Archive for November, 2011

Boris RED 4.3.3 Migration to New Machine

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

I just migrated my existing copy of Boris RED 4.3.3 from an old laptop to MacBook>BootCamp>Windows7.  It involved:

  • Establishing with Boris that I had previously purchased it.
    • Initially an issue, I had to dig out an email invoice from 2009.  Hooray to GoogleMail for keeping everything (unlike *** HotMail which deleted my emails when I hadn’t used it for a month)
  • Installing a trial download of RED 4.3.3 (from a couple of years ago) and running it, to get the Product ID code.
  • Boris sending me another code.
  • Entering the code, to take the application out of Trial mode.
  • Rebooting the application (otherwise its Preview still had an “X” across it)
  • Generating library browser thumbnails
    • Took getting on for half an hour…
    • Various effects complained of missing expected fonts on my system, as follows, and stated they would use the default system font instead.  Not sure which effects they were, but maybe the data display like pie charts etc. (?)
      • Lucida Grande
      • Adobe Caslon Bold
  • It remains to be seen whether it will work in the same Windows 7 but in a Parallels virtual machine.  Not that it would be very sensible to attempt this, but just for curiosity and to know what options I have.

Avid Media Composer 6 – Review (Link)

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Full-Frame Sensor Cameras (& Canon 5D vs 7D etc.)

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I have a friend/colleague with a Canon 7D and girlfriend with 500D.  Also I am aware of “Super” (reduced size) “35mm” sensor video cameras.  I’m keeping an eye on all the options, as currently I have no 35mm etc. capability and hence limited shallow DOF and low-light capability.  And to share / compare info with those mentioned people.

Starting with Looking at Philip Bloom’s site to (routine check see what’s new there), I came across these useful links (even though they’re not all new).  I’m attracted to getting a Magic Lantern-ed second-hand 5D Mk.II for creative purposes, especially since my typical work-pattern is not that time-critical and I am reasonably fluent with frame-rate conversion where necessary. I’ll try it out on the 500D first.  The 500D can only do 30 fps at 720p (drops to 20 fps at 1080p) but its sensor is almost an inch across i.e. about double that of my existing EX3.

Incidentally, I previously covered sensor sizes and their names at  and there’s Canon’s take on it at which (oh yes) is about their new C300 camera (will cover that in a separate blog-post).

Here are the links:

    • In a nutshell, 5D has (fairly uniquely) a full “35mm” sensor, giving the ability to achieve correspondingly uniquely shallow depth of field.  But it shoots at a non-standard frame-rate of exactly 30 fps (not 29.97 fps).  This can matter e.g. when intercutting with standard 29.97 material.  On the other hand when using the camera on its own (and I guess with possible allowance for the time duration change and audio pitch change if you fiddle the metadata) it need not matter.
    • Magic Lantern firmware is available for the {original} 5D but not the 7D.
    • Meanwhile the 7D has less shallow DOF capability and slightly more noise but slightly less rolling-shutter effect and, crucially, a number of standard frame-rates.
  • Magic Lantern – unofficial extended firmware for Canon cameras like 5D
    • Magic Lantern gives many improvements to modes, metering displays (e.g. zebra & peaking) and quality (e.g. more shutter-speed choices and greater recording bitrate).  However it does not (yet?) provide additional frame-rates.
      • As of today (2011-11-28) it is reported that Magic Lantern is still not available for the 7D, though progress towards this is being made (slowly).
      • There are limitations to shooting movies on a 5D Mark II, notably the limited 12 minute recording time.
      • (An image illustrates a 5D “tooled-up” with rods, mattebox, audio box etc. to serve as an outside rig)
      • Altering frame-rates is still on the to-do list.  Hence not yet done!
    • FINALLY the full frame Canon 1DX DSLR featuring “improved video”.
    • STandard frame-rates: 24,25, 30p in full HD and 50 and 60p in 720p mode
    • Intra-frame and Inter-frame compression (H264), easing editing.
    • Single clip length of up to maximum of 29 minutes and 59 seconds (reflecting an EU tax rule {on what constitutes a stills – as opposed to video – camera} )
    • will retail body-only for around $7000!
      • {Not as cheap as the 5D Mk.II then…}
  • Canon 500D
      • {Great site, reviewing it and breaking-down the tech-specs.}
      • Thanks to its APS-C sensor size, all lenses effectively have their field of view reduced by 1.6 times.
        • {This is smaller than the 5D’s full-frame but still not bad at almost an inch wide, which I take to be about double that of my EX3’s “Half-Inch” sensor}

