September 5, 2014 at 9:28AM

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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.

12 Comments

Hi Alan,
You could check out an external recorder like the Zoom H5.
Zoom H5 : https://www.zoom-na.com/products/field-video-recording/field-recording/z...
If your editing software doesn't allow for automatic video to external audio syncing, you could look at something like PluralsEyes : http://www.redgiant.com/products/all/pluraleyes/

September 5, 2014 at 11:05AM

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Calvin Walker
Filmmaker
78

I think he was asking about recording video.

Your best option is the Atomos Ninja Star : http://www.atomos.com/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 :
http://www.atomos.com/ninja/

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 11:49AM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1398

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

September 5, 2014 at 11:58AM, Edited September 5, 11:58AM

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Alan,

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

Alex Smith

September 5, 2014 at 12:04PM

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 12:03PM

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Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer
1030

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

September 5, 2014 at 1:17PM

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Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle is the one I'd go to if you need a recorder and you're on a budget:
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/nz/products/hyperdeckshuttle

I've been tempted a fair few times already to buy it for my Nikon D5200.

But I'm saving up towards getting the more expensive but better Atomos Ninja 2 (as it comes with a very nice monitor and other features):
http://www.atomos.com/ninja/

If you have a very tight budget and just getting it for the unlimited recording, I suggest instead getting the Panasonic GH1. I have one myself which I use for long recordings.

It is a very good camera which you can find for under $200 on eBay.
http://www.anycamerawilldo.com/old-but-not-out/

September 6, 2014 at 5:57AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2352

Also you need to check if you camera does live HDMI out with clean HD quality. Most Canon DSLRs for instance drop their resolution down.

As for using Magic Lantern, it skips about 12 frames or so (if I recall correctly) while it stops and restarts the recording automatically. If you're shooting with multiple cameras, you can in the edit just cut to another camera and then back again, to cover up this glitch in the edit.

Oh, and I should've mentioned about the GH1 that the hack from VK allows it to have completely unlimited recording and it will never have problems with overheating.

David Peterson

September 6, 2014 at 6:01AM

Interesting. Can GH1 record 3 hour lecture without overheating?

September 6, 2014 at 7:12AM

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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 10:59AM

Yes, I often do very very long recordings with the Panasonic GH1. There are zero limitations whatsoever aside from battery life and memory card size. (and yes, you can do 3hrs of recording if the card is large enough. Not a problem)

Unlike Canon DSLRs, none of the Panasonic mirrorless cameras have ever had a problem with overheating.

David Peterson

September 8, 2014 at 7:36AM

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 10:12PM

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