Disk-Based AcquistionFOCUS Enhancements: Direct-To-Edit Technology

In July 2001, FOCUS Enhancements introduced its first disk recording product, FireStore FS-1. Along with that debuted the company's Direct-to-Edit (DTE) Technology, which allowed videographers to record video from any DV source directly to external FireWire (IEEE-1394) disk drives without a computer. What is unique about DTE is that it records video clips to disk in an "edit-ready" file format that is native to most popular DV-based NLE systems such as Avid XpressDV, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and many others. These file formats include RawDV, AVI Type 1, AVI Type 2, Matrox AVI, Canopus AVI, QuickTime and DV-OMF. File formats are selectable on DTE products by the end user.

Typically, video production has four stages: acquisition, capturing, editing, and output. When using a product such as the portable/desktop FireStore FS-1, video is recorded directly to disk during the acquisition stage of production. This eliminates the capturing stage later. Because the video was recorded during acquisition in a DV-NLE native format and on a standard FireWire hard disk drive, the drive can simply be disconnected from FireStore and connected to the NLE host computer's FireWire port. The drive appears on the computer desktop as a normal disk volume and clips can be imported directly into the NLE application and used immediately. As the clips are in the native file format of the editing application, there is also no need to render the video for output. Research shows that the average editor spends about 25 hours each month just capturing. That is equal to 37 workdays a year. By eliminating the capture stage of video production, the amount of time saved is substantial.

Most customers using FireStore and similar products are shooting to tape and disk simultaneously. This allows them to generate a confidence backup of everything that is shot. The quality of the recording is also the same as the DV stream on tape with no added compression or other signal transcoding. The FireWire disk can be immediately used for editing. In fact, the tape and FireWire disk contents are identical in terms of time code, audio and video. Due to the random-access capability of the disk drive, it is possible to quickly preview a sequence through the camcorder's viewfinder or through an external monitor. Also, because there is no need to continually repeat re-cues and playback while in the camcorder's transport, the tape is ensured to be a quality archive master free from drop-outs and other errors.

DTE technology is evolving in much the same way as a tape format would. Other manufacturers have signed on to develop products based on the DTE standard, with support for new DV NLE applications being added as well as new DV-based formats.

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