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remote meter monitoring using a webcam

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May 5, 2005 10:31:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

OK, what I thought was going to be a simple solution has turned into a
royal PITA (surprise).

I need to rearrange some gear and the ideal location for the 24 track
is behind an effects rack. The remote reaches no problem, but it would
be nice to see the reels, counter and meters.

My solution was to get a webcam and point it at the Ampex. That way, I
could sit in front of the console and bring up the reel on the computer
screen to sanity check levels, check that the channels are actually
getting signal, etc.

So, first attempt - el cheapo $35 from Best Buy. No go. Couldn't
focus close enough nor sharp enough to see anything useful. Meter
bulbs washed out to a rectangular blur.

Second attempt - $100 Creative WebCam. Better, but still problems with
light balance and focus. The meter bulbs look right with the eye, but
the camera really has a light balance problem trying to focus sharply
and still not wash out so you can see the needles moving. Plus the sw
locks up my PC (Win2k) if you look at it wrong or do something silly
like move the camera quickly while it's capturing.

Anyone doing something like this successfully?
May 5, 2005 11:20:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Thanks Scott. This was an attempt at a quick and simple solution. The
security camera sounds like the right way to go. I'll look into that
option more thoroughly, just to finish the investigation. Lighting the
tape machine wouldn't be a problem (or just let all the meter bulbs
burn out....).

However, if I'm getting up into the $300-$500 range just for
convenience and a second screen somewhere over the console, I might as
well get off my ass and walk around or figure out a different equipment
layout.

Scot C - the Ampex is the MM1200 - not necessarily the most advanced
(from a remote control view) machine made (sounds really good though).
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 1:57:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1115299914.145104.85350@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
<tom@synthservices.com> wrote:
>
>My solution was to get a webcam and point it at the Ampex. That way, I
>could sit in front of the console and bring up the reel on the computer
>screen to sanity check levels, check that the channels are actually
>getting signal, etc.
>
>So, first attempt - el cheapo $35 from Best Buy. No go. Couldn't
>focus close enough nor sharp enough to see anything useful. Meter
>bulbs washed out to a rectangular blur.

None of the web cams will be fast enough, to be honest. If you REALLY
want to do this, consider a security camera with an adjustable iris lens,
going into an NTSC monitor. Even the best video gear, though, has a
pretty limited brightness range, so you are going to have to light the
gear so that you can see the reels without having the meters blow out.
Having the manual iris helps that a lot... disable the automatic gain,
then set the iris so the meters look good, then add light to the top
until the whole thing looks good.

Figure around $100-$250 for a camera depending on whether you want
color, and figure another $100 for a decent lens. Plus a monitor.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Anonymous
May 5, 2005 3:12:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<tom@synthservices.com> wrote:
>Thanks Scott. This was an attempt at a quick and simple solution. The
>security camera sounds like the right way to go. I'll look into that
>option more thoroughly, just to finish the investigation. Lighting the
>tape machine wouldn't be a problem (or just let all the meter bulbs
>burn out....).

You could also put 28V meter lamps in there. On the 440-8, I wound up
putting higher voltage bulbs in the meters so they wouldn't glare so much
in a dark room.

>However, if I'm getting up into the $300-$500 range just for
>convenience and a second screen somewhere over the console, I might as
>well get off my ass and walk around or figure out a different equipment
>layout.

Well, I could see this being a big deal if you have a seperate machine
room. And I know a lot of folks with that sort of configuration which
used to work well when they had a machine operator on duty, but now are
trying to work with fewer people and need more remote control.

>Scot C - the Ampex is the MM1200 - not necessarily the most advanced
>(from a remote control view) machine made (sounds really good though).

I think the only more advanced machine is probably the ATR-124. Believe
me, when you've used an MM-1000, you will really appreciate how advanced
the MM-1200 is.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 6:02:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

tom@synthservices.com wrote:

>
> Second attempt - $100 Creative WebCam. Better, but still problems with

> Anyone doing something like this successfully?

Don't think that will ever work to your liking...consider a used
security camera.

Does the Ampex have any kind of computer control capability? LIke RS
232,e tc.?

I have a Studer A810, that I can control with my PC, and it has a
digital display for counter, and most of the major controls, so I don't
really have to physically look at the deck...though, it's nice to see
the reels turn and all the pretty lights! ;-)


--
--Scot
www.RonnieJamesDio.org
www.SMCProductions.org
www.CraigGoldy.org
www.ScotClayton.org
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 8:39:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1115299914.145104.85350@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> tom@synthservices.com writes:

> So, first attempt - el cheapo $35 from Best Buy. No go. Couldn't
> focus close enough nor sharp enough to see anything useful. Meter
> bulbs washed out to a rectangular blur.
>
> Second attempt - $100 Creative WebCam. Better, but still problems with
> light balance and focus.

You're spending too much money to get something neat and convenient. I
see security-grade video cameras and early home video cameras (some
even B&W) at hamfests all the time for $25 or less. I have a really
nice Sony with a zoom lens (not remote controlled, unfortunately) that
I paid $25 for about 10 years ago and used on remotes.

The junkman will be your friend here. But if you have a proper meter
bridge on your console (or virtual one on your DAW) you'll have the
tape outputs connected so that you can read the levels and you'll
always know what it's doing.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
!