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RV-sFOUR Recorder & Switcher

Four Channel HD Recorder & Camera Switcher

Capture the Experience
The RV-sFOUR was designed with the purpose of streamlining the video capture process by eliminating the need to edit post-process.  The RV-sFOUR creates professional high definition videos with seamless switching between up to four cameras.

The RV-sFOUR is still available for sale but has been superseded by the TourMaster recorder/switcher.

Capture HD Video
The RV-sFOUR is built on a powerful encoding platform which can encode 1080p60 video from a variety of sources.  Integrated within the sFOUR and connected to the encoder, is a four camera switcher which allows seamless switching between up to four camera views while recording.

HD Video

The RV-sFOUR can record video up to 1080p60 using the same high quality compression algorithms as Blu-Ray.  Accepting a variety of inputs, compatible video sources include: 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, and SD-SDI as well as HDMI/DVI and even composite (NTSC and PAL).  The RV-sFOUR accepts up to four 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, or SD-SDI inputs to be switched to a single output and recording.


Video can be recorded in it’s full native resolution or down sampled by cropping or scaling.  Video is recorded as an .AVI file using h.264 compression at up to 16mbps or MJPEG compression with bitrates up to 55mbps.  Video can be played back using most standard media players and edited in nearly any post process software.

Seamless Camera Switching

Switch between up to four HD-SDI or 3G-SDI inputs to create a professional edited video while recording.  Switching is triggered the following ways: on the front panel, using a remotely mounted trigger such as a “Coolie Hat” or “China Hat” switch, or automatically based on GPS with the Commander Controller.  Cameras views switch seamlessly on the recording to create a single finished video the moment you’ve finished recording.

Overlay GPS Data and Text

A robust text overlay function allows for various datum to be displayed on the recorded video.  Text overlay can be configured to display different: fonts, sizes, colors, and locations.  Text can be generated from: the GPS, the recorder menu, or external RS-232.  Up to three lines of custom ASCII text can be overlaid onto the video by sending the following sentence structure via RS-232 – $ASCII,TEXT LINE 1, TEXT LINE 2, TEXT LINE 3,. ASCII text can be updated at 20Hz, ideal for displaying custom parameters such as telemetry.

Parameter Source Units
Altitude (Above Mean Sea Level) GPS AMSL: M, F
Heading GPS Degrees
Coordinates GPS N, W: DMS, DM, D
Time/Date Unit or GPS MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS
Custom Text User (Menu) TEXT

Note: Large amounts of data overlay options may limit encoding performance.

USB or SD Media


Choose between USB or SD solid state media by using the built-in select switch on the front of the RV-ONE and RV-sFOUR.  Large capacity drives allow for long record times which can amount to days of footage depending on the drive capacity.  As a general rule, HD video will require ~4GB per hour of record time.  By using these universal media types, it streamlines the download and playback process making it easy to view and transfer video on any PC or MAC.

WiFi Streaming & Live Viewing

The recorder features a WiFi option as well as Ethernet connectivity which allows for streaming HD video to your iPad, PC, or capable tablet.  WiFi also allows for easy access to the system menus for setting changes.  Video can also be streamed via Ethernet for over a LAN or WAN. The RV-sFOUR recorder loops through video inputs with no latency allowing for live viewing on a dedicated monitor.  Since the output is a loop through, any monitor that is compatible with the camera would be compatible for live viewing.  Rugged Video also offers a line of ruggedized monitors.

Advanced Audio
Video is only part of the experience.  The RV-sFOUR is designed to capture crisp vivid audio from various sources including: Aircraft Headsets, iPods, Amplified Microphones, and the Commander Controller.

Connecting Aircraft AudioHEADSET

Audio cables are available for: General Aviation, Helicopter (U174), and Bose headsets.  Cables are available to connect directly to an audio panel or as a headset pass through.  With these cables, the RV-sFOUR will record everything you hear and say, including ATC transmissions.  For aerial patrol, a push-to-talk control box is an available option so that spotters can narrate the video on command.

Connecting Auxiliary Audio

The RV-sFOUR can also record audio from standard auxiliary sources such as an iPod or MP3 player.  Standard input cables include: 3.5mm(1/8″) TRS jacks (also known as a headphone jack), 1/4″ audio inputs from professional audio sources, and XLR connectors from professional microphones.

Automated Audio

The RV-sFOUR can be connected to the Commander Controller which, in addition to automated recordings, camera switching, and text overlay, can also feed soundtracks and narrations to the recorder.  The Commander Controller is automated based on pre-defined GPS waypoints or speed triggers.  The Commander Controller can mix in external audio in addition to the pre-defined audio tracks creating a rich auditory experience.

