Bill’s Blog

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Archive for the ‘photography’ tag

Experimenting With Real-Time HD Video Capture

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With dwindling free disk cpace on my MacbookPro, I went looking for alternative ways of capturing video from my HDV camcorder. My guess was that I’d need to buy a 1394 hard drive. Since My Macbook Pro has only a single 1394a connector, I wondered if the bus would support two streams at the same time – one from the camera to the Mac and one from the Mac to the HDD.

I borrowed a friends G-drive. I knew that this solution was more than my budget for this project, but I thought it would give me an idea of what would work. I used iMovie 08 in all experiments.

Experiment #1 – 1394b

The first experiment I did was to capture a 7 minute HDV video with the HDD connected via 1394b. As expected, this setup worked like a charm. The camera was connected to the computer via 1394a and the HDD via 1394b.

Experiment #2 – 1394a

This setup was slightly more complex than the first. Since there is only one 1394a port on my Mac, I had to use the 1394a hub in my Apple Cinema display to connect both the HDD and the camcorder. In this test, iMovie switched back and forth from real-time capture to 3/4 speed HDV capture. In the middle of the test the fans on the computer sounded like a jet engine. Ultimately I was successful at capturing video, but it appeared to be the most taxing of the three experiments.

Experiment #3 – USB 2.0

I was originally only looking at comparing 1394a and 1394b, but for some reason I decided to try capturing video via USB. The camera was connected directly to the Mac via 1394a. The HDD was connected directly to one of the USB plugs on the Mac. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the video capture was successful (and in real-time). This started me thinking…

Extra Credit – Experiment #4

The G-Drive I used for these tests is a work of art. It has two hard disks in a Raid 0 configuration for super fast performance. The success of experiment #3 made me wonder if I could capture video with any USB hard disk. To find out, I connected my own USB drive and tried it one more time.

This particular drive is a Maxtor 250 GB SATA drive inside of an enclosure I got at the local computer store for $31. Again, the camera was connected to the computer via 1394a. The HDD was connected via USB. My 7 min HDV video was captured in real-time.

What did I learn?

  • I didn’t need to spend $150 to buy an external 1394 drive
  • USB is much more capable than I thought

Written by bill

September 6th, 2007 at 10:32 pm

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Who is Thomas Hawk?

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Does anyone know Thomas Hawk? He has a great blog. He takes great pictures. It looks like he has a lot of fun with the photo walks he does with Scoble. He also says he’s the CEO of Zooomr.

All this makes sense. Being the curious guy that I am, I went to the zooomr site and read the about page. It says the interim CEO is Wendall Davis III. I looked at Thomas Hawk’s blog, and he does say that Thomas Hawk is a pen name.

My question is this. Who is Thomas Hawk? Is he Wendall Davis III? Is he Thomas Hawk? Is he Clark Kent? Does anyone really know?

Written by bill

April 19th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

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