I want to archive a page with a bunch of live video streams.
August 29, 2012 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I have, for work, a web page that is a thumbnail view of 12 (eventually 20) low frame-rate video streams. Think security cameras. I need to record this.

The cameras have very complicated rights and access situations so all I can be assured of is that I will have the stream that is on that page - no back-end access. It seems to me that a PC displaying this page HDMI'd into a DVR with rolling record enabled should do what I want. Is there a better way? Do you have specific hardware suggestions?

Windows Media Encoder does something like what I want, and would obviate the need for a separate DVR, but would that even work? Is it scriptable? Can it be a service? I would very much like to set it and forget it. It can't be something I have to babysit, it must be pretty reliable.

I have some budget for this. Let's say $1000.
posted by dirtdirt to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh - it doesn't need to archive for long term. A week, rolling, should be fine.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2012

Recording might work but it destroys the data, what you want is a script that scrapes the images every [interval time], splits them by camera, timestamps them, and stores them on your computer in a structured manner.

Such script could be written as a shell script (using curl for example to get the images).

However, if the data is behind a login this will probably not work directly. An intermediate program will be needed to output the HTML of the open browser tab on your computer so the scraping script can do its work. I am not aware of any programs that do this so this last paragraph is mostly "in theory".
posted by wolfr at 1:18 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for your reply. I think I wasn't clear enough - I want to record video, not pull still frames. Essentially I want to record what is on the screen, within this page that has the many video streams, as if with a VCR - straight up recording of the whole thing. I need to keep it for a week, rolling, more is fine. I don't need them separated by camera, in fact it is best if it is a single view that can be evaluated as a whole.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:23 PM on August 29, 2012

Another option is to use a plain old PC and a screen recorder such as Camtasia Studio. Fraps is another popular software but it's mostly used by gamers.

The real challenge is the setup itself and guaranteeing 100% recording. Lots of uptime, latency, power, connectivity and storage issues to figure out.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:35 PM on August 29, 2012

Obviously you could go for a hosted solution where you rent a dedicated server and set up a screen recording software. Should be much more reliable than running something in the office. Hetzner (Germany) has REALLY cheap dedicated servers, ditto for Kimsufi. Hell, these are so cheap that you can purchase multiple servers from different vendors just to make sure you have redundancy.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:59 PM on August 29, 2012

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