There are many reasons you might want to capture game footage from your Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Maybe you want to review a video game, create a video log, or you might just want to brag to your mates about achieving a perfect score.
But capturing console footage isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a couple of options, which vary quite a lot in price. It all depends on how much you want to spend and the quality of capture you need.
The cheapest option is to simply film the TV or monitor. You can use any digital camera which has a video record option, for this. But you might see screen flicker on TV’s, and reflections might be visible in the screen, so it’s really not an option if you need a professional look.
Another cheap option is using the EasyCap USB device (or sometimes called EZ-Cap). This is a budget piece of hardware which captures any component-cable input and plugs directly into your PC via USB. It’s extremely cheap because it’s slightly out-dated hardware, but you can still achieve good results. It captures up to 640×480 resolution.
If you want to play your console on your TV at the same time as recording footage, you’ll need to get some RCA splitters for your cables. Otherwise you can just watch your PC screen and play, although there might be some slight lag.
However, as the EasyCap takes an Analogue input, it records in interlaced mode. This isn’t ideal, and requires de-interlacing after you’ve saved the file. Otherwise you might see small horizontal lines appear across your recording.
If you want to spend a bit more money, you should consider investing in a Roxio Game Capture card. This costs more but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. It is capable of capturing higher resolutions than the Easycap, and can also record in progressive scan mode rather than interlaced, which will result in a crisper, sharper picture.
It takes a digital input in the form of composite cables. You also get less lag if you want to play and record from the same display.
Finally, the best solution is to use a a DVR (or sometimes called a PVR) which stands for Digital Video Recorder. These are the most costly option, but also give best results. They can generally record up to 1080i resolutions, and can quickly record and burn DVDs.
So it all depends on what quality recording you need, together with the price you want to pay. EasyCap is recommended for beginners, but Roxio or a PVR should be used if you are more serious.