have used it with my 2013 MacBook Air. It works fine but gets really hot while plugged into the Mac, even if you aren't using it and no Firewire device is connected. I found that a bit worrisome.
Yep, I'm not going to lie that Firewire port is why I kept this machine in a drawer. I knew I'd need it one day! I actually have it rigged in such a silly way.. the FW800 going to a FW800 on one of those G-RAID drives, then the DSR hooked up to a 6pin on said drive. I don't own any FW800 to 4pin cables, and while I guess the DSR doesn't need power... c'mon guys, put a 6pin port on it just for a bit more grip! I've always hated those 4pin things.

----

ANYWAY!

Not long after I posted, I got lucky with some Googling and found this guys page who basically was approaching a project with the same concerns and issues as me. Luckily, he did some good research and found a fantastic solution!

https://leolabs.org/blog/capture-minidv-on-macos

I tried installing LifeFlix like he mentioned just in case I had better results, but it didn't even see my deck for some reason. I wasn't convinced that suite would be for me anyway, it didn't look anything special.

But below that, raw DV capture straight to a HD through the much trusted FFMPEG software? And with a fairly newly open sourced bit of software to do some processing afterwards? Gotta be worth a shot right?

And it was. After a surprisingly long install, and a boneheaded move on my behalf (gotta press play on the deck, the software hadn't crashed!) I start getting some feedback that data was coming in, and lo and behold the same tapes that caused me issues were now captured exactly how I wanted them. The DVpackage suite fixes the issues and splits the files across timecode breaks perfectly (ie one tape that made *ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY* instances in FCP gave me just 4, and in places I would expect them). I'm super happy, the ability to set an override for the anamorphic tapes is intact and I'm not hearing any audio dropouts or missing files. I ran through a known bad tape that I've ever gotten more than a single frame out of before for 30 seconds or so, and for the first time ever in many years of trying saw actual video. Unusable, but shows the sheer difference this software has made for me.

Here's a screenshot of the software in action for those intrigued. The top part shows the ingest - those red timecode issues are what trips FCP up but ffmpeg isn't bothered at all. You can see the speed rating has dropped badly though (a good capture comes in at 1x with no red lines) and the next section where I run the DVpackage software which then spends some time processing everything manages to fix those issues. If I try to open the single file before that, there's audio speed issues throughout the whole file.

It's also nice that I can have the import window from FCP open while I do this to monitor video/audio coming in, rather than just seeing a command line. I'm sure there'll be more headaches, but I feel like good progress at last!
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