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Contrary to popular belief
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When using a digital or digital-video camera to try to record various events, things sometimes happen a little bit before the cameraman is ready to start shooting. I would like to see a function which could be set to record audio into a continuously-circulating buffer and then prefix the saved/recorded
video with the audio from a couple of seconds previously.
Although the lack of video at the start of the clip would be annoying when watching it by itself, when assembling clips into a montage it's often effective to have the audio for a scene start slightly before the video; this feature could work well with that convention.
Recording video as well as audio into the circulating buffer could also be useful, but would have a couple of limitations:
-1- Buffering the video would require more RAM in the camera than buffering just audio, and would probably also consume more battery power.
-2- For some types of events, the cameraman might not know where to point the camera until the 'interesting' event happens. The camera would have no trouble capturing the audio, but any video captured at that time would be useless if the camera was pointed in the wrong place.
BTW, another related option I'd like to see on digital cameras would be the ability to (under user control) drop into "audio only" mode in the middle of a recording. When using video clips in a montage, this would provide a continuous audio track even when the camera was being moved from place to place or was otherwise not pointed at anything interesting (other footage or photos would be used to cover the gaps). Recording video continuously would be possible, but would use much more storage space. Even if 90% of the audio recorded this way was junked, audio uses less than 1/10 the storage space of video.
the still camera version of this idea [xaviergisz, Jul 28 2006]
Very cool, but not a camera. [wagster, Jul 29 2006]
||From my experience with (cheap) video cameras, the audio is invariably disappointing and usually only makes any sense in the context of the video. Normally when editing, I just add a sound track over the video because the audio is so poor.
||I wish video camera manufacturers would put more effort into the microphones (I can think of several things they could do to considerably improve audio quality).
||Having said that, I don't think there'd be any harm in implementing this idea in video cameras [+].
||We've just bought a Firestore FS-2 hard disk video recorder at work. When you put it into record/pause it starts recording, generating a new video file every minute for five minutes, after this it continues but overwrites the oldest file every time it starts a new one. When you go into record it starts writing the main file, but you then have four or five 1min segments that can be stitched on in post-production if necessary. Another cool feature: it has a built in ftp server so you can access the files from any post-pro facility (takes a while to download broadcast quality quicktime though).
||I was thinking of this idea primarily in the context of digital cameras with moderately-small memories that can only hold limited amounts of video. Because audio is much smaller than video, wasting storage on audio that turns out to be useless would be much less bothersome than wasting storage on video.