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  1. Member
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    Back in the day not too long ago, I used an old laptop with multiple firewire ports and Windows XP to capture from 2 SDDV camcorders simultaneously, getting two separate WMV files using 2 simultaneous instances of Windows Media Encoder 9.

    Now I have a Win 8.1 x64 Thinkpad W540 (with a Thunderbolt port) and some HD camcorders that I'd like to use in the same fashion.

    Problem is - no more DV (Firewire, i.Link, whatever you want to call it), and no more WME 9 support for this latest Windows machine (the closest alternative i found is Expression Encoder 4, which has a number of encoding limitations).

    So, I am looking at what to do and hoping somebody might have a useful suggestion - preferably tested.

    It appears that one route to go is to use the HDMI outputs on my camcorders. I would need to purchase some kind of video capture card that uses HDMIs as inputs (I saw a couple online). But I would need two inputs for my setup and most only have one input. Although, I don't know, if I get two thunderbolt cards, maybe I can daisy chain them.

    (Of course, spending less cash would be preferable.)


    One other thing: I am capturing from a tripod, so a lot of the background in the picture is static. So, if anyone can recommend a codec+settings which will give me best quality for least disc space (balanced with a reasonable CPU usage).
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    i don't get it. you want to capture 2 streams to 2 separate video files? just record to the cameras and then import the files into the computer.
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    I don't want to have that hassle (of transferring files from camcorders to the computer).

    I used to be able to do what I need to do very easily as described in OP and wanted to try to recreate a similar setup on the new system with new (HD) camcorders.
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  4. Member racer-x's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    I don't want to have that hassle (of transferring files from camcorders to the computer).

    I used to be able to do what I need to do very easily as described in OP and wanted to try to recreate a similar setup on the new system with new (HD) camcorders.
    It's a lot less hassle and expense than trying to capture two simultaneous HD streams via HDMI ports, by far...........
    Got my retirement plans all set. Looks like I only have to work another 5 years after I die........
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    The Intensity Shuttle for Thunderbolt is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. There may be others with Windows compatibility, but some Thunderbolt capture devices on the market only work with OSX.

    There are a few technical problems with what you want to do.

    1. All the Thunderbolt capture devices I have seen (including the Intensity Shuttle for Thunderbolt) have a single Thunderbolt port, so you cannot daisy chain multiple units.

    2. All the Thunderbolt capture device I have seen provide uncompressed output to the PC over Thunderbolt.
    4:2:2 8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 95 MB/s, or 334 GB/h.
    4:2:2 8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 25fps = 99 MB/s, or 348 GB/h.
    4:2:2 8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 29.97fps = 119 MB/s, or 417 GB/h.

    The PC has to either store the input as is or compress it in real time prior to storage for smaller file sizes. Doing either using a laptop computer for one HD video source might work if you are capturing to an SSD, but you want to do it for two sources at once, and I do not believe that is feasible.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 26th Jun 2015 at 17:58.
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    With expense part, I agree - I'd like to find the cheapest solution that works.
    But I don't see how with taking the SD cards out of the camcorders, copying them over to my laptop, processing them through some compressor to make the files smaller in size it's "less hassle".
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    The Intensity Shuttle for Thunderbolt is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. There may be others with Windows compatibility, but some Thunderbolt capture devices on the market only work with OSX.

    There are a few technical problems with what you want to do.

    1. All the Thunderbolt capture devices I have seen (including the Intensity Shuttle for Thunderbolt) have a single Thunderbolt port, so you cannot daisy chain multiple units.

    2. All the Thunderbolt capture device I have seen provide uncompressed output to the PC over Thunderbolt.
    8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 24fps = 95 MB/s, or 334 GB/h.
    8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 25fps = 99 MB/s, or 348 GB/h.
    8 bit @ 1920 x 1080 @ 29.97fps = 119 MB/s, or 417 GB/h.

    The PC has to either store the input as is or compress it in real time prior to storage for smaller file sizes. Doing either using a laptop computer for one HD video source might work, but you want to do it for two sources at once, and I do not believe that is feasible.

    Yes, I would definitely like to compress on the fly.

