How to video capture live work

    Jan 19 2010 | 11:31 pm
    At my wits end looking for a way to record video of my work from my computer and I know people here do this so perhaps you could share how its done within a reasonable budget.
    Software based screen recording software is not an option because of how processor intensive the work is so I need some sort of DVI/VGA out to device solution. I used to use a PC to TV solution ( which converted DVI to s-video and then I recorded onto a DV Camera but the quality is poor. I know there is the Blackmagic video cards but these necessitate a desktop computer and I need the solution to be fairly compact and mobile so I could use this to record events I perform at. How do all these gamers who put hi-res videos on youtube do this - what am i missing here?
    Thanks in advance. Garrett

    • Jan 20 2010 | 11:01 pm
      I have no experience on this, but it seems that might to the trick. Google "recording games"...
      Let me know if it's working. I'm looking for a similar possibility in the near future.
    • Jan 21 2010 | 8:54 pm
      I used to Snapz Pro ( years ago which is probably the best/most known mac capture software (so equivalent to fraps) and it wasn't fast at all, used to drop down to about 10fps. Any way point is I'm not keen to use software to do this on the same machine I'm performing with as it's just a crash waiting to happen. I will post if I find a good solution but it's not looking good as this is the fourth forum I've posted to with little response so far.
    • Jan 21 2010 | 9:28 pm
      Software solutions will never get you full frame rate captures. I'm working on a solution right now that addresses this very thing.
      From what I can tell it's a two step hardware solution: VGA/DVI --> Video Scaler --> DVR/PVR or Computer with video capture hardware.
      Video Scaler -- look for products by Atlona or Ambery. They have all manner of format converters that take in data RGB (DVI/HDMI, or VGA) and re-time the signal to HD video, then output to various formats (component, VGA, DVI/HDMI). These are generally used to scale picture for output to a display or perform format conversion, but I believe they should work for video recording as well, as long as the recorder can support the frame rates that the scaler uses.
      DVR/PVR -- Gefen makes a small DVR with HDMI inputs (GTV-HD-PVR), and Hauppauge makes one with component inputs ( I have not tested either, but they might be useful here. Both use the H.264 codec for recording, and include a way to get the files off of the device.
      I'd be interested to hear what you come up with for your setup and your assessment of the results. I'm running a test today outputting to a Blackmagic HD Extreme, via the Atlona AT-HD500.
    • Jan 21 2010 | 10:40 pm
      Looks like the Hauppauge model requires a PC, so that's less desirable. The Gefen model is stand-alone.
    • Jan 23 2010 | 3:17 pm
      Hi JG
      So your test was: PC -> Atlona AT-HD500 -> Blackmagic HD Extreme -> PC (same or other PC?)
      what was the quality/speed like?
      The Gefen DVR is out of my price range when bundled together with a Scaler but the Hauppauge looks attractive. I'm not convinced that it requires a PC, all I can see on their site is that the bundled software, (a video converter, player and blu-ray DVD burner) is for PC, it's H.264 so quicktime will be able to open and convert it. I'm presuming since it's USB it'll just mount as an external hard drive. I'm going to email them.
    • Jan 23 2010 | 3:47 pm
    • Jan 25 2010 | 11:59 pm
      >So your test was: >PC -> Atlona AT-HD500 -> Blackmagic HD Extreme -> PC (same or other PC?)
      Yes. The Blackmagic card is mounted in a Mac Pro in this case, capturing via Final Cut Pro.
      Unfortunately the tests I ran last week failed, and I'm still trying to figure out why. It probably has to do with HDCP copy protection, which is not supported on the Blackmagic card. The AT-HD500 manual says it supports HDCP, but I have not been able to get a straight answer from Atlona about whether the device connected to its output (in this case the Blackmagic card) needs be HDCP compliant.
      I will report back when I know more.
      In terms of your budget, I seriously doubt you will come up with a high quality, portable solution that does not require a PC of some kind for under $1K. Shop around on the Gefen, the retail is about $250 below the MSRP.
      If you happen to have a spare computer lying around, take a look at Epiphan. They make several products that convert VGA or DVI to USB at various quality/price levels
    • Jan 29 2010 | 8:31 am
      Blackmagic card is still not working, but I can report several successful captures going from the AT-HD500 into an AJA IO-HD box. Looks very nice at 720p 60fps in the ProRes 422 HQ codec.
      AJA also makes a slimmed down, lower cost capture device that "should" work in this scenario, the IO Express. But it costs as much as the Gefen box and requires a Mac/PC as well... the advantage is you get to record in ProRes, rather than H.264. This would make a difference if you are going to want to edit your footage.
    • Feb 03 2010 | 8:11 pm
      Im curious why the Black Magic card is not working. Do you not get picture? Everyone I know who has one is able to get it working. Are you using a DVI to HDMI adaptor, or using a straight HDMI cable? Decklink and AJA products/drivers tend to not like to both be installed on the same system, just a thought if you are having issues make sure to uninstall drivers for whatever you are not using.
      Another thing which you probably know, is you have to use a broadcast video format on the video out on the machine you are capturing from. It should detect that the Intensity wants 480p, 720p or 1080i, so just make sure you use one of those or you can't capture.
      The HDCP though sounds like a likely culprit, but I would be surprised if your graphics card required an HDCP compliant display for valid video output, that would be strange as I've only seen that with BluRay playback software. Have you spoken to Decklink about this, as their support is pretty decent?
    • Feb 04 2010 | 1:38 am
      The Blackmagic card is mounted in a different Mac Pro than the one I used to capture with the AJA IO-HD, so no driver conflicts that I'm aware of. We're using the HD Extreme card, not the Intensity.
      I'm going from a current model MacBook Pro via a mini-displayport to HDMI adapter, no luck. Also tried a mini-displayport to VGA adapter, connected to the Atlona scaler, which converts from VGA to HDMI and re-times the signal to 720p 60fps. Connecting the scaler to the card via a normal HDMI cable. No luck with that either. In that scenario there should be no HDCP at all. The scaler manufacturer seems to think that this a problem with the HDMI handshake, but they haven't been able to track it down.
      I'm beginning to think that we might have a defective HDMI input on the capture card here, because I've read too many posts from people that are doing this without a problem, although most of them are using the Intesity card. Perhaps the Blackmagic HD Extreme is just not capable of it, I don't know. I'm not sure that the video technician I was working with has spoken with Blackmagic, but I agree that this is something the card should in theory be able to do.
      We did get a picture initially, but in the wrong color space (FCP was using a 720p60 YUV preset). When we set FCP to the equivalent RGB preset we got no image at all, just a black screen.
    • Feb 04 2010 | 1:46 am
      BTW, have you ever looked at/tested any Epiphan frame grabbers? The more I read about them the more I am intrigued, especially the VGA2Ethernet box, which actually captures both DVI and VGI. Connects to a host computer via Gigabit Ethernet, but appears as a QT Capture Component.
      Kind of intriguing to imagine one of these connected to a switch... multiple mix/recording options.
      One advantage to Epiphan's grabbers is that they support most display resolutions (i.e. not just video resolutions), and can be programmed with additional EDID's for non-standard ones. They also have an open SDK, and drivers for Windows and Linux.
      Their USB products are priced better but from my correspondence with their techs it seems they can't guarantee high frame rates due to the limitations of the bus. I'd also assume that they would be fairly CPU intensive given USB's reputation as a resource hog.