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Hey guys.

Im looking for a portable DVR.

Something that will record to an uncompressed ( DV ) format.

Maybe something with a laptop hard drive.

It would be even better if it was something you added a hard to as that would give more options for hard drives.

Examples on B&H's website

The above link gives some example of items that are WAY above my price range for this.

The reason I am looking for a hard drive based device is I would like to use this for other applications as well as FPV recording.

So there are times when and hour of recording is not enough...

Any suggestions?

It doesn't have to have a screen for playback but it would be nice if if had a composite out and controls for reviewing.

I do have a EASYCAP USB 2.0 on the way but it would be nice to have a prepacked solution that didn't require a laptop at the field...

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I don't know of any standalone recorder that will record a composite source in DV format except for DV camcorders/decks with a video input.

There are some that record 8Mbps MPEG-2 on a flash card, with no noticeable quality difference vs DV, but expect about $700.

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So lets say I am willing to spend about $500.00 on a device for this.

What would be the best bang for the buck.

#1 being storage size. ( i would prefer a large storage space vs swappable SD/CF cards)

#2 being quality.

#3 being size/portability. ( internal batteries are ok as long as an external power source is an option. )

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So lets say I am willing to spend about $500.00 on a device for this.

What would be the best bang for the buck.

#1 being storage size. ( i would prefer a large storage space vs swappable SD/CF cards)

#2 being quality.

#3 being size/portability. ( internal batteries are ok as long as an external power source is an option. )

Good luck Viper. If you find something, let me know.

I've been looking for a good DVR for probably around 4 years now. The one I've been interested in for a long time now is the Chasecam DVR100. I've been waiting for the price to go down. It started around $350 then it went up to $550 and stayed there for a few years. I figured it would go down anytime now. Guess what, the price increased again by $100. If I had only bought a few when they first came out, I could have used them for a few years and still sold them with a huge profit margin.

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Yes, it's a dilemma; however good your downlink, on playback it looks worse.

MiniDV remains the best @25MB/s, but while in theory there are loads of camcorders with "DV in" sockets (e.g. Look here!), in practice these are hard to find.

I've found for FPV recording there are also a lot of caveats e.g. camcorders that:

- require extra button-presses to record from the AV in

- show 'REC' in the viewfinder when they are actually paused (record = REC flashing etc.)

- interpret a fraction of a second of mush as 'end of signal' and switch off

- just won't record the video... for some reason...

... all of which can lead to many a frustrating time on returning from the field to find tapes blank.

There are a few stand-alone miniDV recorders, but they are hard to find and expensive.

Then there are the myriad compression codecs used in solid-state PVRs, some of which are better, some worse, for FPV (wide contrast, often all of the frame changing at once). Bit-rate is a good starting point, but far from the whole story. And you're stuck with whatever codec comes with it.

Another problem with PVRs is that often they leave the factory with the white balance etc. not very well adjusted. I bought a small PVR from a very reputable FPV dealer, which recorded everything just too white, unless I turned the input amplitude right down (which sort of worked, but made it more vulnerable to loss of signal conditions). They can also be vulnerable to 'just not working' e.g. some Archos models aren't happy on diversity switches.

The worst habit PVRs have is not saving anything unless you perform the right end sequence. Even if this is simply "Press STOP before OFF", it's much easier to get wrong thatn you'd think, when you've just landed after that record-breaking FPV flight, pressing little buttons isn't high on the priority list!

There are these items from Dogcamsport, which not only allow fiddling with bitrates, but also give access to contrast/brightness/white bal etc. If they weren't so eye-wateringly expensive I'd try one!

Of course, you can use a USB capture device and a laptop, popular with some on this board. I've never had a lot of luck with this - laptop screen too dim for easy use in the field, inexplicable drops in frame rate, dust getting everywhere. For me, I probably just don't have enough brain cells to do enough worrying to make this solution work - by the time I'm at the field with a 'hot' 'plane in my launching hand, I really just want a box with a red button on it marked 'Record'!

After trying a few things, I've currently settled on the Archos AV500 - about the last one they did before needing an add-on gizmo to allow AV-in; this one just needs a 'special plug' available on eBay. Great battery life, one-touch record, bright screen in the field, pretty resilient to dropouts turning it off, great storage, works as a USB memory card (no proprietory interface needed), ~3-4MB/s. And cheap.

Okay, it's not miniDV. I just wish someone would make a matchbox that recorded composite video as miniDV onto memory cards. A miniDV tape stores ~11GB, so it shouldn't be a problem! Nice images, no transcoding before editing, no mechanics to get sand in... I can dream...

