I have a video project which requires me to capture web pages and presentations on a computer screen. Rather than shooting the screen directly, finding the proper scan rates, etc...I know there is a component that you can connect to the computer and then to the camera to record a clean image of whatever is on the screen...do you know what this component or device is called?
I used something like this in the past but don't remember what it is called.
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A scan converter is probably what you are describing.
However, if your computer's graphics card supports secondary output to S-video, you can hook that output directly to a camcorder.
Where can I get a scan converter?
Do you mean VGA to s-video/composite method of downversion (read it here and here) and have tried it. The downcoversion was unnacceptable quality with the product I bought and there was slight ghosting on the vga pass-through.
This one looks like it will yield better quality results... Twinpact100 But it seems like it only focuses on one part of the screen (480i) whether you like it or not and it doesn't list the "supported resolutions" like other vga to s-video converters do. They often list the input resolutions they can convert, which usually are:
VGA 640x480 pixels @ 60/72/75/85 Hz
SVGA 800x600 pixels @ 60/72/75/85 Hz
XGA 1024x768 pixels @ 60/70/75/85 Hz
Mac 1152x864 pixels @ 70/75/85 Hz
SXGA 1280x1024 pixels @ 60/70/75/85 Hz
GenLock? Or just film an LCD monitor.
Does your project require demonstrating expensive hardware methods to reduce image quality, with readable text not a requirement?
Or do you simply need to include PC screenshots in a presented video?
Screen capture to Hi-Res BMP, create AVI of needed length, smooth (Very Important!), soften if necessary, resize, then encode to final output type and include in project. Produces far higher quality, text is readable unlike other method, and all for free.
I just need to be able to capture screen pages (web and software) cleanly? Shooting a monitor stinks so I figured a comverter would output a clean image that I can record directly to tape....but I also need the converter to be able to zoom and pan in case on want closer shots of particular items on the page.
Here are several I was thinking of:
The manufacturers description of the Focus TView Gold PC-to-TV Scan Converter is that it does up to 1600x1280, but they put 1024x768 in the title for some reason (a common max res for some scan converters).
Web page is a computer graphics and not a video image.
Hold down "Ctrl" and hit "print Screen", and then open any graphics editor, and clikc paste, Crop out the we page, saved it as a BMP or JPG files.
Import all these pictures into a slide show DVD or power point.
You are done.
Note : Most of 10 years old know how to do these and more. I found this out because my kid does not need me any more for help, to put up school presentation.
On "the converter outputting a clean image", No, No, and again NO. You already have Digital Access to the cleanest image possible, with the ability to adjust it to match your final chosen output. Your final output choice is Dramatically Different than the display that the screen image was designed for.
If you just have to get it directly to tape, a video card with an S-video output, which you will have much control over for adjustment, is much cheaper than a converter.
If you do it this way, then convert thru the screen capture method as described and compare the results, you will throw the converter out the window as a worthless piece of junk, except for a very limited solution to a connectivity issue.
Unfortunately, this shoot is happening at a clients office. I do not have the ability to open the computer and install cards. Hooking up a cable is one thing. It is basically going to be a fast shoot with the client speaking into a lav while images from the screen are captured. These are not web pages, so hitting print screen is not feasible. I am shooting propietary software will not have to access to after the shoot. So getting the cleanest image to tape under these circumstance is key which leads me to the converter I guess.
I think there are some very expensive scan converters that will allow you to pan and zoom. But most don't. If the client has a LCD monitor (or you can bring one) that may be a better solution. Shooting an LCD monitor doesn't have the sync/strobing problems of a CRT.
The use of Print Screen is NOT limited to Web pages, this will work for virtually any screen displayed on a PC monitor. The only exception is an overlay Video Player window, and there are ways around that.
If clean image is important, I must REPEAT and EMPHASIZE this point - the Scan Converter is just not good enough. I have done this using both methods, There is just no comparison in image quality. If readable text from the PC screen image is needed, the Screen Capture is a mandatory procedure. Do it both ways, compare the results, it is not even close, and the far better method does not require a hardware purchase.
Cap the screens, copy to a thumb drive, you are all done in his office. Record separate audio clips for each screen shot and the timings are set for you. There are various progs which will automate the rest of the process, but you will need to resize and smooth your images first, this should take less than 30 seconds for each image and can even be automated.
