Video capture devices thread


Sightly off topic, but USB webcams have come a long way if fidelity isn’t too much of concern.

I’ve been getting some ok results from the variable focus sort such as the ELP 2.8-12mm Varifocal

Today I picked up a cheap USB Microscope which I’m anxious to record with.

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I’ve used old BlackMagic Analog to SDI, & SDI to HDMI converters to get a digital signal. They work if the signal is a broadcast standard and constant. I know for dubbing digital video to VHS, I had to loop the analog signal (vga to composite (yellow rca), through a DVD player, and then into the VHS deck. The VGA forces a constant signal, but can reach odd results and mess with the tracking for VHS decks. The DVD player acted as a thru-put that corrected the issues in that signal and passed a desired NTSC standard into the VHS deck. Similarly, I know people use a camera to keep a projector from dropping the signal with Tachyons+. As someone mentioned in another comment, USB webcams have come a long way. Likewise, a lot of cheap USB capture devices like EasyCap act as web cams. I’ve used an EasyCap with OBS and NCH “Debut” software for RCA and S-Video capture via USB.

Hope it helps.



See my earlier post in the thread re: composite capture for your vidiot. I’m using that usb dongle to capture into vdmx and then sending the signal back out to the vidiot through a hdmi to composite box. Frame rates are 100% smooth and solid.

They have both items on Ambery.



Update – Opted for the Sonnet Echo Express SE I (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) + BM card. Just about luggable for a backpack gig and much more flexible for a desktop capture set up. Flexibility and upgrade path were factors which swayed me against choosing a single connector device.

Original post…

I’m trying to decide which capture solution to go with for a job. I need a single HDMI camera feed (15m) to fed into VDMX and outputted via a projector. In the old days I would use a TV to PC box and a SD CCTV camera for the input or now a webcam if close to the subject (under 5m).

The Magewell USB CAPTURE HDMI Gen 2 seems the obvious choice for trouble free capture/streaming. But I’m also considering a Sonnet Echo Express SE I (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) expansion chassis as I already own Blackmagic Design Intensity and Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder PCI cards. Note: the Blackmagic cards have worked well for me despite a lot of peoples experiences with software issues.

So pros and cons come down to ease of use with the Magewell and upgradability/flexibility with the external Thunderbolt chassis and PCI card.

Regarding compatibility with VDMX I’ve only used the Blackmagic cards for capture and not tested them for streaming using the Vid In. I’m assuming VDMX will recognise the Blackmagic card hosted in an external Thunderbolt chassis. Can someone confirm this before I commit.

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I have a Thunderbolt 2 PCI enclosure that I use with 2x BlackMagic DeckLink Duo cards for a total of 4x HD-SDI inputs, which works great. I’ve heard reports that the same setup with DeckLink quad cards works for doing a total of 8x inputs.



@davidlublin the Thunderbolt PCI enclosure is working really well, I have a BM card in the studio machine and the PCI enclosure on the MacBook for capture/streaming… no more dropped frames! Will upgrade to a DeckLink quad at some time and a 2 slot enclosure to expand the options.

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I prefer both of the following Blackmagic and Arlo pro.I have been using this both for a couple of years and getting a good arlo security camera review.You can try out.



Hi @ProjectileObjects -

I wonder if you’ve revisited your list lately. I’m thinking of getting the Magewell HDMI Plus purely for capture purposes to edit the footage later (I’m using VDMX more as a composing tool) but they have two versions 2k and 4k as I’m an audio guy (newish to video) I’m feeling unsure which is best. I have a MBP running high sierra with HDMI out. Any advice appreciated (your blog is awesome btw)!





PS - Hi everyone! Happy to be apart of the community :)

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Hi Bill (@prof_lofi)

In my experience all of the Magewell cards deliver great capture quality. The issues I had with the 4K version dealt with latency between machines (live mixing multiple VJ machines). You can also use a standalone external capture device that can record 1080p HD as well as break HDCP issues if any might arise. Could you describe more of what you intend to capture and at what resolution?




Hi - thanks for getting back to me.

So at present I’m using found footage I’m accessing online and video files from my lumix camera recorded at 1080p/p60 or High Speed Video at 100p in Mp4.

But I’m looking to invest in a 4K camera (possibly a Sony a6400).

I do intend to perform live with VDMX when that starts up again, but I’m really interested in using it as a composing tool to create interesting bits of video that I will then open up in Premiere or Devinci later.