DaVinci Resolve (Lite)

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I heard about and saw DaVinci Resolve in action on Den Lennie’s music video course/experience.  As a result I looked it up on the web and discovered there was a free version.  At that time the free version was limited to only a couple of nodes depth (I think) but was still useful.  Since then DaVinci have released a new version (8.1.1) without that restriction.  Confusingly, back in October I downloaded “version 8.1.1” with patches and also “version 8.1.2”.  Something got out of step somewhere!  But for ease-of-life, I will stick with their latest download, described as “version 8.1.1”.

I downloaded a copy of DaVinci Resol;ve Lite 8.1.1 to my MacBook Pro (MBP)  I went to then selected (in this order): [Host=MacOS], [Product Series=DaVinci Resolve], [Product=DaVinci Resolve Lite].  That gave a page prompting for user info (e.g. contact details)which I duly filled.  After that I was taken to the download page.

Resolve Lite runs on Mac OS but not (yet?) Windows (though that might follow eventually, according to My MBP has 8GB RAM and a both an Nvidia “9600M” (on motherboard) and a “9600M GT” (faster separate GPU).

My initial attempt to run Resolve Lite on my MBP resulted in a “whinge-window” about my machine’s GPU not being up tp Resolve’s requirements.  That turned out to be because in the Mac OS Preferences, Energy-Saving mode, I had selected “extend battery life” (or whatever) instead of “max performance” (or whatever).  This selection disabled the “GT” GPU leaving the machine to drop back to the lower-powered motherboard GPU.  Selecting “Performance” mode (and rebooting) fixed the problem – no more “whinge-window”.

The Resolve Lite application filled the whole screen, with none of the usual “three colour buttons” at top-left corner, merely the ability to respond (appropriately) to Command-H (Hide).  The initial screen was some kind of “User Logon” screen with default users Admin and Guest.  I double-clicked on Guest and was greeted by an instruction that I should first set Resolve’s Preferences.  Not unreasonably, it wanted to know which volume to use as Media Volume (for renders etc.).  I chose the HFS+ partition of my GRaid Mini drive, connected via FireWire (FW800).  In fact I created and selected a folder: [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_App_Specific/DaVinci_Resolve].

Next I looked for some Tutorial videos:

Nostalgic DX Radio: Numbers Stations

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Decades ago I was an avid DX (e.g.shortwave) radio listener / band-scanner / radio ham.  At that time, of the “cold war”, tining around the short waves revealed strong German language stations on unusual frequencies starting with four rising notes on a slightly violin-sounding crude electronic synthesizer.  This was followed by a woman (dubbed by some as “Magdeburg Annie”) reading five-figure number groups, apparently to spies.  Intriguingly, the german numbers were read in some kind of non-standard form, which my german teachers at school could not recognize.  To me they sounded like “zvo” (zwie/two), “fun-ef” (funf/five) and “noi-hen” (noin/nine), and maybe another one “trinnif” that I never figured out.  I wondered if these were nautical german pronunciations, but now it seems they were East German spy number-pronunciations.  So guess that puts my German teachers in the clear!

Anyhow, in a burst of nostalgia, I now want audio copies to use as ringtones on my phone.  Google [numbers stations] revealed the following sites linking to downloadable audio recordings (mp3 and wma files):

French Domestic TV Par Satellite

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

MyFrench friend wanted to know how to continue receiving French Satellite TV after November 2011, when existing channels on the satellites at 5W will be switched off.  Basically they are going to an MPEG4-related broadcast format, requiring a new generation of digital receiver.

The “least headache” solution we went for was a package and receiver called Fransat, which is available at Darty stores in France.  Ironic name, given the main channel we want to watch is Arte.


DSLR Lens Recommendations

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I have access to a Canon DLSR and am considering getting a 35mm adaptor for my existing EX3 camera.

