suggestions: external devices for HD capturing?

    Dec 21 2009 | 10:09 am
    Hello! I am finding difficulties to capture my visual material from jitter. When it comes to simple things is ok to use different techniques or IshowU, but I have come to the point where i am considering getting an external device in order to capture the material with higher resolution and without the problem of dropping frames. I was wondering if the members of the forum can give me a feedback on this subject(how they capture their material) and which equipment is being used. Thank you Emmanuel

    • Dec 22 2009 | 11:46 am
      I've been trying to work out a solution to this too. I'm afraid I only have a rather theoretical answer at this stage, but it seems as though it should work. I've got a Matrox MXO -
      - which can convert the DVI monitor output to component 720p. I've been struggling to find something which can record component 720p - the only dedicated hardware I can find is very much in the pro market and super-expensive. So I'm currently looking at another interface, the Hauppage HD PVR -
      - which can be used to record component 720p to h.264 AVCHD movies. Note that this isn't a recorder, only an interface (it's pretty cheap though), so I'll also need a PC - or Mac running BootCamp (which works fine, apparently) to record the footage. Not a particularly elegant solution, but still cheaper than any alternative I can find.
      I also can't guarantee it'll work. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't, and I've had some encouraging responses to the idea (though not from anyone who's tried it) on the Matrox forum. One of these days I'll splash out on the extra gagetry and give it a go.
      Meantime, I'd be interested in any other solutions people might have!
    • Dec 22 2009 | 12:15 pm
      I have been researching on this topic for some hours now. I have found this quite interesting: It seems that BlackMagic Design provides good devices for recording on HD. However, I am not very clear if this is possible using jitter or if two computers are needed in order to do the capturing. Anyone here has tried them? Also the price is affordable(I mean, if you don't need two computers of course) Emmanuel
    • Dec 22 2009 | 6:11 pm
      I'm just now getting ready to take this on using a Mac...I've been working with Max on Windows for a couple of years. My answer (ok but not great) under windows was to FRAPS on the playback computer, and record the audio on a separate computer, making sure to have some clear synch points in the files.
      I'm now switching my base to the Mac, and have a MacBook Pro 17" laptop. Hoping not to have to go to a Mac Pro, for the obvious expense. Perhaps sending the MAX/Jitter frame full-frame to a second monitor, and record that monitor's output using an external device. Perhaps an HD camera. If it's possible, would avoid the need for a card, which would be a problem with my laptop...
    • Dec 22 2009 | 6:25 pm
      A of the problems I'd have with the is that it uses H.264 codec. Much of my output is single framed...completely different images from one frame to another. I need to keep the output from being temporally compressed as long as possible. -r
    • Dec 24 2009 | 5:41 pm
      johyde: What hardware setup do you have connecting your Mac to your Matrox MXO? Have you connected them? I understand that you're looking for a way to record the output from the MXO. How about a HD camera with component in?
    • Dec 31 2009 | 4:57 pm
      Well, I'm not beyond answering my own questions. I found this on connecting the Matrox MXO2 to a Mac laptop:
      1. How does Matrox MXO2 connect to my Mac? Matrox MXO2 connects to a MacBook Pro via the ExpressCard/34 slot. You may have been told that this precludes you from using the best storage solution but FireWire storage is actually more than adequate for editing multiple layers of SD or compressed HD footage. With Final Cut Pro, FireWire 800 storage lets you transfer up to 6 layers of DV, 8 layers of HDV 1080i, 2 layers of DVCPRO HD 1080i, 2 layers of ProRes 422 1080, or 2 layers of 10-bit uncompressed SD in real time.
      My new 17" MacBook Pro does have an ExpressCard/34 slot--though newer MacBook Pros of other sizes do not.
      But does this work with Jitter output? I see that it has a BNC connector for a genlock circuit...if you're not supplying sync for genlock, will it still accept a video signal generated from jitter?
      It looks more and more like a solution for recording real-time MAX/Jitter output will be to take the mini-display port out, add a HDMI adaptor, and feed it to my Windows XP computer that I'll stick a BlackMagic Intensity Pro card into ($250). I believe that will allow me to record the output without slowing down the playback. I've tried all the software capture strategies I've found, and they all slow down the output too much for my Max app.
