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Old March 16th, 2018, 06:46 AM   #1
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Capture card solution ideas

Hi all,

I normally record in a studio directly into a Tricater. I'm working on developing a mobile solution for when I'm at conferences, etc. Previously I've connected to my studio and producer via Skype with a webcam, but of course the quality of this is not good.

I want to switch to capturing locally (at my location) and then uploading those files to my producer. I am looking at switching from the USB webcam to a camera that will work with SDI or HDMI, thus I need a capture device between the camera and laptop.

I know very little about capture card options and I am only familiar with the Blackmagic devices, something like the Intensity.

A general google search turns up endless reviews for capture devices, mostly video game oriented, but I'm just unsure what features/specs would be most relevant and important for me.

Would folks who know more about this be able to tell me whether there are better options, the downsides of the Blackmagic Intensity, and sort of point me in the right direction?
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Old March 16th, 2018, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

Hi David,

If you are just looking to replace your webcam with the better quality of a video camera, do you need to send a live transmission or just upload the footage. If the latter, you can simply take out the camera SD card, put it into your laptop/desktop and upload directly from there, or of course plug the camera into the computer via usb and transfer the files directly.

Roger
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Old March 16th, 2018, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

I would need to be sending the transmission live via skype, so my thought was I needed a capture card in order to be able to select my camera as a webcam in Skype.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 05:27 PM   #4
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

What specific ports does your laptop have? E.g., letters *and* numbers, like Thunderbolt 3.

Itís no use specing a USB3 capture device if your laptop only has USB2... help us out a little!
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Old March 16th, 2018, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

I have been successfully using the AJA U-TAP SDI for this type of scenario and also have a Blackmagic Ultrastudio HD Mini since I got a new laptop with Thunderbolt 3.0. The U-TAP runs on USB 2.0 or 3.0, bus powered, and shows up as a UVC/UAC generic webcam and sound card so it's the most likely to just work and not have to fuss with drivers - especially if I have to plug it into other systems of varying platforms or operating systems, or corporate-managed locked down computers.

It is important to note that if you need to input a 3G-SDI signal to the U-TAP SDI, that AJA specifies Level 'A' only (this confirmed by their tech support rep as well). Otherwise you get half the video lines rendered on half the frame height. You can fall back to HD-SDI (or regular SDI) signalling from the source to work around this, or use an external converter box inline.
On the output side, the U-TAP allows you to pick anything from 144p to 1080p or allows the software (where applicable) to steer it based on network and CPU loading conditions. It is processor intensive as much more of the work is being done by the computer instead of offloaded to external hardware.

While I was shopping, I took the Blackmagic Web Presenter out of the running because it needed external AC power on an IEC C13 (not DC, not bus power) and also the output was fixed at 1280x720. If those stipulations are not issues for you, the advantage is that it can act as a simple 2 channel switcher between SDI and HDMI inputs and mix in separate analog audio, especially if you purchase the optional front panel interface. Meanwhile I need to be able to run a completely portable/cartable battery operated setup of laptop and camera if need be (also to survive the occasional power bump or whatever that could happen while live).

The UltraStudio HD Mini also includes WDM drivers to use it as a webcam device on Windows platforms, but this requires a computer with TB3 support which is not completely ubiquitous in the market yet, so plan on bringing your own hardware so-equipped. It won't fall back to USB communication even though you may be able to physically insert a USB cable into its Type-C port. The UltraStudio HD has a couple frames less latency compared to the U-TAP when plugged into the same source and computer and can record uncompressed 10-bit and use all audio channels in the SDI specification with supported applications, whereas the U-TAP will only ever use up to the first 2 audio channels. It also has traditional analog composite and component, as well as 2 channels of analog audio input on 1/4" TRS, HDMI monitor output, RS422 serial on a DB-9 - so greater versatility being able to use it for other video projects or routine tasks.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 06:43 PM   #6
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

Also much cheaper options out there that I don't have personal experience with, there's the Magewell USB Capture devices which are also UVC input. Worth a mention if this is a budget-conscious application, but I didn't end up going that way to vouch for it in a good or bad way.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 06:52 PM   #7
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Re: Capture card solution ideas

Hi David

Is there really any point in upgrading to a good camera and capture unit if you are using Skype? The weak link in the quality chain is going to be Skype

It's much the same as listening to great music on top of the range audio gear if you are playing it thru tiny crappy speakers!

Might be an idea to post your question on the Streaming Forum here as well??
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