If you didn’t know it already, United We Game has now fully entered the gates of video production! Well…mostly fully. I mean, we’re trying our best given that we all have lives outside of UWG. Not that those are of any interest to anyone, so I digress.
A couple months back, The Duck of Indeed regaled us with a fantastic post about her own adventures in recording game play and making videos. Since I finally have a presence on UWG’s YT channel, I figured it was as good a time as any to amuse you with my own stories, which involve a different capture device: the Elgato Game Capture HD. This is a two-parter where here I’ll be answering of the question of “why the Elgato?” and next week I’ll answer the question “what’s it like using the Elgato?”
The choice to get the Elgato, and specifically the Game Capture HD (as opposed to the swanky HD60 model) came down to a couple key features. The device had to be able to capture from both older consoles and an older television set. By older consoles, I mean the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. And by an older TV set, I mean one that’s seriously pre-HDMI. Like, composite cables only and one lonely S-video hookup. But the device also had to be able to capture directly from the computer. So it needed to span at least a decade’s worth of A/V technology. No small feat, really.
If you think I’ve lost my mind by going back in time with all this, well…from the get-go, I knew if I was going to venture into video making in earnest that I would start off by recording from older consoles. Though I had run tests of my own capturing gameplay from the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, having access to those systems on a regular basis is simply more complicated because they are hooked up to the house’s primary TV. The PlayStation 2 and GameCube, meanwhile, reside in a separate area with that old TV. Despite the age of the electronics involved, everything works extremely well. Plus, even though we had made the whole darn setup just for those consoles, they remained mostly ignored. At least now they are getting some use.
But back to the Elgato. I have to admit that my purchasing prowess often veers towards impulse rather than careful. I’ll get in my head that I need [x], and then I’ll go online or go to the store and get the first [x] I see, maybe with a little prior comparison shipping, but nothing extensive. When I decided to get a game capture device though, it was a different story. I put significant effort into choosing the device that was right for me. And my goodness, once I started doing my research, the number of options was overwhelming! Now, given my goal of getting a device that could capture from both and older console and older TV, many options were cut pretty quickly, particularly those that only captured HD video at 1080p or only had HDMI hookups. Nice though many of those devices were, they were not for me.
After developing a number of headaches from too much Googling, I eventually managed to narrow down my options to two: the Elgato Game Capture HD and the Diamond Multimedia USB 2.0 HD 1080. Honestly, though, there wasn’t much of a competition after that. The Diamond device didn’t have great ratings anywhere I searched, and people complained about its difficult setup. On the other hand, the Elgato came with a stunning amount of praise, with many forums and reviewers saying it was the best thing out there for any type of game capturing. It was all enough to convince me that the Elgato Game Capture HD was just what I needed.
I should point out here that my initial research didn’t include finding out much information about how to actually hook up such a device once it was in my house. Only after I had placed the order did I realize I probably should have consulted more technical info about it. To that end, I discovered that Elgato’s gaming site was chock full of brilliant online guides and text tutorials all about its Game Capture HD (and HD60). After finding that and subsequently doing more reading, I felt a little more at ease.
I’ve had my Elgato for just over a month now. In that time I’ve complete and bunch of tests and got to making some actually videos. What’s it been like? Is the Elgato as easy to use as every said? Has it accepted the old consoles and TVs without remorse? Come on back next week when I talk all about the practice of using this lovely little device!