Strange problems with my DIY tapeless recording solution at DVinfo.net

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Old October 27th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #1
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Strange problems with my DIY tapeless recording solution

I film a lot of live music so my idea was to keep a netbook (Lenovo S10) in a backpack and capture directly to that with Premiere or WinDV. Kind of a clunky setup, but it was my only option given my budget.

This has worked really well in my test runs that aren't at live shows (walking around the house/outside), but it keeps failing me when I'm at a show. I'll get about 5 minutes captured before I'm hit with either a "lost connection to device" error (even though everything is plugged in securely) or just an "unknown error" . I've recorded at least 45 minutes continuously during my test runs, so it doesn't seem to be an issue with the netbook powering down because the lid is closed or anything like that. I also haven't had any frame drops during my extended test runs.

The only thing I can think of is that the vibrations from the sound system/PA at a show are causing the drive heads to skip or something. Could it be something else? Are there any easy solutions? I suppose upgrading to SSD would be feasible, but those are still pretty expensive the last time I checked. I'm considering wrapping the netbook in soundproofing foam, but that seems a little over the top!

Thanks in advance for your ideas/suggestions.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #2
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Sunny, I do the same thing but not live music,.. in nightclubs. The music is very loud and the vibrations caused my laptop to skip badly through the recording. I was only recording sound with my laptop but the skipping pretty much made the recording unusable. I was recording video with flash (no moving parts), and it was fine. Only the audio was ruined.

Lesson learned. Get an SSD if you can.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Sunny, I do the same thing but not live music,.. in nightclubs. The music is very loud and the vibrations caused my laptop to skip badly through the recording. I was only recording sound with my laptop but the skipping pretty much made the recording unusable. I was recording video with flash (no moving parts), and it was fine. Only the audio was ruined.

Lesson learned. Get an SSD if you can.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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Aaron, thanks for the validation. I had a feeling that was the issue! I just hope the much anticipated price drop in SSDs becomes a reality this coming year.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 09:06 PM   #5
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Since messageboard perusal is my main method of debugging any of life's problems, I thought I'd share an update so those in the future with my same problem may find an answer.

The issue WAS the loud sound causing the hard drive to skip. Unfortunately, SSDs are still currently a bit too pricey for me (at least for the current capacities), so I decided to try something else. I went ahead and bough a 16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card and used that with great success. Thankfully the Lenovo S10 has a built in reader which made life incredible easy.

16GB is sufficient for me. I film bands whose sets are no more than 8-9 GB at a time, and in between bands I have ample time to transfer the files from the flash card to a larger drive for storage. Not a bad solution for a card you can get for under $100!
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 01:44 PM   #6
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Great Solution, way to be resourceful! Thanks for the update.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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Slight addendum for anyone who tries this route:

I'm using the 16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo Mark2 by Sony because they are relatively cheap and readily available. These sticks come formatted in FAT32, which has a 4GB file size limit. My videos exceed this so the workaround is to reformat the flash card to NTFS.

HOWEVER, my attempts have shown that only the cards manufactured in Korea can be reformatted to NTFS. I don't know if the chipset is different and is causing this or what. All I can tell is that the two sticks made in Korea have been successfully formatted and the Japanese ones haven't.
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 05:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for this thread and the updates. I've been using my Lenovo S10 for about a year to record sports (soccer) where I have no bass/vibration issues. I am now also looking at regularly recording live music and had not considered this problem. Thanks for helping me dodge a bullet!
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