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Author Topic: READ THIS BEFORE POSTING QUESTIONS ABOUT CAPTURE DEVICES OR HD REQUIREMENTS  (Read 35698 times)
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« on: October 30, 2009, 01:31:04 PM »

OK, we seem to be getting a lot of the same questions asked over and over again... mostly because there are many posts in these boards and the relevant stuff just gets pushed to the bottom... but I will attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about capturing and rendering, HD vs HQ, and the like.

This topic primarily covers what you need to capture from your console or other device that a simple screen capture program will not suffice for.
If you are looking for PC screen capture software, this topic will help you: http://forum.gameanyone.com/index.php?topic=18355.0

Please read here BEFORE posting, and if you DON'T see what you are looking for here, then use the forum search. If that fails, post away.

Q) Which capture card should I get?
A) It depends on what you are trying to capture. For PC titles, all you need are screen capture programs such as FRAPS, Camtasia Studio, Hypercam, or Camstudio. Use Google to find these.
For consoles that DO NOT output in HD signals (720p or higher) then the Dazzle or Gamebridge are good choices. These will capture in 480i composite/S-Video and will get you pretty decent quality for those systems.
    Systems that fall into this category
  • SNES/NES
  • Genesis/SMS
  • Wii (yes, this is NOT an HD system, despite having a component cable available)
  • etc...
For those that DO output in HD (360,PS3), the Hauppauge HDPVR or the BlackMagic Intensity are excellent choices.
This topic covers both of them extensively: http://forum.gameanyone.com/index.php?topic=9590.msg59863#msg59863
SD capture devices can range from $50-100, if they are good.
HD will be $200+ on the average. Save your money, HD is NOT cheap. Seriously consider your intentions before you buy.

Q) Can I capture with the Dazzle and get HD?
A) The short answer is, NO. The Dazzle will only capture in 480i, which is NOT an HD resolution. You CAN render in 720p with an editing program like Vegas, but you are just stretching and distorting an SD signal to be HD. This only satisfies the 'Youtube HD' standards, and is NOT something we recommend, unless you are capturing from a console that is NOT capable of HD.

Q) Do I need an HDTV to capture in HD? - Thanks to Overlord for this question
A) Yes, you do. Or you need some sort of monitor that can accept an HD input. The reason you cannot use an SD tv to capture in HD is because you need to set your console to output in these higher resolutions. While you can capture that footage without an HDTV, you will not be able to play at the same time, and thus rendering these efforts fruitless. Make sure to note that when considering your purchase.

Q) What's the difference between 'True HD' and 'Fake HD'?
A) See above. True HD is a signal captured in an HD resolution, 720p or higher. That is, a resolution that is in 16:9 or 16:10 and is not downscaled or stretched to be so. Some common resolutions are: 1280x720 (720p), 1920x1080(1080i), 1920x1200 (16:10).
Fake HD is an image that is captured in 4:3 (720x480, usually) or in 16:9 SD and stretched out to be 720 in an editing program. Stretching a video beyond it's original size is just taking video data and spreading it over a larger area, thus degrading the quality. Increasing the bitrate does NOT improve this, as you are not ADDING any video data, you are just increasing the amount of which you are displaying the distorted data.

Q) Can I render in higher than 720p?
A) Currently, yes you can, but it's not advised. Most of the hosting options available freely, will not scale up that high and you are just wasting your time and hard drive space to render video in that high a resolution

Q) What are the best render settings for HD?
A) This gets asked a lot, and it really depends on the game and the program. A general rule of thumb is to have a resolution of X x 720 (height of 720, and a width that is conducive to the game you are playing, preferably widescreen and 1280 in width).
A bitrate of at least 2500kbps will suffice, best for older games. Those newer games, I recommend going as high as 5000kbps.
Your framerate should match whatever you captured the footage at.
NTSC framerates are usually 29.97 (or 30 if you round) or 59.94 (60). If you captured at one of these, render in a multiple of that number to prevent ghosting.
PAL framerates are usually 25 or 50. Same rules apply.

Q) What is a bitrate and framerate?
A) Short of googling for this info, the bitrate is: The amount of video data displayed per second. The higher, the better, the larger your file size.
Framerate: The number of frames displayed per second. A frame is basically a slice of your video. Each frame will contain some of your video data, and when put together, results in your finished product. 30fps, is 30 video frames played every second.

