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Make your own Record to Disk HD for the HVX200?


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#1 James Leonzio

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 12:36 PM

I'm a little confused about why the Firestore 100 and other direct to hard disks are so expensive. You can buy the same 100GB HD from LaCie for about $150, not $1000. I know the HVX can't bus power an external HD but obviously Firestore has figured out a way around this. Has anyone tried to rig up there own and gotten it to work? I've never used the Firestore so if there is some feature besides just recording the footage that I don't know about, please let me know.

Thanks,
James
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#2 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 07:13 PM

I'm a little confused about why the Firestore 100 and other direct to hard disks are so expensive. You can buy the same 100GB HD from LaCie for about $150, not $1000. I know the HVX can't bus power an external HD but obviously Firestore has figured out a way around this. Has anyone tried to rig up there own and gotten it to work? I've never used the Firestore so if there is some feature besides just recording the footage that I don't know about, please let me know.

Thanks,
James


I think that the Firestore days are numbered. Who needs it? It's big, expensive, and the hoopla about
recording to 24 PN was bogus because it's simulated 24PN with all sorts of catches, including that in
that mode you can't have audio with playback on set from the Firestore!

Even with an 8GB and 16 GB card you should be able to hotswap all day. If you have a little down time,
then all you need to offload is the camera to a Lacie via Firewire. That's what I do. No laptop on set.
It's easy, although I did find that I need to use a hub in between two Firewires rather than one Firewire as in
the manual.
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#3 Walter Graff

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 08:21 PM

You are paying for a device that works quite nicely. You are paying not for a hard drive but a controller that allows you to control the hard drive and maintain oganization on the dirve. WIthout a brain a hard drive is just a piece of blank paper. It is not a simple hard drive in a box, and well worth buying over P2. Considering it gives you 100 gigs at a bit more than P2, and has direct edit cabability with no transfer, etc, it's a no brainer.

Edited by WALTER GRAFF, 17 November 2007 - 08:21 PM.

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#4 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 09:44 PM

The FS100 is junk, and with 32GB cards out by years end, has numbered days. Besides the quirks with variable frame rates, it's got issues endemic to all hard drives. I've heard of people losing data when the cam and drive are swung on a jib arm. On DVXuser you will always find an open thread complaining about the Fs100.

The P2 is a reliable, safe recording medium - with no moving parts.
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#5 Walter Graff

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 09:48 PM

Nothing beats an ignorant post. You seem to have heard a lot but have you used it? It's clear not. I have used it more than a handful of times with the HVX and its the best thing since sliced bread. Unless you have somethig first hand to add to the conversation, why not just watch and learn. Now I see why you got suspended and still cry about it.
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#6 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:32 AM

Yes, my way of offloading to a Lacie (and thus temporarily taking the camera out of action) is suitable for limited
purposes because it is simply storing the data for later.

On jobs I have used multiple P2 cards, the Firestore, recording direct to hard drive through a laptop's NLE
and used the P2 store.

My suggestion for going to the hard drive from the camera is a low rent solution that has worked quite well
for me on many shoots, usually short narrative projects but for any seriously paying client I've used more cards
or the Firestore or something else.

Nonetheless, I still wouldn't buy a Firestore. If you can get by without one, maybe rent if you have to, bigger and bigger
cards are coming out and I think that money would be better spent on them. Good luck.
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#7 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 03:16 PM

Walter - Don't take my word for it. How about this quote from Barry Green (Yes, THAT Barrry Green - the one who wrote the HVX book):

"Here's my biggest complaints about the FireStore:

1) it's big and cumbersome
2) it's fragile (it's a hard disk, after all)
3) it's noisy (has to have a fan... it's a hard disk, after all)
4) it's tethered (needs to have a firewire cable, and you have to pay attention to make sure it doesn't come detached)
5) it requires its own battery to manage, with its own charger, etc. To me that's just an additional point of failure to have to worry about.
6) You can't play back the clips via thumbnail, so playback in the field is about 6,000 times less useful than it would be from a P2 card
7) You can't see your clips in high def. Not the FireStore's fault, as the HVX doesn't pass an HD signal from the firewire port out to its component outputs, but still, it's a workflow issue that you have to face. If you want to review your clips in high-def, it's impossible to do so from the FS-100.
8) If you use the "PN" simulation mode, you cannot review your audio at all! It mutes the audio on playback. To me that's absolutely unacceptable (wonder if they fixed that in version 4?)
9) The only way to get at that audio is to run the "organize P2" command, and then play the clips from your NLE. Which is fine and dandy, except that now you can no longer record on the FS-100. You will have to copy over the entire contents of the hard disk to the computer, and format the FS-100, before you can use it again. So if the director says "Hey, can I hear playback on that clip" you're basically screwed for about an hour.
10) I don't think the camera metadata gets recorded by the FS-100, does it?