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I'm using the HQR2. Haven't found any closer to MiniDV yet in terms of quality, especially with the new firmware that got out a couple of months ago with the "sports" mode. 8Mbps MPEG-2 with quantification that's enhanced for fully moving frames works perfectly. Seems they don't offer it without camera anymore though, they did at the time I bought it. Expensive, but very good, and it even powers a camera or receiver with its 5-12V adjustable power output. It doesn't play back the images and requires running the files into a PC program that creates a standard MPG container from the special file format it uses, but it's not all that annoying.

Edited by Kilrah

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That Datavideo DN-60 would be right on the money... if anyone knows of an inexpensive, small, low-power composite-to-firewire converter...

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Jeepers... ADVC-55 + DN-60 = my miniDV (or a few HD formats too) recorder for a mere 600 big ones. Compared to the cost of one of those Sony miniDV portable decks that's not that much!

I am of course assuming that recording straight to MPEG2 still has the old problem around it being a lossy codec - each pass (decompress-recompress) makes things smudgier.

Does anyone know of an editor that keeps things MPEG2 as originally encoded, rather than re-compressing each time?

If not, I guess there is still an argument for the superiority of miniDV...

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Does anyone know of an editor that keeps things MPEG2 as originally encoded, rather than re-compressing each time?

If not, I guess there is still an argument for the superiority of miniDV...

VideoRedo is the best.

ADVC-55 + DN-60 = my miniDV (or a few HD formats too) recorder for a mere 600 big ones.

Are you saying you think it's possible to connect a Canopus converter to the DN-60 to create a portable solid state DV recorder?

Edited by Hannibal

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Thanks for the tip, I'll have a look at Video Redo.

The DN-60 records from firewire in, and the ADVC-55 takes composite in and puts out firewure - so they should work together.

There may be Tech Support at B&H that could confirm this...

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I am of course assuming that recording straight to MPEG2 still has the old problem around it being a lossy codec - each pass (decompress-recompress) makes things smudgier.

Does anyone know of an editor that keeps things MPEG2 as originally encoded, rather than re-compressing each time?

If not, I guess there is still an argument for the superiority of miniDV...

MiniDV is also a lossy codec, that also loses quality on each recompression...

But in reality, what do you do with your video? Usually you will run it in a non-linear editing program to cut it, add transitions, titles,... and finally encode it in some distribution-friendly format, like WMV, MPEG4/h.264,... You don't really keep a raw 1GB DV or 8Mbps MPEG2 file with you around to watch and send to friends.

This is the key point, usually if you have high quality DV, it's not of much use if you don't do anything with it. So, you'll always have to recompress your video to make something useful with it. The important thing is to do that only once, no successive recompressions, and with a well balanced export format...

The only time I will just do cuts of a raw file, without recompression, is if the video was to go to a customer, so that he has the full quality but without the 80% of useless shots...

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Meh - the losses seem far worse to me when starting from MPEG than from miniDV.

Loss of quality, when all you've done is lop off the rubbish front & back is, well, irritating. And noticeable starting from MPEG, much less so in my experience starting from miniDV. And then the further loss when you decide to put some of that 'topped & tailed' record into a video. Argh.

But you're right that the focus has to be the final product, which is usually some 1MBps WMV/MPEG file online... It's probably a bit like the 16 bit/44.1kbps vs. 24 bit/96kbps argument digitally editing audio: irritating if you find it irritating...

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It's probably a bit like the 16 bit/44.1kbps vs. 24 bit/96kbps argument digitally editing audio: irritating if you find it irritating...

Especially when all were gonna hear is some super-duper high rpm motor screaming in the background, or just a breeze of air as you float along....all in mono... :P

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Does anyone know the Mb/sec of the DN-60? I currently use a Sony-MiniDV deck

but would like a non-tape solution. Especially if the unit could be triggered

with one switch. I hate having twelve different buttons to press just to record.

Yet watching the tape spin is very comforting that you are recording... :D

-Ken

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DV is DV, 25Mbps...

But as said earlier the DN60 only records an already made DV stream it gets onto its input, something else needs to be used to convert analog video to DV (like the Canopus device I linked earlier, which theoretically should fit but nobody actually tried yet).

Edited by Kilrah

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try looking into a used Sony DCR - SR100 hard drive based camcorder with analog in and out?

John

Hey guys.

Im looking for a portable DVR.

Something that will record to an uncompressed ( DV ) format.

Maybe something with a laptop hard drive.

It would be even better if it was something you added a hard to as that would give more options for hard drives.

Examples on B&H's website

The above link gives some example of items that are WAY above my price range for this.

The reason I am looking for a hard drive based device is I would like to use this for other applications as well as FPV recording.

So there are times when and hour of recording is not enough...

Any suggestions?

It doesn't have to have a screen for playback but it would be nice if if had a composite out and controls for reviewing.

I do have a EASYCAP USB 2.0 on the way but it would be nice to have a prepacked solution that didn't require a laptop at the field...

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