Friday, December 20, 2013

Random Post, T-Minus 4 days til X-Mas Eve!!!

So with a week of using my refined Xubuntu PC set up, i have determined a couple of things. 1. for most every capture i want to do with my Easycap, i want to use SVideo, and so i ordered an SVideo Cable kit for the 360 (i also ordered a new fan for my computer, as my one died, and i have the computer elevated and a small 110v fan is keeping my computer cool for now). I also have this cable for my hacked 1st Gen Xbox (can't call it the Xbox 1 because... well, you know...)so i can do capture on there of retro systems etc via emulation. 2. i need to get a 3.5mm stereo splitter, so i can capture my own commentary live while i am recording, so i do not have to record one in post. this will not be hard, it just involves a trip to the store, and about $3 for a decent one. 3. My IBM Model M is a much better keyboard to use for my day to day typing as it is solid and very responsive, which is better than the Maxell Backlit Chicklet styled one (which wasn't all that bad, really) and my IBM KB8923, which packed some 'oomph' for a stock IBM rubber dome keyboard (built quite well, but i prefer Buckling Spring Switch-based keyboards as a whole). i type on this computer more than i use my other Windows computer (which is only really used for gaming, and i use a controller and remapped controls via Xpadder for games like Fallout 3/New Vegas, which require WASD) so i now have it on my Xubuntu PC. I will also be hooking up the tablet/mouse set-up i was using on my tower that is currently in storage, and when i take it out of storage and hook it up, it will be using a Mircosoft Wireless mechanical Keyboard and MS Classic Design Optical Mouse. 4.When the other items i have in storage are available, i will be taking an IDE DVD-RW Burner i have and making a small set up where i can use it with an IDE to SATA adapter and related PSU i have laying around. The DVD drive built into the laptop died a while ago, and until i can afford a replacement, i will just use this with another powered hub, and have a small enclosure , with a cooling fan and the hub built in, to keep the computer running cool as a cucumber. The tower i mentioned earlier is a stripped down Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit computer, used primarily with my Toshiba 27" 480i (w/SVideo & Component) CRTTV for gaming and media playback, as well as capture via it's Gamebridge 1410, but it uses proprietary drivers geared towards Windows XP, and will not run on a Linux-based distro, or Windows 7 64 bit onwards (Windows 7 32 bit will recognize it, but you have to set every install-related EXE to run as Administrator, and for the best results, these EXE files should be ran in Windows XP SP3 mode for the best results). i may set this computer to be a dual boot Windows 7/Xubuntu Linux based machine for gaming and general house use. As for the capture device working like i want it to, i have determined that the Easycap DC60 is a decent Composite/SVideo capture device, but it's audio capture is for the birds, with low quality capture, so i just use my mic input. I have found that by using VLC for the capture, and running some de-interlace settings (i set it to Film NTSC) in the preferences, and enabled the Dshow access instead of live-caching, which lags due to the buffer not liking anything lower than 250 ms without noticeable crackle. i did this by going under the Show More Options are when setting up the Easycap in VLC, and then under Edit Options, go to the end of the text in the white bar, and change "live-caching=300" to "dshow-caching=10", and towards the beginning of the text, find "v4l2-fps=0" and change the value 0 to 30 if you are using an NTSC Device to capture footage from (for PAL, use 25 fps, and for other regions, such as SECAM, PAL-M, etc. Google can easily find you framerate, as well as you set it to the region in the drop down menus you navigate when setting up the Easycap for use with VLC). The one fault of VLC recording video, is that is records in a rather uncompressed format, which is why i recommend a small usb hard drive (250 gig is fine for a half hour of uncompressed recordings). This both allows for less resources used when recording, and allows your main drive to work without recording footage on it. After i record and i proof the video to ensure there was no audio video lag, i then open the file in Handbrake and tweak a couple of things before i compress/transcode it. Firstly, for some reason, my videos end up in a roughly 3:2 aspect ratio after i do my initial recording, so i correct it with changing the resolution in Handbrake to a roughly 820x472 pixel resolution. Things look less 'skinny', and less awkward on the eyes. I also run further deinterlacing, using what is called the 'slowest' setting, which allows for less artifacting and higher quality video. In addition to this, i also run some Denoise on things, to clear up color bleed due to the mixed signal you find in Composite (hence my changing over to SVideo when the cables arrive). Besides this, i change the audio format to MP3@160mbps for decent audio (not an audiophile, and many songs people download are around this bitrate. After this, i export it, proof it, record a voiceover, make the thumbnail and title card, toss all of that in Openshot for a trimming and sync of my voice with the processed gameplay, i export it and then upload it. all in all, i start out with a raw 5.8 gig file from the initial capture, and after all of that, and a 23 meg mp3 voice file, everything ends up being an H.264 220 meg 720p file (i upscale it to 720p for ease of display, and it will look better once SVideo capture begins). I do this all with an Open Source operating system, and the only non-free part was the agreement i clicked for the MP3 compression stuff, which is licensed out to everyone from some group or some junk (i had to click on a checkbox when in installed Xubuntu on this computer, meaning i gave my yes/no to using something, which means it wasn't free in a technical and software sense - if you have to click Yes/I Agree or No/Cancel, it's not 'free'). Other than that, it's free, and i never had to use either paid/cracked Windows software like Sony Vegas-OpenShot is like a simplified Vegas, but a bit more easier to use, and not as limited as something like Windows Movie Maker. I use a nice simple program called Audio Recorder to record my voiceover (click on/off recording and no preset to screw with), and VLC is also Free and is a great capture program, much simpler than Virtual Dub (also free), Pinnacle (not free and pretty frustrating), the software that came with the EasyCap for Windows (it asked me for a key that they never gave me!!!), or other Windows-specific programs. With all of this, i am tempted to do an article as well as a video detailing on how to do this in a similar manner for prolly $150, including the computer. Any Thoughts?

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