Looking For A Tape Bypass Unit...

jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 1:12 PM
I am looking for some cheap (I know that is a relative term) memory recording units that will work with a couple of Sony HVR-A1u cams. I have found a couple of options: HVR-DR60, and HVRMRC1K but I wanted to check here and see if there are any alternatives or cheaper options (I don't care if they are refurbs or used as long as they work). I am in need of two of them.

If I could run a firewire cable about 75 feet I would be fine with that as well as I could run it straight to the editor and let them record it straight to the PC.

Any ideas are welcome.

j razz


Opampman wrote on 12/12/2011, 2:58 PM
Don't know what you consider cheap, but I have a Datavideo DN-60 and it is great. It comes with a 16g card. I bought a 4" extension rail to mount in the hot shoe and a short swivel adaptor to mount the unit so I could still use the XLR audio unit on the A1U. You need to use the suggested cards for it because cheap cards don't hold up very well. They may work for a while and then suddenly stop working. Also, you can format the cards in the NTSF file system with the DN-60 and are not limited to FAT32.

jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 3:25 PM
Do you run yours off battery or is there a power adapter for it? I see that you can power it from the camera's battery somehow or AA's. It seems like AA's would get expensive after a while.

j razz
RalphM wrote on 12/12/2011, 3:42 PM
Not a cheap solution (maybe cheaper than the recording units), but here's a firewire to twisted pair unit(s) that is supposed to be good for 100 meters.


There are several others on the market.
jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 3:59 PM
Thanks Ralph, I will have to look up and see how these work with hour long recording segments of HD video. Thanks for pointing me in that direction as it is definitely worth looking into.

j razz
Opampman wrote on 12/12/2011, 4:33 PM
j razz - I use rechargable batteries for mine but it comes with an AC unit also. A set of regular alkaline batteries will run about 2-3 hours before they die. The DN-60 requires a 6-pin 1394 cable and, of course, the A1U uses the 4 pin. The unit comes with a cable and for about $20 you can get a 25' one from B&H. They also have a 75' one but it's 6pin to 6pin.

jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 8:22 PM
Thanks Kent. That may be the route we go, but I need to do some searching to see if the firewire to ethernet to firewire converter is an option. Is it only me or have others asked... why purple? :)

j razz
RalphM wrote on 12/12/2011, 8:42 PM
On Second Thought:

Just re-read your opening question. The A1U can't stream live in HD as I recall. I have an A1U, but I can't test this tonight. I believe it can stream live in SD via firewire though.

Somebody check me on this please.
jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 8:47 PM
One more question about the unit Kent, if I push record on the camera does it start recording to the CF card via the unit or do I have to push something on the unit as well?

The reason I ask is that the cameras that will be used have a wireless remote that can be used to record (along with zoom, etc.) with. If anytime we want to record we have to go up and press record on the unit, that would be show stopper for this unit.

j razz
jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 9:25 PM
I have recorded live to a laptop in HD from an A1u via the Vegas capture utility.

Edit: if we went this route, that is exactly how we would do it- use the Vegas capture utility to capture HDV directly to the PC and use the PC to control the camera to start/stop recording.

j razz
Opampman wrote on 12/12/2011, 9:43 PM
jrazz - The DN60 can be set to trigger both ways. You can set it to trigger when you hit the record button on the camera and the tape rolls in the A1U or set it to manually start by pushing the button on the DN60. If recording in HD it creates m2t files. In SD, it has a buffer so it records 5 seconds or so before you trigger it so you won't miss anything and in SD it can also be set to record time lapse. The documentation is pretty good, they have firmware update, and the unit seems to be pretty well made. As I said earlier, been very pleased with mine.

jrazz wrote on 12/12/2011, 9:48 PM
Thanks Kent. I just wanted to make sure it would work using the remote (no additional button pushes on the unit itself).

j razz
Opampman wrote on 12/13/2011, 7:51 AM
jrazz - If you get one, let me know via email. There are two things that I thought were "quirky" on the menu and had me stumped. I called tech support and they explained it and I felt really dumb - but, still have to think about it if I go more than a week without using the unit.

jrazz wrote on 12/13/2011, 2:19 PM
Will do. Thanks for the availability.

j razz
jrazz wrote on 3/4/2012, 10:04 PM
An Update:

I went with the Kramer firewire to Cat5 converter units. The first pair I got was flaky and I could not get a consistent, stable connection. I returned them to B&H and got a second pair. This pair I could consistently get a signal (by unplugging the power and plugging it back in on the PC side) but it would flake out on me at random times during a live record session. I am sending those back tomorrow.

In doing a little more research I was going to go with the firewire extenders and chain 4 of them together and use a couple of 5 meter firewire cables but ran across a post (doing a google search) that linked to this: http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Computer-Data-Cables/Firewire-Cables/TecNec-Cables-Connectors/DV-DV-75.xhtml

For the price, I am willing to give it a go. I'll report back as to how it goes.

j razz
JackW wrote on 3/4/2012, 10:28 PM
I've been using the Datavideo DN-60 since November with complete success. We're shooting on a huge construction site, about 4 hours a day, indoors and out in the cold. No problems at all with the unit. I use two 32gb cards and rechargeable batteries from B&H.

Record time on a 32gb card is about 2.5 hours.

We use the unit with tape in the camera for backup, required under our contract. The DN-60 goes into standby when the camera does, or can be set up so that it continues recording while the tape is being changed.

Finalizing takes about 6-8 minutes for a full card.

The unit is very well built and has a very clear, straightforward menu. Tech support is excellent.

jrazz wrote on 3/4/2012, 11:20 PM
Thanks Jack,

I am avoiding an on cam option for the moment in hopes that I can find something that will let me control the cam and record directly to the PC. However, if this cable doesn't work, it looks like that will be my only choice.

j razz
ushere wrote on 3/4/2012, 11:52 PM
not to hi-jack the thread, but does anyone know of a cf card 'test' utility? seems there's an awful lot of flake and some cases fake cards floating around.
JackW wrote on 3/5/2012, 1:42 PM

Datavideo makes a similar unit that is desk-top or rack mounted. We looked at it originally but opted for the camera mounted version for our application.

ushere wrote on 3/5/2012, 4:50 PM
thanks riredale.
jrazz wrote on 3/7/2012, 9:16 AM
Thanks Jack.

I couldn't find anything on their site that looks like it would be the equivalent unless you are referring to this: http://www.datavideo.us/datavideo-product-families/datavideo-audio-video-converters/datavideo-vp-314-dv-repeater/

j razz

jrazz wrote on 3/18/2012, 3:09 PM
Update: So far I have recorded 3 times (30+ minutes) using this cable: http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Computer-Data-Cables/Firewire-Cables/TecNec-Cables-Connectors/DV-DV-75.xhtml.

The only thing I have noticed is that after I first start recording it may lose the picture preview while capturing but it still captures without issue. If I stop the recoring and start again, it will capture with preview without issue. I don't know the cause of this but it only does it on the initial record and it really is a non issue.

I spoke to the sales rep before buying it and he said that he has reports of some having issues with the cable and others not for no apparent reason (other than it not being within the firewire spec). I happen to be one of those that it is working fine for.

Just thought I would report back in case anyone else is looking for something similar. It is cheap enough too!

j razz
JackW wrote on 3/18/2012, 6:40 PM
Actually I was think of the Datavideo DN-200, which is portable and AC powered.