Focus Unveils New Digital Video Mixer Line and FireStore FS-4 DVR
Posted Aug 10, 2004

FOCUS Enhancements Inc. made two key announcements this week, including a pair of new digital mixers and the FireStore 4, the latest addition to its FireStore line of camera-mounted or connected digital video recorders.

Focus will release its two new video mixer models, the MX-4 and MX-4DV, later this year. The MX-4 and MX-4 DV are designed for live event productions; they feature internal graphics store capabilities, additional I/O connections, and embedded CD-quality audio tools, the company announced.

The FOCUS Enhancements MX-4 Digital Video Mixer offers a host of features including:

- 10 bit 4:2:2 video processing with input comb filter circuitry
- A processor four times faster than its predecessor with flash-upgradeable memory
- Integral graphics store
- Ethernet for computer and network connectivity
- Four-layer video effects, including foreground graphics
- 700+ transitions, with cuts, fades, wipes, zooms, edges, shapes, and effects
- Two-channel TBC (Time Base Corrector)
- Faster cuts and transition speeds
- Input effects with preview, including brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, posterization B&W, B&W Negative, Horizontal or Vertical Flip, Mosaic, Color Negative, Color Correction, Strobe, and Chromakey
- PiPs (picture-in-picture) which can be enhanced with soft edges, colored borders and drop shadows for 3D-like impact

In addition to the above features, the MX-4 DV model includes four FireWire/i.Link (IEEE 1394) inputs and one FireWire/i.Link output to enable videographers to mix DV video and 10-bit analog video in real time with fast cuts. Another advantage of using DV is its full support for up to four channels of embedded digital audio with CD-quality audio performance.

The MX-4 and MX-4 DV are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2004. The suggested retail price of the MX-4 is $2,195. The suggested retail price of the MX-4 DV will be announced at a later date, the company stated.

In addition, Focus has come out with the Firestore FS-4, a new hard disk-based digital video recorder for handheld camcorders. Providing tapeless video acquisition, the FS-4 and FS-4 Pro record directly from your camcorder while you shoot using Direct To Edit (DTE) Technology, and connect to any FireWire-equipped PC to make footage immediately available for the NLE timeline.

FS-4, files are recorded to disk as RawDV, AVI Type 1, AVI Type 2, AVI Type 2 24p, Matrox AVI, Canopus AVI, QuickTime or QuickTime 24p. The FS-4 Pro model also includes MXF, Pinnacle AVI, and Avid DV-OMF support.

FireStore FS-4 weighs less than one pound, including the battery, and is 1.5" thick. You can mount the device directly to your camcorder using the optional hot shoe adapter, or clip the FS-4 directly to your belt.

FS-4 comes standard with a 40GB (3 hours) hard drive while FS-4 Pro is available with either 40GB or 80GB (6-hour) capacities. You can extend record times by linking two FS-4 units together for as much as 12 hours of recording. Both FS-4 models also feature slim removable battery packs or can be optionally powered via a wall outlet.

FS-4 interfaces with your camcorder using a single FireWire cable that passes audio, video, timecode and control information. When a tape is present, each press of start and stop on your camcorder's record button will create an individual clip on disk. FS-4 features a comprehensive backlit display, menu system and buttons allowing easy control and management. Both FS-4 and FS-4 Pro are field-upgradeable.

FS-4 Pro also includes retro-record mode; Scene Marking, which allows clips to be categorized into pre-named folders on disk while you shoot; user-definable time lapse; and loop playback modes.