I am looking for ideas how to build a four camera setup cheaper then four action cameras, say $200 for four streams of video.
That's for endurance car racing - meaning that it's day light and I am looking for 8+ hours of unattended operation. Wired power supply.
For example, can I build anything nice with a laptop and four web cameras? Would any webcam give me a good picture with day light or would it be too bright for a web cam? What is the best web cam for day light conditions?
Is there maybe some kind of an old consumer camera with 1/4" mount which would record 8 hours of video? Ixus? Sony-smth? With 10+ years of consumer cameras there must be smth old, cheap & good?
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Given the technological challenges, your budget is unrealistic.
I am looking at used Sony DSC-W350 which says "Video Clip Length - Limited by Memory Card Capacity" http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671987-REG/Sony_DSCW350_B_DSC_W350_Digital_Camera_Black.html
Quality at that price point is your main challenge. Then, the ability to shoot long segments unattended.
It's another tripartite constraint.
Remember: cams can be optimized for stills or optimized for video, not both. Even with the best of cams (and even if they advertise having both).
P&S still cams, like your mentioned cybershot, and like DSLR cams, have issues with video length for legal/licensing/tariff/tax reasons as well as for overheating reasons.
Spycams/security cams/knockoff action cams = cheap but lower quality
Then, there's the filesize = bitrate * running time equation.
You don't have capacity enough... 8hours = 28800 seconds, most cams using AVC that attempt some decent quality will use at least ~25Mbps bitrate. 25000000 * 28800 /8 = 90GB. You would need 128GB SD cards = too expensive. Averaging around $59 per card x 4 = $236, and that's just for the cards without the cameras!
Drop the bitrate in half to 12.5Mbps and you could use 64GB cards (averaging $25-39 per card), but you still have to pay for the cameras. Plus, you've dropped the bitrate in half, which means dropping the quality by a similar amount.
Drop it in half again to ~6Mbps and you could use cheap 32GB cards, but now you have CRAPPY (all caps) quality.
Particularly, you must also remember you are dealing with FAST ACTION (and I would definitely recommend that you shoot in 60p for something like this, or at least 30i).
You might luck out and find steals on ebay for DV or HDV cameras, but those corresponding tapes last only 60-90 minutes, so no unattended 8 hour capability.
As was stated - Unrealistic.
Hi Russian...an idea for you....
Since I doubt you would actually watch 4x8=32 hrs of footage I assume you need them on all the time just in case something happens?
If this is the case, some of the knock off action cams operate in "car mode" and continually record a 3 minute loop. When something
Happens you just stop the camera, it saves the last couple of minutes , and you just start it again for a new file.
This dramatically cuts down your memory needs and cost...
That requires being able to live monitor all 4 - not economically feasible if the 4 cams are at different spots around a track (racing circuit), unless you have someone manning each.
Scott, thank you for your amazingly detailed response!
Best case scenario for <$200? 4 garbage views.
I would suggest you approach some "corporate sponsor" with the hope that they bankroll a way to do this properly in exchange for product placement, advertising, etc.