Hey there, today we will be explaining what capturing means and how to setup a capturing device correctly. This How-To is more focused on the “Pinnacle Dazzle” capture device, but works for other devices too.
What is “Capturing”?
I know you’ve probably seen the results of this, “capturing,” even if you don’t know it. Any time you watch a game-play video of a video game, a Machinima, or a “game-play trailer,” that’s capturing. But I haven’t fully explained what it is.
It’s actually very simple; it’s connecting your console via RCA cables to a small black box, about 5 inches long and a few inches wide, not being very thick. That box, in turn, is connected to your computer via USB, which is common for printers, mobile hard-drives, and some microphones, along with many other things. This small flat black box’s sole purpose is to translate for your computer the data that your console’s sending to it. Don’t worry, I won’t get into specifics.
There’s 2 main types of capture cards: internal, and external. The one I’ve described and one shown is external, versus a computer-chip looking thing (PCI card) that’s internally installed into your computer (via one of the PCI card slots). The internal ones can fetch very high prices, but extremely good quality, I’d assume IGN and Area5 use internal ones. External, however, is perfectly great, too. The quality’s still excellent, and the price is great as well. I use an external card, and am perfectly satisfied with it.
The one I have, and would HIGHLY recommend is a Dazzle Video Creator Plus, by Pinnacle. First off, a warning about this product: if you buy the cheaper versions, you WILL be paying for it. The quality is, I hear, not very good. Pay an extra 10 bucks and get the full thing, please. Remember, Dazzle Video Creator PLUS, nothing else.
Now, this Dazzle product goes for an average of $70 USD, but you can find it for cheaper, I think I got mine for about $50 USD.
First off, what’s in the box when you buy the Dazzle (Video Creator Plus)?
You get your capture card (DVC100), a User Manuel, and an install disc for Pinnacle Studio 12, which allows you to capture the video, edit it, and export it as AVI, MPEG1, 2, and 4, MOV, WMV, and more. The video editor’s actually pretty good, too, it’s easy to learn and when you get deeper into it you can get pretty crazy with it.
Unfortunately, though, Pinnacle does not send a male/male stereo RCA cable, you’ll have to buy one. They’re very cheap, it’s just like the picture show. Make sure it’s got 2 sets of yellow/red/white prongs. Make sure you buy a cable long enough to stretch from your TV to your computer easily.
NOTE: I’ll only be covering physical connections between your console and computer, not setup of the capture card itself with your computer, that’s covered in a booklet that came with the card.
Now, wherever you plug your console into normally, your TV or DVD player or VCR, look where you plugged it in. Above the Red/White/Yellow cables it should say “Input.” Now look for 3 more red/white/yellow holes just like where you plugged those cables in, but empty, and it has to say “Output.” If it doesn’t say it on your TV, look for it on your DVD Player/VCR. But if it didn’t say it there, check your TV. After you’ve found it, plug your newly bought RCA/AV cables into the “Output” holes, making sure the colors match up. Then, the other ends (the other three prongs) should be plugged into your capture card in the corresponding colored slots.
If you only have one spare set of AV slots you’ll need to get some RCA splitters (3 of them), they need to have one male end (prong) and two female ends. Then connect the 3 splitters to your capture card, now run the RCA cable from your TV into one of each of the splitters female ends and make sure they correspond to the colors that the splitters are attached to. Now do the same thing for the other set of RCA cables running from your console.
Test to make sure it’s all connected by opening Pinnacle Studio 12 with your console and TV on like you’d normally play a videogame, and switch Studio 12’s tab to “Capture.” If you don’t get a signal saying “No Input,” you’re finished, and can have fun.
Final Words (Getting Max Quality)
To get the maximum quality, as some DVD players/VCRs and TVs down quality after output, plug your console directly into your capture card with it’s normal plugs. This is, unfortunately, the only way to get purest quality out of the console. Now, when you go to capture video, please head over to “Pinnacle Dazzle/Studio – Best Quality [How-to]” to ensure you capture and save your videos in the highest quality possible.
I’ve also got to give credit to Sean, who helped edit this post to make sure I covered everything and gave the tip on using splitters if you lack an Output set of jacks, and provided the picture.
Btw, this post was posted on Fynmark.org which was my old site, but I had to close it down for a while, so I am posting this here so that people may still learn from it. Now lets have a brief moment of silence while you read this sentence. Thanks.