Smartdog Digital, a multimedia boutique based in Greensboro, North Carolina, was looking to move to HD. Not unlike others in the industry, the company was excited about the Panasonic AG-HVX200 camera, but perceived some significant stumbling blocks when it came to recording high definition.
As Darrell Jones, Owner of Smartdog Digital explained, “With the HVX200, you can record to P2 cards, but that‘s unbelievably expensive. Or, you could try recording directly to a computer but that‘s hardly a portable solution.” Considering the Smartdog team can be found shooting from helicopters, portability is essential. And so, the team started looking for a portable, durable alternative that could enable them to transition to high definition video without the high price tag of P2 cards.
Jones invested in the FS-100 Portable DTE Recorder from Focus Enhancements. Designed to work specifically with the Panasonic AG-HVX200, the FS-100 lets videographers record DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO/DV streams directly from the HVX200 camera to disk via FireWire. The FS-100 comes standard with a 100 GB hard drive that provides 1.5 hours of DVCPRO HD recording time — at a price point far less than a couple of P2 cards.
Weighing only one pound, the FS-100 is designed to excel in the field, enabling Jones to take it on helicopters or wherever work calls. The recorder can be mounted on a camera or worn on a belt, and its shock resistant system caches material that may have been disrupted.
Jones sees the FS-100 as more than simply a way to store HD — the device lets him record, organize, view, and play back clips in the field. He can switch the FS-100 into playback mode, scroll through the clips, and then play the desired clip back on the camera‘s viewfinder — all within seconds. And most importantly, when he switches the device back to record mode, the FS-100 creates a new clip, eliminating any risk of recording over previous clips.
“When I was using tape, I had a policy of never reviewing clips in the field unless I absolutely had to, because of the fear of overwriting my footage,” said Jones. “Now with the FS-100, I don‘t have to worry about that. I can check a clip, make sure everything is correct, and never have to worry about losing my footage.”
Jones received the FS-100 just days before the 48 Hour Film Project in hometown Greensboro. He was part of Team Under Exposed Films, a 54-person team assembled to shoot and produce Gone to Ground. After familiarizing himself with the FS-100‘s menu options, Jones taught German Valle, the project‘s director of photography, how to run the system.
The Team Under Exposed Films film crew brought the HVX200 camera, FS-100, and laptop on location, while Jones and editing partners from 223 Post Services stayed back at the studio. All footage was shot to the FS-100 in 720p 24 frames per second. During breaks, the film crew would copy footage from the FS-100 to an external hard drive. Couriers brought the hard drives back to the studio where clips were loaded into Avid Adrenaline editing systems and were immediately ready for editing.
For Team Under Exposed Films, the 48 Hour Film Project was a smashing success. Gone to Ground was the major award winner in Greensboro, taking home seven awards — more than any other film there.
“The FS-100 worked really well during the 48 Hour Film Project,” said Jones. “Because of it, we were able to shoot the entire project, more than two hours of footage in total, in high definition — and out of the 40 teams in town, we were the only ones to shoot and edit all in HD.”
Jones admits that shooting to disk created some initial insecurity. After all, he had been accustomed to shooting to tape for years. “I‘m also a still photographer and so I remember the jump from film to memory cards,” he said. “I see so many parallels now with moving from tape to disk. The FS-100 has definitely been a workhorse and I‘ve come to rely on it for my projects. We‘re getting great results and all in all, I‘m very appreciative the device is here.”
Darrell Jones and the collaborative team at Team Under Exposed Films turned to the FS-100 DTE recorder for their award-winning film, Gone to Ground. The device‘s 100 GB hard drive gave the team a cost-effective way to record large amounts of high definition video, enabling them to shoot the entire film in HD.
“The FS-100 has definitely been a workhorse and I‘ve come to rely on it for my projects. We‘re getting great results and all in all, I‘m very appreciative the device is here.”
– Darrell Jones, Smartdog Digital
About Smartdog Digital
Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, Smartdog Digital is a multi-media boutique offering specialized digital media services — photography, video, CD-Rom, DVD, and 3D animation projects. The award-winning film, Gone to Ground, can be found at:
The FS family of video production products takes users from acquisition to editing with unparalleled speed, efficiency, and reliability. Compatible with most DV and HDV camcorders and editing software, FS products feature Direct To Edit (DTE) video recording technology that converts the output from your DV or HDV camcorder or VTR to a nonlinear editing (NLE) format and records it on FireWire disk drives. By combining DTE Technology® with advanced caching and redundant tape and disk recording, FS products ensure that you never miss an important shot or lose critical footage. And best of all, your footage is ready to edit instantly.
Weighing about one pound and only 1.5 inches thick, the FS-100 is an HD recorder designed to work with the new Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 camera, supporting DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO/DV recording formats. The FS-100 provides long recording times and improves workflow with Direct To Edit® technology. It can also be used with other Panasonic DVCPRO/DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD devices that have a FireWire port.
About Focus Enhancements, Inc.
Innovation, efficiency, and superior quality are the foundation upon which Focus Enhancements builds its products. A world leader in advanced video production, digital asset management, and digital signage solutions, Focus delivers products that perform superbly day in and day out and backs them with unparalleled service and support.