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camcorder vs pc capture box which is better?

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I was wondering which is better to use for FPV recording, portable camcorder or pc capture card?

From what I can see the camcorder is more portable verses pc capture card which requires a laptop. But now I'm not too concerned with portability and instead after better video quality.

I thought about purchasing a portable DVD writer like Sergio, but now I'm not so sure anymore. It's a nice unit with great results, but now I'm seeing so many other videos out there recorded by different methods and all just as good. I read that what we download (videos) is not the same quality from the original recorded format. I'm curious to see what the original format looks like.

I've loaded a Sony 520TVL camera on board my TwinStar with a Rangevideo 500mw 2.4Ghz TX, I hate to waste the video quality by recording it to a substandard method.

So people, I'm asking professional preference? What have you experienced with your tried results? Has your method of recording come out like what you see through your Video goggles?

Thanks in advance!!! :rolleyes:

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In terms of recording both will be about the same and give you all the detail the camera gives. On the PC, the main affecting point is to use a good codec for recording. On nearly all my currrent videos I've been using MPEG-2 at 8Mbps, it's good but not optimal, some fast moves will still give you a bunch of pixels on a few consecutive frames. The best choice is to record using DV, the same compression a camcorder uses. Now to the issue, you need a latest generation PC for it to cope with, as strange as it can be. My new laptop I got in september works just fine with it, and the result is awesome. My previous one (2 years old only, but 3x slower) wouldn't cope with live DV recording.

So in conclusion, with a camcorder you only need to take it out and press record on the field, but need to capture the tape content at home.

With the laptop you need a powerful one, find the good software/codec combo for your capture device, have to boot it and wait on the field, load and configure the software when you don't see a thing in the sun,... but then readily have a file on the hard drive.

PeteSchug insists saying his camcorder records bad quality, but I keep insisting it must be an exception. I've recorded video with quite a vew different models over time and never experienced that. Just be sure you don't get the same one as him ;)

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If you want to record DV on a laptop then I reccomend a Canopus ADVC-55 unit, it's a standalone analogue-to-DV converter box, and doesn't need a PSU as it can power from the firewire port, so your laptop only needs to be powerful enough to 'save' the incoming DV stream.

I've had an ADVC-100 for years and it's an excellent piece of kit (this version does analogue to and from DV) and will soon be buying an ADVC-300 because of it's ability to deal with poor quality VHS tapes.

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Be careful, it's only powered from the firewire port if you have a 6-pin plug. Most laptops have a 4-pin one that doesn't give power.

I had been considering that box for those who are equipped with a DV camcorder that has no analog input. Linking both device with a firewire cable would allow them to record. But the price is a bit prohibitive (found it for ~$300)...

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I have never own a camcoder, and now I need something to record, so maybe it´s a good excuse to buy one :P

The main object is going to be fpv recording, but if I´m going to buy a camcoder I don´t want to buy one without optical zoom like the Aiptek mpvr.

Do you guys recommend me to look at anything else as well as video input?

Do the format (tape, miniDV...) matters?

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Go for MiniDV. The new types (DVD, hard drive models) use a more lossy compression, which would kill the benefit of using a camcorder to record. Plus, it seems the current tendency on the new models is not to put an analog input anymore.

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Thanks Haku! I like the idea of not having to throw away my camcorder into the closet!

Kilrah:

Thank you for your input!

With a laptop I assume it will not stop recording when the transmitting signal drop ever so often, but the qaulity may not be as sharp as DV. Hmmm I guess it's a matter of choice but I do like both ideas ( Yours and Haku )

Only one problem with Haku's though...... My wife actually comes from a long line of Samurai's. On her mother's side it was high Samurai status with political ties. On her father's side it was Samurai with law enforcement tasks for the emperor. The law enforcement included such task as chopping the guilty's head off with their razor sharp Katana (sword).. ( they were well know in their area for head chopping!). She's proud of her ancestor's position. So if I spend anymore big items stuff, it may be hazardous for my health! :)

Edited by JMS

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LOL :lol:

but the qaulity may not be as sharp as DV.

I do record using the DV codec, so the compression loss should be the same.

Correction regarding my previous post: my old laptop actually can record live DV. I was just using an old version of the software that was a bit crappy and used outdated drivers, with the latest it works just fine. I prefer this, it was a bit strange as DV is a pretty simple compression algorithm.

