Help! I need technical advice!

I need help from you knowledgeable readers.

Is there any software that will allow me to record – on a single computer – 4 usb webcams with 1 or 2 audio sources?

The idea is to record simultaneously four different camera streams so that you can later edit them together into, say, an interview or even 4 different angles of a Mass.  I don’t mean having some switch between cams while the thing is going on… I mean recording all four and then editing/switching later.

Any ideas?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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10 Responses to Help! I need technical advice!

  1. Lurker 59 says:

    I would just use the software that comes with each camera. If you have four of the same webcams, just launch 4 of the webcam programs and direct each program to use a different webcam for its feed. The audio, unless built into the webcam, will pull either from the Mic or Line In (can be selected in the program itself) thus will be the same for all the webcams or you can have a set using the Line In and a set using the Mic. You will generate four different files and just edit them together using your video editing software.

    Even if you get a specific suit of software to handle this issue, the real issue is going to be your computer’s processing power and hard disc read write speed.

  2. Lurker: But then the audio track(s) is/are not in synch.

  3. papaefidelis says:

    Father Z: You might consider VH Multicam Studio, which seems to fit what you need. I believe it is freeware.

  4. papaefidelis says:

    Father: Do your webcams render through your video card or directly formatted as avi, mov, or similar?

  5. Patrick J. says:

    Syncing multiple audio sources is not a big deal.. If you have any common reference..that is what the clap board is for in film and tv, to give the video and audio a common time reference. In most post production software, even some of the cheaper video editing software, the audio and video, both on a timeline, are able to slide forward or backwards along the timeline independently for sync…just match a common reference, a clap, for example. Read on as some of this may be moot anyway.

    So, in that same regard, if computer/hard disk write speeds become an issue, you could record multiple sources to different computers, and just import the files to a single editing computer later. Not a big deal, especially if you are networked. Also, say you have four cameras viewing a single subject, well you don’t need four audio sources, just eliminate two or three, thus reducing sync and time lag issues.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    Fr. Z.

    What Patrick J. said. Having multiple video sources and audio sources will always necessitate syncing things up — which isn’t that hard even when having to do it by “tape”. If you have the processing power to have all the cams record audio as well as video everything will be in sync — it is only slightly tricky if you have to match audioless video files to a master audio track so that speech matches lip movement — just switch between cameras as you see fit in the editing process.

    Even if you have Camera 1 + Audio 1 and Camera 2 + Audio 2 everything will sync because they are recording the same event. Just edit away.

  7. pewpew says:

    I wonder what Fr. Roderick uses for ustream, he used to have 2 webcams on at the same time

  8. Note that I was asking about doing this on a single computer.

    I am not taking about the live stream on Ustream.

  9. Patrick J. says:

    Fr. Z,

    Well, you have a top end to what amount of streamed information, (data) your computer can keep up with in real time…hence my reference to multiple computers.

    Also note, video resolution becomes an issue, lower rez, more streams handled. YMMV according to your computer speed and software, as well as Hard disk speed/write times..A fast computer with not to high rez on each video stream and good fast hard drive might yield your four video files, but you’d have to try it first and let it run for the hour or so you want to record. If that doesn’t work, split the work amongst more computers. Of course a few dedicated video cameras would probably be best, but you asked about web cams.

  10. Patrick J. Right. I was thinking in terms of portability and speed of set up.