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How to build a firewire recorder versus a back unit?


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#1 Marcus Phipps

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 10:21 PM

This is my seventh newbie post.

Instead of having a back unit attached to the camera,... why can't a person build a firewire hard drive unit to save footage to?

1) Can I build such a device? I have technical abilities.
2) How can it connect to the camera? I can build a cable if necessary.
3) Is there any benefits to recording video to a hard drive versus a back unit?


Any additional suggestions you wish to elaborate on regarding this topic?



Most Respectfully,
Acastle
:rolleyes:
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 04:57 AM

I guess you could.

I suspect you couldn't make it as convenient, small, and low on power consumption as the commercial hardware, but really you're just talking about a small computer. Make it record to CF cards, or something.

P
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#3 Chris Millar

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 05:49 AM

Can I build such a device? I have technical abilities.

OK

How can it connect to the camera? I can build a cable if necessary.

You could attach it to the back.


Is there any benefits to recording video to a hard drive versus a back unit?

What is your understanding of a 'back unit' ?
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#4 Marcus Phipps

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 03:04 PM

Thanks Chris as always. Your input is greatly appreciated by me and other newbies.

My understanding is the back unit is what supplies the power I guess to the camera. It's not a battery but has allot of outputs such as video, audio and power connections on cameras that offer an attached recording device. Likely older or early model single CCD cameras. But maybe you can give me the correct term to use. That's why i'm here to learn.

While we're on that question,....

1) What is the term I am referring to? From my description above?
2) Can most older cameras with single CCD chips and up to the modern all permit a recordable device such as sVHS or 8mm? It's tough to understand this because many of them have outputs or a single card-like output and you have to screw in the recording device. Thus, myself and likely others don't know what to look for in a first camera that will allow for attaching a back unit recorder.

My ignorant definition of 'back unit' is merely anything that is at the furthest rear of the camera. Not including the battery which is often attached at the furthest back.

Anything more you wish to elaborate on will only help myself and others learn.



Most Respectfully,
Marcus
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#5 Marcus Phipps

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 03:14 PM

FYI,...
Because this can get involved in terminology of which part of the camera is what,... I felt a new post related to what each part of the camera should have a thread of it's own. Please see separate post for that. So as not to stray too far away from my original question of building a video recording hard drive. I think it will best serve us newbies instead of sorting thru a thread that answers 10 questions over five pages. he he he

My kudos goes out to Chris. He's been a real champ and great resource for me and anyone else that's reading my newbie posts. Please see my post on what each part of a camera is industry termed. This thread will be relative to building a video hard drive or at least teaching a newbie if it's even possible with over-the-counter products.



Most Respectfully,
Marcus
:rolleyes:
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#6 Chris Millar

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 08:46 PM

I'll just say it,

A Castle/Marcus Phipps - I find you odd (troll alert on yellow)

Perhaps have a read up on all the things you want to know about on wikipedia or any of the books listed here:

http://astore.amazon...?...UTF8&node=1

like with everyone there will likely be a few things that you dont get immediately so search the forums here and its about %95 likely you'll find your topic already answered ... if not then come asking specific questions on things you dont understand.

You're not the first 'newbie' ;) so don't speak on their behalf...

But please do persevere ! these forums can get cranky at times but the other side of it is a wealth of knowledge, once you know the personalities of the usual suspects and the expectation that a little bit of research should be undertaken before asking for these questions that require near on encyclopedic responses ... (mind you, there are some users here who appear to have both the time and the experience/knowledge to do exactly that - I'll just reiterate/echo that wealth of knowledge part again :lol:)

Something to ponder when you're waiting for replies to some of your questions...
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#7 Marcus Phipps

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 01:48 AM

Chris, thank you for your reply. I do ask that I be considered at least an equal in the newbies for this site. To date, I still don't know what the true definition of a 'troll' is. But I do browse many sites and research. I then combine all my information to one place. This is specifically video-related. I had to choose where to post my research or my hours spent. I found Cinematography.com a more welcoming forum than most. Thus, I applied and became a member. Aside from this I have no ill-intent other than to learn with the rest of us. I will say as i've said previously,... I am merely trying to help put all the basics in one place. So that newbies (in this case video-related) be more easily found. There are no ill-intents in this. My definition of 'troll' is skipping around websites and getting pieces and putting together a whole story. So,... yes,... I guess i'm a 'troll'. Not sure if that's good or bad but my intentions are good. I am consistently reminded that this information is online somewhere or even on here at Cinematography.com. The problem for a newbie is that it takes a dozen threads to understand specific basics. A newbie has to sort through a number of scientific posts. There's nothing wrong with those posts. They will likely serve me and others well later on. However, in this newbie forum I am trying to sum up these basics. No more. No less. It doesn't matter that it is located in ten other places online. What makes my approach different to some degree is that I am a newbie and am documenting the newbie questions from the very beginning. And it's often those that have been in the business for a few years that give the most feedback. I hope to eliminate as much sarcasm as I can and get to the root question that I post. You have to remember, when a newbie reaches out,... and gives very specific questions it's a good thing. When I fail to give specifics then slap my hands. Tell me. I learn. But slapping the hands of a newbie is in no way constructive. I don't think any of you would like to be on the receiving end of some of your very own posts. I am honest. I am polite. I ask the same in return. If I fail in some way. Please tell me. I and others will learn from that. But most don't learn from sarcasm. And I am not saying Chris is being sarcastic. He was polite enough to lend his time to this thread. Please give him credit for such.

