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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #1
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GL2 - 2 Month Time-laspse w/ Live Video Review?

Hi everyone.

I've been asked to set up a 2 month time-lapse video of a warehouse construction project taking place here at work. We will be using a GL2 mounted high in the rafters on A/C power with a wide angle lens and a rain cover to keep the dust off. We are also thinking about mounting a laptop to the contraption as well (more on this in a second).

We plann on having the GL2 interval record every 10 min for .5 seconds - runing 24 hours a day. That's the easy part.

Today I was informed that we need to also have the ability to record the footage to a comptuer or Direct to Disk Recorder in addition to the miniDV tape. Since the camera will be mounted high out of the way they want the ability to see the footage without pulling the tape, making sure it's capturing and what-not.

The laptop will be up there so they can use a remote desktop feature to log-in and see if the camera is recording via ethernet and our intranet.

So, I'm curious how to hook it up. If the camera is going to the computer via firewire you will need to rewind to see the footage. Not acceptable. Also, climbing up in a cherry picker to check the T/C is not a good option.

Is there another way to view what was captured? Can the Firestore FS-4 be hooked up and then downloaded at a whim without risking the upcoming recording? Is there some sort of software that can capture when the camera captures?

That's an idea - do you think FCP can be left on record / capture while the camera does it's interval record or will it jsut capture everthing through the lens until the disk fills up?

Any help would be great (thanks for listening to me think outloud too).

- Aaron
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:46 PM   #2
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Very interesting idea, Aaron. I'd been partially working on a similar idea (for a new construction), though I was planning to use a digital still camera with some sort of auto-download computer (haven't worked out the details yet).

If you're going to have a computer with the camera 24/7, would some sort of interval capture utility possibly be better than tape? I've only tried interval recording once, but it seemed to leave the tape in a paused state between shots. A transport left in pause mode for two months may be a problem.

I think Premiere has a stop-motion feature (though I thought someone mentioned that it's been removed from PPro). I had a little shareware utility that could capture a JPEG every x seconds, but it used a VideoForWindows PCI card, not Firewire. If you're inclined to venture into the Linux universe, "dvgrab" may work.

I'd be very curious to hear how it turns out for you!
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:49 PM   #3
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I don't think FCP will do that. But BTV pro might be just what you need. I have never used the time lapse feature, but it has quite a few options (I use direct disk capture, full screen monitoring and the 'scopes). It's cheap shareware, and even runs for free in demo mode. For remote viewing, just setup file sharing or use VNC to actually see the desktop (which is a free download). Both of these approaches would work in a multiplatform environment as well. Check out BTV Pro here:

http://www.bensoftware.com/btvpro.html
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #4
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Hmm. We thought about using a still camera too but they were lery of relying on the computer to stay awake for 2 months or not crash. I'd be interested to hear ideas on that too, although it is prob. a different thread. Feel free to send them via e-mail.

As for the tape transport. Good thinking. I don't know if it would cause problems. They would like to have the camera around for future use so breaking it for one project is not the best idea.

Any more ideas? Keep them coming...
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Old June 21st, 2005, 09:18 AM   #5
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"...relying on the computer to stay awake for 2 months or not crash..." I say again, use Linux. :-) Admittedly, I run both Linux and Windows on my machines (too much money tied up in Windows-only hardware and software).

What about using one of those security-camera record decks? Would the quality be too inferior for your purposes? Two months may still be too long for a single tape in one of those (I doubt that they'll record that slowly -- two days is likely the max).
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Old June 21st, 2005, 10:55 AM   #6
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Here's what we have:

Today we are doing an 8-hour test. I set up my XL1s since the GL2 is on order. We are recording via fire wire to an Apple G4 Laptop running System X. We are using BTV Pro as the time-lapse software.

The XL1s is set to interval record every 10 min. for .5 seconds. The laptop, via BTV Pro, is recording 1 frame to JPG every 2 min at the highest quality: 720x480 px at its highest rez. yielding a 320k-file +/-.

So not only do we have the camera capturing tape but we have the computer making frame grabs too. We should be swimming in footage.

Anyway, we are able login via Apple's Remote Desktop software and see what's happening on screen. Looking in the folder will show the captured progress and we can also watch the timer count down to the next shot. We could walk over to the laptop but we are simulating it being high in the rafters. As for the camera, I turned on the tally lamp so we can watch that blink once when it records or get up and watch the time code advance.

It will be interesting to see our day condensed into 8 seconds.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 11:12 AM   #7
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Aaron - Hi, long time eh?

Well, are you considering any form of double check? Some way of checking that the system is working? Something like a counter, counting against that which is being taken? Then you would get an early warning as to the system NOT performing.

Only an idea.

Grazie
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Old June 21st, 2005, 11:22 AM   #8
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Hi Graham - it's been a while. Busy getting ready to get married in November and with our new puppy. The buz is taking off too so Im trying to keep up. No time to come out and play anymore.

I think they are planning on pulling the tape every 24 or 48 hours. I'd be gratful for any suggestions on a camera double check.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 08:17 PM   #9
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Capturing video to a hard drive

Digivue makes a number of different cards that might be workable with a standard PC. www.digivue.com
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