Saturday, November 2, 2013

Samsung Is Not Serious; Nor Is Sony; Is This The MPAA At Work?

It turns out that this Samsung camcorder takes video in 20 minute segments.  It resumes video as a second segment... but only after about a five second loss of information.  Samsung just confirmed that this is not a limitation of the FAT32 file system, but intrinsic to all Samsung cameras.

I can't believe it.  I am tempted to take my Sony Hi-8 camcorder with me.  That at least does not have these stupid limitations.

UPDATE: It appears that most camcorders being sold today that do not record to a hard disk have this limitation.  This is so bizarre.  From hunting around the network, this is again World Trade Organization stuff.  It appears that WTO is either requiring this to avoid a tariff barrier, or requiring it on low end camcorders to discourage pirates using these in movie theaters.

UPDATE 2: It is not just Samsung.  Sony's HDR-TD20V (a $1300 camera) also "Records in 29 minute segments..."

I don't know -- is it possible that the generation that these cameras are aimed are simply do not have the attention span to sit through anything that takes more than 20 minutes to record?  I know that if you are making a movie, you are not going to have long scenes -- but doesn't anyone record weddings or, for that matter, depositions anymore?


  1. Searched your blog for "World Trade Organization video" hoping to find out what you meant in your last sentence. Didn't find anything.

    So, what did you mean?

  2. I looked at the Vixia R400 a while back. I don't own one, but its specifications say it can record for 12 hours (with the lower quality settings) until automatically restarting. I know the older versions had a 30 minute limit or so, but you might want to check the manual/brochure to be sure.

    It also the cheapest camcorder I could find with a microphone jack.

  3. You might look into the GoPro line of sports cameras. I believe they have some very long continuous recording times.

  4. Dave, see here:


  5. My GoPro does the same thing. I thought it was to conserve battery life, but evidently that's not the reason.

  6. I checked and it was the Vixia R300 specification page that says MP4 files can only be 4GB (30 minutes) in size. The Vixias also record in AVCHD apparently without limitation.

    The Vixia R400 mentions that MP4s over 4GB will be seen as multiple files depending on the device/software. I hope it doesn't mean significant gaps in recording. (Only the 12 hour limit mentions a 3 second gap.)

    There is a review on B&H's website that says the 30 minute limit is gone on the R400, but buyer beware.

  7. Slightly off topic. I have a device that copies a VHS to an mp3, then burns the mp3 onto a DVD. I use it to convert old home movies to DVD. As it creates the mp3, the file grows to 5 gigs, then when it stops, the mp3 suddenly shrinks into 2 gigs, and I get only a half hour video.

    That seems to be a feature that they won't change.

  8. Both my Sanyo and JVC HD camcorders cut off and restart a new file at around 4GB file size. I assumed that was done to limit the file size to the largest that could be copied onto a recordable DVD.

  9. A 4GB limit sounds like a FAT32 limitation, so that might not be a WTO thing, in the examples in previous comments.

    (DVDs hold 4.5 gigs, roughly, and 9 for dual-layer,, but 4 gigs is the size limit on FAT32 filesystems.

    Which is why Microsoft is pushing exFAT for a replacement, with an effectively unlimited (16 exabytes) file size.)