Anyone use portable 1394 HDD's instead of tapes?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Not Today, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Not Today

    Not Today Guest

    I'm interested in purchasing one of the portable hard drives that connects
    to the 1394 port of the camera, eliminating the use of tapes.
    based on my research I'm guessing I can save wear and tear on the heads, but
    most importantly, when the project is finished shooting, transfering to my
    pc will take minutes, not hours, before I can start editing.
    If you used these things, what are the Pro's/Cons?
    Please comment with actual experience, not speculation and hearsay on why
    you think it will or wont work. Too many negative nellies around here
    Not Today, Dec 6, 2003
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  2. I investigated that a few months ago before a large project.
    But it would appear that the concept is still new enough (and
    low enough volume) that prices are still too high for everyday
    use (at least on MY budgets). But I anticipate that changing
    in the next year or two when vendors discover how many of
    us would buy the products.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 6, 2003
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  3. Personally I'd roll tape as well even if I had a hard drive connected.
    Charles Tomaras, Dec 6, 2003
  4. Note, some units don't allow you to edit straight from the disk. They require
    a real time transfer, same as tape. Lowest price unit so far is ADS at $599.
    A laptop/desktop computer would work also but without the smaller size and
    camera controlled rec. start/stop feature.
    Laptop allows for multitrack audio recording at the same time.
    Cool stuff.

    Craig H.
    HighPeaksVideo, Dec 6, 2003
  5. Not Today

    Toby Guest

    I was at Panasonic in Tokyo not too long ago, and they are promoting
    somehting similar -- using one of their "toughbook" (or whatever it's
    called) notebook PCs slung over a shoulder with an AJ-DVX100 connected to
    it--recording directly to its HDD. It's definitely doable, but a couple of
    things to keep in mind:

    1. The Pana folks are using a special PC with shock mounted HDD than can be
    dropped from 18" without damage. Normals HDDs aren't really meant to take
    shocks--I don't know about the portable units but depending on your shooting
    conditions it could be a problem.

    2. You need to think about powering the HDD.

    3. The rig that the Pana folks were showing had no way of starting and
    stopping the recording. You just started digitizing from the editing app on
    the PC and everything until you stopped the digitizing got on the HDD as one
    huge file. That might be OK if you are shooting a presser or a wedding, but
    it would be quite annoying if you were doing a lot of moving and only a
    little real shooting.

    4. Speaking of which--don't you need some kind of editing app to control
    digitization, or is that controlled by the camera itself? Sorry I'm not much
    up on the consumer end of things.

    5. In their professional lineup Panasonic is testing a camera system that
    uses PCMCIA-type flash memory cards--1 gig each, five at a time,
    hot-swappable. They expect the capacity of the cards to double every year or
    the next couple of years--shooting for an in-camera memory capacity of 100+
    gigs on cards. I expect that this will be translated into consumer equipment
    before too long, although not in the next year or two.

    Toby, Dec 8, 2003
  6. Not Today

    Dave Guest

    Dave, Dec 8, 2003
  7. Not Today

    3W Guest

    I wonder when someone will release a camcorder with built in harddrive? A
    40gig should suffice. Hell, you can get an iPod wiht 40gig. No more tapes,
    much greater capacity that the mini-DVD camcorders, and much faster transfer
    to computer for editing. What's not to like? Dropping it maybe?
    3W, Dec 9, 2003
  8. Not Today

    Dave Jones Guest

    probably could have one attached, but there's that power problem. Running a
    40gig HD (about 3 hours of DV) on batteries would use up power. Plus they
    give off alot of heat and would probably need to be cooled somehow. Even a
    laptop HD needs to be cooled.. I dunno, I'm sure the time is coming though.
    Dave Jones, Dec 9, 2003
  9. Not Today

    stankley Guest

    What about archiving the video? With tapes, you can lock them away
    with the knowledge that that valuable source is there for many, many

    Another problem with a tape-free camera is if you're on the road,
    you've filled your 40Gb - then what? The great advantage of tapes is
    that they're sufficiently cheap that you can carry a bunch around, and
    pop into one of a 100 shops to pick up more should you run out.

    I don't see tapes being replaced by HD, but writable disks seem quite
    possible. With higher capacity DVDs on their way, that could be a
    compelling option - but again a problem is the form factor of a 5"
    stankley, Dec 9, 2003
  10. Not Today

    AnthonyR Guest

    I don't know why tapes have to be replaced by hard drives?
    why can't you have both?
    Carry around a hard disk recorder about the size of an ipod, plug it into a
    record onto tape and hard disk simultaneously.

    Then have your tape backup, and then just plug the 1394 device(iPod) into a
    computer to access the files for editing, viola, solution, no big change, no
    worrying about cooling, power etc.
    both working devices exist today, couldn't this just be done?

    AnthonyR, Dec 9, 2003
  11. Not Today

    El Dude! Guest

    Because the hard drive have heads. If you bump them they will be destroyed.
    The Sony and videonics hard drives need to be put on the ground and not
    El Dude!, Dec 9, 2003
  12. Not Today

    3W Guest

    Hardly. Explain the iPod and laptops. They get bumped all the time.
    3W, Dec 10, 2003
  13. Not Today

    Toshi1873 Guest

    Possibly the 3" mini-CD/DVD size might work... capacity is something like
    2/7 of the 5" size media, so even the Blu-Ray stuff won't be big enough for
    DV. (Only 7Gb on a 3" mini Blu-Ray disc?) However, a large part of the 3"
    diameter is eaten up by the center spindle, but even removal of that (e.g.
    cartridge format) might only get you to 9-10Gb.

    So, probably will be the generation after Blu-Ray before you'd see a DV
    recorder using that type of media. That is probably 5 years away? (Yes,
    there is a camcorder that uses mini-DVDR media, but it records in a format
    other then DV.)

    Flash (static RAM) media will probably come first but will be much more
    expensive per hour, but once flash chips hit the 30Gb size, they'd do quite

    .... or maybe the standard changes to something that is smaller in size then
    Toshi1873, Dec 10, 2003
  14. It's not that bad fortunately. They can handle some rough treatment.
    One of the main problems with camcorders with harddrive is the
    gyroscopic effect of the drives, going against you when you try to
    make a pan. You could mount the drive horizontal ofcourse, but that
    makes the camcorder wider and the problem shifts to tilting.
    Noise is not so much a problem. Portable harddrive recorders are
    already used for quite some time in audio-recording (hey, that's where
    you don't want the noise ;-) ); Zaxcom Deva and Aaton Cantar spring to
    my mind. But indeed, what are you going to do on the road when your
    drive is full? Dump to tape ofcourse ;-)
    Obviously the main advantage for hard-drive based camera's is
    news-gathering; no more capturing, just plug into the computer and
    away you go.


    Martin Heffels, Dec 11, 2003
  15. Not Today

    David McCall Guest

    Hey, lets put one horizontal and one vertical, then the
    camera would have a built-in gyro-stabilizer :)

    David McCall, Dec 11, 2003
  16. That might be good for me - it could help me fight my tendency (from
    years of still photography) to rotate the camcorder to portrait
    orientation :)

    (I liked David McCall's reply too!)

    Gene E. Bloch, Dec 11, 2003
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