Announcing CaptureSync: multi-camera recording software
  • I just thought I'd post here to let you all know about our brand new software that we are releasing today.

    CaptureSync is a multi-camera capture application. It takes video and audio streams and records them to a single file, containing all streams synchronised together.

    CaptureSync is perfect for recording interviews, scientific experiments, psychological research, musical performances and sporting events, among many other uses. It is easy to set up and operate, with a simple start/stop interface for creating recordings.

    Let me know if you have any questions!
  • This would be a great feature to have inside SecuritySpy. The ability to create multi pane captures inside SecuritySpy from SecuritySpy cameras using the schedules and other rules for motion detection, server features etc... would be terrific. I often have clients that would like to see a period of time for all cameras in an area. With individual captures it can be cumbersome to try to get them all to the same point in time and play back together from a remote computer. If SS treated a multi-pane setup as another camera it would be a snap to do this.

    Any chance this functionality can be added into SecuritySpy in a new release?
  • RemotePatrol: I think you're looking for two or even three different discrete (and possibly major) features:

    1) Re-writing the browser so it can be more useful - this could allow viewing of several stored streams at the same time, synchronized with historical clock. The "multi-mode" view supposedly does this, but I've never been able to make it work and it is terribly non-obvious. I seem to recall reading that Ben was working on this - a much-welcomed change, when it arrives.

    2) Implementing scheduled modifications to settings of individual cameras, or to the whole application itself (note: I do this to some degree with Indigo home automation systems and the CynicalSecurity plug-in for it - it's a hack, but you might check it out.) Having the concept of "daylight hours" as well as a more fully-capable schedule tool (with holidays, exceptions, etc.) would be welcome as a precursor to this. Indigo is a good example of how to do this well, with relative offsets etc.

    3) Implement meta-cameras composed of other camera views, with configurable picture-in-picture views/customized sizes/placement instead of simple "grid" layout. Then tie this type of modification to schedules (#2)

    There are some of these discussions already here: http://www.bensoftware.com/forum/discussion/579/feature-requests#Item_6

  • Quick insights into CaptureSync: it's a good start, but needs a bit of polishing as any first release would need.

    1) Again, having layout options and picture-in-picture would make this more useful. There is no way to order or lay out the cameras other than simple layout. It seems that re-sizing the window is what dictates how the movies are saved (grid or line.) I'd use this for conferences with one camera on the speaker and one as a screen capture of the presentation, but having them exactly the same size is kind of strange, and probably sub-optimal. I want a small picture (bottom right) of the presenter, and then the rest of the frame should be the slides.

    2) Having the option to have cameras "touch" on their edges might be nice - I'm testing with an Arecont 4-camera panoramic layout, and there are vertical lines between each camera when they should present a fully-seamless view. Of course, this probably should be an option ("inter-frame blank space")

    3) Having an option for an image to be a "camera" would be ideal, but really requires #1 to be implemented. For example, it would be great to have a backdrop image that contains the conference details, date, presenter's name, etc. and then have the presenter's video appear in a small pre-defined place in that "camera", while another camera was the slides.

    JT
  • Thank you both for your comments!

    Features in SecuritySpy that play back the cameras together is currently possible using the existing Browser in multi-file mode, however we're aware that improvements can be made, and we are working on re-writing the Browser. But as you can imagine this is a big job! @RemotePatrol the new browser, when finished, should do everything you mention.

    As for CaptureSync, we certainly have big plans, including some of the things you mention @jtodd. Picture-in-picture is one - or, more generally, full control over the layout so that you can position different cameras (and screen captures) exactly where you want in the final movie.

    As for cameras touching edges - this is in fact currently the case: there is no border between cameras added by CaptureSync. It's possible that your camera is adding these to the sides of the images that it is sending.

    The ability to specify a custom background image and other text is also already on the "to do" list. Recording presentations is definitely something CaptureSync would be perfect for, with these additions.
  • @Ben - will that functionality be available remotely, via browser and server API though. I don't believe it is currently?
  • @RemotePatrol - ah you are correct, I'm specifically referring to viewing from within the software itself, not remotely. Remotely viewing the footage of multiple cameras synchronised together would be a good feature, but extremely difficult to implement. I'll have a think about how this might be made possible.
  • Ben: Thanks for the answers!

    The new browser is really a feature that will change SecuritySpy. Any chance of giving some feature hints? Also: happy to test out betas. It seems that the browser could also be an entirely separate application, which actually might make sense for a number of reasons (separating the "capture" from the "playback" functions is not a bad idea, especially when it's just digesting a file tree structure and there doesn't seem to be any huge requirement to tightly couple the two.)