A colleague recommended the following lenses:

  • Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM
  • 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM (~£1K)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM (~£1.7K)
  • 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM (~£900)
  • 50mm (fixed) f/1.8 (~£70)

iWeb: Initial Experience / Confusions / Resolutions

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I had a go with iWeb (3.0.4) on the Apple Mac.  It is a mortal-friendly website-editor complete with templates and widgets etc.

Some non-obvious things:

  • Opening & Closing the App (iWeb)
    • On opening the iWeb app, you are prompted to select a template. I couldn’t see any way to avoid selecting a template.
    • There is a [File Save] but no [File > SaveAs]
      • So how does it get named?  Where does it get saved?
        • In app’s left-hand pane, select the Site in question, it asks for a Site Name.
    • The [File > Close] action closes the whole app, not just the current project (or whatever).
      • So I guess (???) there is no concept of “empty default page” here (???).
        • Though under each theme is the option of a Blank page.
  • Web-Page Editing
    • For the ??? template, you get a page with an elegantly paned “window” of assorted default images.
      • If you drag a new image on top of of one of the default ones, that new image becomes the replacement, and it inherits the “mask/zoom” capability.
      • If you simply drag an image to the same part of the webpage, it has no “mask/zoom” behaviour.  However you can add it via [Format > Mask] etc.
        • Format > Mask Shape ???
    • Setting a hyperlink on text involves an easy and intuitive-guessable method, but setting a hyperlink on an image requires a different and less obvious method.
      • [View > Show Inspector]
      • ???
  • Publishing (to Web)
    • You need to establish a location to publish to.  This will typically be an ftp server with upload-access protected by username and password.
      • Before anything else, get your username and password (for that location) to hand.
      • Personally, I like to peek around first, using an ftp client.
        • Mac OS already has a read-only ftp client built-in.  From Desktop, do Control-K.  A “bare bones” instance of Finder appears.  Click the tiny oblong button at top-right if you want to see the usual explorer pane/sidebar.  HOWEVER: it is not really up to the job…
          • I discovered this at
          • However it is read-only, hence no ability to add or remove files or folders.
          • Also it appeared (for me at least) not to refresh properly.  Scope for time-wasting confusion!
        • For the Mac, favourite add-on clients (according to the same osxdaily article are Transmit and CyberDuck.
          • Which one is best?
            • CyberDuck runs on both Windows and Mac.
            • There is a review comparing them at
              • CyberDuck is free (but “begs”), Transmit is not.
              • One user (at least) claimed that CyberDuck used to be good once but as more features have been added, it’s getting more bugs.  Unverified.
              • Some users say that CyberDuck runs (more slowly?) than Transmit.
                • A user-comment says that this is because CyberDuck is Java-vased.
              • Both programs have Bookmarks/Favourites and both have a Dashboard widget that lets you drop files into to upload straight to a specified folder on an FTP server.
              • Their main difference is in how Bookmarks/Favourites works.  Transmit has dual panes, for Local and Remote, and when you make a Bookmark it includes both these locations.  CyberDuck in contrast only displays and bookmarks the remote location, requiring you to use a separate Finder for local, hence you drag files between these apps.
            • I see also, from is website, that Transmit has handy peripheral features like a Sync button.
            • I tried them both, concluding:
              • CyberDuck is pretty basic but it appears to work OK.  Setting up my ftp account was easy apart from the password, which only gets asked when you first attempt to log-on to that account.  It seems more for the beginner and explains about Amazon s3 storage etc.
              • Transmit feels “cleaner” to use and the dual-pane is definitely handy.  Also the Sync function is not a bad idea.
    • Before publishing, you need to define the location-to-publish.
      • If you just hit the “Publish” button, it will only prompt you for a MobileMe account.
      • To define the location, first in iWeb’s left-hand “explorer” pane, select the Site (as opposed to the Page).  This brings up a form where you can define the upload (ftp) data etc.
        • One entry in this form is for an email address.  But how securely is that email address presented on the page?  I am in the habit of not making life easy for email-harvesters, so I don’t want the email address to be in plain text in the HTML, I want it encrypted.  So I chose to just put a “dummy” address in here.
    • The webpage (root .html file etc.) gets placed in the specified location as follows:
      • An [index.html] file is created there.
      • Any existing files (other than by that name) are unaffected.
        • That is “safe” and also useful e.g. if you are in the habit of placing “robots.txt” files at webpage root.
      • A folder is created there, named after the Site.
      • The subdirectory is named after the page-name
        • The page-name appears in the app’s left-hand pane, it can be renamed.
    • What happens if you delete a webpage in the app then republish?
      • The existing subfolders for the now-deleted pages are not deleted.
        • I guess one would then delete them manually or else delete everything and republish the whole site.

