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RobHaven
03-02-2014, 03:14 PM
So my nephew sent me the email below. I don't really do any streaming, nor do I know much about it. Can I get some feedback? It's probably easiest if I link him this thread, so go nuts in here and I'll let him read it.


Me and Frank have been wanting to make videos for a while now kind of like these guys:

https://www.youtube.com/user/VanossGaming
https://www.youtube.com/user/speedyw03
https://www.youtube.com/user/402THUNDER402

As far as I know to do that we would need a capture card ( http://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/game-capture-hd ) a mic (Don't know If we would need a mic that isn't a headset like a blue snowball or something) and an editing software. The reasoning behind this is because we have said "I wish we could have recorded that" about 50 times literally and just because we think it would be cool to do as a hobby. The real purpose of this email to ask about Sony Vegas. I don't know which version is the best to go with for this scenario. (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegassoftware) If you would be able to help me out on this that would be awesome, thanks!

My nephews Weston and Frankie are 15/16 years old and they're avid gamers. You don't have to talk to them like they're 5 year olds, but you should probably assume they only have a novice level understanding of streaming/recording/whatever.

Thanks in advance!
- Rob

Kroan
03-02-2014, 03:17 PM
Streamers on here don't use a capture card, since they capture their game on the PC. You need a capture card if you want to capture video from an external device, like a 360 or PS3. There are different options for capture cards, best is to set a budget and then go find one that has good reviews.

Kami
03-02-2014, 03:23 PM
You only need a capture card if you are recording an external device (such as console) or doing a two-system setup (for offloading encode load). Over the past year or so, software capture has become more efficient than using a capture card. In the past, yes, you needed a capture card even on your own PC.

Without knowing what they want to do exactly, it's hard to make recommendations.

However, in all cases, you're going to want at least a 2nd generation i5 or better (although you could probably get away with one generation below... but not too much further than that). And you'll likely want at least a 3mbps sustained upload internet connection.

If their technical skill is at novice level, it'd be ideal if they did some research, try it out a bit and then come back with specific questions of issues they're having.

SPARTAN26MiLLiX
03-02-2014, 04:10 PM
I'm RobHaven's nephew and for the capture card talk, I am aware that PC only needs a program like Dxtory or Fraps for just capturing and OBS or Xsplite for streaming. Usually I play one the 360 or One so the capture card is necessary. Me and my cousin do know a bit when it comes to technical things in recording and streaming. (just from toying with free programs and watching streams/videos)

QuantumZeruul
03-02-2014, 10:46 PM
One thing that I would recommend is to get a good microphone. Personally I use a Heil Sound PR40 with an M-Audio Fast Track C400 to caputure sound, and when I record audio I make sure after the fact to go back in and edit out the background noise before posting it up online. A good microphone and such will make that job much easier, and most people prefer a higher quality sound with lower quality video than vice versa. The Heil is not a cheap microphone, but I have heard people mention that the Blue Snowball is a good microphone, and I've also heard good things about the Rhodes Podcaster.

As far as editing, to be honest I don't have any experience with Sony Vegas, but I do use the Adobe Creative suite for video editing, audio editing, etc, but it's a bit pricey if your budget is limited. For audio editing, Audacity is free, open-sourced software, works well, and does a good job at noise cancellation.

Those are my two cents at least :D

Cirouss
03-03-2014, 02:55 AM
Streamers on here don't use a capture card, since they capture their game on the PC. You need a capture card if you want to capture video from an external device, like a 360 or PS3. There are different options for capture cards, best is to set a budget and then go find one that has good reviews.

Thats wrong, I have a capture card that I use. It can capture a video WHILE you are streaming to have only the game captured, that can be used for different purposes.

If you want a capture card get one from Avermedia for sure, I for myself can recommend the Avermedia capture card 985C.

Kroan
03-03-2014, 03:07 AM
Thats wrong, I have a capture card that I use. It can capture a video WHILE you are streaming to have only the game captured, that can be used for different purposes.

If you want a capture card get one from Avermedia for sure, I for myself can recommend the Avermedia capture card 985C.
I'm not what you are saying, but you don't need a capture card if you have a decent pc.

Kami
03-03-2014, 05:40 AM
Thats wrong, I have a capture card that I use. It can capture a video WHILE you are streaming to have only the game captured, that can be used for different purposes.

If you want a capture card get one from Avermedia for sure, I for myself can recommend the Avermedia capture card 985C.

I'm aware of what you are saying but there's a lot of details you're leaving out. As for most people, there is no reason to record with the C985 while streaming. You're still adding to workload even if you take advantage of the H.264 encoder and it becomes dependent on your HDD speed.

First off, I agree that the Avermedia Live Gamer HD (C985) is a great capture card. However, in a single-PC setup it is almost useless (if capturing/streaming content from the PC) - I own the card. I also own the Avermedia Live Gamer Portable (C875).

You have two possible scenarios with the capture card:

1. You're capturing/streaming a PC game off the same PC.
2. You're capturing/streaming an external device (e.g. console/another PC) using a PC.

In the first case, it is far more efficient to use software capture than a capture card. With a capture card, you will actually take a performance hit (capture card has to use RAM and CPU cycles to process the image and then pass it to the encoder vs just passing it directly from GPU to encoder with software capture).

However, with the Avermedia, it gets a bit tricker unless you understand the difference between H.264 and X.264. Long story short, H.264 needs a significantly higher bitrate quality to match X.264. You'll have to output far beyond 3500kbps (Twitch recommended maximum) with H.264 (something like 8000kbps) to match X.264 at 3500kbps.

