Videoguys' FAQ: Focus FS-5

The Focus FS-5 100GB DTE Recorder is the new, lighter, and more portable disk recorder with a color screen featuring the next generation of Firestore Direct to Edit technology. DTE lets you bring your captured files directly from the FS-5 into your computer and begin editing. No messy file conversions or re-compressing is required. With FS-5, Focus takes DTE beyond simple file transfers into workflow productivity improvements using metadata that will allow you to edit faster and better.

Focus FS-5Videoguys Top reasons to move up to the new Focus FS-5 DTE:

  1. View Video & Thumbnails right on the screen!
    View video, thumbnails & menus on the vivid color display. Review recording information such as timecode, file format, metadata, and folder assignments with ease and clarity, even under challenging lighting conditions.

  2. File Size no longer Matters!
    Capture up to 90 minutes of HDV or DV footage as a single file. The FS-5 uses the "Universal Disk Format" (UDF) file system, which is used on optical disks like DVDs and Blu-Ray. Both Windows and Mac computers support UDF, so you don’t have any operating system or platform issues.

  3. Silence is golden!
    The new FS-5 does not have a fan – which gives you Silent Operation! It uses the same hard drives that run your iPod. These drives are much smaller and efficient and do not require cooling. Which is why you can get 3 hours of running time on the included battery.

  4. Sleek and trim are in!
    When you are in the field shooting, the FS-5s smaller footprint and lighter weight are going to make your arms and legs happy. The free universal mounting bracket makes attaching the FS-5 to your professional camera even easier. The scroll wheel makes navigating the menus of the FS-5 faster and easier.

  5. Universal Connectivity.
    The FS-5 connects to your computer via USB2. No special hardware or software drivers are needed. Every current laptop or workstation, Windows or Mac, has a USB2 port so connecting the FS-5 is simple and easy. With USB2 you can transfer files as quickly as with FireWire400. The FS-5 still connects to your DV or HDV camcorder via FireWire.

  6. DTE2 – The next generation of Direct To Edit technology.
    DTE2 is what I call all the new video editing features Focus has put into the FS-5. Metadata allows you to manage and log your footage while you shoot by adding tags. When you bring the files into your video editing software, the metadata tags comes with it. So you can easily find, sort and manage your clips. You can tag media on the fly using the 5 function keys on the FS-5 or via wireless peer-to-peer connection with your laptop or smart device such as the Apple iTouch. FS-5 gives you additional DTE HDV formats - Avid editors get native HDV MXF support & Final Cut Pro editors have Quicktime HDV, and Premiere editors are supported with M2T.

What's New in Version 2.0?

Focus will be releasing the 2.0 software update for the Focus FS-5 DTE Recorder at NAB2009. Here are some of the new features of version 2.0:

Assign Custom Metadata on the Fly - NEW!
With the FS-5, you can personalize and optimize workflow—during shooting or playback. With your wireless handheld device or laptop, you can access one or more FS-5 units through a browser (new in 2.0), define metadata, and assign it to video while you’re recording or during playback, eliminating the need to tag footage when the shoot is over.

View Thumbnails and Video Clips - NEW!
With the FS-5, you can view thumbnails and video clips on its brilliant color display. Thumbnails can also be viewed on a web page when the FS-5 is connected to a network. MPEG-4 proxy files can be generated and transferred to a host computer or a video-sharing web site, as well as distributed to portable media devices, making collaboration easy.

Convenient Video Playback - NEW!

  • Supports DV and HDV playback.
  • Supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.
  • Thumbnails include clip details, such as name and file wrapper type.
  • Listen to audio using an optional USB-based wired headset.
  • Generate MPEG-4 proxy files for a single clip or for the entire recording; transfer and share clips for preview and collaboration.
  • Monitor the status of proxy generation.

Native MXF HDV Support - NEW!
With the FS-5, you can record native MXF HDV 720p 30 and 1080i 50/60 clips and import them into Avid Xpress Pro, Avid Media Composer, or Avid NewsCutter for editing.

When will version 2.0 be released?
FS-5 version 2.0 is expected to be available in May 2009

How can I upgrade to version 2.0?
Version 2.0 will also be made available as a free upgrade to all customers who purchase their FS-5 from and register it, between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009.

For people who purchased an FS-5 and registered it with Focus Enhancements before December 31, 2008, version 2.0 will be made available for $39.

If you purchased an FS-5 and would like to take advantage of one of the offers mentioned above please register it by June 30, 2009 at

Focus FS-5 Ver 2.0 Sneak Peak (4/9/09)

We had an unexpected surprise last week when Mark D’Addio from Focus Enhancements dropped in to give us a special sneak peak look at the new FS-5 version 2. WOW! Many times we get to see a new technology come along that takes an already existing product to the next level. FS-5 Version 2 is a perfect example of this. The engineers at Focus have knocked this one out of the park!

From the first time we saw the FS-5 at last years NAB2008 show, one though dominated our minds and those of many others – can we watch the video on the LCD screen? At the time the answer was “No, but we are working on it”. Work on it they did – the FS-5 not only allows you to watch the video on the screen; you can add your metadata notes while you view from your!

