So I've been struggling with getting something decent out of an Hauppauge Colossus for a while now. Color banding, edge artifacts, ringing abound. Software has been improved in the audio department, but still the visual quality is very suboptimal. I'd like to get away from the monstrous filesizes and/or overhead of Playclaw, but hardware solutions just don't seem to be cutting it. I've noticed the same problems with AverMedia Live Gamer HD captures that people upload to youtube and don't care to drop money into that either. My last purchase, before I give up on the myth of a decent hardware capture option is Blackmagic's Intensity Pro OR their Hyperdeck Shuttle 2. The Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 is quite expensive even before purchasing the SSD to put inside it, so I'm definitely looking at the intensity pro if it can offer the same quality. Intensity PRO can capture to a ton of formats and does not seem to rely on a cheap h264 encoder/decoder chip. Does it have the color banding, edge artifacts, ringing of all the hardware h264 based cards out there or is it actually capable of processing some video? I have a method for cleaning my Colossus footage, but A) it doesn't look as good as MJPEG Playclaw, B) Processing time through avisynth is prohibitive: Deblock with masking to protect details (huge overhead), color bleed edge masking (reds are always washed out and bloomy, you can tighten them up by adding a little script that masks the hard R values, shrink and dilate), careful sharpening, etc. Nightmare. My computer isn't a slouch, but it takes approx an hour of processing per minute of video.
I understand that using the PRO or Hyperdeck in this way will still result in large filesizes, but the goal is reducing load and maintaining a crisp picture at this point. I can do a 2-pass x264 compress after chopping, editing, cleaning and chop that filesize down alot without losing too much. It's just important to have that data there to work with to begin with and the majority of the PC's resources available for gaming.
I understand that people find the Blackmagic products 'fiddly', but that's ok with me. Is an Intensity Pro or Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 capable of better results than the issues I am addressing?
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People who are obsessed with getting the best possible captures employ capture devices that use software to encode and capture using lossless compression. However, they are probably not playing games on the same machine that they are using for capture. Given that you are exceedingly sensitive to defects that most people don't even notice, I think you are going to have to buy the devices in question and try them for yourself to see if the quality is what you are looking for.
I would try the Blackmagic intensity first as it can record in MJPEG format. It looks like the HyperDeck Shuttle can only record compressed video using ProRes or DNxHD and uncompressed video. Are you willing to buy editing software captable of working with ProRes or DNxHD, if you don't already have it? ...or are you willing to spend the cash for a very large, very fast SSD for recording uncompressed video? Look at Wikipedia and see what kind of file sizes result from uncompressed HD captures.
I sure hope your computer details were posted as a joke.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 10th Jun 2014 at 11:41. Reason: grammar
Simply an update:
I bit the bullet, or teased it at least by possibly burning my HAWK 5770. I don't recommend anyone do this as it has the possibility of bricking a perfectly functional video card. There is a problem, at least with my HAWK 5770, where it's load balancing/power features doesn't fully support driving multiple monitors (monitor + colossus). It's built into the bios. This makes it not work for PC->same PC capture, probably as a focus thing built into catalyst. What I did was extract the bios from the 5770, edited all power states to be identical to max power state of the bios, flashed this bios on 5770. Colossus works way better now: no screen tears, less banding and blocking to something that I find reasonable for h264 capture. The downside of course is that my video card is always max-volted and I have put a half-life on the card. I was surprised that the image quality improved though, blocking/banding, but this isn't something one should really do.
Edit: You can discover if you have this issue by monitoring the power state of your gpu/cpu. Gaming, Gaming + Recording. My card would downclock and/or not react at all when driving the second monitor (Colossus) and would not hit the load of simply 'Gaming'. It's either an obscure vendor/bios issue or an obscure catalyst issue. You can go straight to the source and simply ramp your card to max power state in the bios killing two birds with one stone...and likely a third in your video card down the road.
Edit2: It's possibly a Colossus driver issue where it fails to identify requisite load and catalyst never ramps in response.
Last edited by czerro; 16th Jun 2014 at 20:33.