Jan Ozer at Streaming Media has put together this excellent article on capture card options for creating your own multicam live streaming and production solution. This is just one part of a mutilpart series they'll be running, but it jumps in to answer perhaps the most important question. Picking the right software is the other.
Streaming Media by Jan Ozer
Choosing a Capture Card for Multicamera Live Streaming & Production
To choose the best capture card for mixing live events with PC-based software, you should pursue multi-part analysis. In this article, I'll get you up to speed on what features to look for, but you're going to have to carry the load on the critical subjective items.
You’ve decided to create your own station for mixing live events with a software program like Telestream Wirecast, Livestream Studio, StudioCoast vMix, CombiTech VidBlaster or Splitmedia Labs XSplit. You’ve selected the mixing software you plan to use, you’ve spec’d out the computer, and now you need a capture device to input the feeds for mixing.
To choose the best card, you should pursue multi-part analysis. First, you should make sure that all candidate capture devices work well with your mixing software, which sounds simple, but has multiple layers and some subtleties. Then, you should identify the features that you absolutely require, such as the number of input channels and their formats, or the availability of ISO recording, and eliminate any candidates that don’t supply them. Then you need to focus on more quality and performance features, such as onboard scaling and deinterlacing, and identify preference items, such as whether you want a breakout box to conveniently access all of your connectors.
Finally, you need to scrutinize the message boards of the mixing software vendor that you’ve selected and the capture card vendor to identify compatibility, stability, or similar issues, and to gauge vendor responsiveness to problems or feature requests. Plus you need to scan reviews on sites such as B&H and Amazon to get the opinions of actual buyers. In this article, I’ll get you up to speed on what features to look for, but you’re going to have to carry the load on the critical subjective items. read more...