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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    A data centre in Canberra.
    Posts
    1,003

    Default Review: Elgato Video Capture

    <img style="float: right;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap01_ProdShot6.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap01_ProdShot6.jpg" width="300" height="171" />

    The <a href="http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/mainmenu/products/Video-Capture/product1.en.html" target="_blank">Elgato Video Capture</a> lets you digitise SD footage from your VHS tapes, camcorder, game console or any other device that puts out composite (RCA), S-Video or SCART video. It comes with a great software suite for capturing and editing the source material that’s been a pleasant surprise to review.

    Just like its matter-of-fact name, Video Capture is a focussed and simple product. It knows exactly what it's here to do and does it very, very well. Like other great products attached to Apple's platforms, it’s not the hardware that makes it shine, but polished, usable software that gets you enjoying a job that could so easily be a chore.<!--more-->
    <h2>In The Box</h2>
    Elgato have kept it simple with Video Capture’s attractive packaging. It sings <em>I belong on a Mac</em> from the moment you see the box to the first time you plug the converter into a USB port (although it does work on PC, too!)

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap02_Box.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap02_Box.jpg" width="300" height="394" />

    The converter itself is as simple as it gets with the central box handling the analog to digital conversion and analog video and audio cables feeding into one end. USB runs from the other end to your Mac. The other contents of the box include a set of RCA cables and a SCART to RCA adaptor, plus a software installation disc and separate instructions for installing on Windows 7.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap03_Contents.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap03_Contents.JPG" width="300" height="208" />

    Note that your video source doesn’t <em>have</em> to be SD or even analog, of course, it just needs to have a supported analog video output. It will end up in SD (640x480) anyway, as this is the highest resolution these cables support. At capture, you can choose between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap04_CloseUp.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap04_CloseUp.JPG" width="300" height="199" />
    <h2>Software</h2>
    After installing the capture software from installation CD, the fun begins. Fire up the Elgato Video Capture app from your Applications folder and follow the on screen wizard. After setting the name and (estimated) duration of the movie and clicking <em>Continue</em>, you'll get a live video and audio preview from your source, and maybe a bit of a shock from how good the video quality looks in the preview window. The converter does a great job of retaining colour accuracy and minimising interlacing artefacts and pixelation.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap05_Video1.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap05_Video.jpg" width="557" height="396" />

    As you can see here, it's easy to set the video source and aspect ratio settings and these work perfectly as advertised. Clicking <em>Continue</em> takes you to the audio screen, allowing you to monitor your incoming audio signal and give it the thumbs up before committing to a recording. A quick check to make sure it's getting a healthy level on both sides should do the trick. If you want to boost or cut the incoming audio, this can be done from the <em>Preferences </em>menu.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap06_Audio.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap06_Audio.jpg" width="559" height="395" />

    Another click of <em>Continue </em>will take you to the capture screen. Click <em>Start Recording </em>to start recording. <em>Stop</em> will stop. Yes, everything in Elgato's app is this bonehead simple.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap07_Capture.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap07_Capture.jpg" width="559" height="396" />

    Next up, trimming. The trim interface offers simple start and end point markers for cutting fat from your vid.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap08_Trim1.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap08_Trim.jpg" width="559" height="397" />

    And this is where the road ends for Elgato Video Capture. It really is that simple. After clicking <em>Continue </em>one last time, you'll be shown the path and filename for your movie and offered some exporting and sharing options.

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap09_Outputs.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap09_Outputs.jpg" width="611" height="448" />
    Again, these work as expected. <em>Edit with iMovie</em> is most useful, allowing you to stitch captured movies together and mess with custom soundtracks etc. From here on it's a standard iMovie affair.
    <h2>Output Quality</h2>
    Given the limitations of the SD video being inputted to the device, the end result ends up looking as good as you could reasonably expect. I experienced no framerate issues on playback, no interlacing issues (automagically fixed - an impressively dodged issue, big props to Elgato for this) and impressive colour accuracy. It earns is price tag by proving itself to be a high quality converter.

    The only issue worthy of mention is that I got thin black borders consistently around my captures. They didn't show up in the preview window, so I was surprised to find these in the final movie (below):

    <img style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ElgVidCap10_QT.jpg" border="0" alt="ElgVidCap10_QT.jpg" width="468" height="364" />

    Apart from this, it's a flawless experience using default settings all the way. If the borders bother you, there are plenty of video editing options for cropping black bits.

    In the end, your mum could use this. It's uncomplicated hardware paired with even less complicated software. The impressive output quality alone makes this a thumbs up from me. It's not cheap, but if you're converting anything sentimental or nostalgic, quality is king.

    <a href="http://www.s2d6.com/x/?x=c&amp;z=s&amp;v=936507&amp;t=http://store.apple.com/au/product/TW129ZM/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY" target="_blank">Elgato Video Capture retails for $199.95 and is available from the Apple Online Store</a>

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    QLD, Australia
    Posts
    881

    Default

    good product, but wish it was cheaper

  3. #3

    Default

    Guessing I know the answer gauging from the price - but - can this device decode and use that little strip of information at the bottom of a standard old-world video signal?

    As I understand, the information helps with correct coloration, and syncing.

    I know the higher end Canopus devices have this feature... which means - big $$$... Not sure if their base model does... But was wondering if any other devices out there do offer this feature.

    (And... I guess... if anyone can really tell the difference)
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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    137

    Default

    You a referring to sc-h (sub carrier to horizontal phase) relationship in Pal or ntsc signal... This comes only from broadcast equipments and not from domestic stuff... So it is a waste of money to go for this for home level..

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    137

    Default

    This digitiser is expensive and similar digitiser from Kaiser baas ( video to dvd maker) can be bought from Harvey for $59.. and software is quite good.. I use it for fun.

    I think digitiser IC is the same and come from Taiwan.

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