School News show and new setup

Many of the schools in my area are making the switch to Boinx to produce their morning news show. I am starting to gather information to purchase the camera and various cables. The computer we will be using is a 20" iMac 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 GB of memory. There are 4 USB Ports and one FireWire 800 Port.

Finding affordable FireWire cameras is not easy. But there are plenty of USB cameras on the market. Can I use the USB camera and not the FireWire kind?

Thanks in advance for the help.

The problem with “USB-cameras” is, that they usually don’t send a live video over the USB cable. Here the USB port can only be used for downloading the already recorded footage. On the other hand you can only connect one FireWire camera to one FireWire bus because the signals interfere with each other even if the computer has two connectors.

So if I have a MBP with one 800FW port and one 400FW port, would that be better to use?

Because we can’t test every Mac-model, I can’t really tell you if it will work out.

Our school has been using Boinxtv since 2007 on a 1st gen Intel macpro. We use a green screen and lower thirds to record our morning news as well as play some features through it via placer. We have been having problems of all kinds lately with the audio not aligning with the video, solved, and now when we have a video background and then try to play another video on top, it crashes. Please help!

Most likely you ran out of memory. What kind of encoding do you using for your videos? H.264 has a big memory footprint, try to re-encode to Apple Intermediate video codec.

a 2ghz processor & 2GB of RAM isn’t enough. max ram & only 1 camera with that iMac. I had a 2.4ghz MBP that could BARELY handle a camera via matrox mini & a screen capture.

Ideal setup is a quad i7 8-16GB of ram. then you can do what you want. you’ll only get 1 firewire cam unless you get an expresscard or thunderbolt to firewire connection.

Sorry for my great delay. We would like to get a souped up Mac Mini to do our shows, the only problem is that we need two firewire connections for our cameras and the Mini only has one. Can you point me to the right direction to find a thunderbolt to firewire device? Also can we use Apple Intermediate Codec to just “drag” the file onto the desktop for immediate uploading to Vimeo? We have a half hour to 15 min window from finishing recording to have it done and upload to Vimeo for playback in the next class period.
P.S. all the crashing and what not has been solved, we downgraded the size to 960x540 and got a new video card which has done wanders.

@cnelson3225: Thunderbolt hardware is currently hard to find and we hadn’t the chance to find one either, sorry!
Apple-Intermediate-Codec: The problem with it would be the file size: This codec needs 10 times the disc space as the H264 for example, so your upload time to vimeo would also be 10 times longer. I think the best way would be to record with the Apple-Intermediate codec, transfer the file to another computer and let it re-encode there to get a small file size for uploading. In the mean time you can start recording with the first computer again.

Well we don’t record two shows in a day, if that is what you mean. our schedule is:
-we record the first show (about 15 min)
-we “drag” the file to the desktop then immediately upload to vimeo without any converting whatsoever.
As far as the Mini, we have found a way to use only one firewire port so long as we only use one camera, which until more Thunderbolt peripherals come out that is all we need. Also we decide to go with an iMac instead, due to the better graphics hardware. In all, I will test the AIC stuff and see what we think about it versus H264. Thank you for your support!