Datavideo DN-500: Ultra dependable video recorder for legal depositions

Legal videographers need to make high quality A/V recordings and archive safety copies of them for 60 to 90 days. Deposition videos are usually recorded and delivered on DVD and backed up to SVHS for failsafe copies. But with the pro video community as a whole moving away from tape as an acquisition or even backup up format, the obsolescence of SVHS tape as well as problematic storage and archiving issues, non-tape back up just makes more sense these days.

Datavideo makes a family of Standard Definition/HDV hard drive based video recorders with big buttons, a small footprint and interchangeable hard drives. They come with a 250GB hard disk drive that can record up to 16 hours non-stop and for some that is plenty. Other users have upgraded to 500GB or even 640GB hard drives which can provide up to 40+ hours of nonstop recordings. Still others have used smaller capacity solid state drives.

Each 2.5" SATA (note book) drive is kept in a proprietary enclosure that also has a USB adapter so the drive enclosure may be removed and connected to a PC or Mac as a stand alone drive for convenient drag and drop file transfer.

Datavideo interviewed one of our Legal Video end-users to better understand how our recorders play a part in his industry.

We spoke with Michael Johnstone, a videographer from Class Act Audio/Video in Sylmar, California.

According to Johnstone, one of his greatest fears is to have a DVD media failure on a deposition job and only have SVHS as a backup. Michael bought the Datavideo DN-500 HDD recorder as an alternative to SVHS tape backup to ensure high quality ultra reliable redundancy. Johnstone said, “My recordings are often used as court evidence and when attorneys are flying into town for multi-million dollar litigation there is no second chance to capture the proceedings and peace of mind is a valuable asset in this business. The DN-500 easily performs at legal deposition standards and withstands 8 or 10 hour days, and numerous extended record/pauses during breaks in the action. Johnstone also mentioned that by having 4 enclosures containing 640GB capacity drives is he able to archive 12 depositions per drive on average so maintaining hard drive backups of his recordings for 60 to 90 days is possible - depending on his schedule. He then burns the files to a second set of DVDs for long term archiving before reformatting the drives.

Michael says "I could have used a laptop with external hard drives to accomplish the same thing but with the DN-500, there are no software crashes, driver issues, dongles, A/V interfaces or operating system conflicts. This machine only does one thing and does it very well. So far it appears to be bulletproof."

The DN-400 (desktop) and DN-500 (rackmount) are avaon sale for $1,712. They include one enclosure w/250GB HDD and one empty HDD enclosure. Extra empty enclosures are available as well. If you wish to try the Datavideo DN-400 or DN-500 HDD, please e-mail for a demo request.

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