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Old March 7th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #1
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In dire need of Workflow HELP!

Hello everyone. Its been a while since i've lurked on here, but i remember this being THE place to go for good advice. Please excuse me if any of these are dumb questions, and if this should be moved, please feel free to do so.
I have been very fortunate to land a job designing video production suites for large churches. The problem is, I'm a bit out of my league! I have some install experience, a little videography, very little editing, and most of my experience is in live production. I have a great base of knowledge for the job, but post production is definitely a weakness for me.
First a little about the entire setup. My first job has a $140,000 video budget which includes construction, gear, and installation. I figure I need to keep the gear to around $65k. Ive decided to take advantage of Black Magic Designs new ATEM line for all the switching/comms/etc. I will be using 3 PTZ cameras with hd-sdi out, and one canon XA10 with Hdmi out. I was thinking of using one of BMD HDMI-->SDI mini converters at the XA10 to give me a long sdi run back to the switcher. Each of the PTZ cameras have 2 sdi outs, so I plan to run to the switcher and one straight to a BMD Decklink Quad (for each of the 3 cameras) and use distribution to give me two feeds from the XA10. I will be using one PC to run the ATEM television studio switcher, and another to capture and web stream the H.264 stream that the television studio's built in hardware encoder spits out. That takes care of the live aspect of things.

The client wants the ability to capture feeds from all four cameras, in case they want to do a better edit than the live broadcast (for DVD, Web, etc.) Also, they want to use Adobe Premiere Pro to do all of the post production.
Now to the point! I really need help figuring out what kind of machine to build that would be able to capture and compress 4 live 1080i camera feeds. I really want to save the client as much as I can, so I was planning to opt for windows instead of Mac, so I could build it myself. Im really not sure which is the more cost effective AND practical route to go. I could capture uncompressed, but Wouldn't I need a 4 drive Raid 0 array for each stream? 16 drives seems a little unpractical, to me so I was thinking of capturing into a compressed codec. Do you think the "HOT ROD" version of videoguys diy9 would pull off such a capture? If not, do I really need a 8 core Mac? Please help!

Thanks for reading all of that and for any suggestions!
Robbie Brandon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 7th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #2
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Re: In dire need of Workflow HELP!

Well, you could do everything separately, but there are much better systems that could handle all the camera wrangling.

A file based replay system would make this ridiculously easy. There are many software solutions out there that you could use - Abekas Mira using a simple DNF controller could run it no problem and provide some pretty elegant solutions for you. You would be able to record all cameras at once, with timecode, to multiple streams with the ability to clip and export timecoded segments on the fly as they happen. Bring all the footage into Premiere, and just automate everything to the timeline with timecode, already with segments cut. Now, if you meant that you were keeping 65k of the budget for gear total including a replay system...

You could always get a 4 channel replay deck with time code, manually hit record at the start of the show, and then export the clip to server storage on network. The footage on either of these solutions isn't uncompressed, but you can certainly do 4:2:2 if you like. I wouldn't want to deal with uncompressed footage on something like this, and neither do you I'm sure.

Any sports game on abekas can easily get to 100+ gigs in 4:2:0. Uncompressed would just be ridiculous.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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Re: In dire need of Workflow HELP!

Thanks for your reply Justin.
Are you suggesting a replay deck because thats the most cost effective way to capture(and compress on capture) 4 HD streams from sdi cameras? I checked out the Abekas stuff, and while it would work, it would consume my entire budget. I dont really need a replay feature, just to capture and record the 4 hd-sdi streams. I was thinking about the decklink quad from black magic. Would that not work? Or would it require so much cpu it would blow my budget? Not even with a 12 core Mac? This seems like it would be a common thing to do. Forgive my ignorance :-(
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #4
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Re: In dire need of Workflow HELP!

Yes, a digital replay deck (actually 2 double decks) would probably be the best turn key solution for simultaneous 4 stream capture and export.

A decklink quad can take in four sources at a time and monitor them, but cannot record four sources simultaneously. I used a decklink quad in a custom built web stream computer, and yes, you will see multiple cameras in your production software, but you aren't capturing four simultaneously. You would need a hell of a machine to encode four streams on the fly as well if it were possible.

I am finding it hard to come up with something in your budget - There are always patchwork solutions like running 4 P2 recorders on the side during the production, but that is still in the range of 3,000 per recorder plus 8 32GB P2 cards... Netting you somewhere in the $20k range already though.

Ill update if I can find something cheaper, but if someone could respond back as well giving a cheaper solution to four stream HD cam capture with timecode for export in a production setting that would be great. I have always worked with a dedicated replay system and then exported it all to tape or file from there.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: In dire need of Workflow HELP!

Hi Robbie,

If you are open to looking at other switcher solutions, the NewTek TriCaster 450 Extreme will capture FOUR streams at once internally, so you could save all 4 cameras, and the files will have synced time code for easy editing in your NLE. I believe it is MPEG-2 4:2:2 at 100Mbps.There is an 850 Extreme version that can capture 8 streams, so you could save all your camera feeds, plus the final live switch program, and a CLEAN live switch program (no DSK overlay) for instance. And it does web streaming.

Jeff Pulera
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