      But: has anyone had success with this signal flow from Jitter? It should work, but I'm worried that I may spend the money and find that the HDMI signal from the MacBook won't be read by the BlackMagic Intensity Pro. My patch is jumping all around my source video files and outputs frame rates that are constantly is not a steady 24 or 30 fps by any means. Will the BMIP accept it, or reject it because it isn't a stable enough signal?
      As always, any insight is appreciated.
    • Dec 31 2009 | 6:11 pm
      I have been asking around and, indeed, it seems that the best 'affordable' method is to use the BlackMagic card. In theory it should work. I am expecting to get access to one of them early next year and give it a shot. Indeed, using software for capturing jitter is really not the best option. The next question is how to record and sync the image and the sound(in case it is needed) as i don't think audio will go through the HDMI adapter. Happy holidays! Emmanuel
    • Dec 31 2009 | 9:53 pm
      The audio should be available through the headphone out jack of the playback computer. If the HDMI doesn't include the audio, I'll take the headphone out and run it into the recording computer, and record it that way. For the FRAPS audio I've been recording the last year, I've found FRAPS unreliable as an audio recorder, so I've been using this method to record synch audio on a separate computer. I always include a "pre-record" sound and visual cue--like a clapboard--that I can use for synchronization.
    • Jan 04 2010 | 1:39 am
      OK--lost a couple days because my internal drive died...but...
      I bought two cables: mini-Display to DVI, and DVI to HDMI. It works GREAT for displaying on my 40" Samsung LED flatscreen. For the first time I'm seeing 1280X720P output on a large screen, at full frame rates (without software capture). Wow. Watching Simultaneous Opposites on this is like seeing a Rosenquist that's been put through a food processor. Bright and crisp! I've finally got a full workflow in my studio (at least for viewing the live display).
      Anyway...I've got it set up for two monitors, so that my dashboard/interaction screen is at 1920X1200P on my laptop, and the Samsung is playing at the full resolution of my Max patch display window: 1280X720P. The cables I'm using don't carry the audio, although there is a third-party mini-Display to HDMI that does, although it has a USB 2 port at the HDMI end that carries the audio. This doesn't have an answer for audio with the BlackMagic Intensity Pro card, but it does suggest that the HDMI out has a signal that is standard enough so that the BMIP is likely to work. I'll look to test it in a couple of weeks. Of course: if anyone else has tried this, please say so.
    • Jan 04 2010 | 12:20 pm
      @Robert -
      Sorry I didn't reply sooner (leaving you to answer your own questions!) - got caught up in Christmas etc., and took my eye off the ball.
      Anyway, probably not relevant now, but just in case: The MXO is actually a completely different device to the MXO2, confusingly - the MXO2 (as I understand it - I don't have one) is geared more towards capture, whereas the MXO is more akin to a scan converter.
      I connect the MXO to the DVI output of my MacBook Pro (it's an older model, so has one) - it will then convert that to component. I've been using the component to display on an HD TV (in a similar scenario to that which you've got set up now using HDMI), but am also hoping to use it to record my material. I haven't been able to find a remotely affordable camcorder with a component input (though please do enlighten me if you have), and the Hauppage HD PVR gadget currently seems the cheapest option to me. I still haven't got my hands on one though, and I take on board your comments regarding H.264 - quite a lot of my material is rather 'framey' too..
      BTW - what are you up to at Stanford? I'm visiting in Feb..
    • Jan 06 2010 | 4:23 am
      The HERO cameras are affordable and the results are fantastic, if you want to go the route of recording the monitor and sound using an external camera. Plus you can get a waterproof one for your underwater patches.
    • Jan 06 2010 | 4:47 am
      Hi Joseph, Glad to get your reply, thanks! Blackmagic Design also has a video recorder for $149 that includes component in. However, it's only SD-res.
      I develop video and web-based materials at Stanford, for the Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety. What group are you visiting here? Maybe we can grab lunch.
    • Jan 07 2010 | 6:01 pm
      OK, back on track! Here is the answer I received from an engineer at BlackMagic Design. It looks good:
      * * * Hello Robert, Although we did not really design our capture cards for this purpose, I have heard of some users successfully doing a similar workflow. The main thing to mention here is that you have to have your graphics card output a TV resolution in order for Intensity to see the signal. So 1920X1080, 1280X720 or 720X486 should be fine but monitor resolutions like 1440X900 or 1024X768 will not work.
      Also, from the people I have talked to who have gotten this working, they were doing DVI out to a HDMI adapter/cable and then HDMI into the second system that had Intensity. The same should hopefully apply with DisplayPort but have not confirmed this from anyone else yet.