QuantumZeruul
03-03-2014, 12:48 PM
The big advantages to the hardware capture cards is that some of them (not all of them) have onboard processing to help offload the work from the CPU to the card, but that will depend on the card. The other advantage is that it can record some things that even on the PC cannot be recorded with software alone. The various software solutions, from what I have seen so far (some of them might have changed and I have not noticed) use hooks in Open GL or DirectX to allow them to capture the video, so games that don't use that might not be able to be recorded on software alone. The only thing that comes to mind right now in that category is Battlefield 4 running with AMD's new Mantle API, but take this a speculation since I've not got the software nor hardware to try testing that with what I have been using.

For video recording, personally I use Dxtory because you can easily get multiple audio feeds recorded at the same time and get them separate from the video feed, so that you can edit the audio and video separately. I have used both FRAPS and Bandicam in the past as well, and they both do the job, but I think Dxtor is the superior option. For livestreaming, I have used X-Split, but I've heard good things from people using Orb as well, and there is something to be said for the free option, or at least free for now since I see that the Orb website indicates that they were purchased or something like that.

Another thing to keep in mind when using a software solution is that if your computer is not powerful enough, do not be surprised if your FPS drops lower than when not recording because it does impose a decent software overhead over top of the game. For something simple like Hex the overhead is fairly be minimal, but even with some other games you would be surprised at how low a FPS you can get and still find it perfectly playable. The objective in the end is to have the recording or streaming settings set so that both you and the audience get as fluid and as crisp a video as possible, so if you normally play with 60 FPS and during recording you get 30, that is ok so long as it looks as good as possible for the viewers. Combine this with good quality audio and you are most of the way there.

Kami
03-03-2014, 01:23 PM
The big advantages to the hardware capture cards is that some of them (not all of them) have onboard processing to help offload the work from the CPU to the card, but that will depend on the card. The other advantage is that it can record some things that even on the PC cannot be recorded with software alone. The various software solutions, from what I have seen so far (some of them might have changed and I have not noticed) use hooks in Open GL or DirectX to allow them to capture the video, so games that don't use that might not be able to be recorded on software alone. The only thing that comes to mind right now in that category is Battlefield 4 running with AMD's new Mantle API, but take this a speculation since I've not got the software nor hardware to try testing that with what I have been using.

You are right about the advantages of offloading the encode from CPU to the card; however, again, this comes down to quality for streaming where you are limited in bitrate.

Like I said earlier, H.264 (hardware encode) vs X.264 (software encode) is a matter of efficiency. A H.264 stream would require at minimum 8000kbps to even attempt to match a X.264 3500kbps stream.

In a recording scenario where you're only limited by your HDD space, yes, hardware encode will practically eliminate CPU load (not completely but down to around 10% load at most vs 40%+). But you will be limited to no overlay/layout other than whatever source you're recording. There are some caveats to this but it would start to get extremely technical (capture vs encode with single H.264 encoder problem).


For video recording, personally I use Dxtory because you can easily get multiple audio feeds recorded at the same time and get them separate from the video feed, so that you can edit the audio and video separately. I have used both FRAPS and Bandicam in the past as well, and they both do the job, but I think Dxtor is the superior option. For livestreaming, I have used X-Split, but I've heard good things from people using Orb as well, and there is something to be said for the free option, or at least free for now since I see that the Orb website indicates that they were purchased or something like that.

For video recording, if you want to take advantage of the H.264 hardware encoding in some cards, you will be limited to their software for the most part.

As for streaming, I think you're referring to XSplit and OBS. OBS is still free.


Another thing to keep in mind when using a software solution is that if your computer is not powerful enough, do not be surprised if your FPS drops lower than when not recording because it does impose a decent software overhead over top of the game. For something simple like Hex the overhead is fairly be minimal, but even with some other games you would be surprised at how low a FPS you can get and still find it perfectly playable. The objective in the end is to have the recording or streaming settings set so that both you and the audience get as fluid and as crisp a video as possible, so if you normally play with 60 FPS and during recording you get 30, that is ok so long as it looks as good as possible for the viewers. Combine this with good quality audio and you are most of the way there.

How much of a performance hit you take varies. In general, using a capture card (without using it's hardware encoder) will result in higher performance hit than software capture.

In general, for anything that has a lot of motion (MOBA, FPS, etc.), you want to stream at 60fps. For anything that is more static like card games, point/click adventure games, etc. 30fps is fine.

High quality streaming nowadays is either 720p@60fps w/ 3500kbps bitrate or 1080p@30fps w/ 3500kbps bitrate.

You can drop the bitrate if your encoder can handle it by increasing the compression. (e.g. Strong CPU). However, this is not the case for H.264 where the compression algorithm is hardcoded. You can only improve quality by increasing bitrate, not by increasing compression.

QuantumZeruul
03-03-2014, 03:07 PM
As for streaming, I think you're referring to XSplit and OBS. OBS is still free.

True. Yea, it was OBS that I was thinking of. I guess I just found a random website with something similar in name. This is what I get for posting without an injection of caffene :) With the OP mentioning the youtube channels though, I have been thinking more in terms of recording and adding post processing effects, overlays, etc than directly streaming, so in those situations the lack of other features other than direct video capture really does not matter much as long as it records well.

I like XSplit though for direct streaming to Twitch. It's not free really, but it's not that expensive and it works well. OBS I have no experience with, just good mentions from other people that I have seen use it. When I've streamed video in the past I've used Dxtory to capture the video and XSplit to stream it to Twitch.