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Advice on capturing projector

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Nathan Gadd
Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 22, 2018 at 8:35:42 pm

Hi there,

I've been running into a few problems trying to live capture the feed from a laptop to a projector. It usually just involves powerpoints, but occasionally people use the setup to browse other things so a live capture would be a lot more ideal. The way i'm currently doing it is by running the laptop HDMI output to an HDMI splitter, then 1 output to the projector and 1 output to the capture card, which then goes to a 2nd laptop which does the recording. My issue is though, occasionally the capture card seems to crash, or the software crashes, and due to the size of the room i have to have the laptop running up front on it's own, so I don't have any way of knowing if it's crashed until after the presentation is over and by that time it's a bit too late, and ideally i'd just prefer something that didn't crash in the first place.

I'm not sure if a capture card is the only option, where i live nobody seems to know much about it or of a better solution, but are there any (preferably more reliable) methods of doing that capture, or does anyone have any experience with a card/software that's more reliable? If possible, it would be even more ideal to have something that automatically captures as soon as it detects an input, that way even if it did crash/restart i wouldn't need to interact with it in order to restart it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

PS: I have considered using OBS or similar software to record directly from the presenting laptop, but because the presenters frequently change and usually use their own laptops, it wouldn't be possible/reliable to install/setup OBS every time.


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Blaise Douros
Re: Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 23, 2018 at 4:26:18 pm

Get one of the many dedicated recording hardware solutions from Blackmagic, or Atomos.


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Nathan Gadd
Re: Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 23, 2018 at 6:23:24 pm

Was considering that option, i just thought it might be a bit overkill price-wise, but i can see how it'd be a lot more reliable. Thanks for the help :)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 27, 2018 at 3:04:08 pm

These days it's a bit of an old-fashioned solution, but for many years I did this kind of job with a scan converter, which connects between the output of the laptop and the projector, and live-converts that signal to video which you then send to a stand-alone recorder.

The beauty of this setup is that it claims no system resources of any kind from the laptop or desktop machine, as screen-capture software might. It just passively grabs whatever is being sent to the projector or monitor. When I used these, we took a VGA or SVGA out of the laptop, analog, thru the scan converter, into a portable video recorder.

They make scan converters in HD now, with HDMI and SDI in and out. It's how we run out teleprompters, and feed laptop graphics into a switcher for live-switched programs. Some places, you can rent them, for the occasional gig. If you plan to do this monthly or more often, makes more sense to buy one.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 29, 2018 at 5:32:15 pm

As Mark pointed out, it is best to capture the laptop signal and in my experience we use a dedicated capture device - KiPro, Ninja, Pix - there are many options. A laptop generally has a computer-centric resolution so you need to scale it to a video resolution. Most video recorders only recognize 720 or 1080 - not 1024x768 for example. You can rent the scaler and recorder or get them from the AV company.

Mike Cohen


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Nathan Gadd
Re: Advice on capturing projector
on Aug 30, 2018 at 12:16:34 pm

Thanks so much for all the help and tips, much appreciated.


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