Streaming and Recording Guide/Research

I’ve recently been trying to move GYT into the streaming space and have come to learn a lot. I thought this would be useful information to the community as we see more and more events being streamed and matches being recorded. So I decided to document everything I have come to learn about streaming in the past month or so and share it.
MIND YOU THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. I will update as I learn, and as I have time.**

** * Hardware ***
** * Capture Devices**

Matrox MXO2 Mini - Compared to the other capture device solutions, the Matrox MXO2 Mini is a bit pricey for a consumer level product. It will cost you around the $450 - $500 range depending on where you chose to buy it. However, for it’s price, I find it to be the most powerful and flexible of the devices I researched. It is also the device I opted to go with.

It’s flexible in the sense that it can do both component and HDMI inputs and outputs and it can interface with both laptops via PCMCIA express card and PC/Macs through a PCI express card. Depending on which package you purchase it will either come with a PCMCIA express card or a PCI express card.

The Matrox site has a convincing list as to why to choose the MXO2 over the Black Magic Intensity Pro which also showcases why it’s a powerful little device.

Of course it has it’s own set of drawbacks. The device is very temperamental. While using it with my Macbook Pro, you can’t have the device connected while you are booting or else the system will hang. Often times you will need to completely restart your system and power on the MXO2 in a specific order for the capture software to function properly with the device. Many of the restart issues have been documented in a review by Vade of “Create Digital Motion” I find that once I’ve set everything up correctly, so long as you don’t touch anything or have a stream crash, the device runs smoothly.

Black Magic Intensity Pro - I’ve had mixed feedback when it comes to this device. Some have claimed this as the “Gold Standard” for video processing and video I/O; however when speaking to Cicada who runs the House of Cicada stream, he tells me that the windows version of the drivers are a bit “hokey” at best. He’s had issues using the Black Magic Intensity Pro with streaming software such as VidBlaster.

DJWheat of Epileptic Gaming / LO3 has a resolution to Black Magic Intensity and Vidblaster issues.

One drawback with the Black Magic Intensity Pro is that it’s an internal PCI Express card. You will likely need a desktop PC to use it which is not as mobile as something like that Matrox MXO2 Mini and a laptop.

HDR Hauppauge - The Hauppauge is a powerful little device and is great for a cheap entry level recorder. It takes any HD input via component and records footage to your PC/Mac hard drive in h.264. It is important to point out that this device does hardware encoding straight into h.264, meaning your PC/Mac won’t be spending precious CPU cycles encoding raw HD footage as the majority of the processing is being done by the box itself. This device quickly outputs game footage in h.264 format which many online video sites such as youtube or vimeo accept.

Where the Hauppauge really causes headaches is in post production. Since it encodes straight into h.264 which is a delivery format, it will take quite awhile to convert the footage back into a format used in editing programs such as Final Cut Pro. There are limited amount of programs that do simple cutting of footage but adding stuff like logos, player names, intros, background music may take awhile especially if you’ve recorded an entire 64 - 128 man tournament.

Some other drawbacks of the Hauppauge is that it does not have HDMI input.

Despite some of it’s drawbacks, many people I have spoken to who own the device are generally happy with it. It’s relatively cheap compared to some solutions, and there are not many people out there who are worried about adding logos, player names, commentary to their footage. They are much more worried about getting the footage out there and keeping a record of the match which this device can do quickly and easily.

Other things to note about this device is that there is limited OS X support right now. It does however unofficially work with Elgato’s EyeTV video software.

Haunts from discusses streaming with the Hauppauge

Hava Titanium HD
I don’t have much experience using the Hava series of capture devices but aggrastat has written about it in detail here.

** * Signal Splitters** - signal splitters are key for outputting footage from your source, whether it be a PS3 or Xbox 360, to both the television that players view and the capture device.

When dealing with splitters an issue that might come up is frame latency, in particular lag between input from the controllers and what is outputted to the television. It’s the same issue that many have come across when dealing with “laggy” televisions. Some games such as Street Fighter IV require strict timing to up to 1 frame. One way to mitigate this problem is to make sure the splitter is powered with its own power source, that way the signal is amplified. There are unpowered splitters on the market, but I don’t recommend them if the game you are recording/streaming requires strict input timing. Unpowered signal splitters can also lead to darkened picture quality since it’s not being amplified.

