One of my students wants to make a 24hour (or at any rate very long) video by capturing from a mini DV camera, compressing on the fly and saving it to an external hard drive from which she can then play it out later through a projector. I'd guess it could be done on a Mac using Quicktime but she has a PC laptop. Is there any kind of application which will capture, compress and store as a compressed DVpal movie file that runs on windows. I think premiere has a maximum file size which precludes this. It doesn't need to be edited and will just be one take. She wants a projectable quality, not just a webcam image, though.
Windows Media Encoder can capture from a firewire input. works pretty good. Not sure if I would do this and not babysit the encoding, but with the right encode settings it could probably do it with little effort.
I would make sure all power save/screen savers etc were off and that there was no wireless connections, and personally if i had the space I would encode to the internal hard drive. I would NOT use an external USB drive unless it was a USB2 drive on a USB2 port.
Basically give the encoder all of the laptops processing.
Should work great. Do a quick test, say 10 minutes with a certain setting and see how big the file is and multiply that by the total length you want the final and that will determine how much space you will need and how good the quality will be. Don't expect full screen DV either, but rather go with maybe 480 x 360 WMV at even 15fps to be safe.
I've done something similar with Windows Media Encoder. As previously noted, you can setup Media Encoder to capture directly from firewire to disc. It is actually designed to keep chugging through screensavers and monitor shut off, though I would probably disable all power management. Media Encoder can also record multi-bitrate streams. So you could conceivably create a 640x480 2k stream for projection and a 320x240 300k stream for web. Then use the Windows Media Stream Editor to split out the streams.
Windows media encoder during encoding will display an estimate "disk time left" calculated from your remaining disk space and your encoding settings...for today's hard drives this is often in days.
I'd strongly suggest doing a dry run over well in advance of what you are really wanting to record.
One thing to double check is with the camera...often cameras when not recording to tape will power down after several minutes of inactivity (not pressing a button). In most cases there are menu settings to disable this feature.