Robust Data
The RV-sFOUR features the same robust GPS integration as our RV-ONE recorders.  The RV-sFOUR  has the option for an external data input from a GPS or other RS-232 source.

GPS Integration

The GPS option includes a Garmin 18x LVC or 18x 5Hz GPS Receiver Antenna with a plug-and-play connector.  Most standard external GPS sources may be used, including: GPS pucks, portable GPS receivers, and Flight Decks.  Custom adapter cables are made to order for external GPS sources. GPS data is recorded along with a video file as a .KML or .GPX companion file.  KML and GPX GPS data files can be viewed and played  back in third party software such as Google Earth.  Recorded KML data includes lat, long, and altitude information.  GPX files include lat, long, altitude, speed, heading, and optional waypoint information.  GPX files also support the waypoint feature which allows operators to “Tag” a specific point of interest along the flight path, in real-time.

Rs-232 Data

The RV-sFOUR can accept data from various RS-232 sources with options available to overlay and record this data along with video.  Three lines of ASCII character data can be overlaid on the recorded video.  The RV-sFOUR will parse and overlay ASCII data that is sent via RS-232 and follows the defined sentence structure:  “$ASCII,TEXT LINE 1, TEXT LINE 2, TEXT LINE 3”.  Each line of data can be configured to appear on the recorded video with custom positioning, size, font, and color.

Complete Control

The RV-sFOUR was designed to be operated directly or remotely mounted while controlled using external triggers and status indicators.  The RV-sFOUR also has the option of complete automation through the Commander Controller, which controls: recording, camera switching, text overlay, and audio all based on predefined GPS events.

Complete Control

Camera Switching and recording can be controlled via the front panel with built-in tactile buttons for camera switching and a rotary switch for record activation.  In addition to the built-in control, recording can be wired to any discrete on/off switch, including standard toggle switches.  Snapshots and waypoints are triggered using a momentary switch, like a push button.  Switches are available as options with the RV-sFOUR or can be easily wired to existing switches.

Our most popular switch option is our Record Toggle which features a real-time record status indicator built directly into the toggle.  This type of switch is ideal for installations where the Recorder is remotely mounted and the operator needs a simple clean interface.

Waypoint and Snapshot toggles are available as a handheld or panel mounted push buttons.  Each time the button is pressed, the system will save a snapshot from the video or tag a waypoint along the GPS path.

System Status

Simple, yet informative set of LEDs that tell the user when its ready to record or if there is a problem.  Indicators are mounted on the front of the RV-sFOUR and indicators can be remotely mounted when the system is mounted out of view.  Indicators display: record status, fault indication, and GPS status.


The RV-sFOUR can be connected to the Commander Controller for complete automation of: Camera Switching, Recording, Snapshots, Audio, and Text Overlay.  Designed for flight tour operators, the Commander Controller will automatically create professional videos without the need for pilot input.  The Commander Controller uses a GPS and can be configured to: start/stop recording, switch to a specific camera or group of cameras, play an audio track, overlay text, or take a snapshot, based on predefined waypoints, heading, or speed data.   The Commander Controller has override options so the pilot can manually control the system at any point during the recording.

Capture - Upload - Share
The RV-sFOUR Camera System is the first piece of the Capture-Upload-Share process.  Capture-Upload-Share is a set of technologies designed to simplify the video capture, sale, and distribution process for tour operators.


Step one in the process is capturing high quality, professional HD video using the RV-sFOUR.  Real time editing can be controlled be the operator during the tour or completely automated using the Commander Controller.   Video is recorded to a USB and handed to support staff once the tour is over.


Previously, operators had the option of burning a DVD or Blu-Ray for the customer.  This process is time consuming and requires long wait times or having to mail the video.  The digital copy concept and proliferation of USB drives allowed operators to create a digital copy to sell to customers after only a few minutes of copying video.  Digital copies are quick and easy, but can be expensive and only a small percentage of users ever upload and share their videos online.  To remedy this situation, Rugged Video has developed Commander Software to automate the copy process and add the option to upload videos in a format that is easy for customers to share online.

The software helps operators quickly organize and distribute videos to customers, regardless of the size of the operation.  The Commander software is designed to be easily operated by a member of the support staff.    The process begins by inserting the recorded media into a computer with the Commander Software.  The software automatically recognizes the recorded videos.   The software has options to select a “Batch Name” (typically identified by the aircraft name or tail number), and a time slot.  The user can then select if they want to: copy, upload, or copy and upload their videos.  The software can also store files on a local server automatically.

If the operator chose to copy, the system can automatically copy the recorded videos and defined stock footage to attached USB flash drives.  Using USB 3.0, this process can take as little as 30 seconds.