Even if you do use the best powered splitter on the market, the splitter will still create some “lag”; however the delay created is in the microseconds which is unnoticeable. Humans can only discern delay when it gets to the millisecond range.

It is still important to use a non-laggy television or monitor, particularly the televisions or monitors that do not do post HD processing. If you use a splitter setup with known delay issues with a television that is laggy, you just compound the problem.

When dealing with streaming or recording gameplay from a PS3 or Xbox 360, there are two types of splitters to consider: component or HDMI. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type. Some devices, such as the PS3, encrypt HDMI signal in a protocol called HDCP. It’s a protocol used to protect againsts pirates who attempt to capture or rip Bluray movies, for example. There are splitters and devices that decrypt HDCP signals, such as the HD Fury , but it is still inconclusive what kind of delay or lag is created from decrypting the signal. Component on the other hand is unencrypted. There are, however, been industry talks and rumors about locking component output during playback of protected content. It is certainly something to look out for in the future.

One other unfortunate aspect of choosing component is there are known monitors, such as the ASUS monitor used at Evolution 2009, that have no lag but only have HDMI inputs and no Component inputs. You should also consider that older generations of the Xbox 360 do not have HDMI out.

In speaking to Robb aka “Jedi Robb” of the Devastation group, he sent me a list of powered splitters, both component and HDMI, that have had no complaints from players who played on the systems at Devastation '09:

CE Labs AV501HDXi 1 to 4 Component Splitter- This is the component splitter I opted to go with.

CE Labs HA4-3 1 to 4 HDMI Splitter
[Geffen 1 to 4 HDMI Splitter](CE Labs HA4-3 1 to 4 HDMI Splitter)

*** Get Your Tournament Streaming Setup Rev 2 ***

** * Software ***
Telestream’s Wirecast
I’ve used Wirecast now extensively for about 4 months, and I have to say that it is an impressive piece of software. It is very user friendly. It really makes incorporating professional style lower thirds, overlays, and logos into your broadcast simple. Having no prior broadcast production experience I was really expecting a steep learning curve – something akin to learning photoshop or final cut pro for the first time – instead I was surprised at how easy it was to use. Just from looking at it’s user interface you’ll notice that it almost takes a minimalist approach when compared to something like VidBlaster, a competing streaming software suite. There are not a lot of buttons to interact with yet it is deceptively powerful.

[*]Really easy to use. If you understand the concept of layers from programs such as photoshop, GIMP, or premier then it will feel right at home.

[*]Really simple to use chroma keying for green screen effects.

[*]It comes preloaded with professional style shot-to-shot transitions and even a set of preloaded lower thirds. Adding your own lower thirds, graphics and video is as simple as dragging and dropping or importing them.

[*]I had no issues so far with Wirecast detecting any of my connected hardware. It detected all my input sources, cameras, and audio devices right out of the box.

[*]It has preloaded presets for streaming to your favorite streaming services including the two favorites and Ustream.

[*]It has a slight chance of crashing the stream when you edit properties of shots during a broadcast.

[*]It has no support for ip cameras or network cameras as of yet. They are working on this feature at the moment.

[*]No easy way of queueing or adding playlist of shots. It does, however, have an scripting interface using various programming languages.

[*]No integration with Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder, though it does have it’s own flash media encoder.

[*]Its cost. This bad boy cost $449 plus $99 dollars for the HDV Camera plugin if you intend to use High Definition cameras. And yes for you people looking to Arrrrrrrquire :sweat: this software, just know that the registration process “dials home” meaning it checks the key with Telestream’s servers.

Here is a sample clip of a stream we did using Telestream’s Wirecast. This was recorded on 12/1/2009 of a Street Fighter 4 stream: Wednesday Night Fights

You can also check out our channel which has matches from our latest stream using Wirecast playing on loop.

** * Other Useful Resources ***
Current Get Your Tournament Streaming Setup Rev 2 - Here is a diagram I made using Dia that diagrams our current setup.


Sounds fascinating, and something I will be following keenly.

