Author Topic: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)  (Read 1179 times)

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pj chad

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External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« on: November 13, 2020, 06:12:35 PM »
I figured it would be useful to create a thread that can be used as a resource for those of you who may consider buying an external recorder in the future once mini dv tapes become exorbitantly expensive to the point where it isn't justifiable anymore.

For those of you who may not know, you can use an external recorder (tried and tested options below) as a way to bypass the tape recording deck in order to record footage. You use a firewire cable, which connects from the external recorder to the DV port on the camera. The VX doesn't have a "synchro" recording trigger type option, so you will have to press record on the external recorder itself, NOT on the VX.

This method will:

  • Alleviate any and all glitches in your footage

  • Allow for playback without having to worry about damaging the heads on your camera

  • Prevent you from having to worry about a capture camera. You can use (some) of these devices as capture deck directly into FCP, or you can simply use a USB card reader to move the clips onto your computer

  • Help keep your VX batteries alive longer, as the camera doesn't have to work as hard recording on and off to a tape

  • Take a well known failure of point in the VX (the tape deck) out of the equation which will help keep your VX out of Kerrys' shop

Here are the tried and tested options that I'm aware of. I will likely update this list as time goes on.

1. Sony HVR-MRC1

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEcbHsfpdSn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This is the external recorder that I use, so it's the one that I will be able to provide the most information on. It's actually two pieces that connect - the HVR-MRC1 (the front plate with the button and interface, and the cradle that contains the firewire port (HVRA-CR1) but is typically sold as a pair. It uses compactflash cards (8GB-64GB), has a plugin directly for FCP 7 for easy capturing, takes the same batteries as the VX (I use the skinny profile NP-F570 batteries and it lasts probably 4 weeks or so), works flawlessly, and can cost any where in the range of $220 - $400. It can output to DV or AVI as the file format, I use DV. I have been using this for about 4 months now, and it has never failed me yet. I created a custom bracket out of a cheap piece of aluminum, and also use velcro to keep it securely in place. With the battery, it weighs about 13oz. A 32GB compactflash card will give you 146 minutes of recording time, which you can obviously re-format in less than 10 seconds.

2. Datavideo DN-60A

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-cgBJtl92k/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Maybe Al Hodgson can shed some more light on this one if anyone has any questions. From what I've read, it also takes compactflash cards, runs on 4x AA batteries that supposedly provides more than 3 hours of continuous use. I'm not sure if you can capture directly off it. Apparently you have to choose an option on the DN-60 called "make media files" before it will be readable by a computer. It seems like it has an intuitive user interface. Price varies $100 - 400. These look to be fairly rare.

3. Focus Enhancements Firestore FS-4 DTE Recorder

https://www.instagram.com/p/CHTRj3dFaC7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

I really don't know much about this one. You can capture directly off of this, because it comes with an internal 40GB or 80GB hard drive which is about 3 or 6 hours of recording time. Weighs less than one pound.  Uses external battery packs. A single battery pack will last about 90 minutes according to the manual. Price varies from $90 - $350. This one is definitely the cheapest, but I'm not quite sure I'd recommend it considering it runs off of an internal HD and I'm not sure how easy it is to replace once that internal HD fails.

Hope this helps!

non-playable character

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2020, 08:01:21 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMtunr4S_RU

Sneep used something similar for this video, he had the thing mounted to the bottom of the VX but I remember hearing it was dumb heavy and kind of a bitch to use.

pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 06:17:27 AM »
I can definitely say it's heavier and does make the VX lose it's whole 'compact and easy to use' appeal. Especially when I used to quickly chuck in a battery, the lens cap on and a tape in to record something super quick.

However it is a god send for filming now. Just get home and I don't need to capture tapes or store them, either.
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pj chad

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2020, 11:06:34 AM »
I can definitely say it's heavier and does make the VX lose it's whole 'compact and easy to use' appeal. Especially when I used to quickly chuck in a battery, the lens cap on and a tape in to record something super quick.

However it is a god send for filming now. Just get home and I don't need to capture tapes or store them, either.

I agree that to an extent it does lose some compact functionality being heavier and bulkier. When you say chuck in battery/lens cap off/tape in to record something really quick, do you find that the external recorder really sets you back? I keep mine all together and ready to go in my camera bag, so if anything, simply turning on the external recorder and waiting 7 seconds for it boot is quicker than having to peel the wrapper off of a new tape, eject the tape mechanism, and load in a tape. It's not like you really to configure or change anything on the external recorder. Formatting the SD card if it's full takes 5 seconds flat.

