Recording from a remote, mounted camera

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by George Adams, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. George Adams

    George Adams Guest

    Hi, all. Please forgive me for what is probably a newbie question.
    I've never had a camcorder before, so I'm rapidly trying to get up to
    speed so I can help with this project.

    Our church would like to mount a camera on the wall about 25 feet up
    (making it inaccessible on a day-to-day basis). What we would ideally
    like to do is this:

    1) Have some way to remote power on/off the camera (which I think some
    of our electrical guys can do)
    2) Have the camera start recording as soon as it's on, if possible, and
    3) Have the camera "record", not by recording the data on a MiniDV, Hi8
    tape or anything like that, but by sending the data out its Firewire
    port in real-time. The other end of the Firewire cable would be plugged
    into a DVD Recorder (possibly in a PC, but also possibly a standalone
    unit) which would burn the DVD live as the data is fed to it.

    Can anyone tell me if this is possible? Particularly #3 - that's mainly
    what I'm not sure about. It doesn't do us any good to have the data
    recorded to a tape that's 25 feet above us - it has to have a way of
    sending that data to a recorder on the ground in real-time.

    Thanks very much to anyone who has any suggestions!
    George Adams, Jul 21, 2005
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  2. So you don't want a camcorder. You just want a camera. Run a power
    cable to it. run a signal cable (probably a co-axial, similar to tv
    aerial cable) from it. When you turn power on, the camera will start
    sending a picture down the cable. It won't be Firewire, but it will
    be recordable.
    Laurence Payne, Jul 21, 2005
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  3. You can certainly just plug the AC adapter into a
    switched wall-socket. However, note that not all
    consumer camcorders respond as you would like
    when their external power is removed/restored.
    The camcorder may not come back to life in the
    mode you would need. Suggest trying it with the
    specific camcorder before commiting to doing this.
    If you aren't recording IN the camcorder, this isn't really a
    camcorder issue, but something to be arranged elsewhere
    with the recording scheme.

    If you are saying that you want to have the system just start
    recording when you flip the switch, you will need to find a
    DVD recorder that has the "start recording on power-up"
    feature. This may not be the kind of thing you can find at
    Target or WalMart. Furthermore, lots of DVD recorders
    may not like having their power removed either. They may
    come up in a mode demanding that their clock be set or
    something, before being ready to record video. Or they
    may default to "Channel 2" or some other undesirable trait.
    Many (most?) D8/DV camcorders will feed live video out
    through the Firewire port, as long as there isn't a tape in the
    camcorder. (The tape will cause most camcorders to shut
    down after a few minutes if you aren't recording on the

    Arranging a simple and foolproof "just flip the switch" setup
    would be even more problematic with a computer vs. a
    standlone DVD recorder.

    Your scenario is likely feasable, but not with just any random
    camcorder and DVD recorder. I'd try everything playing together
    (including the 25-ft Firewire cable) before committing anything.

    Hope you're planning on getting the audio from the PA
    system or something. Back on the wall will sound horrible.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 21, 2005
  4. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    First of all, covering the powering and switching on of the camcorder.

    If you ensure that there's no tape in the camcorder, then in the Standby
    setting you'll get a video and audio feed from it (you don't have to
    switch to record. So leaving the camcorder in Standby mode will allow
    you to power-up and power-down via a mains feed to the camcorder PSU.

    Turning to the connection of video (and audio):

    Firewire connection has a physical limit of 4.5m, so this doesn't meet
    your 25' requirement.

    If your DVD recorder has a USB connection, then that is an alternative.
    However, although USB has a 5m connection limit, this can be extended by
    using a powered USB hub, so you'd get 5m + 5m which would meet your 25'

    You could use s-video + audio, or composite video (providing your DVD
    recorder accepts these) though IMO there might be a slight loss of
    quality at 25'. You can't get s-video cables longer than about 3m. Going
    for the other composite option seems to me the best solution. You could
    use RCA connections, again depending on whether your DVD recorder
    accepts these as inputs. I'd be inclined to try and use a Sony camcorder
    that offers a 4-pole 3.5mm socket-jack output. If Sony, get hold of some
    4-way cable and a 4-pole 3.5mm socket and jack to connect (a 1m 4-pole
    jack to 3x RCA connector is supplied with Sony miniDV camcorders).

    You could of course go for an industrial video camera but I believe that
    to get the resolution you'd be paying as much or more than a low-end
    miniDV camcorder. If quality is not an issue, then the really cheap
    option is to use one of the cheapie webcams with USB and a powered hub
    to extend the range - again this is dependant on the DVD recorder
    accepting USB input.

    Plugs/jacks and cable (mentioned above) is inexpensive and can be
    obtained from Maplins - but you'll need someone handy with a soldering

    A point worth mentioning, is that if a tape is left in the camcorder,
    the camcorder will switch from Standby to Off after about 5 minutes -
    though you shouldn't be using a tape.
    Tony Morgan, Jul 21, 2005
  5. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <dbp13n$mii$>, Richard Crowley

    I don't think they do. You'll only get a video feed via firewire if the
    remote device sends a control signal down the wire. Maybe some DVD
    recorders do send a control signal - but I'm not sure here. I suspect
    that the DVD recorder would simply send the command to start the
    camcorder tape transport in the same way that a video editor (on
    capture) operates. With no tape to be run, I suspect that the camcorder
    would immediately send an "abort" back to the DVD recorder (in the same
    manner that "end-of-tape" sends an abort back to video editor (on
    capture)). Further, I'd guess that the abort would switch the DVD
    recorder off it's record mode.

