I’ve been a fan of your magazine for years.. Not only did you guys help me to decide to get more serious about video, but you also helped me decide what kind of equipment/software to purchase. I was fortunate enough to upgrade my computer this year to a Sony VAIO Digital Studio (which I love) for use with my Sony DCR-TRV17. I’ll never go back to analog. I’ve also learned lots of editing techniques which have improved my editing skills tremendously. Just since March, I have used my VAIO for two weddings, one on DVD, two experimental short videos, and I even learned to compose my own music for two CDs. Recently one of my video shorts was accepted into the Tiburon International Film Festival, for which I found the entry information in Videomaker. Thanks for all of your words of wisdom – I owe ya one.
Heads up to Mac users. I own four Maxtor FireWire drives that range from 40GB to 80GB. They have proven to be the most unstable, unreliable hard drives I have ever used. They drop the FireWire connection constantly. They corrupt other data transfer on the computers they are attached to. If you drag a 4GB file onto them they always fail. The only way I have found to use them is to transfer small files slowly.
I am running two G4 Mac towers with tons of RAM, etc. My tech guy has repeatedly worked with Maxtor to try to solve the problems but to no avail. I initially purchased the drives because I thought they would be an inexpensive solution to storing and manipulating digital video. There is no way they can keep up with editing in Final Cut Pro without dropping frames. I now am forced to use them for minor digital image backup. Ironically, they are unreliable even for that use.
On a happy note, the most reliable plug and play hard drives I have found are sold by ProMax. The 120GB, 7,200RPM drives are rock solid. I have never encountered a single problem with them right out of the box, and you can’t beat the price. I use three daisy-chained together for video editing.
Our experience with the Maxtor review units was better (November 2002). Part of our test of the 3000XT was performed with an 800MHz iMac running Mac OS X 10.2, and we experienced no oddities to speak of and, in fact, are still using the drive for production work. Users of Mac OS 9 and earlier versions of Mac OS X would be wise to run Software Update to make sure they have the most current version of Apple’s FireWire drivers before plugging in any FireWire hard drive.
Burnin’ and Printin’
I was just reading December’s Tech Support column and wanted to clarify a few things about DVD-R and CD-R printing. I have found an inkjet printer that prints on DVDs and CDs with 2,400 dpi quality, also prints on paper, and sells for only $399. It’s a modified Epson printer made by EZCDPRINT.com and is available through Discmakers and other sources. We print hundreds of CDs and DVDs each month with this setup with great results. Discmakers and other companies also sell white inkjet-printable DVD media starting in the $2 range, and printable CDRs in the $0.40 range. I’ve also found other sources for printable media starting at $0.90 and $0.20 respectively for printable DVD and CDR media. They are certainly not 3 to 10 times as much as regular blanks.
DVD media prices have been very volatile, but they are likely bottoming out. While printable blank discs are no longer at the super-premium price they were at the time the December issue was being sent to our printer, you should still expect to pay a premium price for any printable media. Our favorite source currently has them for as low as $1.28 each in quantities of 50. Amazing. We are also planning a review of one of the printers you mention in an upcoming issue.