JMSneep

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2020, 11:56:18 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMtunr4S_RU

Sneep used something similar for this video, he had the thing mounted to the bottom of the VX but I remember hearing it was dumb heavy and kind of a bitch to use.

Haha, sick this is posted here. Already sold the DN-60 I used that year, and back to tapes. It was fun to try it out though, but I'd rather use tapes.

Tried it out, inspired by this post of Vincent Jugnet:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjpp6mwlpvX/

CossRooper

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 06:57:38 PM »
Sick thread. Did not know this was a thing.
http://www.youtube.com/user/footagedump - Fragmented web clips/episodes edited into full length movies. OIAM, Crailtap, etc

Lloyd Braun

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2020, 07:04:19 PM »
I would love to get a VX1MK1 set up with this thing. Too bad MK1's are stupid rare now

listentoaheartbeat

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2020, 06:19:05 AM »
How solid is the connection? Those 4 pin FW connectors are flimsy. Would be worried about this especially when filming lines.

pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2020, 06:31:05 AM »
Expand Quote
I can definitely say it's heavier and does make the VX lose it's whole 'compact and easy to use' appeal. Especially when I used to quickly chuck in a battery, the lens cap on and a tape in to record something super quick.

However it is a god send for filming now. Just get home and I don't need to capture tapes or store them, either.
[close]

I agree that to an extent it does lose some compact functionality being heavier and bulkier. When you say chuck in battery/lens cap off/tape in to record something really quick, do you find that the external recorder really sets you back? I keep mine all together and ready to go in my camera bag, so if anything, simply turning on the external recorder and waiting 7 seconds for it boot is quicker than having to peel the wrapper off of a new tape, eject the tape mechanism, and load in a tape. It's not like you really to configure or change anything on the external recorder. Formatting the SD card if it's full takes 5 seconds flat.

Do be fair, you make a good point on that!

I don't keep it altogether, mainly due to the mount I have really. It adds an extra layer and fits in the bag all weird.

Maybe I'll just leave it in the bag as it is in between spots and see how I find it.
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pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2020, 06:35:17 AM »
How solid is the connection? Those 4 pin FW connectors are flimsy. Would be worried about this especially when filming lines.

My original worry was this, however I haven't had any real issues with connectivity when I've been out filming. Even after having some close calls and yanking away the camera, it's been fine.

Although my main concern is the cable slowly dying with the bend I've got in mine to fit underneath being strapped in. But the Firewire cable construction looks to be pretty strong.
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weregoingunion

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2020, 10:16:33 AM »
cool, thanks for starting this thread! my tape deck is broken and i was having trouble finding something like this a while back, but did read someone posted about the DN60.

i just got this for a quick solution for the time being after my friend recommended it to me, immersion rc powerplay. i guess its for drones, but he was using it on a vx2100:


i'm still figuring it out, but so far i've noticed that it records in 16:9 and the audio wasn't recorded. i talked to my buddy who said his audio comes out fine so it's my cable imma have to check on that. but it was cheap, like $100 and i used an sd card for it.

pj chad

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2020, 01:57:59 PM »
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
I can definitely say it's heavier and does make the VX lose it's whole 'compact and easy to use' appeal. Especially when I used to quickly chuck in a battery, the lens cap on and a tape in to record something super quick.

However it is a god send for filming now. Just get home and I don't need to capture tapes or store them, either.
[close]

I agree that to an extent it does lose some compact functionality being heavier and bulkier. When you say chuck in battery/lens cap off/tape in to record something really quick, do you find that the external recorder really sets you back? I keep mine all together and ready to go in my camera bag, so if anything, simply turning on the external recorder and waiting 7 seconds for it boot is quicker than having to peel the wrapper off of a new tape, eject the tape mechanism, and load in a tape. It's not like you really to configure or change anything on the external recorder. Formatting the SD card if it's full takes 5 seconds flat.
[close]

Do be fair, you make a good point on that!

I don't keep it altogether, mainly due to the mount I have really. It adds an extra layer and fits in the bag all weird.

Maybe I'll just leave it in the bag as it is in between spots and see how I find it.