Q) How can I get HD with a small file size?
A) This is a question everyone asks, and depending on the game, the answer may be... you can't.
Your file size is determined by the length, the size, and the bitrate (and obviously the codec you use). They are all proportional to the file size (when one goes up, the size goes up).
Older games, like SNES or NES games can be rendered in HD, but don't require as high a bitrate, so you may get a small HD file.
Newer games will require a larger bitrate to look decent, so the size will be driven up.
On average, you will get between 300-500MB for an HD video that is 10mins in length. Suck it up, HD is not a cheap venture.

Q) What is a codec and which one should I use?
A) Codec is short for 'Compressor-Decompressor' and is used to encode and decode video data so you can manipulate it. Your favorite video editing programs should be able to interpret which codecs you have installed on your computer and allow you to use them
Depending on the codec you choose, each may have different methods for entering the above video data to render your video.
Depending on the FORMAT you want, your codec will vary. The recommended that work fairly well could be:
    AVI
  • DivX
  • XVid
  • TechSmith Screen Capture Codec

    WMV
  • Microsoft Windows Media Video 9+

    MP4
  • Sony AVC

    MOV
  • H.264 QuickTime
These are by far not your only choices, but you can use these as a guide.

Q) What program should I use to capture footage on PC?
A) FRAPS for fullscreen (fraps is NOT free ~$40), openGL/DirectX compatible programs or screen recorders such as Camstudio, Hypercam, or Screen Virtuoso. Other paid-programs for screen capture are Snag-It and Camtasia Studio. Those tend to do a lot better job and can do more for you when capturing. FRAPS captures UNCOMPRESSED video, meaning the files are VERY large. Have a lot of space handy and an editing program in mind when going this route.

Q) I want to add commentary to my guides, what should I use?
A) Audacity. This is a free, open-source sound editing program that works wonders when capturing your voice for use on your videos while you play.
Another feature of Camtasia Studio allows you to do this as well. You will need to learn how to edit your footage together with an editing program to join your gameplay and voice-over together.
This topic: http://forum.gameanyone.com/index.php?topic=13159.0 outlines how to do this with FRAPS (version 2.9.X or lower) or on windows XP
This topic: http://forum.gameanyone.com/index.php?topic=12427.0 outlines how to do it in a single program using FRAPS (version 3+) AND windows Vista/7

I hope this has been informative, and remember to search the existing topics before posting, so we can avoid having to re-answer your questions.[/list][/list][/list][/list][/list]
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 03:06:39 PM by skorch82 » Logged




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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 01:36:21 PM »

This is a godsend, I seriously hope that this is as helpful to others as it is to me.
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2009, 02:59:57 PM »

skorch your by far one of the best users in gameanyone
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With Dazzle you might be able capture it in HD.
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2009, 03:03:53 PM »

Makes perfect sense to do this, lots of questions that are way too similar.
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 04:29:21 PM »

Thanks, this will help me remember a lot about HD videos and codecs and stuff.
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 04:38:27 PM »

Very informative post there skorch, well done, I would just add one thing that i don't think you mentioned, If people are thinking about the HD-PVR or BlackMagic options to capture in HD then you also need a HD compatible TV, i know this will seem obvious but when i have spoken to people in the past regarding how i capture, they didn't realize that you also need a HD TV, it is impossible to capture in HD while playing on a std tv.
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 06:31:36 PM »

Ah yes, good point. I will add it in, thanks!
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2009, 07:46:01 PM »

thank you skorch i pretty much needed to know all of that but did not go and look for it because im lazy  Grin anyway great job
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 05:23:18 PM »

What is more recommended? AVI or MP4,

If I chose Avi I would compress it with Xvid at a bit rate depending on the game

If I chose MP4 I would compress it with Main Concept AVC [Since Sony AVC Doesnt want me to render at 640x480 resolution] at a bit rate same as AVI

I dont know who to chose since they render pretty much almost the same and MP4 Has somehow smaller file size by a short amount
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 05:33:42 PM by graydarkblinkyfreak » Logged

With Dazzle you might be able capture it in HD.
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2009, 02:06:59 PM »

Thanks!
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