Remote recording from camcorder (?)

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Ron Capik, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    For years we have been recording our Saturday night music jam
    productions on analog camcorders. Once again it's about time to replace
    our old camcorder but the mini DV tapes seem to be limited to about
    an hour. Our shows run about 4 hours (with an intermission at about
    the half way point.)

    For now I'm looking for a way to record the shows on a (higher end)
    consumer camcorder but the mini DV time limit will be a problem.
    One can't pause a live show to swap tapes...

    Is there any practical way to record direct from a consumer camcorder
    to a longer recording medium, like maybe a common VCR? [Yes, I know
    about the quality loss issues.] ...or maybe some other solution?

    I'll also need an external line/mic input so I can send a mix in from
    the
    sound board.

    Current budget is in the [US] $2000 ~ $3000 range.

    Note: I'm mostly a sound guy and not fully up to date on video
    technology.


    Later...

    Ron Capik
    NJ Pinelands Cultural Society
    < www.AlbertHall.org >
    --
     
    Ron Capik, Aug 8, 2005
    #1
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  2. Ron Capik

    Rôgêr Guest

    How about if you ran the output from a digital camcorder to your
    computer? Your record time would be limited by your hard drive size.
     
    Rôgêr, Aug 8, 2005
    #2
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  3. If you have to invest, save up a bit more, and get a FireStore FS4 or
    something similar. It's a hard-disk based recorder, and your recording-time
    depends on the drive-size. So, in your case you would need the Pro-version
    with a 80GB-drive.
    http://www.focusinfo.com/products/firestore/fs-4.htm
    Sony has something similar as well, and maybe there are a few more around,
    don't know, so Google.

    cheers

    -martin-
     
    Martin Heffels, Aug 8, 2005
    #3
  4. Sure, you have video from your camcorder, and audio
    from your sound board, and you have a broad range of
    solutions with that budget.

    What you didn't say was what you are doing with these
    recordings? So We'll have to throw several different
    ideas out there without any idea of whether they meet
    your (undisclosed) needs or not.

    a) External tape: You can connect your video and audio
    to virtually any kind of tape/cassette deck. You can range
    from good old VHS up through the limit of your budget.
    Perhaps the lowest-cost, "good quality" solution might be
    an external DV recorder, one that uses the "standard size"
    cassettes which can run up to 3 (or 4?) hours.

    b) DVD: There are now several standalone DVD recorder
    solutions out there. For example LiteOn LVW-5005 at a
    street price of ~$125 They normally have a 2-hour mode
    and you can download firmware updates/hacks that will
    extend the recording duration.

    c) Computer: There are several different ways of
    recording video/audio direct to AVI-DV or MPEG, etc
    files on a computer. This assumes that you are going to
    be editing and then exporting (to DVD or tape, etc) the
    programs (or have a big budget for keeping everything
    on hard drive, etc.)
    Shouldn't be an issue with virtually any standalone video
    recording solution.
    I'd be tempted to get a good industrial camera (not CAM-
    corder) from eBay and use it to feed the recording solution
    you select. It is more likely to put out the best picture/$$$
    (because you aren't spending money on a tape deck that
    you won't be using). Or you could see if anybody has a
    camcorder with a dead tape section(?)
    Yes, you aren't the only one who got into video from the
    audio realm. I did it because I couldn't stand the poor audio
    production values I was seeing and decided they needed
    some experienced help.
     
    Richard Crowley, Aug 8, 2005
    #4
  5. Ron Capik

    Tim Mitchell Guest

    I've used the LVW-5005 DVD recorder in its (hacked) 3 hour mode to do
    exactly that, and while it is better quality than VHS, it is noticeably
    worse quality than its normal 2 hour mode. If you could stick with 2
    hour mode and swap discs at the interval, you'd have fairly good quality
    at a low price.

    The LVW-5005 also has a direct firewire input, so if you use a Mini DV
    camcorder you could go digital all the way to the disk.

    Actually I had a DVCAM deck with a 3 hour tape as the main record, and
    the DVD recorder was a backup. But the DVCAM solution is expensive.
     
    Tim Mitchell, Aug 8, 2005
    #5
  6. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    Thanks for all the options.
    Here's a little more information:
    We're an all volunteer organization (by charter) that
    has been doing bluegrass/folk/country jam/shows
    for over 30 years.