    My laptop is

    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4700MQ CPU @ 2.40GHz

    Maximum speed: 2.40 GHz
    Sockets: 1
    Cores: 4
    Logical processors: 8
    Virtualization: Disabled
    Hyper-V support: Yes
    L1 cache: 256 KB
    L2 cache: 1.0 MB
    L3 cache: 6.0 MB


    Now, I didn't have problems with 720x480 double stream capture and compression on an old slower 32 bit system. Of course, with HD that'll be 6x the number of pixels to process...Would be nice to hear from someone who tried it.

    I was considering the Intensity but was put off by some bad reviews, especially ones mentioning that capturing reliably only works through their software. And that I can't daisy chain with it.

    If I bought a thunderbolt dock and plugged two separate Intensitys in it, would that work, I wonder?
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    processing them through some compressor to make the files smaller in size
    Why would you want to do this?

    What cameras are we talking about at and what settings are you recording with?

    Last edited by newpball; 26th Jun 2015 at 18:52.
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  9. Really, copying the cards with a good usb3 card reader is a lot faster and the files are already very efficiently compressed by the camera. HD is not only more pixels than DV, the compression itself is much more processor intensive. You are trying to do this the inefficient, expensive way.

    And the intensity, whatever its limitations, is one of the better devices for HDMI capture.
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    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    processing them through some compressor to make the files smaller in size
    Why would you want to do this?

    What cameras are we talking about at and what settings are you recording with?

    I do it as a study of certain musical performances I engage in. I use algorithms to track motion of pixels (real life objects) in the video, determining their position in 3D space (hence 2 camcorders). The beauty of the footage doesn't concern me, but I do want the resolution, albeit with digital compression artifacts. Again - I am hoping that there is a good encoder that focuses on the moving pixels and doesn't do anything with the static background.

    I would love to not have to do it (compress), but, whereas, buying a capture card is somewhat expensive, I cannot see myself buying a lot of SSD drives over and over if I were to leave things uncompressed.
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).

    I have an HDR FX-1 from Sony (HDV camcorder that actually also has a DV output - I just don't have a firewire on my laptop).
    I also have a little Casio camera that has mini HDMI output. I am thinking of upgrading this one to something a little more camcorder-like.
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    I do it as a study of certain musical performances I engage in. I use algorithms to track motion of pixels (real life objects) in the video, determining their position in 3D space (hence 2 camcorders). The beauty of the footage doesn't concern me, but I do want the resolution, albeit with digital compression artifacts.
    Does not make any sense, if you want to study that you should use (near) lossless compression.

    Again why compression for a study? Bitphobia?

    You don't need SSD drives to capture vanilla HD.

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  12. Member racer-x's Avatar
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    You can use two cheap Mobius action cameras (about $80 each), crank up in camera compression and get close to 1 GB per hour @ 1080p or 720p. Then transfer the footage to your PC via the micro SD cards.

    Again, you aren't making any sense with your requests.
    Got my retirement plans all set. Looks like I only have to work another 5 years after I die........
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    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    I do it as a study of certain musical performances I engage in. I use algorithms to track motion of pixels (real life objects) in the video, determining their position in 3D space (hence 2 camcorders). The beauty of the footage doesn't concern me, but I do want the resolution, albeit with digital compression artifacts.
    Does not make any sense, if you want to study that you should use (near) lossless compression.

    Again why compression for a study? Bitphobia?

    You don't need SSD drives to capture vanilla HD.

    I understand, but I'd like to archive the footage and I don't want it to take up too much space on the hard drive.
    Now, you could make an argument that I could study the uncompressed footage, then run a script to compress it for archival purposes. I am not going to argue with the validity of that plan, but for now I want to create the ability to capture and encode the footage immediately.

    Either way, if we are looking at saving 2 streams of uncompressed HD to a disc, that is a lot of MBs per second. Specifically 360MB/s, I have problems with my laptop exceeding 80MB/s (when transferring from one internal SSD to another).
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    processing them through some compressor to make the files smaller in size
    Why would you want to do this?

    What cameras are we talking about at and what settings are you recording with?

    I do it as a study of certain musical performances I engage in. I use algorithms to track motion of pixels (real life objects) in the video, determining their position in 3D space (hence 2 camcorders). The beauty of the footage doesn't concern me, but I do want the resolution, albeit with digital compression artifacts. Again - I am hoping that there is a good encoder that focuses on the moving pixels and doesn't do anything with the static background.

