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Author Topic: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions  (Read 1553 times)

superboyac

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Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« on: October 18, 2013, 08:15:15 PM »
So I finally got a capture card, the Avermedia Live Gamer HD.  Most people use these to record their screens while they play games.  I'm trying to use it with my panasonic camcorder to record musical performances at my place.  More importantly, I want to live stream to websites.

Here's the problem I just realized...this card doesn't really work without it's proprietary software (RECentral) that comes with it.  I was expecting to install the card and drivers, and be able to use it with any third-party software.  But none of the third party softwares I've tried can detect or access the camera.  It's very annoying...like buying a sound card that can only play music from it's own software.

The other thing is that if I do want to stream, the REcentral software has an area where i have to choose the streaming service, and there are only three options (twitchtv, xsplit, something else).  What if I want to use another service??  I mean, this is too restricted for me.  I just wanted a general capture device.  I mean, my logitech webcam works with everything...although in 1080 mode it only works with the logitech software.  this must be a resource issue.

So I don't know what to do.  I got this card because it can handle 1080p with 60fps, which my camera can do.  But if it is restricted like this, it's very annoying.

Looking into it some more, other more professional cards recommend being able to write at 500 MB/s, which probably requires a computer set up with RAID hard drives or SSDs (which I don't have).  So maybe I'm in over my head with my previous expectations.  But now I'm trying to understand if it is possible with my current setup.

Do I just need to record at lower resolutions/framerates?
DO I need a different card with general drivers and not proprietary software?
Do I need to setup a RAID system?

4wd

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2013, 02:45:35 AM »
Here's the problem I just realized...this card doesn't really work without it's proprietary software (RECentral) that comes with it.  I was expecting to install the card and drivers, and be able to use it with any third-party software.  But none of the third party softwares I've tried can detect or access the camera.

Normally, you select the card for the source and then somewhere in the cards preferences you select which input on the card to use, (HDMI1, etc).  The camera per se, shouldn't be detected by the computer at all - you'll either get a picture on screen or you won't.
At least this has been my experience with analog/DVB-T capture using internal/external sources.

Quote
Looking into it some more, other more professional cards recommend being able to write at 500 MB/s, which probably requires a computer set up with RAID hard drives or SSDs (which I don't have).

The card you have has onboard hardware MPEG4-AVC encoding so if it's enabled it shouldn't need anywhere near 500MB/s - 1080p50/60 data rate is ~3Gbps for uncompressed RGB.

Data rate for streaming 1080p MPEG4-AVC is ~22Mbps which is why you can watch your standard BluRay movie over a decent WiFi connection - so if hardware encoding is enabled your system should have no trouble coping with that, (provided there isn't some other process doing weird things - I close down all other non-essential tasks when doing analog capture).

Quote
Do I just need to record at lower resolutions/framerates?
DO I need a different card with general drivers and not proprietary software?
Do I need to setup a RAID system?

If you want to give Microsoft a try, you can download Microsoft Expression Encoder Free which will allow you to capture from a video source.  If you want to stream live then you need to buy Expression Pro.

Anyway, something to try to start with.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2013, 06:24:32 AM by 4wd »

superboyac

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2013, 04:54:35 PM »
Thanks 4wd!  yes, you are correct it seems.  The onboard encoder takes away the need for the huge bandwidth.  So after learning that, I found this software: Open Broadcasting System.  It's free and awesome!  So I can now do what I've been really wanting: stream the 1080p stream to one of my computer monitors.  Also, the software takes care of the output stream to wherever (online, in my case).  So it converts the live local stream to whatever needs to happen for a normal online viewing experience.  meaning, someone like me will not be streaming a pure 1080p output online since my upload speeds couldn't handle it.  But I can stream 480p.  But I don't want the local stream to be affected, I still want to see 1080p on my monitors.

This means:
--I can have a live musical performance.
--I can stream the live performance in 480p online
--I can record the live performance in 1080p.

Lovely.

4wd

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2013, 10:08:16 PM »
Did you mean this one: Open Broadcaster Software ?

superboyac

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2013, 10:58:46 PM »
Did you mean this one: Open Broadcaster Software ?
Yes exactly, sorry.  I've been playing with it all day.  I can't get the setup yet where audio and video is synced, that's been the challenge.

4wd

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 12:31:07 AM »
I can't get the setup yet where audio and video is synced, that's been the challenge.

I assume the camera is plugged into one of the HDMI inputs, does the camera output audio over HDMI also ?
Or are you using the 3.5mm audio input ?

And with the sync problems you've had, is that with a capture or streaming, (ie. input or output) ?

superboyac

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 11:27:49 PM »
I can't get the setup yet where audio and video is synced, that's been the challenge.

I assume the camera is plugged into one of the HDMI inputs, does the camera output audio over HDMI also ?
Or are you using the 3.5mm audio input ?

And with the sync problems you've had, is that with a capture or streaming, (ie. input or output) ?
The sync is because I'm bringing the video through the hdmi cable, but the audio is coming straight from the computer.  If I were to use the audio from the hdmi cable, there would be no problem.  But I need the audio from my computer (which is all set up like a music studio), not the shitty mics on the camcorder.

Anyway, I've been looking more into this, and it's really a problem of this: most of this type of stuff is only done by pros, so it's an equipment issue.  For example, I found out that the professional type of cable to use for this sort of thing is an HD-SDI cable.  Only professional cameras (aka expensive) use this cable.  So I would need at least a $2000 camera.

Next is what this cable does.  Speed, basically.  It can send video feeds at a speed of about 3 Gbps (375 MB/s).  Now this means the hard drives need to be able to write at these speeds, which is really fast.  They need to be RAIDed.  RAID5 or something.  SO there's another headache.

Now also consider that you need a LOT of hard drive space if you plan on taking a lot of hours of video.  These raw feeds can be 6-10 GB per HOUR.  So a current large drive (4 TB) can hold perhaps 400 hours of footage.  And with the drives RAIDed (which means you need several physical hard drives to account for one drive of actual storage) that means that you need to get 3-4 4TB hard drives for every 17 days of continuous recording.  That's not much, i don't think.  And that's pretty expensive: every time you "fill up" you need to spend maybe $1000 for more storage.  $1000 for half a month of continuous footage.

So, I don't know...what my conclusion is.  But whatever.

4wd

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Re: Capture Card: my experience and unanswered questions
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 12:42:17 AM »
The sync is because I'm bringing the video through the hdmi cable, but the audio is coming straight from the computer.  If I were to use the audio from the hdmi cable, there would be no problem.  But I need the audio from my computer (which is all set up like a music studio), not the shitty mics on the camcorder.

Ah yes, I should have thought of that being a music recording.

The sync problem, is it a constant delay factor or does it slowly increase the longer it goes on for?

It might be that you'll have to try a few different programs, eg. in the analog recordings I used to do, video and audio were always out of sync, (using either the card supplied software or various free stuff), which resulted in a fair bit of screwing around in Vegas to resync them - I switched recording software and the problem disappeared.

Quote
So, I don't know...what my conclusion is.

That it's a really expensive hobby ;)