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Old February 22nd, 2010, 10:39 PM   #1
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Capturing live laptop demo to mix with EX1 footage.

Hello,

My apologies if this is slightly off-topic Ė but Iím hoping to find a solution for something Iím shooting with my EX1.

Iím shooting an event next month with my EX1, which will also require me to record, to my laptop, the live feed from another laptopís DVI (or if necessary VGA) port. Iíll use the EX1 to shoot the presenter, but I will need to do a live capture of the on-screen demo. I wish it were as simple as simply importing the presenterís PowerPoint presentation onto my timeline, but these presentations are ďlive demosĒ which are more complicated.

Has anybody done this with success? Is there a cost effective solution? I hope to get decent resolution so that I can mix the live capture footage with the material shot with the EX1, in Vegas, as best as possible.

Note: Since there are going to be approx. 20 speakers, all with their own laptops, I canít have the presenters do a capture to their own laptops. They just arenít that cooperative. I will need to split the signal from the presenterís laptop so that I can record the signal to our laptop. I am only concerned with video Ė audio I can grab from the sound board.

Any suggestions on which products / methods have worked for you would be greatly appreciated.

Ian
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:07 AM   #2
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Deleted because my workflow would involve cooperative presenters. Generally I'd use ScreenFlow on Mac and Camtasia on Windows.

I'm wondering if you can take DVI or VGA and capture with the above software if such laptops appeared as a monitor source.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:34 AM   #3
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This probably would work
VGA2USB | Frame grabbers | Products | Epiphan Systems

or this
DVI frame grabbers | Products | Epiphan Systems

This series too
http://www.epiphan.com/products/recording/
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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If all the laptops have DVI you could use a DVI>hdmi adapter and feed it all into a Nanoflash, which would give you great quality and an easy edit
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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The Matrox MX02 line will do this if you can get a DVI-HDMI converter.

It would capture to your laptop.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Thanks Olof, Denis and Craig!

Thanks so much for all your great ideas. The NanoFlash idea is great - but the cost is a bit higher than what's cost effective at the moment. Down the road, a Nano is something I would like to add to my gear list.

Olof, your suggestion for the Matrox product might be the ticket. I called and spoke to a Matrox tech support agent who suggested their MX02 mini for laptop. Sadly, this product doesn't support Sony Vegas. I might be able to record on my laptop via Premier Pro and be good to go.

Thanks again! If anyone else has any other suggestions, please pass them along.

Ian
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 05:16 PM   #7
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frankly i would use some screen capture utility (remote or not).
this would cost almost nothing.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:26 PM   #8
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Regarding the nanoFlash, please read the Using the nanoFlash for software tutorials thread.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #9
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I've done this A LOT!

A bit of a brain dump:

I've used 3 main methods in the past:

Camtasia (software)
Fraps (software)
Frame buffer / capture card (hardware)

By FAR the best quality is achieved using Camtasia or Fraps (for Direct 3D / games etc). This will give 100% quality but possibly a lower frame rate depending on the capabilities of the machine being run on and the source material being shown i.e. video will normally be a lower frame rate. The frame buffer/capture card I have is OK but quality isn't as good although it doesn't interfere with the presentation at all.

The big disadvantage is that you have to run Camtasia on the PC/Laptop being captured - which is fine for non-live presentations but if this is also being presented to an audience, there are some dangers involved and the machine can become a little sluggish (particularly with laptops). This is the last thing you want when presenting as it can really throw the presenter if they're not expecting it. I've also had problems with earlier versions of Camtasia where the mouse pointer would flicker madly - I think this has now been resolved though.

I edit the Camtasia in Premiere Pro which works fine, although you need the Techsmith CODEC installed. Sometimes there are problems with the captured Camtasia file not displaying correctly - I normally re-compress it to a Camtasia AVI file using Camtasia itself before editing.

The other things you'll obviously need to think about is resolution and aspect ratio - my productions have been authored for a variety of delivery methods including video DVD, Flash, WMV etc etc.

Any scaling of the Camtasia footage will often look poor, especially with fine text and window elements etc. Due to this, I often try and keep the Camtasia footage at 100% scaling if the project allows or at least try to keep it to an even multiple i.e. 50% etc.

Most times, if I need to end up with a 640x480 finished FLV etc, I'll show the screen capture scaled to fit and then quickly zoom or cut in to 100% and pan/scan as necessary - really depends on your needs though.

If your presenters are just showing a PowerPoint and there's no "live" demo involved, it's much easier to get hold of the PowerPoint and then do the screen capture yourself - either timing it to the original or better - just flick through and then edit by holding on certain slides etc - much more control.

If they are doing live demos, then the frame buffer route may be best - I bought a specialist PCI card (can't remember the make off the top of my head) and fitted it to a very fast PC - it needs it!!! This takes as the input, a VGA signal - I then used windows media encoder to record the stream. You'll need to spend a fair amount of time experimenting with CODECS though to get the best quality/file size balance - files can be huge.

This was a few years ago - so the HDMI route may be a better bet now though.

HTH a bit - ask any further questions if you have any.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #10
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Paul, I suggest you try ScreenFlow on Mac. It seems to have overcome the issues you mention. It seems to maintain 30fps no matter what you throw at it and it's much "lighter" on the system resources so it doesn't slow down presentations.

Once captured, you can save in any number of Quicktime based codecs including Animation, Apple Intermediate Codec, DV and if you Final Cut Studio on the system, 8 or 10 bit Uncompressed 4:2:2, Apple ProRes, heck even XDCAM EX.

BTW it can also capture your camera as well. Whether webcam, DV, or even EX with MXO2 attached, the whole thing is capture with presenter and screencapture as separate layers. The cam capture is not going to be real HD though but if you just need the presenter in a box or otherwise on only part of the screen, this works great.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #11
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I second (or third) the motion for Screenflow, if you're on a Mac.
A very well-designed program + responsive tech help staff.
Malcolm
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Old February 26th, 2010, 01:32 AM   #12
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I'd be tempted to rent a scan converter from your local A/V rental house. Use a 'Y' VGA splitter so that as a presenter hitches his laptop up to the room's projector you also get a feed to the scan converter which in turn can feed a video deck. There are variations on this theme of course, just make sure that the scan converter can output in the format you need to record to.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 02:44 AM   #13
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I tried scan converters - and the really expensive ones too - trouble with these is that the quality is very poor IME when scaling down - that was in the SD days though.

My thoughts are that you still want to capture at 100% scaling if you can to retain quality - what you do with it after then is much more controlable.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #14
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I already recommended the MX02.

But what I have done in the past, in these situations is ask for the PP files and then I recreate the presentation on my Mac actually using Keynote and just export QT video files from there.

This gives you the absolute best result possible. And it is simple and fast.

I use the video shot on stage or whatever to figure out what slides to show and when as closeups. This takes a little editing but the results are very good. And it makes for more dynamic video. It also is far more relaxing shooting, you have automatic B-roll and you don't have to worry about your live capture rig running correctly.

Most PPP's (PowerPoint Presentations) can be put on a single USB thumb drive. And a lot of presenters already have CD's with backups of the PPP's.

Just another nickels worth.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #15
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I do similar to Olof - although where this fails is if the presenters do a "live" demo of software or browsing the web etc - for that you need capture of the screen or re-create back in the edit suite, which can be pretty time consuming. (or set one camera to record the screen - not ideal quality though!).

I have one (excellent) presenter who ALWAYS does a live presentation via his mac - slideshows of pics, videos etc - never uses a presentation software package - makes for great presentations but a nightmare to capture!
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