Roxio GameCap: Affordable Console Game Capturing for Joe Gamer
Capturing gameplay footage has never really been difficult, yet is has never been easy either. Anyone who has ever tried has their own way of doing it, and some might realize they do not have all the necessary equipment to do so. On top of this, software to capture and edit ranges from wonky and free, to expensive with a huge learning curve. It is Rovi's hope to solve all of these problems with their new Roxio GameCap – a capturing and editing device / software suite that enables gamers to record gameplay footage, while watching the output video on their computer monitor, and streamlining the capturing and editing process.
Our Experience with the Hardware
Roxio GameCap’s gameplay capturing hardware for home consoles is light, easy to pocket, and about the size of a Nintendo DS Lite. It has component RCA stereo Audio/Video IN, and Audio/Video OUT. However, the first thing we noticed is it did not have an HDMI port. Now this is okay, though we currently have the Xbox 360 we used hooked up with HDMI – and we thought that it was a little odd that this option was not included. Also, since our system is hooked up through a 5.1 sound system, and we currently use optical sound connections, we were surprised to find this input was not on the Roxio GameCap hardware. This was another slight annoyance while hooking the device up – and now we were tethered to stereo instead of capturing in 5.1.
I doubt Rovi intended to have any 5.1 sound capture or HDMI because of the requirements in the software to be able to run a setup. I also believe they assume that most gamers across the globe probably are still running Standard Def, or hooking their systems up with RCA and on basic stereo speakers. Though people are upgrading quickly, even I was running standard-def equipment until last year, and I am a pretty hardcore gamer, so I see where they were coming from I suppose.
Our Experience with the Capture Software
The software was very easy to install – and right away, we could tell the capturing software would be easy to use. Once the device is hooked up, and you have the game running on both your TV and CPU, the capture software gives you two options: capture and edit / share. Clicking capture, it defaults to 480p. Though the system would do 1080i, it doesn't allow for 1080p. This made the video gameplay output interlaced, thus making the text and graphics soft when displayed on the PC monitor.
Capturing the gameplay requires picking the video encodes you want (though I am not sure why’d you want to capture at anything other than raw AVI, but it’s good to have the options there anyway) and clicking capture, and then just playing your game and stopping the recording when you want (you can also set a time limit). One nice addition is you are able to choose any sound input you wantfrom any sound device on your computer. This is great if you want to make commentary real-time while playing your game.
Our Experience with the Editing Software
The first thing that must be said about the editing software that Rovi provides with the Roxio GameCap, is it is nothing more than a rehashed VideoWave (Roxio’s video editing software that came free with many PC video cards back in the day). This is a very linear editing program (if you are unsure what linear editing means, the simplest explanation is that it is impossible for you to take video clips you’ve put on a timeline and move them around and really play with where you want to them to go). Now this is not necessarily bad, but if you are a Final Cut or AVID guy, this linear editing software is going to drive you nuts due to its lack of ability to do anything non-linear. However, if you are used to working on high-end software and video devices, it’s most likely you won’t be buying a Roxio GameCap anyway. But, even if you do, it might be easier to throw the captured footage into a non-linear editing system.
Regardless, the editing software included lets you make a timeline, trim gameplay footage down, add in basic video transitions (the kind you learn NOT to use in video 101) – you are able to add in sound, music, VO, and a few other audio too. Now I am giving this rehashed version of VideoWave a hard time, but really, for the price you pay for both the hardware and the software, you are not going to get much better than what they have provided you with – most gamers don’t have a Final Cut and Avid system at home, and though it can feel strange and crippling to those who do edit non-linear, it really is not a terrible system. If you are trying to capture some gameplay footage for a review, or just to show off on the Internet, then the software will be just fine. If you are looking to edit together a piece of complicated Machinima with this software, good luck.
The market for Rovi's Roxio Gamecap is clear: the gamer who has a very basic RCA setup running to their TV, who will really not do more with their videos other then jet them around online or post them on YouTube. The software is great for those gamers who don’t have an expensive editing suite (or the know-how to use one) but still need to cut the video together. It is for most average gamers and hardware setups out there, and the price of $99 USD reflects that – GameCap is very reasonably priced. Also, the fact everything is streamlined and included in the package makes it very attractive.
Three things describe Rando: Good beer, good food, and video games. On occasion, Rando flies a zeppelin through time seeking power crystals.
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