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Old August 28th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Log Tapes: Recording up to 7 weeks?

I work for a (not-for-profit) community television station in Melbourne, Australia. We broadcast 99 first run, locally produced half hour programs every week to a reachable audience of 4 million viewers.

Anyway, it's a condition of our license that we record and store everything that airs for a period of 6 weeks. For the last 13 years we've been doing this with long-play VHS tapes and 3 x VCRs.

This means that some poor volunteer has to schlep into the office twice every weekend to change over the three tapes... and to be honest, I'm sick of being that schlep! Is there a recorder, either built into a computer or an external device, that can record an analogue tv signal for 6-7 weeks (and then be automated to record over itself)? It wouldn't matter what codec it used mpg4 or divx or anything in between, so long as it was watchable.

And (just to make it more difficult) it also needs to be able to parcel that information into 1 hour blocks that can be taken out and stored separately if we receive complaints.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Nathanael Oliver
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Old August 29th, 2007, 01:19 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
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I've come across this kind of thing before. My client (NEC) in Japan also has several broadcast customers who are required to archive their broadcasts for somewhere between 3 and 6 months.

They archive to small tape libraries made by NEC that hold anywhere from 10 to 40 tape cartridges and automatically mount and unmount the tapes. They periodically remove the cartridges and load up additional cartridges and store the recorded cartridges in a secure area. After the time expires the tapes are recycled.

They are not archived to video tape of any kind, but to digital computer tape. I'm not sure how the broadcasts are captured, but after capture, the files are simply written to tape just like any other computer backup data.

If this sounds like something that would address your requirement I'll give the folks in Tokyo a call and see if they can find out more about the details of the archive operation.

These small libraries are not as cheap as VCR's, but they're not prohibitively expensive either - I think something on the order of US$5k to $15k including the LTO tape drives depending on type of drive and number of cartridges.

Let me know if you'd like me to look into this further. I've been involved in the development of these tape drives and libraries for quite a few years, but am located in Tucson Arizona - long trip to Tokyo!
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Old August 29th, 2007, 03:33 AM   #3
New Boot
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
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lets asume that you are going to encode to a hard disk drive using mpeg2 you would need a hardware encoder card and a capture card, these may end up being the same thing, asuming a bit rate of 2.6 Megabits/s you would require space for 4233600 seconds of video = aprox 10.5Tb of data, not now an imposible figure, asuming you put together an array to hold all this data the best software to use would be linux, its stable has all the required software avaliable and someone familiar with it would be able to configure it so that it does every thing you need probably splitting the recordings up by date and hour so that they are easy to locate. hope that helps a little.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2
Thanks for the responses. They both sound like reasonable solutions.

I guess I was ultimately hoping for an 'off-the-shelf' solution. Not unlike the security systems you can get that can capture 4 streams of footage at mpg4, but obviously on a larger scale, and just 1 stream.

This certainly is a tough one. Apparently the BBC still log their footage on VHS so it sounds like they haven't found an alternate means of logging either.
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