    At some point we became a cultural/historical preservation
    society and someone volunteered to video tape the shows
    for the society's archives. This is pretty much just a guy in
    the audience with a camcorder. At the moment we only
    save the tapes as a private collection of the organization.
    We don't have any plans to publish or edit anything.

    I'm told [our] camcorders have had a useful life of about
    three years. So the executive board asked me to look
    into options. I'd like to keep things simple, and this would
    prefer to avoid computers or frequent media [tape/DVD]
    swaps during the show.

    For a better idea of our venue see:
    < http://www.alberthall.org/buildings.html >

    I was given a $1500 budget but can likely stretch it if
    I can make a good cost benefit case. [thus the $2-3k
    number... ]


    Later...

    Ron Capik
    --
     
    Ron Capik, Aug 8, 2005
    #6
  7. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    Ummm, first I'd need a computer for the venue, then I'd need a place
    to put said computer, then software, training, etc...
    And this will be run by a volunteer.

    [Also, I don't think I'd want a computer sitting in the audience.]

    So, what kind of cable(s) would I need, and how long a run
    could I have from the camera to the recording system?

    Later...

    Ron Capik
    --
     
    Ron Capik, Aug 8, 2005
    #7
  8. Likely several times that if you use only the camera part,
    and not the tape-recording part. In fact your existing
    camcorder may be still perfectly adequate as a camera
    to feed your new recording method.
    You didn't mention whether cost of media and/or space
    for media storage are an issue?

    I'd seriously consider standalone DVD recorders as they are...

    1) Inexpensive hardware (~$150/each) you could afford 2 or 3
    2) Inexpensive media (60~75 cents for 2 hours)
    3) Easy to store discs in a small space
    4) Media directly playable on most anyone's home equipment
    5) Readily duplicatable at high speed on inexpensive equipment
    6) Reasonably high quality (better than VHS)

    and most important of all...

    7) 2-hour running time (change at intermission)

    The only other reasonably modern format that will get
    you 2-hour running time is full-size DV and you lose
    advantages 1-5 with that choice.
     
    Richard Crowley, Aug 9, 2005
    #8
  9. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    No, that number is just for the hardware. Media and storage
    have been on going costs in another part of the budget.
    A lot of good points for standalone DVD.

    What about cables and I/O formats? [USB,
    firewire, s-video, etc... ]

    Don't know if I'd want a DVD recorder under a (non fixed)
    seat in the audience. Part of the camcorder benefit
    is that it's all in one package. [ Which also has its down
    sides. ]
    Any chance the price on this format will be comming down in
    the next few years?
    My feeling is that the consumer digital video market is still in
    a state of flux and don't want to lock in to a format that will
    go away in a few years.


    Later...

    Ron Capik
    --
     
    Ron Capik, Aug 9, 2005
    #9
  10. "Ron Capik" wrote ...
    Even the cheap DVD recorders have composite, Y/C,
    and even Firewire inputs. The disadvantage to Firewire
    is that you have to get the audio in there somewhere and
    inexpensive soures (camcorders) usually have either NO
    audio inputs, or lousy ones. 100 ft of good antenna coax
    is not going to have a significant impact on the picture
    quality for a setup like yours, so you could even run
    composite video from a camcorder back to the DVD
    recorder at the audio control location.
    I was assuming you would put the recorder(s) of which
    ever type was chosen at the audio control location?
    I don't anticipate that standalone full-size DV VCRs
    will fall significantly more than they already have. The
    major reason being the perceived size of the market.
    If you think about it, a DV VCR has much less in it
    than a DV camcorder, but camcorders cost a fraction
    of the price of a DV VCR simply because of volume.

    The only flux I see is that mini-DVD camcorders are
    attempting to displace mini-DV. But when people
    discover the lower quality and difficulty in editing,
    etc. I suspect the mini-DVD format will remain a
    niche product.
     
    Richard Crowley, Aug 9, 2005
    #10
  11. Ron Capik

    Rôgêr Guest

    There's a particular type of computer referred to as a laptop. It can
    have a pretty big hard drive if you shop carefully, and stay within your
    budget. You'd need AC power or back up batteries for the laptop, and a
    firewire cord to connect it to the camera.

