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Old 11-30-2008, 11:59 PM   #1
Justin Linux
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Looking for a capture card (usb), specifically for Machinima


I have an IBM Thinkpad that I use exclusively running Sidux (a 'stable' version of Debian Sid, and the only distribution that will run my machine without trouble).

Anyway, I was hoping to get into Machinima, specifically Halo 3. I need a usb capture card for obvious reasons, and, despite looking through several HCLs I have none that will work. I have read that conexant chips are grainy, so I wish to avoid those.
Also, I was hoping that I would be able to purchase one for around $50 or less.

Thanks ahead of time for responses.
 
Old 12-01-2008, 04:45 AM   #2
storkus
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You'll want to visit www.linuxtv.org for info on what drivers work and what won't--this is one area where more don't that do, unfortunately, including most of the stuff you see in E-Bay. Not to hawk a particular manufacturer, but practically everything made by Hauppauge should work, though I think most of them use Conexant chips, which you said you want to avoid.

What are you trying to do with the USB vidcap?

Mike
 
Old 12-01-2008, 09:42 AM   #3
Shadow_7
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capture cards are hit and miss. linuxtv.org is a good start. If you want them cheap, then check craigslist. Then check for linux support / level of support. Check a couple of reviews. And take the plunge. Each has their own set of issues IMO. Grain would be a minor one IMO. Getting one that works, and lasts longer than one month would be a higher priority IMO. A lot of the newer ones have built-in encoders, which is essentially a built in lossy capture. So you get grain and compression blur. But your CPU doesn't have to work as hard. Although you still need close to a 3GHz CPU to watch HDTV.

I got a Pinnacle HDTV Pro Stick. Which has two different chipsets (800e/801e), but looks exactly alike, same model name and such, but different drivers. One has analog support in linux, the other does not (yet). My 801e lasted about a month before it burned itself out and was unusable. Nice digital picture(ATSC), but analog in windows (since it only worked in windows) sucked beyond belief. Fortunately I got my money back from the retailer.

I currently have a leadtek tv 2000 expert (analog only / used from craigslist) and it's picture is pretty good. But onboard sound is unusable, so I'm having to pipe audio through a VCR to my soundcard. Which is probably a better capture of audio, but leads to sync issues with audio. Audio is about 200ms ahead of the video. So watching live tv is a bit odd. But I can compensate in the capture process. Good for what I needed it for, archiving of old VHS tapes to digital formats. Although I wouldn't recommend it, if you're not a linux power user. Or a mencoder / ffmpeg guru.
 
Old 12-01-2008, 11:39 PM   #4
Justin Linux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by storkus View Post
You'll want to visit www.linuxtv.org for info on what drivers work and what won't--this is one area where more don't that do, unfortunately, including most of the stuff you see in E-Bay. Not to hawk a particular manufacturer, but practically everything made by Hauppauge should work, though I think most of them use Conexant chips, which you said you want to avoid.

What are you trying to do with the USB vidcap?

Mike
I wish to essentially, make movies with the video game.
I am worried about grain because I will be distributing the movies, making this visible to a large audience.

I am looking through the supported devices at the site you mentioned.

Thanks for both responses.
 
Old 12-02-2008, 03:11 AM   #5
storkus
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"...make movies with the video game." Huh? You mean make animated movies like some people do now with FPS engines or trying to do vidcap with it, which (to me, anyway) doesn't make much sense.

Could you please be more specific and maybe we could help you out better.

Mike

P.S. Forgot to mention that I got a Hauppauge HVR-950Q on Black Friday special from NewEgg. Hopefully my experience is better than Shadow's...
 
Old 12-02-2008, 07:42 PM   #6
Justin Linux
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I mean something similar to Red vs Blue, if you are familiar with that.

Here is a definition I found:

Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies.

In an expanded definition, it is the convergence of filmmaking, animation and game development. Machinima is real-world filmmaking techniques applied within an interactive virtual space where characters and events can be either controlled by humans, scripts or artificial intelligence.

By combining the techniques of filmmaking, animation production and the technology of real-time 3D game engines, Machinima makes for a very cost- and time-efficient way to produce films, with a large amount of creative control.



So yes, it is making a movie with an FPS engine.
 
Old 12-02-2008, 08:39 PM   #7
Shadow_7
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Do you really need a capture card for that? If it's on a PC, just use ffmpeg with the x11grab and other options. Performance issues not withstanding. Or are you trying to capture from a PS3 / Atari / other external hardware?
 
Old 12-03-2008, 12:18 AM   #8
Justin Linux
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I do intend to make the movies using a console.
 
Old 12-03-2008, 09:08 AM   #9
Shadow_7
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Alright, so what connections are we talking about? UHF or VHF / F-Cable / S-Video / Component / SVGA / DVI / HDMI / HDMI 1.3a / ???

Hauppauge HD PVR USB 1080i HD External TV Tuner

OnAir GT USB Mobile HD TV Tuner

Those seem popular. But I'm not sure of the linux support level. I guess one should ask about your input specs aside from the connector. Noting that my leadtek has v4l-info options. default 0 being 8 bpp. 24 bpp RGB le is option 6. And a slew of other options for an uncompressed source, since it has no built in encoder. Not that you'll capture the 120fps glory of your console to a 30fps DVD.
 
Old 12-03-2008, 06:54 PM   #10
Justin Linux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow_7 View Post
Alright, so what connections are we talking about? UHF or VHF / F-Cable / S-Video / Component / SVGA / DVI / HDMI / HDMI 1.3a / ???

Hauppauge HD PVR USB 1080i HD External TV Tuner

OnAir GT USB Mobile HD TV Tuner

Those seem popular. But I'm not sure of the linux support level. I guess one should ask about your input specs aside from the connector. Noting that my leadtek has v4l-info options. default 0 being 8 bpp. 24 bpp RGB le is option 6. And a slew of other options for an uncompressed source, since it has no built in encoder. Not that you'll capture the 120fps glory of your console to a 30fps DVD.

I would need support for component, and would like to have a hardware encoder if I have to pay over $100, though I could live without it.

Thanks.

Edit: I was reading a review for the OnAir, but didn't see one for the PVR.

Last edited by Justin Linux; 12-03-2008 at 07:16 PM.
 
Old 12-03-2008, 07:47 PM   #11
Electro
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An Hauppauge HD PVR can handle component, S-Video, and composite.

USB is not good for raw video capture. I suggest a PCI or PCIe based video capture card. For notebook computers an Express Card or CardBus (PCMCIA).
 
Old 12-03-2008, 08:02 PM   #12
Justin Linux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
An Hauppauge HD PVR can handle component, S-Video, and composite.

USB is not good for raw video capture. I suggest a PCI or PCIe based video capture card. For notebook computers an Express Card or CardBus (PCMCIA).

Thanks for the advice, a CardBus sounds fine.

Last edited by Justin Linux; 12-03-2008 at 08:37 PM.
 
Old 12-05-2008, 10:55 AM   #13
Shadow_7
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The usb bus is limited. Hardware encoders tend to compress things a bit too much, with a noticeable loss in quality. I'm rather liking my leadtek winfast tv2000 xp expert card. Aside from the audio sync issues of using a device other than the tv card for audio. The lack of a hardware encoder allows me to choose my own encoder, or just record the raw video. Since it's SD only that's not all that taxing to my current computing power.

If you're not needing realtime encoding to use a camcorder as a webcam for video conferencing. Then there are some devices that encode / record to their own internal harddrives. And then connect to your PC like a usb-storage type device. Or you could just use a camcorder like a canon HV30 as a capture device.
 
  


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