“winavi” software converts hauppauge recorded mp4 files with the quickness. you can convert 10 min videos in like 20 minutes. only drawback is it doesnt wanna keep the source framerate(which is 60fps for games) and you have option for 30. I personally cant tell the difference once the videos are on youtube. 60fps video took like 2 hours to compress in sony vegas pro and the 30fps video took like 20 minutes.

Id recommend winavi for encoding/compressing hauppauge HD recorded videos.

Streaming is possible with the Hauppauge, but only on Mac as far as I know.

Nice guide. :slight_smile:

Nice work on getting this info out there, AJ. I hope it helps a lot of people and cuts out some trial and error.

Currently, I’ve got both the Intensity Pro and the Hauppauge HD-PVR and am using them on Windows platforms. Both definitely have their pros and cons…

I’m pulling my hair out with the Intensity Pro. As a straight up capture device, it’s pretty quality… when it’s working. I get tons of bugs and crashes. Capturing in Premiere CS4 is spotty. Since I installed it, I can’t even open up ustream or’s broadcast modes without crashing. It also does not seem to work in FME or VidBlaster. Deal-breaker for me.

The HD-PVR, on the other hand, has been really solid. Takes quality footage (when you tweak the settings), but its limited in terms of flexibility. You can only capture with the included software (I’d love to be able to capture directly in Premiere) and the capture resolution MUST match your input. No scaling or down conversion. Still, if you’re only looking to capture gameplay footage, I give this a thumbs up.

Another thing to note is that both have pass-through video… Big bonus to each. Both seem negligible in lag, but the Intensity Pro’s pass-through will only work while you’ve got a capture program up. That’s a pain in the ass. The HD-PVR’s is always on.

Now, you’ve got me interested in this MXO2 mini. Has anyone used this with VidBlaster? If they have, and it’s successful, please let me know. I’ll jump on it.

OH, one last tidbit. AJ linked to a component splitter… I haven’t used that one, but I have tried one from Radio Shack. Seems very similar:

Radio Shack 4-Way A/V Distribution Amplifier

I can’t recommend it though. Seems to blow out the audio.

Thanks for this info - being in the UK, I could not find the splitter you have here, so I popped over to Maplin (our equivalent to radio shack) and picked up the Shinybow 4 AV Distribution Amplifier. Have not had a chance to lag test it yet.

Thanks to haunts’ help I picked up the Startech S-Video to USB 2.0 Video Capture Cable and got my stream working with that last night, however I have not worked out why the sound was not working yet. Ustream kept crashing when the flash box popped up asking for access to things so I had to keep pressing no - I have installed the latest drivers for the device from the website so I will try again tonight and see if that helps.

I’m doing it on PC rather than mac BTW. I will update this post as things progress. I need to get a hauppauge or hauppauge-like device now - a friend of mine has a hauppage PVR so I will test things with that first and take it from there.

The BM Intensity Pro works fine with VidBlaster, you just cannot use it directly into the program. I’ve done over 500 hours of streaming this year with the BM Intensity Pro + VidBlaster combo.

What you need to do is use a “catcher” program for VidBlaster.

VidBlaster is great program, but in reality it’s optimization is pretty poor. So when you begin to pile more tasks into VidBlaster (recording, streaming, capturing cameras, etc) it really starts to take a beating (unless you are running a legit i7 core system).

I would suggest that you use VCam. VCam allows you to “capture” the signal from the BM Intensity Pro, and then you just fire it directly to VidBlaster. When you do this, you’ll notice the quality of the BM Intensity Pro go from “totally shitty” to “Holy shit that looks awesome”.

YOU ALSO WILL BYPASS ANY AND ALL ISSUES WITH AUDIO SYNC if you meet the following conditions… You must be using the Intensity Pro 2.1 drivers. Yeah I know, they are on like 3.4 now, but seriously, I played with about 12 versions of this driver and anything after 2.1 has some CRAZY audio de-sync going on (I think it has to do with locked framerates but BM has not confirmed this yet.

I am going to pick up a Matrox MXO2 Mini to work in conjunction with this particular device but I still think the Intensity Pro is a solid solution for capturing (keep in mind it works great for both console capture AND HD Camera capture).