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I have never own a camcoder, and now I need something to record, so maybe it´s a good excuse to buy one :P

The main object is going to be fpv recording, but if I´m going to buy a camcoder I don´t want to buy one without optical zoom like the Aiptek mpvr.

Do you guys recommend me to look at anything else as well as video input?

Do the format (tape, miniDV...) matters?

Hola Andres,

Yes, format does matters believe or not, like CDs and LP discs, both are dics but the digital method wins. MiniDvs camcorder records into digital signals.

I have used a sony HC-40 MiniDv camcorder, and it's great, it's very small, it takes analog video from the receiver and converts it to digital, I didi not noticed any video quality loss.

Here is the link for my stuff: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread....t=616364&page=7

Hasta la vista

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...( they were well know in their area for head chopping!). She's proud of her ancestor's position. So if I spend anymore big items stuff, it may be hazordous for my health! :)

:lol: Hey JMS wach you head, better saying, watch for the Katana.

So, you are the JmsTech at rcgroups right?

Take care buddy.

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Like wilson I have a Sony HC-30 (HC-40 was too expensive) which I chose especially because of it's ability to input/ouput analogue as well as having DV passthrough so it can input analogue and output DV in realtime like the Canopus units, nice for recording VHS into your PC.

Camcorders that do those functions are ideal for FPV recording because of the image quality and portability but you have to take care with the I/O sockets because they weren't designed to be used on a daily basis like a Canopus unit.

JMS, in regards to the samurai situation that's a little bit cool and disturbing all on one ;)

Kilrah, which DV codec you use can affect the quality too, I've tested several DV codecs by passing a piece of video through them 10x, the only codec that didn't degrade the video was the Canopus one.

Going a little off-tangent, when I found that the LANC port on my Sony camcorder outputs 6v for the control devices I wondered if it could be used to power other things...

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Wilson:

"quote"

Hey Malvinass como estas ?

So, you are Wilson here.

This is JMSTECH from rcgroup forum.

Nice to see you around here.

Saludos !!!

"quote"

:lol::lol::lol:

Yeah I do stray from homebase (rc-cam forum), just to check out what others are thinking or discussing; it make us wiser ;) . I think many of us are doing it right folks?

Haku:

Yeah I guess back then life in Japan was a little bit rough. But they lived life with discipline to keep things in order.

Oh BTW my laptop has only 4 pins on the firewire....just found that out now.

Kilrah:

MANY "Thanks" and I think you just helped me make up my mind finally. I will go with the Kilrah solution!!! :D What capture card are you using? Magic Box? Pinnacle? Plextor??? Are they generally all the same?

Haku:

Have you seen Miyazaki Hayao's PORCO ROSSO? It's pretty cool I recommend it!

;)

Edited by JMS

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Pinnacle PCTV100e USB2 box (~$70), capturing with VirtualDub 1.6.15 and MainConcept DV codec. No, they're not all the same. The most annoying thing is the display lag, some have a big buffer and will display the image only half a second after it's actually received. It doesn't matter if you're only recording, but it's obviously bad if you intend to fly by watching the image on the PC.

Sure the DV codec will matter if you abuse it that way. But it's still the SD codec that has the lowest loss. If you want you can record in raw uncompressed 125Mbps too. Just prepare the BIG hard drive when you do this, count 20Gb for 15mins ;)

And remember the less handling you'll do on a video the better it turns out. For me, that's one encoding at recording time, and one for final export. That's all.

But that's being picky, with the cameras we use you'll never be able to see a difference.

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With a laptop I assume it will not stop recording when the transmitting signal drop ever so often...

Do a camecoder have this problem?

Is there any feature I can look at to prevent buying one with this problem?

I´m looking for camcoders and I´m finding some so cheap that I think I´m missing something :P

I´ll post my search results when I clean it up, but right now I have around 30 camcoders in the list :blink:

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I don't know of any that will stop recording. That's more of an issue with DVRs. My old Panasonic NV-DS38 does mess up about 1s of video after a serious drop though.

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JMS, wish I had the money to buy all that stuff you bought in a single month :)

I have seen Porco Rosso, as well as all the other Studio Ghibli films (except Tales from Earthsea), Spirited Away was the first one I saw which sucked me into their world, hence my avatar.

Andres, my Sony HC30 doesn't stop recording the analogue input when it breaks up or looses connection, and like Kilrah I haven't heard of any DV camcorders that stop when they get a fuzzy/broken signal.

