Equipping a Let’s Play: Capture Device

So now that there are officially videos up on YouTube and the bulk of the drama seems far behind me (knocks on every piece of wood in a three-mile vicinity), I wanted to start going through some of the equipment I use to capture the gameplay and commentary. It’s by no means the best set-up, and if I had a little more space there are definitely things I’d do differently, but hopefully if you’re starting out, this will give you some ideas.

Part I: Capturing the Right Capture Device

Since I’m primarily a console gamer, I needed a device to act as mediator between my console and my computer. Since I planned on capturing primarily from PS3 and PS4 (with the possibility of Wii thrown in there), I checked out devices that would be compatible with both, aka had the option of an HDMI input as well as some sort of not-HDMI input (because PS3 doesn’t allow you to capture play via an HDMI connection).

Image result for details

After a bunch of internet searching and a whole lot of YouTube video watching, I settled on the Hauppauge HD PVR2 Gaming Edition (no, they’re not giving me any money for this). For those of you just joining us, there was a slight debacle at the beginning using this product. As I eventually found out, the device I originally received was faulty, and was also an older version. I figured this out because when I went to replace the device, I crossed my fingers and went with the same product from a different seller.

Regarding video quality, I don’t have any complains about it. It has options to change the Mbps and fiddle with the balance between game sounds and microphone, which I’ve been playing around with and think I finally have a balance that I’m okay with (let me know if you don’t like it, though, and I can change it!).

Image result for hauppauge hd pvr 2 gaming edition

I have it set up so the videos are saved to an external flash drive. The only issue that has caused is when I eject the drive, the videos in the Hauppauge capture software disappear and there is no way to view them in Hauppauge anymore. A video on YouTube says that you can do basic edits using Hauppauge, but I haven’t been able to figure that out yet. *edit* It also allows you to add a logo to your capture, and you can play with the transparency and size so it’s not intrusive in the video, which is great. Your logo settings also conveniently remain consistent from recording session to recording session. *end edit*

My only complaints are that it doesn’t come with instructions, so my learning has been via trial and error and error and error and error and looking at videos online.

Also, remember to turn the volume off (lower right hand corner) before recording, but keep the microphone on (left hand column), otherwise the sound doesn’t work right.

The Audio Recording

So this has been a little bit of an annoyance. At first I was using Audacity, which is a free, open-source recording software. I would record the video (with the microphone volume turned off in Hauppauge) and then edit everything together in another program (reviewed on another day), which was a royal pain. Originally when I recorded commentary on Hauppauge, the sound cut in and out. But, with time at a premium as my thesis is at its final push, I needed another solution. So I tried one more time and the commentary (magically) worked.

It took a little time to figure this out, but the audio needs to be synced to the video prior to recording, using the settings menu and playing with the time delay. For me, I needed to set it at about 0.5 second, but other folks online have said they needed up to a 3 second delay. But it’s such a time-saver…

Overall I really like the Hauppauge device. The one I have now has been pretty reliable thus far, although I do wish it came with some instructions. I can’t compare it to anything else, but for what I need right now, it’s a solid device. If I can figure out how to do basic editing (like cuts), it would be perfect for my current needs.

Just for you guys, here’s the latest Let’s Play video, so you can see the video/audio quality. Any feedback on the balance between game/voice, or overall volume, is appreciated!

If you’re feeling friendly, you can also subscribe to the channel and take part in the wild ride that is me playing a video game while saying entertaining things giving valuable commentary and adding to the experience.

Next week I’ll talk a little more about the audio recording set-up I have, to be followed by the editing software I use, and the other bits and bobs that I use to keep everything running. As promised, I’ll also be uploading a diagram of my set-up at some point, as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

17 comments

  1. Your setup sounds great! I’m not going to listen too far because I haven’t played the game and don’t want to spoil much, but the balance is good!

    It’s always interesting to see other people’s setups! I’m very glad to hear that you’ve got everything up and running 🙂 Looking forward to seeing what kinds of videos you put out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking a look! I’m glad everything sounds okay. And I agree completely – don’t spoil Mass Effect for yourself. It’s definitely a great story to experience for yourself.

      And thanks! I’m in the throes of finishing up my thesis (I’m now about 85% caffeine), but then hopefully I’ll be able to work on some other video projects I have in mind! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the information I need lol. I know I need a video capture device, but I’m a total noob with it, and I haven’t even been shopping around. I’ve used Audacity to record before, and it’s a decent program. I have a Yeti microphone with a very inexpensive pop filter (it’s amazing how often you use the letter ‘p.”) I think your audio sounds good so no complaints from this noob 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! My friend uses a Yeti microphone for her podcast, and she really likes it. I went with a different mic because I also sometimes record some music stuff (for work), but the Yeti is definitely a quality microphone. And you’re right; it wasn’t until I started recording myself (again, not for video games) that I realized how many harsh sounds like “t,” “k,” and other plosives are in the English language!

      Fun fact about pop filters: if you need one in a pinch, you can stretch some pantyhose over a clothes hanger and it works just as well 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It does seem a little counter-intuitive to need to turn volume off in order to get sound out of it. I would have hoped that, as much as a capture device can cost, those would be a little more plug and play. Still, it sounds like you’ve got it set up in a way that works for you, so no complaining about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha yeah, now that it’s working I can hardly gripe about the hardware! Hopefully future editions of Hauppauge will have some more transparent set-up instructions (aka have instructions) that are more than “plug in,” because it definitely took a little more than that to get it working. But it works, and that’s really what matters.

      Like

  4. I’m glad you’re up an running! 🙂 I haven’t played Mass Effect yet, still, so I’ve added this to my “to watch later” list. Good luck with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome setup and very educational post! I’ll check out your video soon! And I think I’ve said this before, but as soon as I can figure out my YouTube account, I will be there, subscribed to you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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