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Old June 26th, 2007, 01:49 AM   #1
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Recording sound and video to PC

I know it's nothing new to record multi track sound to a PC, and there are programs like DV Rack (or whatever Adobe is calling it in its new incarnation) that can record video to the PC.

My question is whther anyone has tried doing both to the same PC simultaneously.

To be more precise, what I was thinking was to run the mics to a mixer and then into the PC and run an output from the mixer to the camera so that a stero mix was also getting recorded on tape along with the picture, and also run the camera's firewire line to the PC and record picture (with the two stereo tracks) to the PC as well as the camera.

In other words, when all was said and done I'd have a complete copy of video and sound on the PC's hard drive as well as on the camera's tape so I would have two complete copies to back each other up.

I know it would be a lot simpler to just run the mics to something like a Beachtek and then into the camera (GL-2), then to the PC over firewire.

But I'm assuming (maybe incorrectly!) that for the best sound it would be a good idea not to run it through the camera before bringing it into the PC.

And if I were recording more than two tracks and wanted to mix to stero later I would have to record the sound to something other than the camera in the first place.

I think from an aggregate data transfer rate perspective that firewire and the hardware are all fast enough to handle the data streams, but was wondering if the video capture and sound recording software would get in each other's way or whether everything would bottleneck on disk I/O

Any thoughts???
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Old June 26th, 2007, 02:56 AM   #2
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Jim ...

This is exactly what I'm aiming to do when Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 with OnLocation gets released, and when I have a dual-core laptop with enough power.

I think you're right about the storage being the bottleneck, so I'm thinking of using 2 external SATA drives plugged into a SATA card, one for video and one for at least 4 channels of audio. I have an Alesis Firewire mixer which works well with an old VAIO laptop runnning Cubase and using the SATA drives, but the laptop would need a second firewire input for video. Although the Alesis does have a Firewire input for chaining devices together, I'm not sure if it could handle video though.

I'm assuming that OnLocation cannot record multi-track audio and therefore does not use the same ASIO interface drivers that the Alesis/Cubase combination uses, so there will be no conflict.

When I get time, I want to try capturing audio and video separately on my old 3.2 GHz P4, which has two Firewire Ports and two SATA video drives - if it works on that, then it should work on a dual-core laptop - unless anybody else has already done it and can tell us the pitfalls.

Tony
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Old June 26th, 2007, 03:22 AM   #3
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The two extra audio tracks shouldnt cause a well-specified PC to break into a sweat.

I'm almost certain you will find that that the audio coming in by firewire will slightly lag the audio coming in direct from the mikes - certainly when one is transfering footage from a camera to a PC the audio on the PC lags the audio you can hear on the camera's own speaker (although perhaps that may be mainly laterncy in the PC itself - try it and see!).

But even if there is a lag, its easy enough to later drag and line-up all the tracks up in your NLE.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #4
 
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If you use a USB audio card and 1394 into the system, it should work for you just fine. I've done this with a PCMCIA/Cardbus system (Echo) and HDV Rack and been successful, recording on a laptop to an external USB drive.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input - it apparently isn't such a crazy idea after all!

My hope in all this is that the PC with associated hard drive becomes the actual recording medium and the tape in the camera is the backup/deep archive.

I'd probably use somewhat smallish (by today's standard) hard drives and also just put them on the shelf when they filled up to be used as my "working archive" after editing and storing the result on my file server.

My biggest worry isn't really the hardware in and of itself, but the fact of having two separate programs in the act - the video capture program and the audio capture program.

Not knowing how they're structured, I can conceive of a lot of issues with how they buffer and block the data, which would cause them to get in each other's way when writing to disk.

The inter-program contention for the disk resource could potentially cause some "interesting" performance problems!

The other issue I can think of is again disk related, and because you'd have two streams running in parallel, there would probably be a lot of file fragmentation.

Maybe having two separate disks, one each for audio and video would be a better idea.

Thoughts? Experience, good or bad?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #6
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DVRack capture audio too. Is OnLocatio Adobe's re-incarnation of DVRack?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 12:29 PM   #7
 
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Onlocation is the new name for DVRack. It is now part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
Onlocation can only capture 2 channels of audio at once. With a PCMCIA card or USB card, you can capture as many channels as you'd like. I've only captured 8 channels while using DVRack.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 05:45 PM   #8
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Running two programs, I would run a long test and see if system memory grows. If the systems seems to be in a steady state over time then, there should be no problems.

New laptops are moving to ExpressCard external adapters. The new SxS memory cards are designed to slide directly into this opening. So once high speed cards are available, this will be a way to have extra high speed storage on a laptop. Lexar has come out with SSD cards that fit in the ExpressCard slot, but these are slower than hard drives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pccards.png

The ExpressCard slot also can be fit with an eSata adapter. I just got one for about $60. So my macbook pro has USB, firewire, firewire 800, and two eSata ports. Clearly attached storage is not going to be a future problem.
But I don't think dramatic external storage will be necessary for the OP's system. I would buy an empty external device to know what drive was inside, however.

A question. Is there a way to use the timecode off a camera like the XL-H1 when recording audio on a laptop?
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