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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #1
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Question about video screen resolution

Hi All,

As some of you may know I did a video for the company I work for a month ago and I ran into an issue, a short description of the issue is this

The video was supposed to be of training on how to use a new program and was being shown on a laptop (the idea was to capture exactly what was happing on the screen)

1) I plugged into the analog video out from a laptop (yellow cable) into the analog in on my DVC80
2) I had the laptop screen resolution set to 1024 by 768.
3) I started recording (recording to Mini DV tape) and they started the presentation.
4) I then took the tapes and captured them into Video Vegas, (the best resolution I could capture at was NTSC 740 by 480 (or what ever is the standard) )
Well as you may have already guessed the video looked horrible. It looks out of focus (like reading text from a computer on a TV screen).

Anyways I had asked before if there was anything I could do. And the answer was pretty much “you are screwed” which as much as I hated to hear I under stand.

Now my question is this
Is there a device that allows you to record from a laptop at 1024 by 768 and capture it to Mini DV tape so that it is still readable?


Thanks for any help
Michael
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:44 AM   #2
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When you say "yellow cable" I assume that means composite video through an RCA connector. That is never gonna look so great. If you must use this setup then set the laptop's screen resolution to 720x480. That should maximize the quality with this scenario, but whoever is doing the presentation may not be happy with that resolution.

The other approach would be to use a device called a "scan converter" which could accept VGA output from the laptop and scale it down to 720x480. It should also give you s-video output which will be better quality than composite.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:47 AM   #3
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"scan converter"

can you recomend one?
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Old May 25th, 2005, 12:50 PM   #4
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I wonder if it wouldnt be easier and as well better to go the other way

We use Macromedia Captivate to capture what happens on computer screens. It then allows you to work on a timeline and do voice overs as well as on screen text narrations

It outputs to all kinds of file types as well and it might be easier to do this and then convert to video if you actually need video. If replay is PC based only it may not be nessecary at all
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Old May 25th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thanks Michael I will check that out.

The issue is that the person moving the mouse and working on the PC is the person doing the narrative so I need to get them both at once. (It is a one shot deal)

The way it will be viewed will be both TV and PC so I need something that will look good on both.

Thanks for the help and keep it coming
Michael
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Moore
Thanks Michael I will check that out.

The issue is that the person moving the mouse and working on the PC is the person doing the narrative so I need to get them both at once. (It is a one shot deal)

The way it will be viewed will be both TV and PC so I need something that will look good on both.

Thanks for the help and keep it coming
Michael
You can record narrative immediately of course. The only thing you loose is anything that visually would happen off the computer screen

the beauty is that for web/pc deliver the data is miniscule

here is a quick example without audio

http://starzen.com/products/movies/dateform.htm
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Old May 26th, 2005, 03:40 AM   #7
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For one thing, you used the wrong resolution as well. The laptop should've
been in either 800x600 or 640x480 (better, but not possible I think). These
are much closer to 720x480.

If you have or can get the presentation files you can redo this on your own
computer system?

There is also software out there that can grab the screen and turn it into
a movie. Never going out to analog etc. For maximum readability you still
need to use the lowest resolution possible, even with that kind of software.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 08:21 AM   #8
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When I filmed a conference once I recorded directly from the laptop via an Y/C (S-Video) cable to capture the PowerPoint presentations. I believe I set the laptop display resolution to 800x600. It came out good.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:15 PM   #9
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Powerpoint presentations usually have large, bold-ish text that may come out well, especially at 800x600. If you are trying to capture the user interface of a program, I think you'll have problems because pretty much every user interface has text and lines that are 1 pixel wide (just look at your browser..). If you sample at anything less than the display resolution you are going to have issues (Nyquist's Theorem..). At 1024x768 it's not really about scan converting or quality of composite connection, it's more "A doesn't fit into B".

Setting the display res to 640x480 would definately help, but a lot of modern programs are basically unusable at low resolutions (imagine using your NLE at 640x480..).

I know I'm not helping much yet, but here goes:
1. Try it at 800x600 using S/video or preferably a scan convertor

If it's unacceptable:

2. What if you "capture" the computer's screen using a screen capture program that simply records the computer's display to a file (I can't recommend one, but I think there are some free ones), import this file into Vegas and use the pan/crop to zoom in on the relevant part of the screen for each part of the demonstration. Establishing shots of the entire screen could be a bit tricky, but you could try blurring slightly then sharpening or edge enhancing or something.

Hope it helps.

Disclaimer: The above info is correct in my reality, it may or may not be valid in the real world.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 08:14 AM   #10
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A Sample

i tried to see how this would come out

i used Macromedia Captivate to capture the web pages. Then saved them as SWF and used a shareware utility to convert SWF to AVI as Captivate doesnt save in AVI and SOny cant import captivates SWV files for some reason.

The red X is because the shareware utility i downloaded is not registered.

Then i used sony vegas moviestudio to render the video

the original resolution on the screen was set to 800x600 at capture time

www.palmswestphoto.com/photos/test.wmv

if you want me to try anything specific just let me know

HTH
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Old May 27th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #11
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Well I have loaded the Macromedia Captivate software and started using it. The thing rocks but there are a few things that make it a little tricky.

1) I have been unsuccessful at getting long captures (i.e. 20 min) it seems to freeze during the rendering process
2) It is a little invasive (I mean for me to install it on a 3rd party PC so that we can capture a demonstration then uninstall it and get the clips of the PC would be a little tuff).

Other then that it looks really good and I am going to continue working with it.

Now on the other hand, a lot of people have said that a Scan Converter or a Screen Scaler would not have helped but what about these products?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=244232&is=REG

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=226679&is=REG

If anyone could explain what these things do and if they would work for my issue that would be great.

Thanks
Michael
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Old May 30th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #12
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Thought maybe this got missed in the weekend post, so I will ask again. Does anyone know what the 2 products that the links are pointing to do?
Please see the post above

Thanks :)
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Old May 30th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #13
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Sorry for not catching that! The first one would be way overkill and I'm not sure it even would do what you want, I think it's for converting to HD.

The second one is more like it, but seems a little expensive. We bought a cheap scan converter for use around the theatre, so we could convert the VGA output from our lighting console display to an NTSC monitor on the stage manager's desk. It worked as expected, however we're just reproducing an old style IBM-PC 24 line x 80 character text display. But it's handy because the whole thing is part of the cable itself:

http://www.aitech.com/contents/Page8.html

The same company has a few similar products as well. However, this is not an endorsement of the product, it might be totally unsuitable for what you're doing. Caveat emptor! At 1024x768 I'm not sure anything will look good over s-video, you would just have to try and see what you think....
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