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05-16-2021 at 05:32 AM
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Kit for my current capture setup

@kernzyp asked of me in a recent submission thread what's needed for a capture setup. I'll describe the kit that I have/have experience of but as most of it is getting old, some links provided to Amazon (UK not US) are for items no longer available.

First basic is a PC with USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 ports (blue USB ports). As the devices are USB, this gives you a lot of freedom to work out which PC you'd like and USB 3 is mega-fast by comparison to USB 2 (which can just about support SD capture, let alone HD) or USB 1.1/1.0 (just ... don't bother trying). I've got an Acer Swift with two USB 3.0 ports and an Intel i5 processor - plenty of power in the kit for capturing and not so new the laptop costs an arm & a leg. Add to that I got a refurbished one which cut the price even more (less than £300 years back). It's still going strong & I can play most PC games while capturing too. A decent (8GB+) amount of RAM is a key component due to the amount of stuff that's going on in the machine. This isn't going to play the latest games at excellent frame rates & mine doesn't play TrackMania Turbo while capturing well. Don't start piling on all the garbage social media shite apps on your laptop: no iTunes, Facecrap, Googleshite, etc - keep that crap on another device. Don't start connection multiple devices - plug your phone, printer, etc into something else. Keep the PC bare for the job at hand: capturing & maybe some gaming (depending on age/speed).

For software, I use the Open Broadcast Software on Windows 10. Windows (7/8/10) makes life easy for capturing with the variety of connected devices being far wider set of support than Linux (which I used to use). It's the main reason I have this particular laptop, otherwise, I'd still be using Linux.


Capture Device
For the act of capturing anything, I use a StarTech USB3HDCAP device. USB 3 (it's in the name) and supports Full HD via HDMI as well as having connections for Component, S-Video and Composite video plus stero RCA inputs. Only SCART & RF are missing here, so something else will be needed to convert those.


At this point you'll be playing/watching using your PC's screen inside OBS: it's possible but there are lag possibilities. So it's best to get a splitter of the signal so the console output gets sent independently to both your screen and your capture device. That way, if the capture devices induces lag, you won't be affected in your gameplay. So you'll need something that takes one signal in and produces more than one signal out - a splitter or duplicator.

For HDMI connections a splitter is needed: one input, two outputs + the extra HDMI cables. I use an iSolem splitter which has the great (not advertised) feature of also performing HDCP decryption and outputting two non-encrypted HDMI feeds. This means all those HDCP cut scenes are still captured. :)

For multiple consoles, an optional extra is an HDMI switcher (or selector) - something that does the opposite: multiple inputs but only one output. For this I've got a couple of Coco Digital 3-way devices (honestly, my PS4 does not like these devices, so I direct-connect to the iSolem!).

iSolem HDMI splitter:

Coco Digital 3 Port Hub:

With that, your basic HDMI capture setup is complete! Now for the cameras.

Use eBay. The marketplace is so vast that they're dirt-cheap there. Most other marketplaces just doesn't match up. If you have the time, you can probably get them cheapest shipped over from China... in about 4 weeks!

There's a huge variety of options here on the market. I use the Webcam built into the laptop for one angle and a Logitech C910 HD Webcam for another angle - supports HD over USB 2 but remember my point above about USB 2: it's the only USB 2 device which performs video in my setup & could really do with being replaced. Thankfully, the C920 used compression to reduce the USB 2 problem and later models are fully USB 3. Plenty of other web cams out there & considering how small I squeeze the image into the final rendition, I don't actually need this level of quality webcam but having the option to switch to Full HD with the webcam alone for a close up is still an option. :)

Logitech C910 HD Webcam:

Logitech C920 HD Webcam:

(Newer models exist but I haven't looked.)

The latest addition to my setup is a full blown microphone. This one has a terrible G-clamp for the desk I use (fair warning) but it does the job.

USB 3 Hub
One last consideration: if you PC only has the one USB 3 port, consider piling all the USB 2 devices into a USB 3 Hub.

Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub:

I've got two of these in my setup for my main desktop (not capture) machine (lots of HDDs & caddies + four Android devices) but there's plenty of other options on the market which do the same job. This one does not power the devices directly but there are such hubs with a separate power supply to charge your phones on also.

That's the full setup for HD capture... now onto SD options.

Esoteric elitist American connections. Use SCART instead: it carries RGB, composite and s-video in one cable and switches between them without you having to have a degree of understanding! Plus SCART is one cable, not five! Note: I'm avoiding the argument that everything should be component/RGB because I'm about capturing the evidence of my achievements and not about "which signal is the most true to the console" debacle. I don't give a **** about that esoteric elitism.

If you have to have multiple devices of these inputs, here's a switcher which doubles as a Composite switcher (only use one of R/G/B cables for Composite connections).

Component Switcher:

So far a missing, but very import piece, of my set up. I've used SCART splitters & switchers for my various setups over the years & they are rock solid: there's so many pins that there's little jiggle room & the connections come with the surrounding guidance socket. If you've got a damaged connector, the chances are it won't fit which might be frustrating at the time but it's a very obvious sign you need to replace it.