    Anyway, as I pointed out elsewhere - firewire is out of the question
    because of the 4.5m limit when the poster wants 25'. Timing goes to hell
    and back with firewire cables over the 4.5m limit - that's why the spec
    limits it to this figure.
    George doesn't need to switch the camcorder to Record at any time, since
    the video feed (via USB, s-video and composite) is output when on
    Standby. As you've suggested, the camcorder won't go from Standby to Off
    if there is no tape in the camcorder.
    Tony Morgan, Jul 21, 2005
  6. George Adams

    :::Jerry:::: Guest

    You keep coming out with this crap Morgan....

    Care to explain how people like the above seem to have got it all so
    :::Jerry::::, Jul 21, 2005
  7. Before this descends into the usual Tony/Jerry slanging match, Tony is party
    right, the original spec for ieee 1394 was a recommended maximum of 4.5m. In
    reality, this could be extended to around 10m. However, upgrades to that spec
    now allow up to 100m with the correct cables.

    With regard to the output from the firewire port, AIUI that the firewire port on
    many sony cameras is live. Certainly, from the PDX10p upwards this is the case.


    Stuart McKears, Jul 21, 2005
  8. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Up to 63 IEEE 1394 devices may be connected to a bus segment. Each
    device may be up to 4.5 meters apart.

    Ever tried obtaining a Firewire cable longer than 4.5m?

    No, I didn't think so.
    Tony Morgan, Jul 21, 2005
  9. STOP IT!

    He doesn't need a camcorder. Let's concentrate on discovering what
    quality is required, and finding him a camera that does it.
    Laurence Payne, Jul 22, 2005
  10. Try googling for firewire cable 10m


    Stuart McKears, Jul 22, 2005
  11. George Adams

    Jimmy Guest

    Jimmy, Jul 22, 2005
  12. i agree he doesn't need a camcorder there. particularly if it's
    alocked-down shot like a sermon at the pulpit, the best deal would be
    to get a small camera and appropriate lens from a place like

    That can run composite or s-video to whatever pre-programmed recording
    device he wants, and the camera could be put on a power timer.

    Another option is a webcam, run to a laptop or used PC. I know, you
    hear "webcam" and "security cam" and you cringe about quality. I used
    to as well, but if you've ever seen an Axis brand webcam, the picture
    is remarkable. And really, at this end of the scale, the real item
    that controls quality is the quality of the lens you use. These cameras
    allow you to pick the camera body and lens as matched parts for the
    nobody special, Jul 22, 2005
  13. George Adams

    Oldish sod Guest

    Or, more specifically, WiFi "IP-cams"?
    Oldish sod, Jul 22, 2005
  14. George Adams

    Animal John Guest

    2.4 Ghz
    Animal John, Jul 22, 2005
  15. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Having reached for and read through the Standards, Jerry is perhaps
    referring to IEEE 1394b.

    Unfortunately, this standard is not backward-compatible for the
    following reasons:

    1. IEEE 1394b is intended for an optical communication medium.

    2. IEEE 1394b uses an 8B10B encoding method. This allows each
    of the 256 possible 8-bit words to be encoded in two different
    ways, one the bit-wise inverse of the other, and the data stream
    alternates between one and the other.

    I'm not suggesting that the IEEE 1394b standard *won't* be implemented
    in video applications some time in the future - but it's certainly a
    long way away in the consumer market, not only due to the backward
    compatibility issue but because it has to be implemented in hardware
    using look-up tables.

    So what I mentioned in regard link-length in response to George's issue
    holds true.
    Tony Morgan, Jul 22, 2005
  16. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Care to be a bit more specific?
    Tony Morgan, Jul 22, 2005
  17. George Adams

    Animal John Guest

    I hit send to soon sorry. I use a wireless uhf modulator that transmits on
    a tunable range. I have no data on this device as it is at least 20 years
    old. These and others are available via search. I use programmable remote
    control to activate camera using a timer set at regular time. This among
    other cameras and combinations are plenty. I have old 8mm and HI-8 cameras
    mounted in various places along with simple radioshack motion detector
    camera and wireless all recording to a HDD. If you want to record directly
    to a DVD burner this can be done with universal remote activation.

    Animal John, Jul 22, 2005
  18. George Adams

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Are there any about (at reasonable cost) ?

    Far more relevant is the question - does anyone know of any DVD recorder
    that supports 2.4Ghz wireless?
    Tony Morgan, Jul 22, 2005
  19. George Adams

    marks542004 Guest

    Best for your purpose is a fixed camera - not camcorder - with
    composite signal to a dvd recorder.

    You would want to grab the audio from your public address system , or
    add a microphone (possibly wireless to the person speaking.
    marks542004, Jul 22, 2005
  20. George Adams

    Animal John Guest

    You are right about that. I just used much of what I already had. The old
    camcorders I use are stationary and send a signal to a HDD. I will be
    building remote tilt and pan rather than purchase commercial.

    Animal John, Jul 22, 2005
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