September 5, 2014 at 6:28AM


What affordable external HD recorder?

Hi, guys, I need to shoot few long video lectures, but I have only DSLR cameras and MiniDV cameras with limited clip length (DSLR has 12 minutes, MiniDV tapes are 80 minutes max) and I need to shoot thee hour lectures. The videos doesnt have to be in professional codec like ProRes etc. Can you recomend me something? What are the options? The budget is not big, so I am not sure if I should buy rather a new camera or some affordable recorder.


Hi Alan,
You could check out an external recorder like the Zoom H5.
Zoom H5 :
If your editing software doesn't allow for automatic video to external audio syncing, you could look at something like PluralsEyes :

September 5, 2014 at 8:05AM

Calvin Walker

I think he was asking about recording video.

Your best option is the Atomos Ninja Star :
Just don't forget about memory cost.

If you want to spend a little extra, you can turn the recorder into a monitor as well :

Also, I'm not sure what camera you are shooting on, but if it's a Canon I would suggest getting magic lantern. You can turn on a feature where it will start to record automatically after the 12 minute interval. It's got a ton of other great features as well.

September 5, 2014 at 8:49AM

Alex Smith

I know about Magic Lantern, but I heard that it cant do it without missing frames between the clips.

September 5, 2014 at 8:58AM, Edited September 5, 8:58AM



I've never had that problem recording on a t2i, t3i, 5dm3 and 6d.

Alex Smith

September 5, 2014 at 9:04AM

Hi Alan,

I think the challenge here is the two different formats - can your DSLR output a clean HDMI signal to use a recorder - and does your miniDV camera have the ability to do the same...

There are many great firewire recorders for miniDV cameras - that take the 4pin firewire output from the camera and stream it to a recorder - but that obviously wouldn't work with an HDMI signal from the DSLR.

I use the Atomos products because they are so easy to use and the quality is incredible. I have the Ninja Blade which I use on my Nikon DSLR everyday - and I can also hook it up to my Panasonic HD camcorder when I am filming something that needs the "auto" camera.

Depending on what it is you are shooting it might be more economical to buy an HD camcorder that shoots to memory cards - which would be a more upgraded version of your miniDV camera. Sony also makes great "camcorders" that have Super35 sensors in them, so you get the DSLR look (depth of field and color) plus the ability to record without time limit onto SD cards.

September 5, 2014 at 9:03AM

Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer

Thanks for the tips. I never heard about firewire recorder. Can you give me a link?

September 5, 2014 at 10:17AM


Interesting. Can GH1 record 3 hour lecture without overheating?

September 6, 2014 at 4:12AM


Oh, I didnt see your expanded reply. Ok, it wont overheat. That sounds great. But do you think I can record 3 hour footage on one card?

Alan Kovarik

September 6, 2014 at 7:59AM

what quality do you need? I picked up a little Sony handycam used for $100 that can record forever on a 32GB card. It's not the prettiest, but it's 1080p, and can work as your constant wide shot, while you use a better camera for tight shots.

One other option - I use a canon EOS-M as my B camera, and noticed it will record about 30 minutes straight (it breaks files up into the usual 12 minute clips, but I don't notice any skipped frames), and with a $45 adapter, it can use your existing canon EF lenses. The camera is only about $300.

January 4, 2015 at 7:12PM


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