      So, should work, but is untested. * * *
      With this info, I'll purchase an Intensity Pro card and try this out! I'll post my results within two weeks.
    • Jan 07 2010 | 6:25 pm
      Robert: thank you for all the input. If this works fine i will also go for an Intensity Pro card please let us know how it goes! Emmanuel
    • Jan 12 2010 | 7:43 pm
      The intensity is 100% compatible with Jitter and works perfect for full framerate, full resolution capture. In fact, you can use 2 at a time in the same machine on OS X, and I believe more than 2 on windows:
      The MXO is.. so close to being perfect, but it is not:
    • Jan 12 2010 | 8:32 pm
      Thank you Vade, this gives green light to get the blackmagic
    • Jan 13 2010 | 8:18 pm
      My thanks too, Vade!
    • Jan 13 2010 | 10:12 pm
      You are welcome. Of course, my experiences are on OS X, with older drivers. Your milage may vary should you be in Windows land, but I imagine it should be possible non the less.
    • Jan 14 2010 | 10:22 pm
      Has anybody been able to capture video or video-s with the intensity card? it works fine with the higher resolutions (720 or 1080i). the capture software that comes with the card shows the signal, but it doesnt seem to reach the grabber...
    • Jan 16 2010 | 8:51 pm
      Hi--my card arrived yesterday. Just a confirmation: it is working with this setup:
      Output: new MacBook Pro, 17", 4 GB RAM, running Max/MSP/Jitter, using miniDVI out and Headphone out for audio. Input: Intel PC (ASUS P5N-E SLI motherboard), 2GB RAM, Intensity Pro Card.
      Current settings: 720p, 60fps, NTSC, Intensity card setting: "HDMI Video & Analog RCA Audio",
      These are just the settings I've worked with so far, I'll post a link to some output later, when I'm past the initial technical testing, and have something new.
      Thanks for everyone's help.
    • Jan 18 2010 | 3:44 am
      I have had great experience with the decklink intensity card for HD input and throughput for imag on pcs.
    • Jan 21 2010 | 3:02 pm
      @robert: one simple question, from your last posts it seems that the blackmagic only works with 16:9 ratios, is that so?, have you been able to get rations like 4:3 or 3:2? Thank you Emmanuel
    • Jan 22 2010 | 6:11 pm
      I don't know how cpu intensive your patch is, but it is worth paying $30 to upgrade to iShowU Pro in order to use the low cpu function. It basically writes the video uncompressed (which can take an incredible amount of disk space) and then compresses it afterwards.
      This really has made all the difference in recording my patches, even those which were not very cpu intensive. Particularly, I have a few that are intended to run very quickly (~300 fps) for the desired effect and this was the only way I found to get them downsampled to 30 fps correctly.
      Also, not to hijack this thread, but has anyone tried Blackmagic's Video Recorder? I'm looking for an inexpensive solution for capturing analog video from some vintage crt cameras I bought on eBay. This is a little more expensive than similar dongles aimed at the consumer market, but I trust Blackmagic more than anyone in this area.
    • Jan 23 2010 | 6:14 am
      Ideally,a good external device is the best bet. Realistically, unless you have the money for that kind of setup, screen capture technology works wonders. If you have a 1920x1200 display, you can capture 1080p video from your jitter patch using Screenium and not have too many issues with framerate and color. Yes, it is compressed, but overall i've been pretty happy with the results, and any adjustments to color that I might need can be easily done in post.
    • Jan 23 2010 | 7:03 am
      Indeed, finances are a limitation. However, i have had a bad experience using ishowU and screenium when it comes to HD capturing. The issue is not the color correction, which indeed can be done in post, but the resolution of the material and how some of the frames get dropped, in particular when rendering complex geometry with textures.
    • Jan 24 2010 | 10:41 pm
      Obviously external capture is better, but if you can't afford it, there are ways to record locally both accurately and without slowing down your patch. I already mentioned low cpu mode with iShowU pro, which fixed all my problems with dropped frames. If you're using OpenGL, you should also look at Randy Jones' Render Node (, which essentially allows you to use Jitter with non-realtime rendering.
