Capture Video with SD-card Cameras

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pdf version (with photos)


These instructions address the use of cameras that record to SD cards instead of MiniDV tapes. The output of these cameras is simply a .avi file, which you can copy to your own machine, upload to drop boxes, etc. The only tricky part is that the files are somewhat large, so you need to be careful of the settings. Specifically, these instructions address two types of cameras: the Samsung SC-MX10 and the Canon FS100.

  • The Samsung has a low resolution mode that records at approximately 3.2 MB/minute, which is quite reasonable for uploading to CourseWork drop boxes, if the presentation is 10 minutes or less. Unfortunately, there is no microphone jack, so, while it has a quite acceptable standard camcorder mic, there are certainly situations where it would not work (noisy ceiling-mounted projector, large room, quiet presenter). This camera should be placed on the table in front of the speaker with a small tripod. Some students and instructors may have difficulty playing these files, so they should be converted using a program such as ffmpegX (in the Multimedia Studio in Meyer Library), Visual Hub (in the Academic Technology Lab), or Prism (from NCH, for Windows).
  • The Canon, on the other hand, has a mic jack, but unfortunately, its lowest resolution still does not produce a file small enough to upload to CourseWork. It produces a .mod file, which is essentially an .avi file, which can be converted using the programs listed above. The Canon should be used in situations where the Samsung will not work, and instructors (or TAs) should convert the files for upload to CourseWork.


The procedure for video capture is something like the following:

  1. Check out the camera (make sure you have an empty memory card)
  2. Set camera to lowest resolution
  3. Record each presentation, stopping between each one
  4. Upload video file to CourseWork drop boxes:
    1. Using the web interface, you can only upload files smaller than 40MB. This means that you should keep your recordings under about 10 minutes. If you find you need to record more than 10 minutes, please let me know and we will set you up with the WebDAV.
    2. The best place to upload is on campus, over an Ethernet cable (Meyer has a very fast network) and not the wireless. Uploading will take a very long time if you are on wireless. It may take a long time from your home.
  5. If you have time, you can plug in a USB cable directly to the camera, but if not, take out the memory card and do it later.
  6. You should compress the files if:
    1. You are using the Canon FS100
    2. Students find it difficult to download videos
  7. If possible, a TA should handle file compression and possibly uploading. It is best to address this on a case by case basis.
  8. For playbacks, watching the videos off of your memory card will be *much* easier than trying to download the videos again. So it might be a good idea to keep the video files on your card until you are done with the playback.

Reference Images from Samsung MX-10 / Settings for Low Resolution  

USB ports
Resolution
Quality
Wide Screen
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