Calendar Sync between iPhone & Google

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Got an existing GMail account, want the iPhone (iPhone 4 with iOS 4) to sync with that, not only for email (which I have already) but also for Calendar.  The only extra thing I had to do was go into iPhone Settings and change the default calendar from Calendar (an Apple entity) to GMail.

  • Settings:
    • Mail, Contacts, Calendars
      •  (Scroll right down to the bottom – not obvious it’s there since no scrollbar on iPhone)
      • Default Calendar: (select the GMail account)
      • (Likewise for Mail, earlier in the lest, set GMail as default mail account)
  • Tips:
    • Unlike Email, sync between calendars is not “immediate” (in my experience)
    • No need to sync or refresh anything explicitly (and attempting it doesn’t seem to make any difference), just wait (e.g. 5 minutes).
    • Existing iPhone calendar entries, if (as is most likely) they are under “Calendar”, do not get sync’d with GMail.  However the iPhone calendar does allow entries to be moved from your Calendar-account to your GMail-account (say).
      • In the Calendar (app), go into a calendar entry/event of interest, do the Edit button.  Towards the bottom is a field “Calendar” where you can select the calendar-account you want it to appear in, e.g. GMail.

Mist Forecast

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I want to shoot a brief film exercise, ideally in misty early-morning conditions.  How do I go about finding a mist-forecast?  Aha! (and Oho!)  Find an Aviation Weather Forecast, because pilots and airports care about visibility. The following seems simplest and best for my purposes (given I am near Alton in Hampshire, UK):

    • This Forecast weather table (by date and time), in its “Weather” column, includes a very obvious “Mist” icon when applicable.
    • Warning: There is more than one “Alton” in the UK, it is necessary to select the required one, which is not the default.

Job (finding out when the next mist is due) done!

Artificial Landscapes

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Examples highlighted by Matt:

French News in Slow-French

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

At last!  I remember hearing Voice of America’s “News in Special English” (and a lot of Chinese people I’ve met have learned English that way) I always hoped that one day something similar would be available in French.

Here it is:

35mm: Sensors & Adaptors eg Redrock M2 & M3: Quality and Relevance

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Trying to keep up my “situational awareness” in this subject area…

Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium on Windows and Mac OS (Possibly)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I bought a discount copy of Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, because (after much discussion with others) its feature-set seems to match my typical and forseeable production requirements more than those of other NLEs, including my current mainstay, Sony Vegas 9 (which I am still trying to wean myself off, but when any proper job comes along, I tend to fall back on the familiar and trusted, for low risk including avoidance of learning-delay).

Being (so far) a one-man-band who is traditional Windows user, I purchased the Windows version.  But, confirming what I had heard, it does seem that most media people I have met use Macs.  So should I have purchased the Mac version?  Are the versions exactly the same or have they different functionalities?  Is there an option for the license to cover installing the same product on both Windows and Mac OS provided only one of them is run at a time? (e.g. when on the same physical machine).  Ideally at zero or negligible cost of course.  For example Avid Media Composer does have this flexibility.  While the uncertainty remains, I will not open the box (in case it turns out that I need to exchange it).

Here is what I have learnt so far (mainly from web-searching, unverified information):

Differences between the OS-Specific variants:

  • It appears that for CS5.5 Production Premium (at least), the Windows variant has slightly greater functionality.
  • However it remains to be seen what will be the case for CS6, when it becomes available.

Some options are:

  • Volume licensing.
    • Intended not only for businesses but also for individuals.  If the “volume”is for two licenses, they can be for each of the OS’s.
  • Crossgrade.
    • But as far as I can tell it’s intended only for one-off (or infrequent) crossgrades, requiring “destruction of the software” on the old machine each time.  Shame it isn’t simply happy with repeatable deactivation/reactivation on each machine / OS.