If the operator chose to upload, the software will display a four digit code which is then hand written onto a card and sold to the customer.  In the background, the software will: upload all of the videos to Youtube, create a custom webpage that is populated with the videos from that flight, and correlate that page with the custom code sold to the user.  Depending on internet speed, uploads take about 30 minutes and then the webpage can be accessed by the customer.


The customer takes their four digit code with instructions to Visit, a website created by Rugged Video specifically for our tour operators.  The website asks the user to enter their code and takes them to the webpage with all of the videos from their specific tour.  Customers then have the option to share their videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and nearly every other social media platform.

Videos are uploaded and linked directly from Youtube to make the process as easy and familiar to the customers as possible.  The website has built-in support and help options as well as the option to order a copy of their video as DVD or Blu-Ray.

The Marketing Revolution

With the Capture-Upload-Share process, operators are not only generating revenue but increasing their marketing exposure to viral proportions with thousands of satisfied customers sharing their experience of that tour online.  YouTube, owned by Google, is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.  When someone is searching online for things to do on their vacation, the first thing you want them to see is a video of your tour with a link to your website.  The Commander Software allows your customers to do this for you.



The RV-sFOUR accepts four SDI camera signals and records a single channel.  The RV-sFOUR can be ordered as a BASE recorder/switcher with no cameras (RV-sFOUR-BASE) or as a PLUS system which includes; HD camera(s), cabling, and mounts (RV-sFOUR-PLUS{1, 2, 3, or 4}).  Optionally, the RV-sFOUR can connect to the Commander Controller which controls camera switching manually, on a timer, or via GPS waypoints.  The “switching” component of this unit is available separately as well, see it here: Commander.

RV-sFOUR Flight Tour Configuration

RV-sFOUR Flight Tour Configuration

SDI x 4 3G-SDI – SMPTE 424M (1080p60) HD-SDI – SMPTE 292M (1080i60, 1080p30…) SD-SDI – SMPTE 259M (480i, 576i)
HDMI x 1 Version 1.4 (1080p)
Composite x 1 NTSC (720 x 480) PAL (720 x 576)
Resolution up to 1920 x 1200 at 60fps (Progressive or Interlaced)
Compression h.264 (AVC) High, Main, and Baseline Profile. MJPEG
Bitrate 200Kb/s to 16Mb/s (h.264), 200Kb/s to 55Mb/s (MJPEG)
File Type .avi
Inputs Analog Stereo, Line Level up to 8V P-P (Aircraft Headset) SDI Embedded HDMI Embedded
Compression ACC at 64kb/s or 128kb/s (32kHz, 44.1kHz, or 48kHz) G.711 at 64kb/s
Triggers Record – Front Panel, Remote via Rear Connector Waypoint – Remote via Rear Connector
LED Indicators Power – Front Panel Record – Front Panel, Remote via Rear Connector, Multilink Fault – Front Panel, Remove via Rear Connector, Multilink GPS – Front Panel, Multilink Harness
Input RS-232 – Baud 2400-115200
Sample Rate 1Hz or 5Hz
Overlay Data Coordinates (DMS, DM, D) Speed (KT, MPH, KPH) Altitude above mean sea level (Meters, Feet) Time/Date
File Type GPX, KML (Google Earth)
Input RS-232 – Baud 2400-115200
Sample Rate 20Hz
Sentence $ASCII, TEXT 1, TEXT 2, TEXT 3(CR)(LF)
SD SD, SDHC, SDXC (Class 6 or better) no max size
USB USB 2.0 (6MB/s write or better) no max size (Compatible with most USB 3.0 drives)
Temperature -40C to 85C (-40F to 185F)
Dimensions 4.976″ x 3.470″ x 4.900″ (126.4 x 88.1 x 124.5mm) w x h x d
Weight 22.6oz (640kg)
Input Range 10-32VDC Nominal, 6VDC Minimum, 40VDC Maximum
Current Draw 3.9W (325ma at 12VDC)

Product Videos


RV-sFOUR – Product Video


Commander Upload Software – Product Video


RV-sFOUR & Commander Controller – Bench Test


Customer Videos


Blue Sky Helicopters Flight Tour – Sydney, Australia


12 Apostles Helicopters Flight Tour – Gold Coast, Australia


Makani Kai Helicopters Flight Tour – Hawaii


Helicopter Flight Services Flight Tour – New York

Click to Enlarge

RV-sFOUR – Click to Enlarge

Flight Tour Brochure - Click to Enlarge

Flight Tour Brochure – Click to Enlarge

Capture-Upload-Share  - Click to Enlarge

Capture-Upload-Share – Click to Enlarge


Customer Profile – Blue Sky Helicopters – Click to Enlarge