Video Previews
The FS-5 captures your footage while you shoot in either DV or HDV. Using D.T.E. (Direct To Edit) technology the footage is captured into the format that your NLE application works best with. Regardless of the format you choose the video plays back perfectly on the LCD screen. Smooth, crisp and clear. With an iPod Touch and wireless network adapter you are able to control the video (play, pause rewind etc.) and log any production notes as metadata. Later on when you get back to the edit suite and you import the footage into your NLE, all that metadata comes in as well. This will save you ton’s of time and means you can log your footage just about anywhere, without a computer! FS-5 also gives you thumbnail images for each clip.

We’ll be updating our FS-5 FAQ with even more info after the NAB show when we get the chance to update our FS-5 to version 2 and put it through some real-world tests.

More FS-5 FAQs

How much smaller and lighter then the FS-4 is the FS-5?
The picture featured to the right, while not the actual size, is accurate to scale. I’d say it feels about half the size of the FS-4. While the height is about the same, the width and depth are not. The FS-5 runs for 3 hours on the standard battery, which slips right into the bottom of the unit. So, I’d say that compared to the FS-4 with 3 hour battery, the FS-5 is about half the weight as well.

What if I need more then 3 hours of running time?
We will have an extra long running 6-hour battery available later this fall. The FS-5 also has a DC mini-jack power connector which allow you to run it from any 11-18v DC source.

How much video can I store on the FS-5s 100 GB drive?
DV and HDV 1080i footage take up 13GB per hour, so the math works out to 7.5 hours. With 720p HDV footage you can actually get almost 10 hours.

Even cooler, you can capture continuous video files up to one and a half hours long. The FS-5 can be formatted using the UDF file system, which eliminated the 2GB file limitation of FAT32.

Focus FS-5 On CameraHow do I mount the FS-5 to my camcorder?
The FS-5 ships with a universal bracket that allows you to mount it in many different ways. You can attach it to the handle of your professional camcorder, underneath your smaller light-weight camera or to the back of a full-size on-the-shoulder camcorder. You can also mount it to a tripod leg. It does not have to be mounted on the camcorder at all if that is your desire, but we recommend keeping the FireWire cable to 6 feet for optimum results.

What HDV formats does the FS-5 support?
The FS-5 supports all of the standard HDV formats including:

  • .m2t 720p 24/25/30/50/60
  • .m2t 1080i 50/60
  • MXF HDV (720p 30)
  • MXF HDV (1080i 50/60)
  • QuickTime 1080i 50/60
  • QuickTime 720p 30

The FS-5 does not support Canon 24f formats or the DVC Pro HD used by Panasonic P2 camcorders. The FS-5 is not compatible with the Canon XL-H1 or Panasonic AG-HVX200 camcorders.

What exactly is Quicktime HDV support?
With the FS-5, you can record 1080i 50/60 or 720p 30 clips as native QuickTime HDV. The FS-5 extracts and decodes the audio from the incoming HDV stream, combines it with the video stream, and wraps it as a QuickTime HDV file. When recording is complete, your QuickTime HDV file can be imported directly into Final Cut Pro—no capture or conversion is required.Avid Media Composer

What about Avid Media Composer?
With the FS-5, you can record native MXF HDV 720p 30 and 1080i 50/60 clips and import them into Avid Xpress Pro, Avid Media Composer, or Avid NewsCutter for editing.

How can I use metadata?
Metadata allows you to identify, log and sort your video clips. Metadata can be very basic i.e. for a sports video you could pre-program the function keys for offense, defense, special teams or big play; or for a wedding shoot, you could have ceremony, couple, toasts or family. Metatags may also be more detailed. With the FS-5 and a laptop you could have an assistant logging in more specific information. So for the sports you could have position (Quarterback, running back), type of play (pass, run), result (gain, loss, big gain, TD, fumble, interception) or for the wedding example who (bride, groom, couple, mother of bride, best man, bridesmaid) when (ceremony, toast, 1st dance, bouquet toss) and place (church, reception, gardens, bridal suite). I think you’re starting to get the picture. With the FS-5 you can create your own custom metadata templates to make entering this data as easy as possible.

Videoguys holding the Focus FS-5 with USB Wireless adapter & optional iPod Touch

When you go to edit the footage you can use any or all of the metadata tags you entered to help you sort, find and organize your clips. Think of all the time this can save you. Not only does the DTE technology of the FS-5 eliminate the need to waste hours capturing hours of footage, but it also allows you to immediately start finding the clips you want and start editing.

How can I use an iPod Touch or other WiFi device?
It’s actually very easy to do, once you get it set up and working the first time. Be prepared to spend some time configuring the FS-5, USB wireless adapter and iPod Touch. The FS-5 includes a couple of basic templates that you can use for tagging your footage. While you are shooting you or an assistant can easily add the tags from the template with just a couple of quick touches and clicks.

Can I watch the video on the FS-5’s color LCD screen?
No, the color LCD screen is for menus only. I agree with you that it would be a great feature to have and I’ve told that to Focus. They agree, but it’s just not possible given today’s technology. Perhaps that’s something we’ll get down the road in the FS-6 or FS-7.

