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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old January 5th, 2003, 03:55 PM   #1
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Use miniDV for data storage?

Has anyone come across software to use a miniDV camcorder with Firewire to store regular (i.e., non-video) digital data?

Seems such an application would not be too hard to construct, though I wonder about data integrity. A few missed/garbled bits in a video is rarely catastrophic, but in a spreadsheet or in an executable it would be fatal.

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Old January 6th, 2003, 12:06 AM   #2
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That's an interesting question.. but I don't understand why you'd want to? CD/DVD-Rs are much more reliable than something like that would ever be.
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Old January 6th, 2003, 12:26 AM   #3
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This is a question viewed in context of being relevant only to people who aren't already trying to publish their video works.

Well it seemed like an interesting avenue since there are so many DV cameras out in the wild now. Except for very expensive tape back-up devices, there are few other media available that can carry 20, rewritable, GB in a $5.00 package. People hold onto loads more data these days with few practical means for back-up. Also, it would be platform and media independent unlike DVD***.
If your camcorder could be a back-up device for you, then you wouldn't need a DVD burner. [ For example, you could wait until some real format standardization is accomplished...]


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Old January 6th, 2003, 01:02 AM   #4
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Hi Ron,

DVD burners are really coming down in cost these days. And I recall your topic being discussed on a mailing list awhile back; there is no such software available. An admirable idea, but I don't think it'll ever happen, unfortunately.

Can we get your full name and location, please? We're trying to move everything in the direction of real names as usernames. Thanks,
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Old January 6th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #5
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But what makes you think it would be able to carry 20 gigs?
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Old January 6th, 2003, 11:40 AM   #6
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Isn't the data rate for DV in the range of 18-20 GB per hour? At least that's the amount of HD space that disappears when I transfer video to my PC.

DVD video formats use even more compression (MPEG2) than DV, due to 3.95-4.7 GB capacity.
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Old January 6th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #7
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It would require not only software to do a data conversion, but more than likely require some kind of firmware revision to the camcorder. Mini DV tapes hold just under 13 gigs of DV per hour. If used for data the LP speed could possibly be used thus providing about 20 gigs of storeage.

As Chris points out no such hardware or software exists today. The other downsides to this are wear and tear on your camera, cost of software, time needed to convert data and space needed to store data temporarily. The time factor will be exteme. In most cases data is written to tape very slowly. When you consider that 4X DVD burners are available for under $300 it would seem that the camcorder will never be modified for data recording.

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Old January 6th, 2003, 08:49 PM   #8
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There is some opensource UNIX software (I think it also runs on
Windows) that does exactly this. They use some form of error
correction and repeating data to make sure they can read it back.
Ofcourse this lowers the actual storage capacity. But that would
still be in several GB's. Personally however I have abonded tape
based backup long ago for disc based because I can search and
retrieve information from there a lot faster!

Tape backup is still in use in businesses to backup large amounts
of data that rarely need restoring. And if it needs that it usually
is to recover from a crash instead of using it as a storage device.
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Old January 6th, 2003, 09:06 PM   #9
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Rod - Thank you for the post - interesting to see that someone has implemented such a scheme.
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Old January 14th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #10
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A possible solution for Macs

This was on www.macintouch.com this morning...

"DV Backup 0.2 enables you to back up data to a DV camcorder by converting the data to be backed up (such as a StuffIt archive or tar file) into a DV format that can be transferred to the camera. This release adds a graphical interface and no longer requires iMovie"

http://www.geocities.com/timhewett/macdownloads.htm

I haven't checked it out yet, but will.
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