EDIT: I’ll try to post some screenshots of how I have this setup, right now I’m kind of “disconnected” cause I am putting an i7 rig into my streaming formula.

Software for the Hauppauge HDPVR which I recommend would be:

  • rcTVCap for recording (0% CPU utilization during recording, since it is a CLI application)

In other words I what I see on my LCD monitor is what I get after recording.

NOTE: There should be a batch file in one of the comments which you can use to simplify recording.

  • RipBot264 to transcode and sync the raw A/V to either MP4 or MKV

For splitting/joining TS files you can use TSSplitter:

Works great with this setup and using rcTVCap is easier to time starting and stopping a recording to me IMO compared to the default software it comes with.

The guide has been updated with our Streaming Diagram and sample clips using wirecast

aj so pro :3

good shit, AJ :slight_smile:

Well, damn! VCam worked, Wheat. I was real happy to see that. I’ve tried a few others like that, but this was the first to work. Thanks for that.

I uninstalled the current Intensity Pro drivers… installed 2.1 to head off any audio sync issues down the road. But I am still having browser crashes in and ustream. Doesn’t matter what other programs are running at the time. Anytime I have Intensity drivers installed, I crash whenever I go into broadcast mode. Firefox or IE. I’ve recently reformatted the pc too, I can’t think of any conflicts other than hardware.

Trying to save up for a Matrox Mini now. Shit is frustrating since I’m sitting on 2 $200 capture devices - neither of which I can stream with.

Hello sir, this is off topic but I think you’re the best one out there that may be able to help me. Don’t want to create a new thread for my waste. But I have this Sony Handycam and I heard I am able to record my xbox or ps3 gameplay with it rather than buying other products out there. Do you know if this is true and how would I be able to do it?

Theres a few recording threads around here, but this is by far the most valuable. Thankyou!

Thanks for the info dude. :tup: I ordered the Matrox mini and we’ll be trying it out at the upcoming Mardi Gras tournament in New Orleans
and if it goes well then we will also be using it for streaming and capture at the Battle for the South tournament in May. I’ll let you know how it goes, and if I have issues I may ask about them here if it’s cool. Thanks again. L8

Updated the guide with some Wirecast information as well as a link to a Hava guide.

Is there any … err … “less expensive” software that can be used to compile a stream? I don’t need a lot of features, but I’d like to know what alternatives are out there.

Very nice guide, and very good equipment you’re using! Sadly though, not many people have that amount of money to be capturing HD content like that and streaming it with premium software.

For people who are having trouble wrapping their heads around prices, here’s what I’d like to add to the table:

  • Go SD, not HD: As much as we love high quality streaming and recordings I understand that your budget is low. Normally in a major tournament setting most major matches will be held on a CRT TV due to it’s inability to lag. Using this to your advantage you can minimize the cost of your setup substantially. Instead of going component or HDMI instead you’ll focus on using composite wiring (yellow, red, white) or S Video.

-Use a composite/S-video splitter: This way you can save a bunch of cash. As an added bonus you can even look for a CRT TV with a video output as well, which means you wouldn’t even need to buy a splitter.

-Use a composite/S-Video capture device: Although the capture devices discussed by Potato were really nice, they of course also very expensive. A usb based capture device can be extremely cheap and portable as well as those which are PCI card based are extremely low cost.

-Use free software: Stream your event using ustream which allows you to stream your content with Flash Media Live Encoder 3. You can do this by following their guide and will cost you nothing to broadcast.

-Commentary Mics: This is one area where you need to at least spend a little bit of cash. Going with a nice USB based mic can really boost the overall quality of your stream as not neck breaking prices. Personally I use the CO1U mic and I am extremely satisfied with it’s professional quality.

Again, thank you Potato for your fantastic recommendations which I personally plan on implementing in my own broadcasts. However for those who are tight on cash and would like a cheaper alternative I feel this is about the cheapest bang for your buck you can go.

Can you have 2 different VGA inputs on 1 PC monitor via a VGA splitter?

For example:

1 connection is from a desktop computer to the monitor.

And 1 connection from a PS3/360. where this connection can be used in a video editing program on the PC.