We are currently recording our services on video (live feed from camcorder directly to Mac, and the audio comes from a long-range microphone attached to the camera).
The problem right now is that we just filled up our 500GB hard drive way too quickly. So we are planning on burning them all to DVD and deleting them off the computer. The terabyte hard drives just seemed too expensive and not worth it since we'd need a new one every 18 months or so. Does that sound reasonable? That is question #1.
The other issue is, I am looking into what we would need to provide quality recordings for radio whenever (if ever) that time may come. Here are some ideas I have, I am curious to know what others are doing.
1. The easiest thing to do if possible, is to isolate the audio portion and burn that to CD. I have tried to find out how to do that using iwhatever that software suite is that comes with the Mac. But I don't think that will provide good enough quality audio for the radio.
2. Option 2 would be to get an audio interface like an Mbox or Digidesign 001 (I'm partial to ProTools since that's what I've used before) and ProTools comes with it - we could record the audio directly to the computer. The downside to that is that I don't think our computer could handle recording audio and video at the same time, even though it does have 8 GB of RAM (split over two partitions). The camera is a Canon Vixia HV-40 or HV50 (I can't remember) so we could record to DV Tapes but would rather not be buying so many of them.
3. Option 3 would be to buy an analog CD Recorder and the ProTools LE software without an interface (at some point I'd like the Digidesign 003 for music production, but I have a hard time justifying it at the moment), so we could import the CD into the computer and edit it that way. This is the option I am leaning toward.
Curious. Terrabyte HDDs are cheap - the equivalent of $75 here, and I find it hard to believe they're more expensive in the US. Even a 2 Tb drive is the equivalent of $120. Even in a housing they're pretty cheap still (if you want to record to an external drive).
Have you considered recording the audio portion separately to an MP3 recorder? We use an M audio Microtrack II, and it provides excellent audio quality using a headphone output from the sound desk. I clean up the recordings in Audacity, but if you're saddled with a Mac then I guess you can use iWhatever or protools or somesuch.
MP3 can be very good quality, you get to choose the compression. /Also, we record to CD and it's certainly not necessary to use Protools to take it from CD to computer. There are a number of free/nearly free programs that will do the job quickly like Audacity. And it's a lot easier to use than ProTools. I've used it quite often and you can get excellent results from it.
But wait - there's another option. I like the looks of the Roland BR800 which has multiple inputs and can be used later with Cakewalk Sonar LE for post editing on a computer. I haven't used one, but the price is good and it looks like a great system which will allow you 4 simultaneous balanced or unbalanced inputs.
We record our video to a portable hd (firestore) via firewire directly from a Canon GL2, and record audio directly to computer via (2) 8 channel interfaces. This saves hd space, as video eats that up quickly. Audio is edited via Sonar Cakewalk, then Firestore is connected to computer and video edited via Premier Pro. Both are then synced together for a finished product with quality audio and all the video extras (i.e. lower thirds, wipes, etc).
You really should get some sort of audio interface. Digidesign is Protools, M-audio works well, but I think that is mostly the interface, cakewalk would work well for that. Remember though, even with an audio interface, you will still need to mix the whole group through a board to get the sound to translate right.
If you want professional sounding recordings, then the computer is not the answer.
THE COMPUTER IS NOT THE ANSWER. THE COMPUTER IS NOT THE ANSWER!
Im sure you get the idea. Im not trying to be mean, but really, it just doesnt matter what kind of software, computer, interface, or mixer you use. Im no expert, but here are three tips to making great live recordings;
1. Invest in good microphones. They are the sole piece of equipment that can make or break ANY recording.
2. Use shields. Not just on the drums, but on the amplifiers as well. Trust me, you don't want that sound reaching your vocal mics. And by the way, these don't have to be anything fancy, use pieces of wood with carpet stapled to them if you have to.
3. Always make a practice recording. Nothing is worse than recording a whole session only to find out that there was something you missed (bad mix, instrument turned down, mics not on, buzz, etc...).
And as a side note, you may want to look into stand alone hard disk recording units. I have a ZOOM MRS-1800, that records just as well as Protools running on Snow Leopard. So dont think that because equipment is antiquated or, not the "Industry Standard", that it can not meet your needs. Look around, and remember the tips i gave you.
I use this program on my laptop while running projectors,
You can save the program as multiple different formats, and then pick
the quality, a service that is 2.hr could range anywhere between 20mb to 400mb
depending on the format and the quality that you chose to save it as,
Not to mention it lets you edit the recording.(and there is a free version(which is what I use)
now it should take no CPU power if plug the sound board into the microphone jack on the computer.
I'm am just using a laptop with only 4g of ram.
If you're planning on recording for radio, pull straight from the board. You'll get the best sound quality there without having to worry about acoustic issues in the room. We do that for our podcasts (which have been very popular with the soldiers in our congregation that are deployed). If you want to include crowd noise, a couple of well placed choir mics should do the trick.
One thing to think about is that broadcasting the music of your service is not covered by CCLI. It may take you a little extra time, but you can trim the music portions to give you a smaller file size. Depending on how your service runs, you could double your capacity.
If we go on the air, we will only be broadcasting the sermons, sorry I forgot to clarify that. At some point we would like to record our own worship CD (and that may be years down the road), but we won't be broadcasting our entire worship services with music.