If it helps, here's how my setup fits in my camera bag with everything already attached. I keep the lens/mic side facing the bottom, so that the firewire cord sticking out has space at the top and doesn't ever move or get crushed. This way, I never have to even unplug the firewire from the DV port on the VX since I would imagine plugging it in/out each and every time you use it would wear it down pretty quick. I have the Canon 200EG bag which seems to be pretty typical.




pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2020, 01:58:26 AM »
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
I can definitely say it's heavier and does make the VX lose it's whole 'compact and easy to use' appeal. Especially when I used to quickly chuck in a battery, the lens cap on and a tape in to record something super quick.

However it is a god send for filming now. Just get home and I don't need to capture tapes or store them, either.
[close]

I agree that to an extent it does lose some compact functionality being heavier and bulkier. When you say chuck in battery/lens cap off/tape in to record something really quick, do you find that the external recorder really sets you back? I keep mine all together and ready to go in my camera bag, so if anything, simply turning on the external recorder and waiting 7 seconds for it boot is quicker than having to peel the wrapper off of a new tape, eject the tape mechanism, and load in a tape. It's not like you really to configure or change anything on the external recorder. Formatting the SD card if it's full takes 5 seconds flat.
[close]

Do be fair, you make a good point on that!

I don't keep it altogether, mainly due to the mount I have really. It adds an extra layer and fits in the bag all weird.

Maybe I'll just leave it in the bag as it is in between spots and see how I find it.
[close]

If it helps, here's how my setup fits in my camera bag with everything already attached. I keep the lens/mic side facing the bottom, so that the firewire cord sticking out has space at the top and doesn't ever move or get crushed. This way, I never have to even unplug the firewire from the DV port on the VX since I would imagine plugging it in/out each and every time you use it would wear it down pretty quick. I have the Canon 200EG bag which seems to be pretty typical.


Ah tidy. I'll move some stuff around to make mine fit.

Nice one!
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CossRooper

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2020, 12:32:57 PM »
I wonder if a right angle cable or adapter would help with the stress on the firewire port?

https://www.moddiy.com/products/Firewire-400-IEEE-1394-6-Pin-90-Degree-Side-Angled-Data-Video-Cable-1M.html
http://www.youtube.com/user/footagedump - Fragmented web clips/episodes edited into full length movies. OIAM, Crailtap, etc

pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2020, 09:00:33 AM »
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CHONGO

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2020, 02:52:35 PM »
this is absolutely beast

Thomas

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2020, 12:09:47 AM »
This is great.
Maybe I will try if I find one of those for less than 400$.
Possibilities are everywhere, search and enjoy.

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2020, 11:53:38 AM »
https://youtu.be/Ey5UAqgjnFU

I just uploaded my hour long guide to external recorders. The video features fellow Slap users Al Hodgson and Pedro Mayn and covers the Datavideo DN60, the Sony HVR-MRC1 and a large part of the Firestore range! Took me like a month to make this damn thing so I hope it's helpful as the tape drought of 2020/2021 hits hard. Merry Christmas Slap, enjoy!

(excuse the awful thumbnail and title)

nickpaolucci

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2020, 06:54:49 AM »
https://youtu.be/Ey5UAqgjnFU

I just uploaded my hour long guide to external recorders. The video features fellow Slap users Al Hodgson and Pedro Mayn and covers the Datavideo DN60, the Sony HVR-MRC1 and a large part of the Firestore range! Took me like a month to make this damn thing so I hope it's helpful as the tape drought of 2020/2021 hits hard. Merry Christmas Slap, enjoy!

(excuse the awful thumbnail and title)

thanks buddy, will watch tonight
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CHONGO

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2020, 08:13:07 AM »
https://youtu.be/Ey5UAqgjnFU

I just uploaded my hour long guide to external recorders. The video features fellow Slap users Al Hodgson and Pedro Mayn and covers the Datavideo DN60, the Sony HVR-MRC1 and a large part of the Firestore range! Took me like a month to make this damn thing so I hope it's helpful as the tape drought of 2020/2021 hits hard. Merry Christmas Slap, enjoy!

(excuse the awful thumbnail and title)

thanks for your hard work son

HernyB

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2020, 10:32:21 AM »
This company also makes a portable DV recorder: https://www.shining.com/city-disk

suckmadeck

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2020, 11:55:01 AM »
Expand Quote
https://youtu.be/Ey5UAqgjnFU

I just uploaded my hour long guide to external recorders. The video features fellow Slap users Al Hodgson and Pedro Mayn and covers the Datavideo DN60, the Sony HVR-MRC1 and a large part of the Firestore range! Took me like a month to make this damn thing so I hope it's helpful as the tape drought of 2020/2021 hits hard. Merry Christmas Slap, enjoy!