Can the FS-5 transmit video back to my iPod touch?
Another great idea, but it isn’t possible. Not only are you limited to the wireless bandwidth, the iPod Touch does not support the video formats used by your camcorder and the FS-5.

The Following Questions Provided by Focus

What is the difference between the FS-5 and the FS-4 series of DTE recorders?
The FS-5 has the following additional features than the FS-4Pro HD. Keep in mind that the FS-4 HD and FS-4 Pro HD have different features.

  • Network Enabled (support for Web Interface to add metadata tag and FTP support)
    • Optional WiFi (USB to 802.11) dongle
    • Optional Wired (USB to 802.3) dongle

  • Live Logging of Custom Metadata during recording (using the optional network adapter)
    • FS-5 has a built-in web server and database
    • By accessing FS-5’s web server using a standard web browser, create pre-defined MetaData templates (FCP and ProxSys support only) based on the content you are shooting.
    • Log clip and time code based metadata while you shoot based on the predefined templates.

  • MXF HDV 1080i50/60 & 720p/30 (AVID)

  • UDF (file system format – no more 2GB file size limit) Single clips may be up to 1.5 hours long

  • Smaller and lighter in size

  • Quiet, Fan-less operation

  • Improved color LCD Menu driven with scroll wheel

Can I use any type of USB 802.11 wireless adapter with the FS-5?
Currently, the following USB 802.11 WiFi dongles have been qualified with the following USB 802.11 dongles:Linksys WUSB54GC, Belkin F5D7050 and the ASUS WL-167G.

Can I communicate with FS 5 while recording?
Yes. If FS-5 is configured for WiFi use (using an optional USB 802.11 wireless dongle), it is possible to log into FS-5’s web server using a browser and monitor system status as well as input metadata to recorded clips using preset templates.

Which accessories come with FS-5?
FS-5 ships with two newly introduced. ultra-thin FireWire cables (6-pin to 4-pin and 6-pin to 6-pin), a USB 2.0 A-A cable, AC adapter, 3-hour battery and user guide. You may also continue to use your old FireWire cables with the new FS-5.

Is there a mounting case or bracket for the FS-5?
YES! Click here for the optional Focus FS-5 Camera Handle Mount Cradle.

The FS-5 Camera Mount Cradle was designed to mount FS-5 to popular DV and HDV camcorders as well as other accessories. It can be mounted easily to the handle of a camcorder, the leg of a tripod, tripod arms and many other places. These instructions detail camcorder handle mounting.

Will I need networking experience to work with FS-5 via wireless, Peer-to-Peer, networking, etc?
Networking experience is recommended however not required. Why is this recommended? Some questions may require a person who has experience in networking to assist with an answer for general questions or issues that may arise.

It is also highly recommended – before a shoot that requires network metadata entry. To be VERY familiar with the setup and pre-setup any network well in advanced before a shoot.

What type of battery comes with the FS-5?
FS-5 ships with a standard battery rating to give you approximately 3 hours recording time. This battery is also available as an optional accessory so you may always have a spare battery available.

Does the FS-5 support Peer-to-Peer "P2P"?
Yes. ADHOC P2P allows FS-5 to connect with other WiFi capable devices without going through a separate wireless router. This is of benefit to video production professionals as only FS-5 and a WiFi capable device are required to bring into the field for wireless metadata logging.

Does the FS-5 support Metadata?
Yes, the FS-5 does support Metadata. With the FS-5, you can personalize and optimize workflow—while you shoot.

With your wireless handheld device or laptop, you can access the FS-5 through a browser, define custom metadata, and assign it to video while you're recording, eliminating the need to log footage when the shoot is over.

During post production, simply transfer clips—complete with metadata—from the FS-5 to your NLE (Final Cut Pro only at the moment) system or PX Media Server. All of the information that you assigned during the shoot goes with the clips, saving you hours or even days of logging time.

Does the FS-5 support networking?
Yes, the following network modes are supported when an optional USB wired Ethernet or USB 802.11 WiFi dongle is used:

  • Using a USB 802.11 WiFi dongle:
    • Connect to a standard managed WiFi network utilizing a manual IP or DHCP
    • Connect to other WiFi devices using Peer to Peer networking (no router required)

  • Using a USB 802.3 wired Ethernet adapter:
    • Connect to a standard managed network utilizing a manual IP or DHCP

Using the FS-5 network interface, it is possible to log into FS-5’s web server (for modify metadata templates and logging metadata during recording) as well as for FTP access to the FS-5 disk drive over a network.

Does the FS-5 mount to a MAC or PC the same as the FS-4 series?
The FS-5 only mounts to a computer via a USB 2.0 (unlike the FS-4 series which mounted using FireWire).

What hard drive sizes are available for the FS-5?
The FS-5 is available with a 100GB hard disk drive.

What Disk file system does the FS-5 support?
The FS-5 supports FAT32 and UDF. The FS-5 adds the ability to format the hard drive with the “Universal Disk Format” (UDF). With UDF, there no longer is the 2GB file size limit.

Do you have any Video Demo/Tutorials available for the FS-5?

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