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Old June 15th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #1
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Firewire video splitter

I'd like to take the live output from the Firewire port of my miniDV camcorder and run it through some sort of 'splitter' so that it can be seen by 2 separate Firewire input ports.

I'm not sure if this can be done with a standard Firewire hub, or if there is a specialized piece of equipment for this. I checked on the forums, but it looked like other users were trying to share a single camera so they used switchers. I want a single live camera feed to multiple computers.

Is there a product that does this? I'm mentally imagining a little black box for about $100.

Thanks,

Eliot
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Old June 16th, 2004, 03:39 AM   #2
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In theory a firewire hub should be able to do that. Or if you hook
the two computers up with a cable and hook the camera up to
one of the same cards (assuming it has multiple ports) you should
see the camera on both sides as well.

I'm just not sure whether you can capture at both places at the
same time, or is it just for monitoring? In that case an analog
solution might be handier?

If you have two computers with one at least a multi port firewire
card and you have enough cables you can easily try all of this out
before looking into special solutions.
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Old June 16th, 2004, 06:14 AM   #3
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the reply! My desired goal is a bit odd. I am actually trying to get both live feeds to go to the same computer.

I have two DirectShow based programs running, and right now they both try to access the same Firewire port and conflict with each other. I am capturing data with both programs, but am not using any record functions on the camcorder--it's just a live video feed.

I would ideally like 2 DV camcorders to show up on the 'Devices' menu, but this may behave strangely--it's hard to tell.

Another way to do this would be to buy a s-video splitter and 2 analog-firewire converters from Canopus, but this is sort of a kludge.

I suspect I'll have to experiment a bit.

Thanks,

Eliot
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Old June 16th, 2004, 06:38 AM   #4
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You want to capture the same signal twice on the same PC?! That is odd....
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Old June 16th, 2004, 06:53 AM   #5
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I have seen it done with USB web cams, but not with firewire.

How about having 2 separate firewire PCI cards, that way you would hopefully get 2 devices in device manager. You would only then need to tell your software what firewire board to use. you would also need double the bandwith in your computer to cope with 2 firewire captures.

If you don't mind going via RCA and you don't need audio then look at securitiy type devices. I know there are a few packages around.

Cheers,
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Old June 16th, 2004, 07:28 AM   #6
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The way to get around the bandwidth problem is to have separate firewire cards in your computer. I use multiple live camera input via multiple firewire cards with no bandwidth problem.

I hook 2 live camera feeds (with chroma key backdrops working) and 1 DVD player up to my computer via 1394 (DVD uses the canopus AVDC-100) to mix live streaming out to the internet ... just experimenting in webcasting.
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Old June 16th, 2004, 04:09 PM   #7
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I don't think that is going to work, even with a firewire splitter
(if such a thing exists). My guess is that Windows / capture
software would get very confused as to what is going on.

You might want to check out a piece called GraphEdit from
Microsoft (do a google search). This allows you to build a whole
filter chain manually and I think you can split it as well. I'm not
sure if you can attach it to any other program then (probably
not), but it might be worth checking out in that direction.

If you have written a program yourself then it would be more
easy to do this.

Otherwise you might want to rethink your game play and come
up with another solution for the two programs. Why do you
need two programs accessing the same stream at the same
time?
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Old June 16th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #8
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For fun I just tried using multiple streams from 1394 to two separate programs on one computer. Rob was right. The programs flaked out real bad and were not at all happy. Crashed and burned every time.
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