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agarbino

Help! Multiple, simultaneous video acqusition

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I'm trying to put together a DAQ/telemetry system for a race car. One of the components will be up to 4 cameras recording different angles. The data will be handed to an onboard computer (probably a Mini-ITX board, eg M10000, running Linux), and recorded, and (eventually) also transmitted to the paddocks live.

The budget is also limited; and cheaper components are favored (in case the car ends up in a wall, and I have to build another system).

So far, I'm considering three different approaches:

1) Plug in USB2.0 cameras, and record the streams.

2) IEEE1394 (eg Fire-i) cameras; can be daisy-chained into a firewire port.

For both of these setup, do you think the USB/Firewire can handle that much throughput?

3) Use analog cameras (eg lipstick/pinhole cameras), all running into a video capture board. This could possibly have hardware encoding, to relieve stress on the CPU, but how about price?

I've also been told cameras such as the X10 suck... what resolution/construct should I look for??

I'm basically looking for any type of help: hardware/software recommendations, how much you think each would cost (I figure USB2 is ~$50/camera' firewire is ~$80/camera, and analog I'm looking at <$100/camera + $200-300 for a card?).

Also, if anyone has done simlar things, or know a website that shows results, it'd be great!

As far as video camera is concerned; I'm not on national TV, so as long as it looks good, I'm happy. I've downloaded various race videos (and TV rips) with DivX encoding and they look very good whilst maintaining small file size (eg the quality of a typical TV series episode at 350MB is great).

Thanks,

Alex

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I suggest you stick with analog cameras. The main reason is that you will find that the image quality is usually much better than the consumer related PC enabled video cameras. Second choice would be firewire with a decent camcorder quality camera on it.

Stay away from CMOS imagers -- use only high quality CCD cameras like the popular Panasonic bare board series. For VCR quality a 330 line camera is fine. You should budget $100 per camera.

Sending four (4) full bandwidth NTSC TV quality signals, either digitally or analog, will be a challenge. I cannot offer any real help with this. This part will not be as simple as it seems. And if this is for commercial work, then you will need to use Part 90 approved RF gear and obtain the necessary FCC commercial license to opertate them. For personal hobby use, a ham license is fine.

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Could you use a 4 camera switch on-board to switch between the 4 cameras?? I might know where to get one as I am developing said switch for bill strong of blackwidow A/V right now.

Matt Klarich

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Stay away from CMOS imagers -- use only high quality CCD cameras like the popular Panasonic bare board series. For VCR quality a 330 line camera is fine. You should budget $100 per camera.

Any part numbers/recommendations?

Sending four (4) full bandwidth NTSC TV quality signals, either digitally or analog, will be a challenge.

I won't send them full bandwidth; either encoded, or send only one low-res stream (and switch on the fly). But that's something I would test on the fly.

Thanks,

Alex

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For general use in daytime lighting conditions, I recommend the Panasonic GP-CX161. But, it is obsolete and has been replaced with the KX121, which works nearly as well.

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