31 Days, 31 Products: Elgato Game Capture HD

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Day 17: Elgato Game Capture HD

This post is part of a larger series where for 31 days I’m posting a story about a particular product or service I’ve come to enjoy.

Elgato Game Capture HD is actually a hardware/software combo. Its an external capture device that does HDMI passthrough, grabbing whatever video signal you are passing through (be it from a video game console or computer display). It will them compress the video as mp4 on the device and and delver the compressed video to a Mac via a USB cable connection (which is also used for power). On the Mac you’ll run some software that saves the capture to disk and also optionally helps you stream to Twitch.

I originally bought and used the Game Capture HD to help me record some Let’s Plays.

Let’s Plays are video series where an individual will play a game, capture it as well as their commentary while they play. Some personalities are very detailed in the mechanics and secrets of the game while others treat the videos very casually, almost as a diary of sorts, mixing in stories of the past as well as the present.

As for my own “Let’s Play career”, it was short lived. I had a bunch of fun doing a handful of series before quitting mid-way through Final Fantasy IV. I quit because I started to have other life goals and while fun, the amount work it took to produce the videos compared to their small impact — it didn’t feel worth it.

ANYWAYS… the Elgato Game Capture HD found its way to be useful for me once more this past year when we decided to start capturing CocoaHead talks. I now use the device to capture our HDMI output (before it’s redirected to the televisions) and I have to say the recorder software holds up well to us switching machines, resolutions and what not while recording. After the meeting, I take the videos from here and then match a separate audio capture we do through a lapel microphone to build our final video, (edited in ScreenFlow, and published on Vimeo).

If you are interested in video capture you can browse the Elgato Gaming site for a rundown of the current product lineup. The device I use is the base model and costs $150 retail but there are other options if you want higher frame rate capture (mine is 30 fps, they also have 60 fps available).