Streaming Equipment

Dec 19, 2004
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Lenexa, KS
www.severeplains.com
This is stemming off from the ongoing thread on streaming video, but as I am interested as well as many others I'm sure in streaming I find myself wondering what kind of equipment are people using to stream. Are you using a type of basic webcam, a low-end camera, or the only camera you have to both stream and capture video to mini-dv or hd...

Just thought I'd get an idea of what everyone is using. This might actually go better in the equipment thread the more I think about it, mods feel free to move it if necessary.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Just a Microsoft webcam - I started with a basic one but the contrast wasn't good enough for outside shots. Didn't spend a ton ($40 I think) but more than the $10 one ;)
 
I'm using a webcam also that I mounted to the arm of my rearview mirror with a custom made bracket. Mine IS a cheap camera and the contrast is pretty bad but i was trying it out as a test since i didn't want my primary DV cam to be tied to my truck with a wire at all times. I plan to buy a better webcam before the first land falling hurricane of the year (assuming we have one).

The cam is pretty much pointed straight ahead at all times but it is adjustable once I stop.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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Birmingham, AL.
There are many Mini-DV video cameras on the market lately under the $200.00 price tag. Just this past weekend in the sale papers I know I saw at least 4 different ones. I am not sure which of the big retailers it was, but I would guess something along the lines of Best Buy, Circuit City, Walmart, etc.
There was one that was a clearance item that was under $150.00.
 

cedwards

EF5
Feb 3, 2005
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Shawnee, OK
www.cloud9tours.com
I use an old Sony dv camera that no longer is reliable for recording. It is connected to the computer with a firewire cable. I tried several webcams, but none of them had satisfactory picture quality for me.
 
I wanted a simple no fuss solution so I went with a Microsoft HD webcam VX-6000 ($79)

http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/digitalcommunication/productdetails.aspx?pid=002

I am actually impressed with this little device as it has a wide angle lens, is very small, requires USB power only and contains a 1.3 Mp video camera as well as a 5 Mp still camera.

Over all it worked well for me in 2008 with out a glitch.
 
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I use a Sony DCR-HC30 which is a few years old, but with great results. The cool thing is that in addition to using it for my live stream, it is also my dashcam. I can easily record to tape simultaneously.

I connect the camera to my laptop via Firewire. Windows Media Encoder is used to stream the signal to the internet. I use a cellular amp to boost the signal making it more reliable. A Wilson Trucker antenna completes the setup.
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
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Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
I use a miniDV video camera I got off the clearance shelf at Best Buy. I believe it's a Sony DCR-HC26. No frills camera that's nice to have on the dash and I keep a tape in it should anything exciting happen. I wouldn't want to put much more than $120 on my dash to be baked by the sun all day long.
 
I tried to use my old Sony camcorder but it has a sleep feature that would shut it down unless I was recording to a tape. The tape workaround sucked because after an hour I'd have to pause and rewind and start over. The other thing that was a pain was having one more thing on my inverter drawing power and the USB cord was starting to short out from bumping down dirt roads.

I've since gone back to the old cheapo Logitech USB webcam with a darkening filter rubberbanded over the lens. It has marginal quality but the fiddle factor is now something I can deal with. :)
 
Yeah my Sony TRV38 miniDV cam has a sleep function that cannot be defeated. It will only stay on if it's plugged in and DOES NOT have a tape in it. I agree to the simplicity of the webcam. plus a small webcam is quite inconspicuous, which is important to me.
 
Apr 9, 2006
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Beatrice, Ne
Visit site
I first tried the Logitech webcam route. During the day the picture was washed out. Have an older VHS-c camcorder that I had from years back that I use with satisfactory results. I can get 2 hours on tape in the extended play mode.
 

Niccolò Ubalducci

And... When I have the webcam, what is the addres to send the image for streaming!?
 
Nov 15, 2007
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Gainesville, FL
Equipment

We started streaming with an older Sony mini DV. After many discussions amoung our group, we decided quality is something of importance. We switched to a Sony HD. The clarity has been much nicer. It's good to have a decent backup to record on in case someone forgets to push record on their hand-held camcorder, the battery wasn't charged, or there was no tape to record on. Things don't always go smoothly during a chase. At least the dash cam has a chance to record anything we miss. :)
 
Mar 2, 2004
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Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com
I was using a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 webcam and when it worked, it worked well. Like Verne said, the fiddling factor and having one more thing to worry about turned me off in the end. It became an issue of having to worry about too many things breaking on a chase, so I was quick to do away with it.

Assuming truth to Sprint's 300MB roaming limit, its likely the webcam will not make a 2009 appearance.

I was happy with the QuickCam, and its bracket thing actually held well to the dash of my van, so it was very nice and easy to "mount" in a stable place. The picture quality was good and I actually found when I recorded from it to the computer, it made for pretty decent backup video or various time lapse stuff. I may not stream with it, but it does make a handy directly into the computer video file.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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Birmingham, AL.
Assuming truth to Sprint's 300MB roaming limit, its likely the webcam will not make a 2009 appearance.
I have been wondering what effect the data limits will put on the streaming feeds by everyone who uses this. I would think that should the companies really start enforcing the limits of data, the streaming feeds will probably drop off pretty drastically for some.
I have not gone much over 4 GB of the 5 allowed, but I don't stream as much as some and usually only turn it on during the storm. If I was to run the streaming more, I would easily go over the 5 GB limit and then be paying the additional price per KB.
Also, if some companies have a roaming limit as Tony said, this will really put a damper on the streaming for some.
Wish we had rollover data to go along with our rollover minutes.
 

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
878
69
11
Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
That's a good question on whether it's combined or just DL. Good luck finding someone who "really" knows the answer to that. I would think it is combined, but if it is DL only, then streamers might be okay yet. If not, then streaming is going to get killed. When streaming during the storm part of a chase, I'll average about 1.5GB per chase day, of course the vast majority of that is upstream. This is streaming and L3 data only. If I go L2 when I'm near the cities, then that number goes way up.
 
If someone can figure out a way to share and/or load balance the data stream...they would have a winner! With my Verizon plan, I am now getting in the habit to keep an eye on the usage each month. The VZ access manager allows this very easily...just never used it before.
 
Mar 30, 2008
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Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
For what it's worth, I never could go over a Gig or Two in a month this year, and I'd say I did some moderate chasing, and a LOT of streaming. Of course, I don't use the data for anything but downloading my email on my smart phone and when I am mobile tethered to my laptop with no other internet access.
 
Dec 10, 2007
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If you were to stream, how much b/w would you say you would use in say an hour, assuming you were streaming the whole hour? Obviously this depends on resolution size, but has anyone tracked exactly how much it uses up? I'm on with a Verizon card and have the 5 GB cap now as well, so I am curious.