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Recording video/audio on Laptops

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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December 6, 2012 1:41:53 PM

I'm trying to build a setup for a church. As someone preaches the audio gets recorded real time onto a CDR. They also pipe the audio output (3.5mm Mic) from the soundboard into a handheld MP3 player as a backup if the CD fails to record. If I get a laptop the mic jack should be able to accept this signal as well, but wouldn't the 3.5 mic signal be mono? Headphones seem to have stereo so maybe a 3.5 mic jack can as well?

the audio phase is the primary need right now, but being able to possibly record video would be a huge bonus. They also have a few security cameras covering their parking lot, which are piped into an old school VCR and tube TV. I was thinking maybe they could convert to a wireless camera system kit that comes with a software package, and maybe they could have an audio recording program like Nero or Audacity recording the sermons but also have the wireless camera setup viewable on this same laptop. Someone told me you can't view video from one input while recording audio on another on the same computer. Is this true?? The cameras wouldn't have audio, just black/white video most likely. If they have to get 2 PCs so be it.

There's a lot of info there, hopefully someone can tell me limitations and possibilities of a system like this. Any help and suggestions would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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January 30, 2013 4:30:44 AM

turbopants said:
I'm trying to build a setup for a church. As someone preaches the audio gets recorded real time onto a CDR. They also pipe the audio output (3.5mm Mic) from the soundboard into a handheld MP3 player as a backup if the CD fails to record. If I get a laptop the mic jack should be able to accept this signal as well, but wouldn't the 3.5 mic signal be mono? Headphones seem to have stereo so maybe a 3.5 mic jack can as well?

the audio phase is the primary need right now, but being able to possibly record video would be a huge bonus. They also have a few security cameras covering their parking lot, which are piped into an old school VCR and tube TV. I was thinking maybe they could convert to a wireless camera system kit that comes with a software package, and maybe they could have an audio recording program like Nero or Audacity recording the sermons but also have the wireless camera setup viewable on this same laptop. Someone told me you can't view video from one input while recording audio on another on the same computer. Is this true?? The cameras wouldn't have audio, just black/white video most likely. If they have to get 2 PCs so be it.

There's a lot of info there, hopefully someone can tell me limitations and possibilities of a system like this. Any help and suggestions would be very much appreciated! Thanks in advance.


I don't know if you have found your answers by now as I can see you posted this almost 2 months ago now but if not I believe I have some useful information for you.

To be completely honest these are good questions. I'm about 95% sure this is all possible with a powerful enough system and the right graphics hardware you should be more than able to record both at the same time but you would need monstrous hard drive space. Your best bet would be to just stream your video to the laptop through a usb receiver to monitor your security stream without recording...most cost effective. The other option would be to use a service which would allow you to record your security stream directly to the internet and monitor it on the laptop, any rewinding or reviewing your video would be done through the program provided by whichever web based security system you choose but you could be looking at a fairly expensive operation with the online selection. The only other option I can think of right off hand would be a self contained 'DVR' type system which would come with a couple cameras (normally 4 I believe) that would allow you to record everything to the built-in memory of the device itself and would be review-able on the same monitor that its currently attached...once again more than likely quite pricey.

As for the audio recording questions. I'm a musician of many different styles and have been dealing with home recording for many years. Aucicity is a very powerful program,user friendly, and it's 100% free so that would be the program I would suggest as I have been using it for years. The majority of laptops to my knowledge come with an integrated stereo 3.5" mic input...if it is a mono input it really won't effect much as far as the audio quality goes. At worst you can copy and paste your entire audio recording into a second track which will for in turn act as a stereo track (may take a little aligning if this method is used...quite easy in Audacity). You shouldn't miss out on any panned sound using a mono track compared to a stereo track. May want to invest in a USB interface to go into the laptop to decipher the audio signal a little better. USB iinterfaces are anywhere from $29.99(USA) to the thousands of dollars depending on your purposes and the audio quality sought after. I would suggest something in the $50 to $150 range would be more than sufficient for your needs. I use a Line6 UX1 and I believe I spent right around $130 and it has a low latency monitoring system built right into the interface in the case you would want to monitor the live recording with little to no delay.

Link to a good site for your interface purchase if it of interest. (link will take you to the interfaces in the arrangement from price low to high)

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/audio-interfaces#N=50007...

Hope I could help if you haven't gotten any answers yet.
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January 30, 2013 12:33:01 PM

Audacity is definitely a gem for the free pricetag! I use it for my video editing. For the time being, we just got an $80 Tascam digital recorder. The 3.5 mic output they were using WAS mono, but that was remedied by getting a splitter RCA --> Mic cable. So the sound issue is temporarily handled until they figure out what security system to go with and we can start using a laptop. I think the wireless IP cams would be easiest to setup and adapt but they are insisting on hard wiring everything.

Thanks a bunch for the detailed reply, links and ideas. I'll keep this tucked away for when we get ready to buy new hardware.
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February 6, 2013 12:58:35 AM

Best answer selected by turbopants.
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