    Glad to hear that the PiP customization functionality and image backdrop are on the roadmap for CaptureSync - it would be great if that could be made into portable functions that could find their way to SecuritySpy.

    I don't think the line in between images is being inserted by the Arecont - it's CaptureSync. When I display the images in SecuritySpy side-by-side in the "full-screen" view, there are no black vertical lines between the images. When I put the same cameras into CaptureSync in the same linear alignment, they have thin black lines between the images.

    JT
  • @Ben, I'm probably over simplifying, but if you could create a virtual camera in SecuritySpy that would link to several already defined cameras in SecuritySpy and record a separate single movie combining those cameras in to quadrants or more like CaptureSync; then that virtual camera could be accessible for remote viewing and captured file recall the same as any current SS camera. All using the same API's that are already out there.

    Most of my installations of SecuritySpy are using a headless Mac Mini and either use a browser (if they run windows for example) or Remote Patrol to review live and captured footage. Therefore the SS browser is not a solution. Yes, the could remote into the SS Mac Mini and use the browser there, but that is not typically a good experience if you are remote.

    Just a thought.
  • @jtodd - the details are still being worked out, but yes it will be a separate application as this will give the best user experience and performance.

    As for the line between video images, you are in fact correct. I will make this an option in the next version.

    @RemotePatrol - there are some technical problems with doing this. The kinds of movie files that CaptureSync produces contain multiple video tracks (one for each camera), as this is the most efficient way to store the footage. But unfortunately these cannot be played back on iOS (which will either refuse to play the file, or will play just the first track).

    So you would need multiple feeds composed together and recorded together into one track in a movie file. This is possible, but would require quite a bit of work to modify SecuritySpy for this. Also it's not efficient: imagine two cameras being recorded together side by side, one supplying 10fps video and the other supplying 1fps video. This would have to be recorded at the higher rate, 10fps, but this means that each frame of the second camera is being encoded 10 times. This is a waste of CPU time and storage/bandwidth bytes.

    But I do think think the functionality you describe would be great, so we will have a think about how this might be achieved in SecuritySpy.
  • Hello,

    I am interested about CaptureSync application. It simply solves
    the multiple video recordings to separate streams.

    I would like to suggest some improvements.

    - audio meters to look at the mic levels while recordings
    - remote control and audio monitor via web( something like in SecuritySpy )
    - a kind of "red light on" when recording
    - the actual price of 199£ it seems a little too expensive compared to SecuritySpy
    4 camera license.

    Kind Regards,

    Diego
  • Hi Diego,

    Thanks for your message, glad you are interested in CaptureSync.

    - Audio meters: these already exist. Open the Audio window by clicking on the Audio option from the Window menu.

    - Web monitoring: we didn't consider this useful for most of our target markets, however if enough people request this then of course we will consider it.

    - Red light: I'm not sure exactly what this would look like and where this light would be - any ideas? Currently, the Video window displays a "Recording" message with a timer.

    - Price: the price reflects the fact that CaptureSync is a highly specialised and rather niche product. There is nothing else like it available for the Mac, and similar software products for the PC are much more expensive. You can't really compare this to a 4-camera license of SecuritySpy; the two products do quite different things, and besides, CaptureSync supports up to 16 video and audio inputs, not just 4.

    Let us know if you have any further questions!
  • Hi Ben,

    thanks for replying.

    Ok for the price ( I am short in budget)

    I have found audio meter ! It would be nice to have a cursor allowing audio input level adjust.

    About the "red light while recording " it could be useful to have next to "time elapse " while recording also a visual indicator ( a kind of red light spy). When recoding live events
    the operator is quite busy to manage other equipment also, so it would by nice
    to have an easy for the eyes indicator ( a kind of "RECORDING" text in red letters).

    Another question about extracting video and audio tracks from the mov file. Is it possible to import all tracks as different clips directly into Final Cut Pro X instead of first extracting them with QuickTime Pro 7 ?

    Thanks

    Diego
  • Hi Diego,

    Sorry for the delay, I've been doing some testing with Final Cut Pro X.

    Unfortunately FCP cannot directly import the multi-track files that CaptureSync creates (it seems to get confused with the sizes and positions of the individual tracks in the movie), so I have made a new feature within CaptureSync to split these multi-track files into one file per track, which can then be imported into FCP. This export is easy and quick, with no re-encoding or loss of quality. I have emailed you a link to a beta version of CaptureSync including instructions.

    Also, while recording, CaptureSync now displays the word "RECORDING" in the title bar of the window, and also the "time elapsed" text is now in red. This makes it much easier to see at a glance that CaptureSync is recording.

    Let us know how you get on.

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