The one piece not mentioned so far is that doing it this way assumes you will import the DV footage into the PC for editing, and the addition of the screen cap images. If you do not have the PC input capability, then this option is not available to you as there will be no method to add the captured images back onto the DV tape. Even if you need a firewire card for your editing PC, this is far cheaper than buying a decent converter.
Although, resizing ON THE PC, using smoothing filters ON THE PC, and THEN outputting via a scan converter to the camera would most likely produce a superior image on the tape without importing the entire project to the PC.
One moment. Is this simply a case of the client narrating the PC screens, and there is no other video involved other than the PC screens? That would indicate the final product is for teaching and/or demonstration purposes. Would also indicate the camera is not needed whatsoever, just an audio recorder. Would make EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that the captured PC screens are of the highest possible quality, and that the displayed final image would contain readable text. If this is the case, and you use a scan converter, and charge money for this service, it will not be long before your client discovers that someone else knows the better way to do this, and you will get no more business or referrals from this individual.
REPEAT - If this is to be a professionally made video, and it is for training purposes of the software being recorded, You are going at this the wrong way. All the Scan converter will give you is "well, this screen is blue Here and red There, just like on the PC, but I can not read most of the button texts or menu selections displayed." You might as well have a grade-school kid copy the screen with construction paper and a crayon, and shoot that.
If you could get Filet Mignon for LESS than the price of Spam, why would you want Spam? The can does come with its own can-opener, and it is already cooked, so there are similar convenience factors wth your issue. But then there is the quality comparison, and the fact that you are trying to get somebody else to pay for a product they will inevitably discover is vastly inferior.
And what is a lav, I assume the client is not talking into the bathroom, must be some kind of microphone.
Okay..okay..you hate converters....the software however is going to be moving. For example there are pages of the software that have movement(animation) beside the mouse. Doing a screen capture is a freeze would would not be feasible.
You are correct. It is a traning video that couples live video (person on camera talking), VO of person talking and software screen shots.
Originally Posted by SteverupOriginally Posted by thecoalman
Then yes, capture it with Camstudio or similar.
I do not Hate converters, you do not understand the issue. If you need to get over an 8-foot wall, a four-foot ladder is just simply the WRONG TOOL. Unless your goal is to look stupid.
If you are trying to get paid for this, you should know the answer. If you ever expect to get paid AGAIN for doing a similar job, you MUST know the answer.
When someone is offered Spam or Filet Mignon, and they choose Spam, the only guess I can make is that they have simply never tried Filet Mignon. The only ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY I can offer you is that such a person will NOT be authorized to make my menu choices, most especially if I am paying them to do so. I will demand my money be returned for such sub-standard service.
If I were selling such a service, my only use for a Scan Converter would be to show the customer "this is how the low-grade morons who have no clue would do this job for you." Immediately upon seeing the screen-captured footage, with no hesitation whatsoever, the job would be sold and (potentially your) money would be in my pocket.
It is clear to me you have not seen the results of the different processes or this discussion would never have started. Your knowledge of the limitations of other methods is therefore incomplete.
Do as you wish, I have given you accurate information based on simple facts and personal experience. Others have seconded this. What is troubling is that you are going to spend more time, waste money, and produce a crap product when doing it better is actually cheaper and easier.
There are obvious holes in your knowledge about this subject.
The word Schlockenheimer applies to the way you want to do it. Your choice.
I also should add that I have on multiple occasions worked with clients who receive such training videos. They are sometimes used as a sales tool. The scan-converted types are a negative sales tool, they clearly state "Do not buy this piece of CRAP" to the customer. They are also almost totally unusuable as a training tool. I have seen them returned and many hundreds of dollars in refund fees requested as the product is unusable.
Further understand that these training videos are almost always played back on a PC, NOT on a TV, making the unreadability totally inexcusable except to identify that the creator just did not give a damn, and is in fact Intentionally Defrauding the customer for the price of the product.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you compare the results for yourself, before embarassing yourself and your company in a professional capacity in front of a paying customer. Make that Somebody Else's paying customer, because if they see the comparison, you are all done.
Indeed my experience in this area is limited but there is no reason do to start criiticizing my manner to gather info. Before you pass judgement on how and why I wish to do things, understand at this point, all I am doing is gathering info. I am certainly not going to use the converter but it was important I weigh the pros and cons. It would best to vent your frustration towards the other postings who support or recommend converters. I asked a simple question and I get it now! I will look into Camstudio....geez
Camstudio is a very neat software. The only feature I do not see is how to get close on objects such as buttons to click on and still maintain the 720x480 TV ratio. I see how to drag the region but this only decreases the size of the screen...
