Best Reliable Live Recorder?
March 20, 2008 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a more reliable recording solution than straight to DVD. Will this work or should I be looking at something else?

I manage a bunch of conference rooms for a major government installation. I have a room that seats about 200 that regular gets used as a lecture hall type of environment, and my users want to record the events that are in there. The people who set this room up before I got here installed a consumer grade DVD Recorder for this purpose. The only downside is, at least half the time the recorder spits the disk out as a "bad disk" in the middle of the session.

I realize this recorder probably just has issues. However, I feel like any DVDR might act the same, and I'm looking for something more reliable. I think that recording to hard disk (as the unit linked above does) might be the best way. Afterwards, I'd like to be able to easily edit blank space off the beginning and end and burn to DVD, which I believe this does.

Money really isn't an object, I'll buy it now if I have the money for it or I'll wait til the next budget year if I don't, Its more important to me to get the RIGHT thing than the cheap thing. One more caveat, I don't have anyone who can man this thing during a recording. I'm not looking for a full featured video editing system, just a basic hit record and run away system. It needs to be simple enough that I can say to a user "Just hit this record button when you start"

Its also not a huge deal, but I'd love RS232C integration, which this unit has.

posted by jeffderek to Technology (3 answers total)
If you don't need the RS232C option, I use a consumer grade Sony deck to record a live show, 6 nights a week for 40+ weeks a year. I actually have 10 of these units, and 15 of a Panasonic unit that aren't available anymore. I get a bad disc very, very rarely... with 25 running, maybe 1 every two weeks or less. Oh, and neither of my recorders have hard drives, I specifically turned down the replacement Panasonic model for that very reason.

The trade off is simplicity / reliability versus features, in my mind. You won't have the option to remove dead space with these decks, but they should work 99% of the time. And instead of RD232C, I use an IR extender that hooks to each deck, and I can then use one remote to control all units, or a USB-UIRT to send IR commands from my computer, which I can automate.
posted by shinynewnick at 6:09 AM on March 20, 2008

Assuming the camera you're using has standard RCA or SVIDEO outputs, I think the PC with capture card option is ideal. Grab any old PC off a shelf, install a Hauppauge PVR-150 card (which has a hardware encoder), and a decent sized hard drive. It has capture/record software that should be fairly easy to automate. Heck, you could even make it a file server and the people would be able to see the video at their workstations which might reduce the need to make DVDs at all.

Then get a piece of software like VideoReDo, which makes editing and DVD building very close to being foolproof.

I use a similar setup for tv viewing (via a piece of software called BeyondTV) and recording.
posted by gjc at 6:37 AM on March 20, 2008

You might try a Neuros recorder to put MPEG4 onto a flash card, & the OSD could put it onto a network drive, I think.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:40 PM on April 11, 2008

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