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Old December 15th, 2012, 11:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: San Salvador, El Salvador
Posts: 1
Live capture no editing

Hello everyone,

This is my first post but I have been a reader for months.
Not posted before cause I was actually ashamed to compare what I do with you guys, but then again, who better to help me than people with experience. Right?

My case scenario is a bit different. Ive been doing this since 2007 and getting better equipment and getting better at it. Here is what we do and how we do it:

We shoot exclusively power points off the screen. We use a wide array of small HD sony cams. We set the cam as best as possible to see only the power point screen.
We connect a RGB cable from the sony cam into a Pinnacle dazzle HD and from there via USB into windows movie maker into 756k wmv file.
Sound comes via xlr into a small audio deck, out via stereo cable into the same pinacle dazzle, so the USB sends one mixed signal into windows movie maker and everything gets recorded perfectly.
This goes into a PC with XP SP2.
We stop and restart each conference so we have each conference in a different file.
I make a index.html as a menu for each conference with a link to the wmv and everything looks pretty and works 100% of the time.
I make an autorun and burn DVDs and sell them as the conferences finishes.
We can burn 50 DVDs in under 6 minutes.
There is no going back to the office to edit, include slides, pdf, or anything. Everything is done live, burnt imediately and sold as is.
We hardly get any errors, sound is good, and the image is good enough to review it at home.

Its simply good enough. but I want more.

Having said all this, Id like to make the image better. Im guessing I would have to get it from a Y splitter connector somewhere between the presenters PC/Mac and the proyector.

What would that "appliance" or thingie have to be? I tried it once with a small-time $45 scaler, and I had to change on the second conference when the guy placed his MAC with HD and killed my signal since the scaler couldnt handle it. But I wasnt impressed with the first two results anyway. Input was VGA output was RGB.
Organisation doesnt have the PPT, each conference is usually given with a different laptop and different settings. So its a mess. For them.

Ive found that recording the screen never misses and it doesnt matter what they have or use, im always good.

Only deal is that sometimes, even that good enough, is not realy good enough since sometimes when there is a lot of text, its not very clear.

We sell for cheap. Very cheap, so budget is low.
Plus we have the inconvenience that there may be upto 4 or 6 conference rooms going at once. Inconvenience since we would have to have several of those apliances.

We go every time into a hostile enviroment. We do not control anything that has to do with sound, image, podium, mics, lightning... anything. And I rely only on my equipment.

Making the capture 1mb or even 2 mb doesnt help much.
Ive tried an semipro cam and it didnt really make a difference.
I shoot at 756k or upto 1mb since being a PC-DVD I can record 10 to 15 hours (a whole day or day and a half) into 1 dvd.

How and what would I need to grab the signal correctly from the PC/Mac and dont worry about the resolution they will send me?

I use Windows Movie maker with XP because its the only software ive found that captures at that speed with compression on the fly and when I stop, it stops with me. It doesnt stay recoding or thinking. Its quick. All others capture at the best possible quality and then start to render and compress. I have no time for this.
I usualy get about 10 minutes from the "good-by" until I start handing out finished product DVDs.
I use XP because even the new version of windows movie maker for win7 doesnt do this any more.
I would love to use a laptop, but havent found such a software.

Im trying to do the opposite of everyone else, record at a low quality, but actually tring to do it better, live, no editing and cheap...

Sorry for the long post. :) but thanks for your help.

Juan Carlos Gorospe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 17th, 2012, 02:16 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 444
Re: Live capture no editing

I'll be honest and say for your purposes, at your price level, you probably have found the best solution possible, because capture devices with HDMI or greater inputs tend to be far more expensive, and encoding HD live to a deliverable format still takes a bit of custom hardware grunt compared to low res WMV encoding... But in the long term your business model in terms of deliverable is a bit ropey out so you better look for alternatives.

There is gear that can do realtime capture and encoding, but it's unlikely to be to wmv (it's a very small part of the market in terms of actual deliverables from live streamed video, as it's not a key component for web delivery despite Microsofts attempts) - And auto exec DVD's for Windows are going to be less and less in favor as tablets come about (although moving to USB sticks may well solve that without changing anything other than your medium.)

Taking a feed directly out of a random laptop is ALWAYS going to be too tricky to consistently work, especially if people are using older gear- too many different raster sizes, too many different configurations of laptop gfx card. New gear tends to have HDMI as an output far more often now, which will help, but I think practically you are always going to be falling back to shooting the screen anyway as a default position.

H.264 encoding is where the market is going in your space at the moment, and with HTML5 you'll be able to embed the videos directly into the index with a simple tag so that could improve your deliverable quality (and also make it cross platform onto Mac without the user requiring Telestream Flip4Mac).

There are realtime h.264 encoding solutions out there as USB dongles etc, however, I am unsure if there are devices that can pair those with live ingest off a HD HDMI input, certainly nothing as low cost as what you are currently doing.

Practically you might want to look at cameras that records directly to H.264 at a low bitrate, there might be something out there that has an audio input and can do what you need - getting it down to 768 kbps will be tricky though for improved resolution, you're more likely looking at 2000 kbps minimum to avoid breakup once you get to 720p or higher.

The combination of equipment is the tricky thing in your situation - better solutions are designed for large scale webcasting/broadcast environments and will be completely out of your price range I think, cheaper solutions won't handle realtime ingest and encoding at the same time.

Maybe look to DVR type devices used in the security camera industry? They are the most likely to fit your needs A google search brought up this site here: H.264 Standalone DVR with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian internet viewing and it seems like what they are advertising might help you out - not sure if they are HD friendly or not, but something will come out in that space that is if they're not.
Craig Parkes is offline   Reply

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