Video capture devices thread

Okay, let’s get down to it…

  • What are your favorite video capture devices and why?
  • What are the new video capture devices that you are curious to check out?

Ive been using Blackmagic Mini Monitor and Mini Recorder a lot over past few years.

I also have a Blackmagic Intensity shuttle USB 3 that i use for component capture without any problems.

I have found that when using the Mini Monitor and outputting over SDI there is a quiet noticeable lag and seems to pull quiet a bit extra cpu which can build up over time and cause a bit of system slow down. I haven’t yet tested that with there latest builds.

In general you’ll get the best performance on outputs when using the ones that are directly from the GPU on the machine; in order for video to go out via a BlackMagic device the image needs to first be read-back from the GPU and then output from the device. Let’s talk about outputs in another thread perhaps :wink:


Yes lets talk about outputs in another thread.

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My usual go to for an HDMI or HD-SDI capture is the Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Recorder; they aren’t too expensive, they come in a Thunderbolt / USB3,
(the matching DeckLink cards are also quite nice and there is an affordable 4k model,
For more advanced situations, I use…
Thunderbolt 2 Sonnet PCI enclosure with 2x DeckLink Duo cards (or DeckLink Quad cards)
Thunderbolt 2 UltraStudio 4k
(the new UltraStudio 4K Extreme 3 looks amazing, curious to try one)

I have also recently picked up a Magewell USB3 SDI capture device that is pretty nice, works without any drivers, totally plug and play for audio and video, low latency…

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I was recently sent links to these two 4k capture devices.

Haven’t tried either of them personally myself yet, has anyone else had any experience?

Awesome! Thanks for the responses everyone. And, KICK ASS that you can get the BM or other cards in enclosures, and have them play nice with VDMX. That is just too exciting! Esp. as the card-route (BM MiniRecorder 4k, Decklinks, etc.) is MUCH cheaper than the BM UltraStudio route! I’ll report back on what we find this weekend with these.

Hey guys, I’ve been regularly using the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt model for capturing component / composite and S-Video signals - I have a lot of grief with it picking up HDMI signals (suspect its pesky HDCP issues) so generally avoid it for that, but very useful with analogue realm stuff especially like the HD upscale feature. Although it can be pest sometimes and not be recognised by the system, but I think that was largely due to a faulty Apple TB cable, been much better since I swapped that cable out.

As for trying out other devices I have a PCI card MX02 that I bought a year or so ago, but drivers are only published up to Mac OS 10.9 so have been waiting to roll back my system to test - rainy day business !

Would welcome recommendations for other portable solutions for capturing live analogue stuff and also higher end tricks for studio use

Oh yeah HDCP can be quite annoying, though I do prefer it not working at all to that weird trick of ‘macrovision protection’ back in the day that made you think you had a totally distorted signal :eyes:

It does add another box to the chain, and uhhh I can’t of course official endorse them, but there are boxes for getting rid of HDCP; I happened to purchase a cheap HDMI splitter to get my TV signal for TVFaceBot and apparently it removed the HDCP in the process? Curious if other people have had similar experiences with inexpensive HDMI splitters / repeaters.

I’ve heard that a few of the splitters can perform that function, but from my research it was hard to pin point a model or manufacturer that would reliably offer that function, appears to be a bit of a lottery as to which ones do and don’t so glad you got one that worked well in your scenario

maybe if not breaking any rules we could compile a list of known units or chipsets that work ?

I understand why HDCP exists, but it drives me wild when you are trying to pass a signal containing imagery you made or have properly licensed and attributed between pieces of equipment you have bought and own - I guess it comes down to the dichotomy of HDMI being a protocol that is used for domestic entertainment uses and folks trying to make art or use it for professional applications.
Rant Over :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think I got the HDMI splitter that @laserpilot mentioned in this post,
(though the amazon page for it says that it doesn’t get rid of HDCP…)

Cool, thanks! for $20 maybe its worth a go to have it in the tool box, will try order one to UK and see what happens with its HDCP handling

Hi, chiming in after a couple days playing with 4k live input through the UltraStudio 4k (MBP touchbar 2018). First, a lot of the BM stuff can be finicky to get to play nice. This setup above though worked a charm. Source today was a VideoAssist playing 422 4k. But, we also plugged in a Panasonic Lumix 4k and that worked great too (again, going through the UltraStudio, into a mac, with some effects, then out to a 4k monitor). However, the UltraStudio 4k, although easy to work with, did introduce a couple of frames latency (maybe 3-6 frames). Just about any capture usually does of course. But, want to point this out in case anyone is doing sync sound, which would be unacceptable (say, at a live event, projecting a person speaking on stage…and you want to run that through VDMX for some lower thirds or image control, whatever…not going to work great ).

But, in general, with a 2018 MBP, and a cooling fan (hot out today!), this was a 30fps 4k workflow with capture/playback that was really fast, rarely dropping below 29fps. Apple seems to have got their shit together with these touchbars and cooling… although having to drag a fan around to gigs… not great. Hope this helps someone.

With regard to sound, currently you’d get BlackMagic audio through the system audio, which is somewhat delayed.

If you use the latest version of BlackSyphon, it can actually handle both the audio and video at low latency,
(and once this functionality is tested in this standalone app we’ll be adding the same into VDMX)

Also note that with the Magewell that I tested, the audio and video sync were √

I’m happy someone asked this question. I’ve done a good bit of personal digging and wrote about it here: Capture devices

To summarize what I wrote.

  • Black Magic devices work (sometimes) or can be finicky when trying to connect.
  • Cheap HDMI Splitters can make HDCP recording work on any device
  • Cheap HDMI recorders from China will record HDCP, no problems, and <$100
  • Magewell Devices are the best USB 3.0 UVC devices I’ve tested, but at a $$$ price.
  • A lot of USB UVC capture devices either don’t work, or scale up 720p video to 1080p + terrible latency.
  • The closest alternative to Magewell that I’ve found was the iEi HDB-301R-R10. ($149.99), BUT, and a big but here, the 1st one they sent me died after 3 months (I think my nephews PS4 cooked it when I let him play Fortnite using it and my laptop screen for playback) But, Low to No-noticeable latency from the device. It also has HDMI thru like the Magewell HDMI Plus, which is a must for me.
  • Stay away from Elgato and some other Game recording branded devices, most are not plug and play and require proprietary software.
  • Avermedia makes a portable HDMI recorder, but you’ll need the HDMI splitter to record HDCP content
  • All Cloner Alliance boxes work, but you can find knock off’s of them they will even run their firmware.



Wow, that is a great breakdown, thanks PO!
(and the blog post is +++)

You might also want to add this to the NDI links at the bottom of your blog post along with the other Syphon/Spout <-> NDI utilities,


Awesome, thanks David, how could I forget. I updated the posting.

Our NDI Syphon app didn’t exist when you made that post back in Feb, no worries :)

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Wow amazing stuff !! Stunning resource thank you !

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SO GREAT PO! Thank you, this is fantastic. It’d be great to see this updated. So often I find myself in the stale-internet, where you can’t trust taking a byte. (I’ll see myself out)