I feel combining the basics and posting them as a newbie in my learning will only aid in other newbies to want to read my threads and your professional replies. Thus, "Speaking on their behalf" is not something I even thought of. But allow me to say clearly,... I am learning and sharing; period. I post my threads as a newbie. And try to make them as welcoming as possible. If I posted I had ten years experience, would that be challenged that I spoke for all ten year veterans? Thus, I am documenting my progression and hoping to help others along the way.

What i'm trying to convey is something that I don't feel is being done yet. Or at least done properly. That being, a single location for newbies to go to and get the basics. I am not calling anyone any names. As a matter of fact, i'm trying to be as honest and warm as possible so that my threads will read most-easy to the newbie. Myself included. You mention I don't need to state my being a newbie. Fact is,... I am a newbie. I am not ashamed of it and have stated this in my first post(s).

My goal is simple. To try and help. I enjoy electronics. I dabble in electronics. I am not a scientist. But I have little to no knowledge in video capturing. and I am not someone that is a member of 25 different forums. I chose to be a member here. Therefore, I am lending my efforts here. If I am not welcome then I will take my attempts elsewhere. Again, I do not know if you had ill-intent in calling me a possible 'troll'. But for all intent and purposes,... I really am. I scour the internet and spend hours trying to learn. I then put it in a nicely read post. Posting my questions to those that can best answer them. Lo and behold, it benefits scours of people beyond myself. That's all I want to do here folks. I am saddened and dismayed by this last response to be honest. But I am also violating one of my own rules. That being that i'm getting tied up into a discussion that has nothing to do with the original question for this thread. "How to build a firewire recorder versus a black unit".

And regarding any reference to Acastle / Marcus,... fact is I don't like to post my name online for a multitude of reasons that most people would understand. However, I did change my name from Acastle to my name as asked by the administration of this forum. Thus, I did not try and hide. I did what was asked of me. That's the reason for the name change. I felt that maybe my name change was being challenged and put into this 'troll' category that seems to have ill intent. I simply want to lend what I spend hours learning. Post it here for solid answers. And I feel it shouldn't matter what my name is. Grade me on my content. Geez,... I sound like a teacher or something. :P

I'll post a few more newbie questions and if the response is similar, I will cause no harm. I will simply go away and take my learning elsewhere.




Most Respectfully,
Marcus


Edited by Marcus Phipps, 19 October 2009 - 01:51 AM.

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#8 Chris Bowman

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 05:17 PM

Hi Marcus

Building your own hard drive recorder is an interesting challenge. One which I wanted to do myself, until I realized just how challenging it would really be. It's not that the hardware part of it is very complex (slap a firewire hard drive in an enclosure with a battery and presto!), the real challenge is in the software interface. Digital cameras and hard drives are designed with complex control interfaces have to be able to communicate with each other in order to work together. Without these interface protocols, and an accompanying controller chip to act as an intermediary between the camera's controller and the hard drive's, there is no way to attach the camera directly to the hard drive in any meaningful way. The camera will output information to the drive, but the hard drive will just sit there because it never got the proper command to perform a write.

All that is assuming a firewire connection from camera to hard drive. Once we get into analog cameras, Serial Digital Interface (SDI), and HDMI (High Definition Media Interface), things start to get really messy. Analog connections need special Analog to Digital converters (A/D or D/A or sometimes DAC are common abbreviations) to convert the signal into something recordable on the hard drive. SDI and HDMI require special controllers with enormous bandwidth in order to process the vast amounts of uncompressed data coming off the camera. There are of course, computers which can do this, and the controller cards are available for both mac and pc by vendors such as Black Magic, but fitting all of this into a unit portable enough for fieldwork is a real trick. That's why, when you see equipment like hard disk recorders for sale, they are so expensive. It takes a lot of effort, capital, and engineering to make something like that possible. Even more to make it work seamlessly with the camera.
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#9 Chris Millar

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 11:53 PM


What i'm trying to convey is something that I don't feel is being done yet. Or at least done properly. That being, a single location for newbies to go to and get the basics.


Ok, troll alert back on green ...

Next bit of (off topic yes, sorry) conversation >> Have you read any of the books linked by this website ?

Take any general enough one and think of it as your single location for newbies to go to and get the basics ;)
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Visual Products

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The Slider

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine