Digitizing real time video

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Digitizing real time video is a processor intensive operation that doesn’t allow for much else to go on. So you’re not going to find one that can record three streams at once. Not to mention that you’ll only have one DV video input available on any given computer (generally a Firewire/IEEE 1394 input) and digitizing software only expects one video feed. So you are going to need three recording devices. But they don’t have to be computers.

I’ll just mention in passing that you could use videotape to record and digitize it later. But going direct to disc will give increased quality and speed up the post-production process. Now I’m going to assume your cameras are all feeding line signals to your control room. This means you will require a device to turn the video stream into a digital stream. These are available at reasonable prices from a variety of manufacturers (Pinnacle comes to mind.) And you’ll need one for each computer.

In the past couple of years, another option has become available. You can now purchase stand alone DVR’s that have AV inputs and a way to connect it to your computer. One of your church members may have one already so you could try it out. And there are also stand-alone direct-to-disc DVD recorders that can record from AV inputs. In terms of required space, DVD recorders need the least while multiple computers require the most. Keep that in mind if space is at a premium. And be sure to set the record quality at the max to get the most from your recordings. And don’t forget to record your audio so you can easily synch your shots in post.

Good luck with your project. And feel free to contact me if you’d like to get tips for shooting & editing three camera field productions. I’ve been teaching the techniques for more than 15 years (and using them for over 20 years.) Such as, use your wide/cover shot to record master audio so the sound is continuous & consistent. The audio on the close-up cameras is essential for visually synching the shots to the master audio. And many, many more tips to make a top notch show in short order. (Hint, it’s all about planning.)

And remember, have fun with the project!

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