Can’t go tapeless without firewire?

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    • #48784

      I think my workflow isn’t recommended, but for years, I’ve been happily streaming video from a camcorder (lately, the Vixia HV20) via firewire and audio from a usb mic, then combining in the machine. I’d like to go tapeless, but I don’t see any tapeless camcorders in the consumer range comparable to the HV20 with firewire. Am I outa luck? For some reason, there never seem to be articles addressing this or specs showing whether a camcorder can be used as a webcam (which would indicate that I can do what I’m trying to).

    • #199982


      No sir you are not ‘out of luck’. If you want to go tapeless but keep a firewire link-up you’ll need to take a look at one of these hard disk/solid-state portable recorders. With one of these rigs you can have the best of both worlds.

      Focus Enhancements FS series

    • #199983

      actually tapeless doesn’t require firewire. Firewire was the standard when it came to importing dv streams into the computer for editing because it offered a constant data rate, as opposed to usb which was not constant, but delivered data in bursts.

      now with tapeless formats, you are simply doing a file transfer which can be done over usb. the drawback to tapeless is that if you have an older computer, you will probably encounter some heartache in the editing process because tapeless formats are more compressed.

    • #199984


      If he wants to continue using his existing gear as he suggested, then he will need something that will allow him to record to solid-state cards or hard-drives via firewire. Besides, no matter what the spec’s say trying to download video with USB 2.0 or earlier is much slower than with firewire 400.

    • #199985

      A lot of solid-based camcorders now (HDD and SD) – mostly the professional ones – offer DV (firewire) otuput, but most just don’t have an input like you usually find with tape based camcorders.

      A cheap JVC camcorder that I previously owned offered dv output, but only when connected by dock. In that case, the dock went on the bottom making live video virtually impractical (there was no tripod mount when docked).

      I think most have a practical place to connect by fire wire now

    • #199986

      About a year ago I tried to go tapeless using the Focus Enhancement Hard Drive recorder. My advice is to stay away from them. At least Focus anyway (which unfortunately is the only brand I’ve ever been able to find). The operating system is very difficult to master and it’s a crap shoot if you can actually get the thing to record correctly.

      Their devices are only made for specific camcorders. So if you don’t have the right one, then you’ve just wasted your money.

      Good luck.

    • #199987

      “At least Focus anyway (which unfortunately is the only brand I’ve
      ever been able to find).”

      “Their devices are only made for specific camcorders. So if you don’t have the right one, then you’ve just wasted your money.”

      Both statements are just wrong. There are many makers of Direct to Disk (DTD) recorders on the market today, and not all camera-specific recorders are camera-specific-EXCLUSIVE. I have a pair of Sony HVR-DR60 Recording Units that were designed along with the HVR-V1U HDV camcorder, and work together well. But I have Sony Z1 cameras, made before the DR60. I’ve used my DR60’s with all of my cameras – if the camera has Firewire, the DR60 will work.

      Sony has recently introduced a solid-state recorder, but I haven’t needed to look at it yet.

    • #199988


      I can’t speak as to the performance of the FE HDR’s with brands other than JVC as I’ve only used them with that brand. However, I’ve seen them work with panasonic, sony and canon brand cameras with firewire capability. Now I will attest the OS does take some getting used to. Truthfully, I think Adam would be better off using the solid-state card recorders vice the HDR’s. The HDR’s have greater capacity, but the SSR’s don’t have the HD in them which is one less thing to go down at an inopportune time.

      I agree with Steve in that if it has a firewire input that’s in working order, it should work. Sounds like you got a ‘lemon’.

    • #199989

      Thanks to all of you! I will look into the SSRs. Any specific recommendations? I’m also wondering if there’s actually a simple camera that I can use specifically for the purpose I’m trying to serve. I can use a camera for remote shooting, but if I’m just filming directly into the computer for some parts – there may be a simple HD firewire camera that can do the trick. Does anyone know of one that matches the quality of a good consumer camcorder? I’m feeding audio in from a USB mic.

      Ideally, a firewire 800 camera might be able to keep in sync.

    • #199990

      I record Fierwire direct to PC in my studio using Sony Vegas. HDVSplit also works. It should work with any camera with Firewire output. Firewire-400 is plenty fast for DV or HDV capture. Firewire-800 is a marketing toy to sell “high speed” external drives. Ironically, these external FW-800 drive cases are equipped with a standard SATA disk drive. So you are still limited by the slowest piece of hardware in the data chain – in most cases, the disk drive itself. For example, the fastest WD SATA drive has about a 68 MB/s Buffer to Disk sustained (write) speed.

    • #199991

      I’ve looked through the items discussed in this thread. Thank you again for replying. My original question may have been too vague. I’m looking to stream over firewire to my computer’s HD. I’m not finding many consumer options available. It looks like Canon has one consumer camcorder equipped with firewire. I just want to be able to put a camcorder on the tripod and capture on the fly via quicktime…or do live streaming.

    • #199992

      @Adamsq. I’m to looking for the exact same thing!!

      What has been for a long time standard, easy to use, wide support – streaming video over FireWire – has now become a luxurious feature for the more expensive cameras, it seems.

      We’re left with no standard way of streaming video over USB. Some of the SSD camcorders offer a “web cam mode”, where they go into a baby mode with minimal settings, and a low resolution feed going through USB, camera identifying itself as a standard webcam.

      My trustworthy old DV camera broke a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m stuck with an automatic web camera (not a real alternative since I need manual camera settings). Or a cheaper DV camera that does only record Interlaced (not a real alternative since I’m using it in a live video to screen it needs to shoot progressive. Realtime de-interlace looks horrible.) Or an awesome Canon EOS 7D that does not offer live-video without interface graphics blocking the screen through video output, or with Canon’s live-view not identifying itself as a generic video source… It streams, but you cannot catch the stream. Now how stupid is that? On PC you could use to capture the DSLR live-view stream, but no luck on Mac as of now..

      Now I’m thinking maybe for Live gigs perhaps a camera connected to a SDvideo-to-firewire converter would do it.. But it has to offer manual controls.


      Please let me know if you find any decent solution.

    • #199993

      Maybe I am not understaning what you want but if you just want to stream video to a laptop for recording purposes there are sub $100 webcams that will shoot HD video that can be recorded directly to any laptop via USB. I have used this setup as a third camera on shoots before with great success.

    • #199994

      So, if you’re shooting with a Vixia HF M300, which records to an SD card, what’s the difference between using firewire, and plugging the SD card into a reader? Won’t either route directly upload to your PC?

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