The P2 cards suffer *none* of those drawbacks.

Now -- in the Firestore's favor, it does do a couple of things the cards don't:
1) It can record directly in QT format. Used to be a major advantage for FCP users, but now with Raylight it's a nonissue.
2) It has larger capacity and costs less per gigabyte than the P2 cards.

So the FS-100 serves a purpose. If you needed the cheapest way to record a continuous four hours, currently the FS-100 fills that need. But the P2 cards kick the FS-100's patootie in usefulness and workflow all over the place. The FS-100 claims "DTE"? The P2 cards are the embodiment of DTE: you can edit six streams of high-def straight from the card. The FS-100, you'd get one stream, but I don't think you'd ever get two.

Already you can get two 16GB cards for the price of a FireStore, which gives you unlimited hot-swap recording capability. And two 16GB cards = 80 minutes of 720/24pN footage, likely enough for all but the most demanding of shoot days (without offloading; if you can occasionally put a card in a computer you can keep shooting infinitely).

I confidently predict that as the P2 cards get bigger and bigger, products like the FS-100 will fade into irrelevancy.

Until that point, it does still serve a valid purpose. But this isn't the old days of 4GB cards; we've got 32GB cards coming out in about 8 weeks, and 64GB cards next year, maybe April? The idea of needing to put up with all the limitations of a hard disk recorder is far less palatable now that solid state is large enough to handle just about any job. For those jobs that solid state isn't large enough (yet) to handle, there is still the FS-100."
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#8 James Leonzio

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 11:14 AM

Thanks for all your opinions guys.

This whole workflow freaks me out the more I think about it.

Tim, in regards to when you talked about connecting the lacie hard drive directly to the camera...I have a question. When you transfer directly to the Lacie hard drive from the camera during a little down time, I'm assuming that you can't ever view the contents of the hard drive (no laptop on set). Doesn't that freak you out that you can't actually see the files on the drive? What happens if the transfer didn't work correctly. Then when you clear that P2 card, you could lose that footage forever, right?

I also have another question for everyone. I know you record directly to an FS-100, but could you connect a typical Lacie external HD (not a bus powered one) and record directly to that? I know you would have limited because the HD would always have to be plugged into a wall outlet, but is that possible? Or does the hard drive NEED an interface like the one on the Firestore in order to work at all. I guess I just don't understand why you can transfer already recorded footage directly to a standard HD but not record live to a standard HD. Any ideas?
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#9 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 11:48 AM

Thanks for all your opinions guys.

This whole workflow freaks me out the more I think about it.

Tim, in regards to when you talked about connecting the lacie hard drive directly to the camera...I have a question. When you transfer directly to the Lacie hard drive from the camera during a little down time, I'm assuming that you can't ever view the contents of the hard drive (no laptop on set). Doesn't that freak you out that you can't actually see the files on the drive? What happens if the transfer didn't work correctly. Then when you clear that P2 card, you could lose that footage forever, right?

I also have another question for everyone. I know you record directly to an FS-100, but could you connect a typical Lacie external HD (not a bus powered one) and record directly to that? I know you would have limited because the HD would always have to be plugged into a wall outlet, but is that possible? Or does the hard drive NEED an interface like the one on the Firestore in order to work at all. I guess I just don't understand why you can transfer already recorded footage directly to a standard HD but not record live to a standard HD. Any ideas?


There is a "verify" option in the HVX-200 MCR menu in with Dub to HDD. I've always used that and it seems to take
only seconds longer than not using it. Going straight from the camera to a Lacie has been a big help on a number
of shoots, usually smaller ones when I'm doing a lot, such as my own narrative projects. If you're getting paid
you may want to have a different workflow. I prefer to have the client arrange the offloading. I need to concentrate
on shooting and lighting and stuff on the set and the clients can have somebody offload the cards with whatever
workflow they want.

If you go from camera to hard drive, there is also a menu item that lets you see how many partitions you've
filled and how much is on each one. If you started the day with five partitions on your drive and after your first
offload of an 8GB card you know have six and it takes up so much space that corresponds to how full your card was,
that's another indicator.

In the manual and Barry Green's book, you can read about how you'll need a dedicated hard drive and it's
limited to 15 8GB partitions (thank you, Windows) even if you have a drive bigger than 120 GB.

I have recorded from the camera to a laptop and then through the NLE's capture setting directly onto a
Lacie. As far as I know, you cannot take a Firewire from the camera to a hard drive and record. Maybe
somebody with stronger computer skills than I can tell you why. I think that somebody told me but I forget.

You're not totally off track. I believe that some people were able to use 1st generation i-Pods as a form of
Firestore but subsequent i-Pods were disabled from doing that. Don't know
all the details though.
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