Filming: Panning Tips (Pan-Rate, Frame-Rate, Shutter-Speed)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Some issues I have experienced, and some answers from various sources:

  • At least when played on a laptop, motion seems juddery.  Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s as if the frame rate is uneven.
    • Appears to be due to playing a 25 fps video on a 60Hz refresh-rate display device (my laptop’s screen).
      • I did an experiment, panning around a garden (in daylight)
      • Conclusion: for online viewing of naturally-lit pans, 30 fps is best (consistent: record, edit and display) , even in PAL regions.
    • Try increasing the shutter-time.
      • I did an experiment, panning around a garden (in daylight)
        • Vimeo: (30 fps) and (25 fps)
        • Slowing the shutter from 180 degrees (1/60 sec) to 360 degrees (1/30 sec) did not affect the smoothness of the pan, however it did cause an irritating blur to the (panning) image.
      • So when the background is the subject, don’t do that !
      • On the other hand, when following a moving object, holding it stationary in-frame, long shutter time can produce a pleasing background motion blur, diminishing background clutter and suggesting speed.  Might be a problem (I guess) if object includes movement such as flapping wings.
  • What’s the best speed for a pan?
    • Typically 3 to 5 seconds
    • Don’t pan over too great an area, especially of a nearby object, especially if the middle portion is uninteresting.
  • Begin and end with a few seconds of static (static shots i.e. locked-off camera).
    • Cutting from a static sometimes better when first few frames up to half a second are static (pre-pan)
  • Tip:
    • For a stills camera: “Use a shutter speed between 1/8sec and 1/125sec depending on the subject’s speed and distance,”
    • For a video camera, I tried a range of shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/60 and it made little difference to motion smoothness, the main factor was the chosen fps (on a laptop, 30 fps recording gave better smoothness than 25 fps recording)
    • (more…)

List of Brands of Hotels etc.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Some Accomodation Options:

  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Independent Hotel
  • Best Western
  • Express by Holiday Inn
  • Hilton
  • Holiday Inn
  • Ibis
  • Marriott
  • Ramada
  • Travelodge

My Video: B-Roll Excercise in Ivy’s Garden

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

As an assignment for an on-line video course, I shot some B-Roll footage in an interesting garden.  While shooting, I was “hassled” by a lovely poodle called Ivy.  She appeared so much (uninvited) in front of the camera I decided to give her a starring role!  Hence it is now “her” garden.

I just posted it on Vimeo, at

Repeating the text Description at Vimeo:

This light-hearted and whimsical journey through an english country garden and back, occasionally accompanied by our fluffy hostess, Ivy, is my response to a film-course assignment, simply to record some B-Roll footage.  It sort of acquired a life of its own, partly because some of the clips fitted together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (that no-one designed) into some sort of mini-stories, and partly because the selected musical accompaniment turned out to reflect the various moods that emerged from the initial rough-cut, so in the end it became the editing back-bone.  Serendipity.

It was shot (on a Sony EX3) over a few hours, during which the (typical British) weather varied while I occasionally made way for handymen and joined in the moving about of furniture etc.   So not an entirely controlled situation then…

Please excuse the occasionally shaky camera shots of Ivy, not originally intended for use (she just kept getting in the way, demanding attention), but I couldn’t resist…and now the video even bears her name!

The musical accompaniment is what I believe to be titled “Introduction et Etude Brillante” (“Réveil des Fées”), which I purchased from the Vimeo Store under the title “Introduction er Etude Brillante”, which I assume to be a typographical error (until anyone advises otherwise).  It’s by Giovanni Sgambati. I didn’t realise at first it was also titled “Réveil des Fées”, but that’s great, because the owner of the garden has a thing about mystical fairy worlds, as you will see from her various statues etc.

According to ArtsMusic [], Giovanni Sgambati (1841-1914), was considered as the most important Italian pianist of the 19th Century and was close friend to Wagner and Rubinstein.

Anyway, I hope the beautiful sights and sounds amuse you.  And that goes from Ivy too!

Camera Sensor Sizes (Crop Factor, APS-C)

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

What is a four-thirds sensor?  Is a 35mm sensor measured across the diagonal (like a TV screen) or width etc.?  What is ASPC?