    I would love to not have to do it (compress), but, whereas, buying a capture card is somewhat expensive, I cannot see myself buying a lot of SSD drives over and over if I were to leave things uncompressed.
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).

    I have an HDR FX-1 from Sony (HDV camcorder that actually also has a DV output - I just don't have a firewire on my laptop).
    I also have a little Casio camera that has mini HDMI output. I am thinking of upgrading this one to something a little more camcorder-like.
    You can add FireWire ports that will work with a camera using the ExpressCard slot on that laptop. This model has a TI chipset according to Startech's product page http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839158010
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    processing them through some compressor to make the files smaller in size
    Why would you want to do this?

    What cameras are we talking about at and what settings are you recording with?

    I do it as a study of certain musical performances I engage in. I use algorithms to track motion of pixels (real life objects) in the video, determining their position in 3D space (hence 2 camcorders). The beauty of the footage doesn't concern me, but I do want the resolution, albeit with digital compression artifacts. Again - I am hoping that there is a good encoder that focuses on the moving pixels and doesn't do anything with the static background.

    I would love to not have to do it (compress), but, whereas, buying a capture card is somewhat expensive, I cannot see myself buying a lot of SSD drives over and over if I were to leave things uncompressed.
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).

    I have an HDR FX-1 from Sony (HDV camcorder that actually also has a DV output - I just don't have a firewire on my laptop).
    I also have a little Casio camera that has mini HDMI output. I am thinking of upgrading this one to something a little more camcorder-like.
    You can add FireWire ports that will work with a camera using the ExpressCard slot on that laptop. This model has a TI chipset according to Startech's product page http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839158010
    Unfortunately, I cannot do that. ExpressCard slot is the only way I can connect my hi-end external audio card (the reason I bought this laptop was because it had this slot). So, I am left with either USB ports or this TB port.
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).
    You won't be able to simultaneously compress 2 uncompressed HD streams to 1GB/hr each in real time using software, even with an i7 laptop. If you want that kind of compression, you need two external capture devices with a USB 2.0 interface that hardware encode. There are lots of them. Recording an already compressed stream doesn't demand much in the way of resources.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 26th Jun 2015 at 22:42.
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).
    You won't be able to simultaneously compress 2 uncompressed HD streams to 1GB/hr each in real time using software, even with an i7 laptop. If you want that kind of compression, you need two external capture devices with a USB 2.0 interface that hardware encode. There are lots of them. Recording an already compressed stream doesn't demand much in the way of resources.
    Sure, hardware compression, that's one way to do it, though I am not clear why specifically USB 2.0 and not, say, 3.0.
    My concern with USB is that I bought a USB 3.0 hub with 10 usb ports and plugged in about 5-6 of my hard drives when I suddenly encountered an error from windows saying USB hardware controller resources exceeded, not allowing me to use more USB devices. I don't know how to fix this problem yet.
    So, I am still thinking Thunderbolt - hoping that it doesn't share any "resources" with the USB.
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    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
    Ideally, I'd like to fit within no more than 1GB in an hour (for each camcorder).
    You won't be able to simultaneously compress 2 uncompressed HD streams to 1GB/hr each in real time using software, even with an i7 laptop. If you want that kind of compression, you need two external capture devices with a USB 2.0 interface that hardware encode. There are lots of them. Recording an already compressed stream doesn't demand much in the way of resources.
    Sure, hardware compression, that's one way to do it, though I am not clear why specifically USB 2.0 and not, say, 3.0.
    My concern with USB is that I bought a USB 3.0 hub with 10 usb ports and plugged in about 5-6 of my hard drives when I suddenly encountered an error from windows saying USB hardware controller resources exceeded, not allowing me to use more USB devices. I don't know how to fix this problem yet.
    So, I am still thinking Thunderbolt - hoping that it doesn't share any "resources" with the USB.
    There are no USB 3.0 HD capture devices or Thunderbolt HD capture devices that hardware encode because USB 2.0 is sufficient. Since you have used up all the connections that make sense for what you want to do, just record with a camera and copy video from its SD cards as suggested by others.
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