    • Feb 10 2010 | 8:23 pm
      Hello again! Finally i got today the blackmagic intensity pro(more as an emergency that anything else!). I just put the device on a mac book available at the studio where i am working now. However, maybe is my lack of skills or the hour of the day(i have been dealing with this the since early evening), but i cannot seem to make it work. So my question is what is the way to set the device in order to capture the jitter output. In which point i am now: i have a minidisplay from my macbook pro, then an HDMI adaptor that is plugged into the HDMI in(left input) of the intensity card. What should i do next?, i open the Media Express software but nothing seems to be onscreen. I check my Displays setting on my macbook and it says that the BMD HDMI is detected. I don't have any HDMI output, is it needed to have an HDMI screen connected?, shouldn't the output be on the Media Express?, what am i missing? Thank you very much for the help! Emmanuel
    • Feb 10 2010 | 8:26 pm
      How can i verify if my computer display is being detected by the card?
    • Feb 10 2010 | 11:50 pm
      Don't have direct experience with this card, but I'd imagine you need to do two things:
      1. Make sure the Intensity Pro is set to capture at a specific supported resolution (i.e. 1280 x 720 @ 60fps, or 720p60). Not sure if this is done in the Media Express package or in the Blackmagic control panel.
      2. Make sure that your MacBook Pro's second monitor is set to display at the resolution that you've chosen in step 1.
      Would be interested in hearing how this goes.
    • Feb 11 2010 | 11:12 am
      Maybe I should be more specific about the setting: My output is coming from a macbook pro: mini port to HDMI adapter. It is connected to the intensity card with a male to male HDMI cable. BMD HDMI has three options for the resolution. I am using 1080p(Television). The other two settings are 1080i(PAL and television). I am running snow leopard 10.6.2, max/msp 5.1.2. The host computer is a Mac Pro running under leopard 10.5.8, 2x2.8 GHZ Quad Core, 2 GB memory. As mentioned before I don't have any HD screen attached to the intensity output. I am using two LCD's screens Samsung SyncMaster 940b. Hopefully today evening i will have access to a HD screen, but that is not certain. The blackmagic is installed on the PCI 'x4' slot. I was trying to test the device but 'Expansion Slot Utility' won't work under Leopard. I tried a SafeMood boot but the application didn't run. so the questions would be: 1-how can i know if the computer is detecting the device?, any way (with the terminal or external app) for determining the PCI activity? 2-do i need to connect an HDMI screen from the intensity pro output?is that needed?, shouldn't it be displayed on the LCDs attached to the computer? 3-which resolution shall the jitter window have?
      Thank you! Emmanuel
    • Feb 11 2010 | 1:24 pm
      I can confirm the running of two intensity cards on either mac pro with os x 10.6.2 and a PC with windows 7 together with max/msp/jitter (dont forget VinVDIG -> for windows - the latest version works fine under windows 7 64bit - hmmm.. at least it doesnt hurt).
      in both cases the installation was very painless, even unexpectedly smooth:
      install the latest software from blackmagic
      There is a capture software you can find there as well (I am not sure if it is with the normal installation software or if it is seperate - "Media Express" its called i think) to test if the cards functioning.
      important is the correct settings under SystemPreferences (OS X) - I dont know where it is under Windows 7, but it seems to be configured for HDMI by default.
      inside max use jit.qt.grab as you are used to, but its important that the resolution and the frequency settings correspond to those of the output signal from your source. (check the monitor settings on your macbook pro, the monitor info in the task bar is sometimes incorrect)
      no HDMI output monitor is necessary.
      however , i still dont know how to capture video or s-video with this card (see further up this thread). I solved the problem using an upscaler.
      hope this helps
    • Feb 11 2010 | 3:31 pm
      Ey, thank you guys, good feedback. Ok, herewith the report: I made the device work. The trick was, as Jesse and t0gg1e4u pointed out, the resolution panel on the system preferences. So far i have it running with an 1080i resolution on the source computer and by the next settings of the blackmagic panel: Set output: HDMI & Y, R-Y,B-Y set input: HDMI Video & Analog RCA Audio
      HOWEVER, I haven't been able to make it run properly with the select output processing and select input processing off. That basically means that all the captures will be rendered into a 4:2:2 720x576(either Letterbox or anamorphic) resolution. SO, any ideas how to keep the original 1080i resolution? any hints? Thank you again! Emmanuel
    • Feb 11 2010 | 3:45 pm
      one more thing: I have been testing the input on the BlackMagic Media Express. It works ok but every time i change the input or output settings you should quit the application, otherwise it doesn't work!