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View Full Version : Advice on Portable Video Hard Drives


Macmaniac
Apr 23, 2004, 07:59 PM
I am thinking of filming a lot of basketball games at my school, and I want to simultaneously record the game on film, and record on a HD at the same time. I am very reluctant to bring in a computer to record the game live. iMovie has been far to unreliable to hope that it will record 30 to 40 minutes of footage live, my 700mhz G3 iMac would probably die trying to keep up, it has problems exporting a 10 minute movie so I am reluctant. I have hear of the ABS Pyro drive which is designed to record what ever is coming out of the camera onto a HD, unfortunately it costs $800 and thats way too much for me, is there any option I have, or should I do a complete clean out of my computer so I free up 30 to 40 gig of space for a recording, should I get my iMac a new HD with a big buffer space on it? Now I will have a back up tape, but I hope that I can avoid the long tedious 1:1 time it takes to import into iMovie. Advice please!

MacRAND
Apr 23, 2004, 09:20 PM
I am thinking of filming a lot of basketball games at my school, and I want to simultaneously record the game on film, and record on a HD at the same time. I am very reluctant to bring in a computer to record the game live. iMovie has been far to unreliable to hope that it will record 30 to 40 minutes of footage live, my 700mhz G3 iMac would probably die trying to keep up, it has problems exporting a 10 minute movie so I am reluctant. I have hear of the ABS Pyro drive which is designed to record what ever is coming out of the camera onto a HD, unfortunately it costs $800 and thats way too much for me, is there any option I have, or should I do a complete clean out of my computer so I free up 30 to 40 gig of space for a recording, should I get my iMac a new HD with a big buffer space on it? Now I will have a back up tape, but I hope that I can avoid the long tedious 1:1 time it takes to import into iMovie. Advice please! With your limited budget, I'm not sure where else to go except FireWire800/400 LaCie d2 external hard drives. Although your current iMac does not provide for FW800, the reality is that all future Macs will and you don't want to buy an external hard drive that is married to old FW400 technology. The cost difference is minimal.

If you cannot afford the ABS Pyro, then you are going to choke at any AVID Mojo solution.

Regardless of what you end up doing, educate yourself with the new technology announced at NAB and included in Final Cut Pro 4.5 HD. It is clearly the direction of video's future and it's backed up by Panasonic, JVC, Pioneer and others. If your school is not careful, it can end up with owning a bunch of expensive dinosaurs for equipment when that could be liquidated in favor of new HD cameras, memory, and software. The key is to have a Dual Purpose department at your school, teaching Video/Audio production and editing, and also manning cameras and equipment at school sporting events for lab practice. In Metro-Phoenix (Maricopa County), the county school board picked one of its dozen or so Community Colleges (Scottsdale CC) to host the Broadcast Arts department and funded it with good equipment and backed it up with experienced teachers. There is a waiting list to get into their classes. Students come from all over the county to take classes here in that area. Since there are two the three times as many students as equipment and facilities, use is rotated in groups and time.

Frankly, your computer is challenged
G3 should be G5
700 MHz should be 2.0GHz or better
One CPU should be a dual, and whatever
Hard Drive you have should be 7200 rpm or better with 8mb buffer and lots of storage (250GB and better; RAIDs are preferrable) - just look at the top of the LaCie d2 line for FW800/400/USB2 drives of choice.