    Having said all that, I shoot concerts including bluegrass, jazz,
    country, rock, on and on and ... I use MiniDV tapes in my GL-2 camera
    and shoot on LP speed. That gives me 90 minutes of taping. As it gets
    near the end of the tape I look for a break in the music where the
    artist likes to talk about the CDs available over at the table and
    change tapes then. Works great.

    Just did a Ralph Stanley II concert Saturday night and his performance
    was about 92 minutes long. Which is how long (including the safety
    margin) a MiniDV tape lasts. With MiniDV, you don't lose quality at
    slower speed, the camera writes the same amount of data but on smaller
    stripes. You may or may not have trouble playing that tape back on
    another camera.

    And ... the good news is there's an 80/120 minute version of MiniDV
    tapes available. That's right, get whatever MiniDV camera you like, buy
    up some of the 80/120 minute tapes and you've got your extended taping
    time with no external drives, computers, etc. The only downside is the
    80/120 costs roughly twice as much as the standard 60/90 minute version.
     
    Rôgêr, Aug 9, 2005
    #11
  12. If he would buy a new cam, a DVCAM-camera, which can take the large size
    tapes, can record up to two hours in one go, at normal speed (DVCAM doesn't
    have LP).

    cheers

    -martin-
     
    Martin Heffels, Aug 9, 2005
    #12
  13. Ron Capik

    Tim Mitchell Guest

    You can go up to three hours on DVCAM full-size tapes.
     
    Tim Mitchell, Aug 9, 2005
    #13
  14. Excellent. I haven't seem them yet, but personally I would be afraid of
    using them, because the tape will be very thin.

    cheers

    -martin-
     
    Martin Heffels, Aug 15, 2005
    #14
  15. "Martin Heffels" wrote ...
    I use them several times/year and have never had any problem with them.
    I suspect they are the same thickness as 34, 64, 94, and 124-minute
    tapes. Note that a 64-minute DVCAM tape takes less than half the space
    available in a cassette, and even a 124-minute version still has
    significantly
    more space available.
     
    Richard Crowley, Aug 16, 2005
    #15
  16. Ron Capik

    Guest Guest

    | "Martin Heffels" wrote ...
    |> Tim Mitchell wrote:
    |>>You can go up to three hours on DVCAM full-size tapes.
    |>
    |> Excellent. I haven't seem them yet, but personally I would be afraid of
    |> using them, because the tape will be very thin.
    |
    | I use them several times/year and have never had any problem with them.
    | I suspect they are the same thickness as 34, 64, 94, and 124-minute
    | tapes. Note that a 64-minute DVCAM tape takes less than half the space
    | available in a cassette, and even a 124-minute version still has
    | significantly
    | more space available.

    The question is, will the 184 or 186 minute tapes really go thinner?
    I've found a few for sale through Froogle and EBay, but I have not seen
    any specs that revela the truth about the thickness.
     
    Guest, Aug 16, 2005
    #16
  17. phil-news-nospam wrote ...
    I'll measure them tonight when I get home.
     
    Richard Crowley, Aug 16, 2005
    #17
  18. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    From what I've read thus far, I'm leaning toward a stand alone DVD
    recorder with an s-video feed from the camera. Thing is, the run
    from the camera to the sound booth will be over 100 feet.
    How far can one reliably run s-video (break outs) via 72 ohm coax?

    Thanks,

    Later...

    Ron Capik
    NJ Pinelands Cultural Society
    < www.AlbertHall.org >
    --
     
    Ron Capik, Aug 16, 2005
    #18
  19. I found the 124 always "filled to the brim".
    So you mean they can put in even more in that package?
    Amazing :)

    cheers

    -martin-
     
    Martin Heffels, Aug 16, 2005
    #19
  20. From http://www.sony.ca/dvcam/pdfs/dvcam format overview.pdf

    <quote>
    "The DV format specifies two types of tape thickness which are 7.0 ìm and
    5.3 ìm including all tape coatings.
    The DVCAM format uses only the tape thickness of 7.0 im to achieve its
    professional robustness."
    </quote>

    "im" should read micrometer

    cheers

    -martin-
     
    Martin Heffels, Aug 16, 2005
    #20
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