As someone who publishes articles about console games, it is nice to have to ability to capture video from the games that I play. While there is nothing wrong with screen-scrapes provided by the publisher, there is definitely something to be said about adding that personal touch to an article by providing still images and videos of your own in-game adventures. Roxio sent us a product to check out called the Game Capture HD PRO. The short story? It’s a great product. Check out past the break for a bit more of an explanation.
If you’re looking for ease of setup, you can’t really go wrong with this device. Basically, the only thing you have to keep in mind is that you will need to have an extra cable handy (HDMI or component) to go from the device to your television. The HD Pro essentially functions as a splitter of sorts, peeling off a signal through the USB out on the back of the device and allowing your signal to pass through so you can keep using your television to play. The only hiccup you may have is if you own a Playstation 3: the box can capture signal from an Xbox 360 or PC by using an HDMI cable – but due to the nature of protection on Blu-ray devices*, you have to use component cables with your PS3 and set your display to 1080i.
The capture process is even easier than the installation. Just load up your software and click the button that allows you to capture your video and you’re off to the races. If you decide to capture video, you should definitely ensure that you have a decent-sized hard drive (not a major feat in this day and age). If you choose to stream footage live, you are going to need a Twitch.tv account.
From a capture-to-HDD perspective, video and audio quality are really great, especially when you consider that this little box only has a USB 2.0 interface to your PC. I noticed that video and audio quality were also very consistent; although, it is worth noting that lag increased slightly when using a longer USB Extension cable (30 feet) with HDMI; lag was definitely noticeable using the component cable interface (several seconds with a 15 foot extension – and no audio or video using a 30 foot extension). The bottom line: the closer you can get your PC to your console, the better.
From a live-streaming perspective, I couldn’t really get the quality above 720P and even then it was fairly laggy. At first I was a bit disappointed, given how nice the hdd-captures looked, until I checked my upload speed which happened to be abysmal**. If you are planning to use this product for live streaming, you will have to make sure that you have a beefy upload connection.
The Game Capture HD PRO package also comes with VideoWave, a software product that enables you to manipulate your footage. Similar to Nero’s video editing software, you can manipulate things by timeline or by storyboard elements; you can trim footage, add effects (both video and audio), and you can insert text and voice-over dialogue. It is a pretty great application, and comes loaded with more effects and transitions tan you can shake a stick at. Just remember that processing time goes up with some longer clips, so ensure that you are working with reasonably-sized video caps. The Assassin’s Creed III footage reel was originally 24 minutes long; manipulating that video added a lot of “thinking time” to my PC (Intel Q6600, 4 Gigs of RAM with an AMD Radeon 6970 2G vid card). My PC crashed once – but that was unrelated to the VideoWave operation (although it probably didn’t help much). The point that I wanted to make about the crash was that VideoWave seemed to have automatically saved up to the last operation that I performed – so I didn’t lose much.
Exporting the finished product is a snap. You can share to YouTube or Facebook using a simple dialogue window. Again, how fast your video uploads depends on both the size of the production you are uploading and the speed of your internet connection. The Assassin’s Creed III video took about a half hour to upload, and the Fable video took about two thirds the time. All of the screen captures and videos in this review were done with the Game Capture HD PRO.
Arguments can be made for buying an all-in-one video card solution to do video capture. But at $150, the Roxio Game Capture HD PRO really takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation – as well as some of the load off of your hardware. Suitable for both beginners and not-so-beginners, this capture box does a great job ensuring that you not only capture the memories of your in-game exploits – you can also make a full-fledged production out of them!