Using your current iMac would likely be futile.
Final Cut Pro 4.5 and lots of equipment out there can download HD DV directly to hard drive, but your school does not appear to have the kind of equipment that can take advantage of the technology. Does it?
http://pro.jvc.com/pro/attributes/prodv/photos/300w/fsj3.jpg
Besides, all it is doing is aving time for rendering from DV to Hard Drive and converting to QuickTime so iMovie or Final Cut Pro 4.5 can start editing.
http://pro.jvc.com/pro/attributes/hdtv/photos/300w/jyhd10u.jpg
The biggest problem is making sure you have a good enough camera CCD to record the action. A Canon zr70mc just isn't going to do it for you.
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/images/LargerPhoto/l_ag_dvx100a_cinema.jpg
Are you still using FILM? If so, for the price of one season's worth of film and processing, you could have one heck of a video camera and DV tapes.
http://a16.g.akamai.net/7/16/51/3e3d230b98a0ed/www.apple.com/finalcutpro/images/codecstop_041804_01.jpg
To handle a backetball game, there needs to be a minimum of 3 video cameras, one at ach end of the court at court level, and one high up to cover the mid-court and back and forth motion. Editing will take advantage of all 3 by taking the best shots for the timeline. If you really had a good budget, then footage would be collected centrally in a control booth during the game.

Again, making all this expensive equipment simply a part of the Audio/Visual Aids department or the Physical Education Department is wasteful, putting it to daily use in an instructional environment 12 months a year (including summer school) is where you will have a selling point.

You're right, the iMac would choke.
If you are serious about getting into HD DV video, I have a friend who is the real expert around her who will be happy to guide you and the school.

LethalWolfe
Apr 23, 2004, 10:51 PM
I would get a large firewire harddrive, plug that into your iMac and store the footage there. Capturing footage in real time is just a hassle we'll have to live with until tape goes the way of the dodo (which won't be any time soon).

MacRAND made a lot of good points but I don't know how many of them were actually helpful. ;) EDIT: Also, I think the original poster meant "harddisk drive" when he said "HD" (instead of "HDD") and not "high def" video. EDIT #2: And when he said "film" I think he was refering to videotape.


Lethal

MacRAND
Apr 23, 2004, 11:05 PM
I would get a large firewire harddrive, plug that into your iMac and store the footage there. Capturing footage in real time is just a hassle we'll have to live with until tape goes the way of the dodo (which won't be any time soon).

MacRAND made a lot of good points but I don't know how many of them were actually helpful. ;)
EDIT: Also, I think the original poster meant "harddisk drive" when he said "HD" (instead of "HDD") and not "high def" video.
EDIT #2: And when he said "film" I think he was refering to videotape.
LethalYeah, I take things kind of literal, but I could just invision a coach "filming" a basketball game because that's what they have in equipment. I think you are right about the "film".

HiDef came in because of FCP 4.5, which is very exciting news.

Frankly, I'm not quite sure why he would want to have the iMac at the game, it would just get in the way of DV tape being the primary recording.

If he doesn't have enough room on the iMac HD to download the whole game, an external FW drive would be the smartest solution, and not trying to get a larger hard drive to put inside.

I goofed, I should have checked his profile. Oops.

Macmaniac
Apr 24, 2004, 01:59 PM
When I meant by film was mini DV, I just use film to refer to all kinds of recording mediums, I guess I should be more specific. Here is what I currently have at my disposal, My TV teacher has a mobile switcher for games, unfortunately it can only handle 2 cameras. 3 camera's would be best, but my teacher does not have the budget for a more advanced switcher, we do have one that can handle 8 cameras, but we use that in the studio, I doubt he will let me use that. I am pretty sure that he will let me use his mini-dv VCR to record the game, that way I won't lose quality, we usually have to record in VHS which is a pain in the ass for doing digital editing. Over the summer I hope to take a Final Cut Pro class so I can use that instead of iMovie which has become too unstable for large projects. Also my computer system should be improving soon, as soon as Apple updates their G5 line I will be buying one, I have been saving up for a year. Hopefully a G5 should be able to handle importing through Final Cut Pro at the game live. I will probably invest in an additional SATA HD from Western Digital, probably a 160 or 200 gig HD with an 8MB buffer. Thanks for the advice, and yes the DV tape would be my primary copy, but it would serve as a backup if the importing does not work at the game. Luckily the VCR I will be using will record the DV tape, and it has Firewire as well so I can record on the computer in real time I Hope!!!!
Thanks MacRand