It was when I realized that I couldn’t really save my performances that led me to the capture card scenario. I realize I can use the record module but the machine is working very hard as it is!

I want to be realistic but I’d also like to future-proof myself so that I don’t have to repurchase as I grow more adept in this field.

Thanks for any advice.


ps…for anyone interested, here’s my audio work:



Hi Bill,
To save some computer resources, I would go with an external capture device. Essentially, a pass thru capture device (push a button, it records to a thumb drive) and your output gets passed through to the projector/monitor, etc.

I’ve had great luck with the HDML Cloner Alliance H.264 capture devices or you could go with something more professional that will record 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 4K/60fps.

The downside to the professional solution is price and storage. These files get big fast and most will be ProRes. Atomos, BlackMagic,–and some others make portable monitors with built-in recording capabilities. They usually start at the $300+ range.

The benefit to the cheaper standalone capture devices has to deal with file size, unit price point, and my favorite, HDCP capture. I’ve been at conferences where the BlackMagic system wouldn’t take in the input of an iMac because of an HDCP issue. Just looping it through one of these devices can break that.

Looks like there is a 4K/30fps H.265 capture solution from Cloner Alliance now.

You can get the same box from a competitor for less, but at least with Cloner Alliance and Amazon, you can send it back if something is wrong. If you don’t need 4K/30 capture and only need 1080p, you can save about $100 buying one of their other boxes.

Most of these devices have a USB computer capture option, but there’s latency sending it to the computer.

Something of note: The UVC (USB Capture) devices such as Magewell, iEi, and so on require some CPU power. If your computer is older or limited in resources, this might cause more latency in the capture.

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That’s so useful - thank you for this.

And excuse my newb question - but are there any issues with H.265 wrt quality of the saved file?

I’m still wrapping my head around how these relate to compression and quality of the saved files.





Sorry - mistook the box for not having pass through…it does.



Interesting stuff on your Bandcamp page. Will give it a proper listen tomorrow.

I have an A6500 I’m selling. Also based in UK (I’m in Essex)

H.265 is fine for most stuff. It’s the same as what many consumer level video cameras record to. ProRes would be better if you plan to edit but, as @ProjectileObjects said, file sizes are big.

You can pick up an older Atomo Ninja pretty cheap (I have one in the draw) and it uses standard SSDs.

The Blackmagic Video Assist ( is another pretty cheap option. It records to SD cards. The 5” 3G version is just £395 and records up to 1080p60, the 7” 12G HDR is £785 and records up to 4KUHD 60p.

If you don’t need a monitor then the HyperDeck Studio Mini is interesting (can record in H.264 and ProRes) but probably overkill for what you are trying to do.

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Thanks Adam - this stuff gets expensive fast! I’ll check out those links you sent me but I think I’d need to save up for them before I inviest £600 etc on top of everything else.

And thanks for mentioning the camera. I’m still looking at various models but I’ll let you know if I settle on the Sony.



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No problem, thanks for asking. I’m sure someone else will find this useful down the road.

H.265 is trickier to edit on older machines or NLEs, but you can convert the files or make proxies to ease that.

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Well…I’ve decided on the ClonerAlliance Box UHD Lite, Standalone 4K H.265 HDMI Video but can’t find it to purchase in the UK. Has anyone seen it for sale over here or have a good equivalent? I could go with the 1080p Evolve version but was hoping to future proof my set up rather than having to upgrade to a 4K capture model at a later date.




I purchased a “knock off” Evolve from eBay for $40 back in the day. It worked exactly the same and even took the ClonerAlliance firmware update. They are a reseller.

I’ve purchased directly from other manufacturers on Alibaba to get identical devices, so it doesn’t have to be ClonerAlliance brand. The reason I usually recommend them is that they sell on Amazon; so if you don’t like it — you can return it. (Or, if you are traveling and need it in a hurry, then you can order one and it in 1-2 days).

If you email them directly, they should be able to give you an update on delivery estimates and times.

I’ll look through my suppliers’ notes and see if they sell this unit. But until then, you can try to grab one from a manufacturer directly. I searched: “h265 HDMI video capture 4K 30FPS” You can see they are identical devices.


Movie recorder - mkv option?

Thanks Cornelius!

Trying to get one in the UK and not get stung by customs. I’ll search under ebay as you’ve noted. Wasn’t sure if the knock off at that price would be as consistent as something 5 times the price. Glad to know you’ve managed to get it to work though…much cheaper!



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