have become obsessed with the idea of connecting a small digital video
camera directly to our ipod. This is not just because posting on the
topic allows us a chance to use these quasi-pornographic photos (if
not for their redeeming
In a previous
posting we outlined the basic problem;
the main drawback to using a digital video camera to record interesting
portions of your life is where to put the large digital files which result.
Digital Audio Tape requires time-consuming transfer, winding and rewinding
we thought we had left behind with audio cassettes. Flash memory is limited
to about 15 minutes of video per card, and recordable mini-DVD’s are
limited in availability, capacity and compatibility.
A new alternative places a tiny hard drive on a Compact
Flash size card. Each MicoCard costs $200 and holds 4 gigabytes, enough
for an hour of high quality video.
We were almost convinced. What a cool solution; a tiny
hard drive you could hold in the palm of your hand. Then we realized
– Hey, we already have a tiny hard-drive we carry with us everywhere
we go! And it holds 40 gigabytes! Why can’t we record from our digital
camera directly onto our iPod?
We posed the question here on
the Dowbrigade, and despite a couple of comments, nobody had any idea
if it could be done, or how. We can’t find anything about the topic on
the web. So we asked John and Jon, the tech twins who live in the
server closet at work.
They consulted and concurred that IF the camera manufacturer
adhered STRICTLY to the IEEE-1394 standards and protocols, it was theoretically
possible, but they doubted it would work in real life.
Thirsting for more expert advice, we visited the Apple
Store in the Galleria Mall, swamped with desperate Christmas shoppers.
The iPods were flying off the shelves so fast they didn’t even keep them
on the shelves; they were piled on a wheeled cart directly behind the
register, where they were periodically restocked as the mountain diminished.
After a respectable wait I was able to ask a cheese-faced
13-year-old clerk if it was possible to record directly from a digital
camera onto an iPod. He informed me categorically that it wouldn’t work
because the hard drive on the iPod isn’t fast enough to write video in
When we had a chance to think about this, it didn’t
really make sense. It occurred to us that our OTHER external firewire
hard drive can record an entire DVD-quality feature length motion picture
(for review purposes only) in about 3 minutes, could our iPod really
be that much slower? Sure, the movie has been compressed and
codexed, but isn’t there a way to do that on the fly?
Our next stop was Microcenter, the biggest and best
all-around computer store in the Boston area. The sales guy in
the digital imaging section actually thought about our inquiry for a
moment and pronounced it an excellent idea. However, he noted,
it would depend on the camera manufacturer formatting their output into
a data stream the iPod could recognize and record, and they really had
no incentive to do so. He further suggested that the most likely appearance
of this technology would be if Apple came out with a proprietary video
camera designed to record directly to their iPods.
Does anyone know how much of this is pure bullshit and
how much has a grain of truth. If this is theoretically possible
but presently unimplemented, how hard would it be to do? In our imagination
it opens up a host of new possibilities.
We had always thought that the Warholian ideal of being
able to record and annotate every step of your waking life (why stop
there, remember Sleep?)
was decades away. Even videoblogging ala Steve
lugging a ton of equipment and transferring and processing before posting.
But now we are imagining a palm-sized video camera attached
to a palm-sized iPod and a tiny omni directional microphone, all controlled
from a handy remote. The camera could be incorporated inconspicuously
helmet, so that at the touch of a single button you could record whatever
your eyes were pointed at and your ears could hear. Other people, even
right next to you, need not even know you are a walking documentary.
So once again, let me ask the blogosphere: Is it possible
to record live video onto an iPod? Are we nuts or is this the coolest
idea since podcasting itself? One significant difference; while podcasting deals with content diffusion and consumption, this enters the relm of content creation and media manager, using the iPod as an audio/video recorder, repository, mixer and master control device.