November 29, 2007 [section added at bottom on 2/29/2008 ]

David Baber showed me a variety of things that can be done with the DVD & VCR equipment in McGowan.   I hope to create a web page of instructions, but will start with this memo.  These are rough notes and guidelines, partly from memory.   This should provide an overview.  The actual buttons and menu item labels may not exactly match those on the equipment.

DVR Machine in McGowan:  This machine has a hard drive on which it stores video files.  These are accessed via a menu that is projected on the SmartBoard and controlled from the buttons on the front of the VCR.    The DVR machine is connected to two VHS machines above it.  It is connected to send output to the SmartBoard.  It is not normally set up to receive video input from the computer, but there is a connecting device that permits this.

Though some actions are controlled from the menu (such as editing a title, erasing parts of a DVR file/video ), others are controlled directly by buttons (e.g. “Record”)

There are video input ports on both the front and back of the DVR.  The ones on the front can be used with a camera.  There is a firewire port and a three RCA Ports (video, l-r audio) on the front of the DVR and these can be used for input from  cameras.  The ones on the back can be used with the “PC to video adaptor” described below. 

Main “special” feature: 

Using a device labeled “PC to Video” you can capture a computer session, including playing a U-tube video, into a file stored on the DVR machine.  The device connects to the following ports on the computer ( VGA, Audio/one cable only, USB, maybe S-video ? ) and then has output using RCA plugs and S-video to the DVR machine.   Once connected you press the “record” button on the DVR and it will start recording.   The recording can be titled after it is recorded using the system menu.  This “PC to Video” device is stored in David Baber’s “Mending room”.

This device connects to the back of the DVR machine.

Other features,

·         From DVR file to DVD

·         From DVD to DVR file

·         From VHS tape (on separate machine) to DVR File  (machine is already connected to DVR machine)

·         From Camera to DVR File   (connects to fireWire or RCA plugs on front of DVR machine)


You can also go directly from an input source ( Computer, VHS, Camera) to put the output on a DVD without going through the interim step of creating a DVR file.

The input to the DVR comes from one of the “lines” (Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, Line 4, DV ).   You can push buttons to select the lines.   You can tell what is selected by seeing what is displayed on the SmartBoard.   So.. to select  the video input from the “PC to Video Adaptor”, connect the device and then cycle through the lines (via an “Input select”  button on the front) until the desired video (i.e. the one from the computer) appears on the SmartBoard.    As currently set up  we found Line 1 was the pc-video device, l2 was VCR2, DV was the camera input, etc… However, these should verified by seeing what appears on the SmartBoard.   

This setup permits a wide variety of useful operations.

Harry Baya – 11/29/07



I duplicated a DVD, with David's help, today. Here is what I learned:

There are actually three DVD Machines in the lectern. Two of them play either DVD or VHS. I assume they can also record on VHS. The third one is a Sony DVD recorder. The control box on top of the lectern has a button for each : DVD 1, DVD 2, DVDR. Use these buttons to select which of the three will be projected on the Smartboard.

Two duplicate a DVD we did the following steps:

  1. put the DVD in "DVD 2" and play it make sure it has contents and is playable. Push the DVD 2 button on the controller to display the output
  2. Press "DVD-R" on the controller to set the system to display from the DVD R machine
  3. On the DVD-R machine, press the "Input" button to select what is feeding into that machine. As currently set up we found that "DVD 2" was identified as "line 3". The way we knew this was that when "line 3" was selected the input from DVD-2 was displayed on the Smartboard. This could be a little confusing. The system was set up to display from the DVD-R machine. The source DVD was playing on the DVD-2 machine. When we selected the input so that the output from DVD-2 was going into the DVD-R machine, then that video (from DVD 2 through DVD R) was displayed on the Smartboard.
  4. Choose the recording mode by pressing the "Mode" button on the DVD-R machine (just below the "input" button) [ check this, + photo]. Each mode tells you how many hours will fit on the DVD (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 4.0, 6.0 ) [SONY manual in the lectern with the Sony DVD-R machine ]
  5. Stop the DVD 2 machine from playing and reset it to start at the start of the source DVD. Pressing the "Stop" button twice does this.
  6. Put a blank DVD in the DVD-R machine.
  7. Press "Record" on the DVD-R machine.
  8. Then press the Play button on the DVD 2 machine. This starts the record process. It is running in real time.
  9. When the source disk has finished playing, the new disk has to be "Finalized".
  10. Finalize the new DVD by using the remote controller. Press the "Tools" button. On the menu that appears on the Smartboard, select the "Disk Info" choice. Then select "Finalize". Finalizing takes several minutes. When it is complete the duplication process is complete. [ it would be good to get a photo of the controller to put in here ]