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Pinnacle PCTV100e USB2 box (~$70), capturing with VirtualDub 1.6.15 and MainConcept DV codec. No, they're not all the same. The most annoying thing is the display lag, some have a big buffer and will display the image only half a second after it's actually received. It doesn't matter if you're only recording, but it's obviously bad if you intend to fly by watching the image on the PC.

Sure the DV codec will matter if you abuse it that way. But it's still the SD codec that has the lowest loss. If you want you can record in raw uncompressed 125Mbps too. Just prepare the BIG hard drive when you do this, count 20Gb for 15mins ;)

And remember the less handling you'll do on a video the better it turns out. For me, that's one encoding at recording time, and one for final export. That's all.

But that's being picky, with the cameras we use you'll never be able to see a difference.

Thanks Kilrah!!!!!

Valueable info from you once again! We're lucky to have a guy like you here because I noticed your knowledgeable advice is full of details, which I always find more than what I expected! (but IMPORTANT to know!)

I can't imagine you are that old judging from the videos I watched but it never cease to impress me how much you know! I think others can agree with me!! ;)

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Haku:

Well I don't normally spend like I just did normally in general life. But when I do, I just get it over with once so I'm good for a while unless I lose my plane :(

Yeah I notice your Haku avatar and smiled! I knew you were a fan of Sprited Away... hey me too! It's Miyazaki's finest work! I haven't seen Earthsea either but apparently from what my wife reports, Studio Ghibli produces a movie every year! We only get to see a small portion of that :(

Camcorder stop recording after loosing signal:

Well my camcorder is fairly new and when it detects a video break, it stops recording. Why is that? Well I was told the camcorder "thinks" that the inputing device has stopped playing, so my camcorder automatically stops the recording. Apparently from what I was told many of the newer camcorder has this feature. ( annoying )

So to avoid this one should look at older camcorders or find a newer model that doesn't have the automatic stop recording feature.

I've decided to go with the KILRAH METHOD. Record into my laptop by using a affordable capture card. The quality is really good and it's simple! The video is already in my laptop so I do not need to transfer it into the hard drive for processing.

Real nice and easy!

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Thanks all :)

JMS, what´s the support of your camcoder?

Hi Andres!

I'm not sure of your question but I will take a guess. At the moment I am using a Samsung camcorder which records into a SD memory chip. When I did some test recording and got some video drop out, my camcorder automatically stopped recording. My electronic technician buddy told me the camcorder will stop recording automatically when "it" thinks the input device (eg: vcr or FPV camera) stops playing. This is so because the camcorder will try to conserve tape or memory space for more videos. He also told me this feature is common in most camcorder now a days. I can't guarantee that info is true since I have only tried this out personally on one camcorder.... my own. My Sony Digital DV camera is dead so I couldn't try this out on a differnt brand name.

So again I personally will not try to waste anymore money trying out different video cameras, and simply go to straight to the Kilrah method. :)

Hey by the time I finish saying the Kilrah Method so many times, maybe everyone will get used to calling "video to pc recording", the Kilrah Method :lol::lol::lol:

JMS!

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That´s what I meant :P

From what Haku and Kilrah said, probably only have that problem hard disk or memory card camcoders.

I´ve been looking for miniDV options with AV in (cheaper is better :P ) and I think I´ll buy one of theese three. Any comment about brands, sites, features or whatever you want are appreciated :)

Maybe it´s OT, but someone could take advantage of my search, so here it is:

JVC GR-DVL920 (only NTSC):

B&H

Epinions

JVC GR-D650 (only NTSC):

Shopping.com

DealTime

Canon MV920, forget it, Kilrah sadly discovered it hasn´t AV in after buying one (excuse me Kilrah :():

DealTime

Andres

Edited by Andres

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Excellent thread JMS; glad you posted the question. Although I am planning to use a laptop for recording from a portable ground station, I will gradully buy a good camcorder of some sort for mounting on my heli and "walk-a-bout" FPV flying.

Cheers - Lachlan

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Maybe it´s OT, but someone could take advantage of my search

I did, someone just asked me to get one for him, I'll go for the MV920, still easy to find and at a good price, thanks :)

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gb7:

Happy to start the thread!

Andres: sorry I guess I got the message wrong. Like I said about not being able to test the info I was told, don't take what I mentioned for real fact.

Anyhow guys happy recording/flying and may the sun be at your back!

:)

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