Also, I would still need to install this software on my clients computer which may not be possible....
I am not criticizing gathering info, this is always a good thing to do.
Passing judgement is something I have no problem doing. As a professional, I am called upon to do this almost every day. The value and accuracy of that judgement is how my bills get paid.
You certainly indicated an intention to use a converter. You started out by specifically requesting info on such a device, followed by where to buy one. Such a device is something an uneducated amateur might use. A professional who would use one for the purpose you have identified is not qualified to do the job. Period.
I could have left you on your own, without the "criticism" you find so troubling, to look like a dumbass. Instead I have expended a significant amount of time and effort with the intended goal of making YOU more successful.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother.
The next thing you need to know that you probably do not is that this video will need to be created in multiple resolutions, so that the customer can choose the one which matches their current video mode. This also allow you to avoid the limitations of DVD resolution and utilize the higher-quality PC display. Hi-resolution, non-interlaced, hi-bitrate MPG1 will be playable on nearly 100% of PC's with no additional software required, and will look far better displayed on a PC screen than standard DVD video. Distribution methods come into play here, ie WMV encoding would be recommended for downloadable files.
Bet you hadn't even thought of that one yet, eh?
Is TV playback an intended goal? This is unusual for training software.
Originally Posted by Nelson37
Originally Posted by Nelson37
My communications skills, when professionally evaluated, are among the best many have encountered.
I could care less what someone's opinion of me may be, unless their good opinion pays my bills.
Being right more often than most people I encounter is something I have grown used to. This is not opinion, I have the objective tests to prove it.
Explaining something 15 different ways is something I often am required to do. There are areas where opinions differ. There are areas when a suggested course of action is wrong, I know it to be so, and have seen the proof. It is more difficult in this venue as I cannot tell from facial expressions which parts of my explanation they are not understanding.
I will not pander to niceness when I disagree with what is being said or done, and have direct info of why there is a problem with the suggested procedure.
Helping the OP find a scan converter is NOT, imo, rendering useful assistance.
If nothing else, helping this person remain gainfully employed and productive is of benefit to me. Helping them stay happy and maintaining their self-esteem is counter-productive BS, if it conflicts with the first goal and ends up with them on welfare.
For instance, a professional tells the customer that installation of the motion-capable screen capture software is necessary to do the job correctly. If the customer refuses, rather than put out a piece of crap with your name on it, the correct answer is that the job cannot be professionally done under those circumstances, and recommend to the customer that he find another vendor willing to do substandard work. BTW, a pro buys FRAPS, installs it, uses it, then removes it from the PC.
Just like when I install a FileServer in SouthWest Florida. It gets an APC battery backup, or I don't do the job. I will (and have) told the customer to get somebody else and walked off the job if they refuse to purchase the UPS. I have also later returned to the site after somebody else did the install in order to restore lost data and install the necessary battery backup, after a lightning strike or power outage. One of these has been a customer for almost ten years, the other one for four or five. Nobody is going to see one of MY fileservers in this area without a battery backup attached. To do so in SouthWest Florida IMMEDIATELY brands you as a dumbass without a clue, to anyone who has lived in the area more than one year. There are photographers who move to this area to make a living photographing lightning.
Just like a customer who did not want to be told about data backups, MY customers are GOING to be told of this. That is my JOB. If it is explained and they still do not wish to do so, it will be explained again and again and again and louder and more obnoxiously until they either agree to implement a backup strategy or physically throw me out of the building. Again, that is my JOB, that is what I am SUPPOSSED to do, NOT doing this is failing to properly do my job.
I have in fact had clueless people do just exactly that, throw me out, only to be called back later by an owner or someone who understands the importance of what I have been explaining. I am still here, almost 20 years in my chosen profession, and almost all of those who have disagreed with me on such substantive issues are no longer working in their previous position.
You either maintain exacting professional standards or you do it the way all the other schmucks do. For those who do not already know this, the schmucks do not stay in business very long, at least not without moving to a new area.
From the OP's response, my statements have had their intended effect. THAT is EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. You do not HAVE to like it, but you will GET to hear it.