The only beef with SCART here is when there's a device output which is only RGB (converted from Component, for example) - that will limit your choice of devices. Most SCART cables support RGB because they're just dumb - carrying the signal from one end to the other of the cable. However, most SCART devices do not support RGB. Composite is supported by most consoles and converts easily back & forth with SCART - as does S-Video (a rare requirement but something I did use in my early PC captures). It's just that RGB issue (see note above about esoteric elitism in signal quality).

I can't find an Amazon product page with this device so I'm resorting to a current eBay listing but I'll attach the pictures of the unit (from that eBay listing):

SCART Splitter/Selector in one:
The great thing about the first SCART device - the splitter/selector - is it splits the SCART into Composite cables - which can be connected to the StarTech USB3HDCAP device. This SCART device (I don't even know the manufacturer!) is capable of RGB (which can't be converted to composite!), check out the side of the device: even Video 8/Hi 8!

Non-RGB SCART splitter: - great for hooking up one non-RGB signal to two devices (TV/VHS recorder, back in the day...).
Non-RGB switcher: - these sorts of switchers are very common & the vast majority do not support RGB. If you don't have any RGB, they'll do the job. Just need something to convert to composite for the capture device... cycle back to the first SCART option!

First point of call, convert it to SCART and plug it into your SCART switcher and refer to the above SCART section (ignoring anything about RGB 'cause you're not using it). :D

Example of the huge number of manufacturers that will take a Composite/S-Video and conver to SCART:

Still here in Composite/S-Video? OK, the second point is that most Composite splitters/selectors are quite weakly built & prone to misconnections when aging. Prepare to have to replace or fiddle around with the connections (rotate the connector in the socket) after a few years or knocks. Hence why converting to SCART early in the connection sequence is a wise decision.

Are you definitely stuck with Composite/S-Video?
3-Way Composite switcher:

4-Way Composite switcher with an S-Video option:

Radio Frequncy / Coaxial
Still got something using this? The older the consoles & computers get, the possibility this is the only option! VHS to the rescue! Grab a 2nd-hand VHS recorder - even if its one with broken tape player - but make sure it's got non-RF output and either controls on the front or a working remote! You've got a converter: something to tune in the old device and output something more modern.

World of Pain that is DVI
PC output using only DVI? Which one! There's two types of DVI: one is analogue and one is digital and never the twain shall meet. If your device outputs DVI-A (analogue) it will not work if you plug it into a DVI-D receptor. If your device outputs DVI-D (digital) it will not work if you plug it into a DVI-A receptor.

... "but mine's a DVI-I?" No it isn't. DVI-I is only a form of the cable: a DVI-I cable supports both analogue and digital DVI signal types. Your device might support both DVI-A and DVI-D but it isn't DVI-I.

Warning: don't get a DVI-I cable and assume it will work in all scenarios. Many DVI-A-only and DVI-D-only devices arrange the connector to prevent a DVI-I or the opposite type of cable being plugged in!

Providing you're PC is outputting DVI-D, here's a converter to HDMI:


Esoteric video connections
For most consoles & computers that have non-modern output types, have a hunt on eBay. Many many cable conversion types are available on there. I have RGB to SCART connectors for my Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore Amiga: this is where I cut my teeth on RGB & spent too much on the wrong hardware learning the lesson of RGB the wrong way.

Sony PSP 3000 to Composite:

Audio connections
3.5mm to RCA Audio Connector:

RCA to 3.5mm Connector:

RCA coupler:

Need headphones directly from the device? Headphone splitter:

  1. Barthax's Avatar

    SD to HD converters

    Just don't look at the market & think "there's so much choice". No, there's so much garbage on the market you'll end up spending on the wrong thing... Another lesson learned the wrong way. Look for a converter which supports RGB SD input with power conversion and a 1:1 input:output ratio (no lag: means there's internal processors which are powerful enough to keep up!). Expect to pay for the privilege. If you see a nice cheap cable which is component to HDMI or composite to HDMI or VGA to HDMI: expect it to fail.

  2. Barthax's Avatar

    Almost forgot the pictures of the all-import SCART splitter/switcher:

    I love this listing - I finally have a manual years after losing mine! :D Obviously this seller has manually labelled theirs which helps demonstrate how this works.

    [Edit:] Sod it, I bought it. :P I could do with a third one.

    Likesnads liked this post
    Updated 05-16-2021 at 05:58 AM by Barthax
  3. kernzyp's Avatar

    This amount of depth and detail when not asked for puts you into a selective category. Only you, me, and [MENTION=46272]Rogerpoco[/MENTION] do this.
    Maybe others...
    True humans.
    Nice one, brother.

    ThanksRogerpoco thanked this post
    LikesRogerpoco liked this post
  4. kernzyp's Avatar

    I will read in depth properly, when sober.
    Thanks mate.

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