OT: Where's the Firewire?

goshep wrote on 2/13/2011, 7:52 AM
Hey all,

In November, I purchased a new laptop at Best Buy to augment the desktop and allow me some flexibility. Specifically, I want to use On Location in the field as I'm sick of capturing tapes and I'd like to speed up my turnaround. I gave the Best Buy associate my requirements and (although he looked at me like I was crazy when I said firewire) he set out to find me the perfect match. After some debate we narrowed it down to two models. The model I ended up with (a Dell) had a larger screen and typical keyboard (the other had chiclet style keys) but no firewire port. The associate advised me to add a firewire card as there were very few laptops with firewire ports available these days. I took his advice and went with the Dell.

Yesterday, I finally got around to buying a card for it. I got home to install it and discovered there is no card slot. ARRRG! I took it back and went round and round with a manager about my experience. She finally agreed to allow me to exchange it for a Sony that has both a firewire port AND a card slot but it's going to cost me an additional $300.

I've looked everywhere online and cannot find any type of firewire to USB adapter. What amazes me is that firewire is being abandoned. There must be a boatload of cameras out there that still use it and it doesn't have the maximum length limitations of USB (that I'm aware of). What gives? Has anyone else faced this predicament? Or am I just stuck in the tape age?



dibbkd wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:12 AM
I'd say you're kinda stuck in the tape age, as you put it.

Yes, there are still people using Firewire (IEEE 1394 to be technical), but more and more are going to memory sticks and/or USB.

I'd personally put that extra $300 towards a new camera. :)
MTuggy wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:18 AM
The problem with the new camera issue for those of us with perfectly functional HD tape-based systems is you are taking $3000 not $300. I am still keeping an older laptop with built in 1394 port alive (gathering dust) so I still have the option to capture video from my Sony FX1.

Hard to find buyers for tape cameras unless someone knows of a place to unload them at for a reasonable price.

FilmingPhotoGuy wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:34 AM
@goshep: You said "he looked at you as if you were crazy"

Firewire isn't going to download faster. DV camcorders came with a firewire port which was slightly faster than USB and was able to capture to PC fast enough without dropping any frames. 1 hour of footage would still take an hour to download.

Some external hardrives came with Firewire, USB and eSATA ports but later dropped the firewire port, so you are right firewire is being abandoned. There is no Firewire to USB adapter. Although they look the same, look closer you will see the difference.

I think you bought into the firewire technology at the end of it's claim to fame. Tape is dead, so firewire will die with it, with respects to camcorders anyhow. Almost all new video camcorders are capturing to high speed memory cards.

With "USB 3" and "SATA3" delivering faster speeds firewire just isn't smoking anymore.

goshep wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:38 AM
Precisely Mike.

I have a JVC GYHD110. Long in the tooth (3 years old) by technology standards but it cost me 5k new. I'll spend another $300, given the alternative.
goshep wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:43 AM

By speeding up, I mean to record straight to the laptop with OnLocation and edit in Vegas with same. No more capturing tapes or transferring from the laptop to the desktop.
Steve Mann wrote on 2/13/2011, 8:56 AM
Why use OnLocation when Vegas will do live capture as well?

Firewire dead? Talk to the Audio pros - they still use Firewire on a lot of their new gear.

You will never find a Firewire to USB converter. (If you do, it's called a computer.) The protocols are just too different. USB is a handshake protocol while Firewire is a DMA protocol.
goshep wrote on 2/13/2011, 11:19 AM

I've read posts saying you CAN use vidcap for live capture but none about real-world experience with it. I upgraded to Adobe Master Collection CS5 this year because I was using most all of the Design Premium elements. I wanted to add After Effects to my bag of tricks and OnLocation was part of the deal. There's little chance I'll give up Vegas anytime soon as I've been with it since 4 and there's nothing I've found that's more intuitive and user friendly for straight editing.

Apparently there was an adapter at one point but the company discontinued production. That's the only one I've found. Whether they stopped for lack of demand or as you indicated, for lack of reliable compatibility, remains unknown to me.

farss wrote on 2/13/2011, 12:28 PM
USB uses a lot of the CPU compared to firewire which is why firewire way better for handling video.
I've got a 1394b card in one of my PCs, it's a very fast interface.

musicvid10 wrote on 2/13/2011, 1:16 PM
There are Firewire 400 / 800 ExpressCards, and the price is coming down.
Chienworks wrote on 2/13/2011, 1:52 PM
VidCap works fine for me for live capture. I've used it many times with never a hitch.
Former user wrote on 2/13/2011, 2:10 PM
OnLocation does have several nice features that vidcap does not provide. Specifically video scopes and audio level meters.

Dave T2
baysidebas wrote on 2/13/2011, 3:30 PM
Even if there was such a beast (FW to USB adapter) OnLocation ONLY will accept FireWire signal, no others.
warriorking wrote on 2/13/2011, 4:36 PM
My last 3 Dell laptops 2- Inspirons and my current Studio have all had firewire ports standard..of course I have never had the need to use it since my current cams AX2000, HG21, HG10 all download via USB or SD card, my current studio has a all in one card reader as well USB and ESATA and of course Firewire .....