A tiny, light, straight-to-disk DV capture solution, ideal for editing in the field.
Is That a PDA?
The CitiDISK DV is basically a FireWire controller board, Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and a 2.5-inch laptop hard drive enclosed in a slick plastic case that's about the size of a thick PDA. There are a couple of buttons (that also serve as indicator lights) up top and a 6-pin FireWire port. The unit slides into a faux-leather carrying case that straps onto your belt.
The drive itself is a simple 5,400 rpm laptop drive that theoretically has a 12 Mbyte/second sustained data rate, which is more than enough for 3.6 Mbyte/second (25 Mbps) DV video. Our unit was the FW1256B-40, which is a 40GB drive that pragmatically holds close to 3 hours of DV footage.
In the Field: Shooting
We charged up the battery, strapped the drive on and hooked it up to our camcorder. After turning the unit on, all we had to do to capture DV video to the disk was push the record button on the top of the drive. Not difficult, but also not very convenient, since we had to look down at the drive to find the button. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you record video, you need to look into the eyepiece. The other problem is that the clips do not have time code.
The camcorder can trigger the CitiDISK, which immediately became our preferred method of using the drive. In this mode, when we thumbed the Record button on the camcorder, the CitiDISK also began recording to the disk (with time code). We say "also" because your camcorder's Record button won't do anything without a tape inserted. Recording to tape and disk at the same time seems to defeat the whole purpose of recording straight to hard disk. It also seems to be redundant.
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