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camera hard drive Answered

I have an old vhs tape camera, but I don't want to record to a vhs tape. What I want to do is install a hard drive into it, and have it record to that. Any ideas?


There sure would be enough room for a whole computer! Just Kidding. But that would be pretty cool.

There are some really tiny all-in-one computers available now (such as this one: http://www.norhtec.com/products/mcjr/index.html ), but...
-They typically don't have any native video capture ability
-They probably don't have the raw processing power for video
-They run Linux, which is great, but can make it an extra challenge if you're not familiar with the OS, or want to run specific software.

Assuming the camera still runs for a while on batteries, there are some interesting possibilties along the lines of making it rugged or watertight - I fancy having a go at this myself - then attaching it to the end of a long pole and capturing some underwater nature documentary footage from a small boat.

Alright, 2 things. 1. What about a Flash Card 2. Any Ideas what to do with one of these cameras otherwise?

1. More or less the same problem - a flash card is digital. If you could find some sort of small device that accepts a standard video input and records it to the flash card, then you might be able to fudge it, assuming you can isolate a standard video signal coming out of some circuit somewhere. But the problem with that is that the only small recording devices I've seen that might be suitable, are themselves cameras of one kind or another - rendering the exercise fruitless. 2. What about building a waterproof housing for it? - kipkay's got a design for one.

That's going to be tricky - VHS records analogue signals onto helical stripes on magnetic tape. Hard drives record digital bits under the direction of a file system. I can think of two ways this could (technically) be done - neither of them are easy or perhaps even possible for the amateur tinkerer: 1 - take the video output from the camera, digitise it with a video capture device and write it to the hard drive as encoded video files such as MPEG 2 - using an analogue to digital converter, capture the analogue signal from the recording head at high resolution and write this data to the disk - what you then have is essentially an emulation of VHS recording, but on disk. You'd then need to find a way of turning that into video - either by the reverse process (a digital to analogue conversion, fed to the pickup head circuits) or by interpreting the recorded data in software. I don't think either of those options is really practical. I hate to be defeatist, and maybe someone will come along and prove me dead wrong, but I think you've set yourself an impossible task.

Meant to say that either of those solutions involves building in not only the hard drive, but essentially a whole computer too.

I agree, it would probably be easier to write to the tape and convert afterwards (if one has a VHS player).

If you're using the whole computer then all you really need is an input card for analogue signals, tv card's a possibility