The answers I found are:

    • Sensors are often referred to with a “type” designation using imperial fractions such as 1/1.8″ or 2/3″ which are larger than the actual sensor diameters. The type designation harks back to a set of standard sizes given to TV camera tubes in the 50’s. These sizes were typically 1/2″, 2/3″ etc. The size designation does not define the diagonal of the sensor area but rather the outer diameter of the long glass envelope of the tube.
    • There appears to be no specific mathematical relationship between the diameter of the imaging circle and the sensor size, although it is always roughly two thirds.
      • {The article includes a look-up table for the exact figures}
    • A “35” mm sensor is actually 36 mm on the width;  the height being 24 mm and the diagonal 43 mm.
    • Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the Advanced Photo System “classic” size negatives. These negatives were 25.1 × 16.7 mm and had an aspect ratio 3:2.
    • Sensors meeting these approximate dimensions are used in many digital single-lens reflex cameras, in addition to a few large-sensored live-preview digital cameras and a few digital rangefinders.
    • Such sensors exist in many different variants depending on the manufacturer and camera model.  All APS-C variants are considerably smaller than 35 mm standard film which measures 36×24 mm. Sensor sizes range from 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm. Each variant results in a slightly different angle of view from lenses at the same focal length and overall a much narrower angle of view compared to 35 mm film.
    • This is why each manufacturer offers a range of lenses designed for its format.
    • Philip includes a diagram comparing sensor sizes.

Laptop-Based Mobile Editing: GRaid Mini (Out-Shines “Passport” Drive)

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Video-editing on-the-move (e.g. on a train) using a MacBook Pro (laptop) with Sony Vegas 9 (64-bit) as NLE (under Boot Camp / Windows 7), my practical experience was that a GRaid Mini external drive was far, far better than a 5400 rpm Western Digital “Passport” drive.   Consistent with the dual use of the MacBook, I partitioned the drive for both NFTS (Windows) and HFS+ (Mac OS), 50-50%.  Due to Boot Camp limitations (explained below), up till now I only ever used it “tethered” to its own mains-based power supply.  But now I see it can also be used mobile, powered from the MacBook – something that up till now I could only achieve under Mac OS, not under Windows.

When using Boot Camp / Windows on the MacBook, I initially tried the shirtpocket-sized Passport drive because it was small, light and powered from the laptop’s USB port.  While its data throughput wasn’t too bad, at least for single-channel HD editing (especially when only 1280720), when it came to cuts from one video clip (hence, in my case, video file) to another, there was a frustrating delay every time.

I also have a GRaid Mini drive, but it wasn’t obvious at first how to use it mobile when using Windows (on a MacBook).  That drive consists of two 7200  drives in RAID-0 configuation (striped, giving speed but no redundancy), and appears just like any single drive to the computer (no RAID management etc. needed).  The drive has not only a USB (2) port but also FireWire 800 (FW800) and eSATA ports.  While the latter two options work fine with the MacBook under Mac OS, they don’t work under Boot Camp / Windows.  I have tried many times and trawled many forums, no solution is apparent.  Under Mac OS the eSATA drive would ordinarily plug into an ExpressCard adaptor plugged into the laptop’s ExpressCard slot, but under Boot Camp / Windows, the ExpressCard slot doesn’t work, while for the FW800 port under Boot Camp / Windows, it appears to work at first but eventually crashes as a device when it attempts to communicate data (e.g. when copying files).

When connected only by USB to the MacBook under BootCamp / Windows, the GRaid Mini is not powered from that port, hence up till now I have relied on a mains power supply to that drive.  However, I discovered if, after first connecting by USB, you subsequently connect also by the FW800 lead, then the drive takes power from the FW800 yet communicates data via the USB lead.   Hooray!  I can use it on-the-move then!

The order in which the leads are connected is vital.  If by mistake the FW lead was connected first, then the drive would sense that as the data communications route, and subsequently fail in use.  It is vital that the USB connection is made first.  Likewise, on disconnecting the drive (following “ejection” by the computer’s file-system), disconnect the FW drive first.  The rule is FW lead: connect last disconnect first.

My experience of editing with the GRaid Mini is far more fluid hence more pleasurable and efficient.  Totally worth it.  None of the per-cut delay effects of the 5400 rpm Passport drive.  And now it can be used on-the-move, even with Boot Camp / Windows on a MacBook.  I just wish Apple would fix that Boot Camp isue with FireWire and ExpressCard ports!