(excuse the awful thumbnail and title)
[close]

thanks for your hard work son

Thanks dad

Pappy Jones

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2021, 11:19:27 PM »
Bumping this thread. After going through a handful of vx1000s and countless repairs like many of us have, Iíve decided going tapeless is the answer to my problems. Although Iím sure most of you are aware these things are hard to come by. Iím mostly keen on Datavideoís DN-60 but would be happy with another model. Just putting it out there if anyone has one theyíd like to sell me or could point me in the direction of some cutty website that has one available. Iíve been filming vx forever and would love to keep my projects going. Thanks yaíll

pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2021, 01:12:13 AM »
Bumping this thread. After going through a handful of vx1000s and countless repairs like many of us have, Iíve decided going tapeless is the answer to my problems. Although Iím sure most of you are aware these things are hard to come by. Iím mostly keen on Datavideoís DN-60 but would be happy with another model. Just putting it out there if anyone has one theyíd like to sell me or could point me in the direction of some cutty website that has one available. Iíve been filming vx forever and would love to keep my projects going. Thanks yaíll

Scour eBay, as a lot of these will be sold on there and you could get one fairly cheap. I did that for my HVR-MRC1 and found one for a decent price. Like you're saying some random camera or electronic shops may have some old stock but honestly eBay might be your best bet.

I did see one of those resellers post a brand new HVR-MRC1 for sale the other day and they tend to sell a lot of different types of tapeless recorders. The one I was on about is vx_fisheye_sales for reference. The guy I send my VXs off when they need a repair usually has some for sale if you're in Europe, which is vx_doc on Insta.
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Pappy Jones

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2021, 10:07:49 PM »
Expand Quote
Bumping this thread. After going through a handful of vx1000s and countless repairs like many of us have, Iíve decided going tapeless is the answer to my problems. Although Iím sure most of you are aware these things are hard to come by. Iím mostly keen on Datavideoís DN-60 but would be happy with another model. Just putting it out there if anyone has one theyíd like to sell me or could point me in the direction of some cutty website that has one available. Iíve been filming vx forever and would love to keep my projects going. Thanks yaíll
[close]

Scour eBay, as a lot of these will be sold on there and you could get one fairly cheap. I did that for my HVR-MRC1 and found one for a decent price. Like you're saying some random camera or electronic shops may have some old stock but honestly eBay might be your best bet.

I did see one of those resellers post a brand new HVR-MRC1 for sale the other day and they tend to sell a lot of different types of tapeless recorders. The one I was on about is vx_fisheye_sales for reference. The guy I send my VXs off when they need a repair usually has some for sale if you're in Europe, which is vx_doc on Insta.
Sweet, thanks for your insight. The MRC1 might be a better bet for me as they seem to be less rare. Gonna do some more research on those. Thanks
« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 10:15:38 PM by Pappy Jones »

pedro_mayn

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Re: External Recorder Megathread (Bypass Tape Deck for VX)
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2021, 12:29:24 AM »
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
Bumping this thread. After going through a handful of vx1000s and countless repairs like many of us have, Iíve decided going tapeless is the answer to my problems. Although Iím sure most of you are aware these things are hard to come by. Iím mostly keen on Datavideoís DN-60 but would be happy with another model. Just putting it out there if anyone has one theyíd like to sell me or could point me in the direction of some cutty website that has one available. Iíve been filming vx forever and would love to keep my projects going. Thanks yaíll
[close]

Scour eBay, as a lot of these will be sold on there and you could get one fairly cheap. I did that for my HVR-MRC1 and found one for a decent price. Like you're saying some random camera or electronic shops may have some old stock but honestly eBay might be your best bet.

I did see one of those resellers post a brand new HVR-MRC1 for sale the other day and they tend to sell a lot of different types of tapeless recorders. The one I was on about is vx_fisheye_sales for reference. The guy I send my VXs off when they need a repair usually has some for sale if you're in Europe, which is vx_doc on Insta.
[close]
Sweet, thanks for your insight. The MRC1 might be a better bet for me as they seem to be less rare. Gonna do some more research on those. Thanks

Yeah they're more common from what I can see. Plus they use VX batteries, so you save some expenses there.

Got any questions drop me a message, G.
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