El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap

Earlier this year I replaced by aged desktop computer.  The rather bulky, traditional HP tower was replaced by a fantastic little Airptop-PC. The Airtop is a fanless wonder. It’s powerful, has multiple (six!) monitor outputs, a massive array of ports, and draws a tiny amount of power.

While the Airtop-PC is a silent thing of beauty, what it lacks is the extra PCIe slot necessary to install my Aver Media C127 HDMI capture card. This has left me considering USB-connected HDMI capture devices.

An early experience with the Black Magic Design Ultra Studio has left me with an aversion to their lower-end products. I hear good things about the Magewell USB 3.0 capture dongles. There’s no doubt they’re very capable, but at around $300, also quite costly. Continue reading “El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap”

How To: Creating Great Quality Screencasts

Making screencasts Lenovo X1 Carbon HP DesktopSeveral times over the past few weeks I’ve had to create screencasts or asked to advise how they are best created. There are a variety of approaches to this task, but I’ve found that my preferred technique is perhaps uncommon, and worth sharing.

Over the years there have been many times when screencasts were the most appropriate method for conducting user training or addressing specific support issues. At different times I’ve used various software tools in these pursuits. Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio was the most common solution in years past, although Adobe Captivate was also notable.

More recently I’ve sought a lower-cost solutions and settled upon the freeware CamStudio as a passable solution. CamStudio is apparently the open source progenitor of Camtasia Studio.

There are also a myriad of free, online services that do their magic by way of a browser downloadable applet. I have little experience of these as I prefer another approach entirely.

As in other matters, I’ve long held the belief that a more hardware-centric approach can hold a distinct advantage. This has become increasingly true as common PC screen resolutions have come into alignment with frame sizes common in HD video production. A screencast that looks as good a broadcast TV is likely going to be more than adequate.

Continue reading “How To: Creating Great Quality Screencasts”

BlackMagic, Nexus Devices, MHL, SlimPort & Elgato Game Capture HD

elgato-game-capture-hd.jpgUpon reading my prior post about my effort to capture the output of one of my Android devices fellow VUC alumni Andreas Dorfer suggested that I try the Elgato Game Capture HD. At first I was reluctant to make yet another purchase in pursuit of this goal, but I eventually caved in ordering one from Amazon for $179.

It arrived today. It took only a few minutes to come to the conclusion that it was not a solution to my problem. While I opened a trouble ticket with the company to pursue the matter, I discovered a FAQ entry claiming that the Nexus 4 always sets the HDCP copy protection flag in the video stream. Thus no downstream device will be able to record the output of the Nexus 4.

What’s unclear to me is whether control of that HDCP flag is done by the Nexus 4 or the SlimPort® SP1002 adapter.

Whatever the case, the Elgato device is being returned. This little pursuit has tried my patience enough for one week.