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HDMI Video Capture Card support for Virtual Production

With all the virtual production stuff coming, we really need support for some video capture cards that work with HDMI output consumer cameras, GoPros and DSLR’s. I’ve discovered Blackmagic cards (at least the Intensity Pro 4K) do NOT work with a lot of these cameras, for example a Hero 4, Sony ActionCam and Sony A7R DSLR do NOT work at all with this card! So the Blackmagic and Aja SDI cards are great if you have a pro camera but if you want to use more consumer stuff with 4k HDMI interfaces you are kinda screwed or have to buy a very expensive card.

There’s a lot of Virtual Production opportunities for low budget filmmakers but ONLY if they can use cards that support cameras like GoPros and DSLR’s.

I have tried a few options that work good with the cameras but DO NOT work with Unreal, if you could make any of these work it would make the virtual production tools much more accessible.

Magewell PCI cards–I tried their capture pro 4 input HDMI card which does NOT work with unreal. The 4 input card is a bit pricy, but ends up being about $200 per input which is nice if you want to bring in 4 cameras at once. They have cheaper USB and single input cards.

Avermedia PCI cards and USB devices–Their stuff works well with DSLRs and action cams but you can’t open the devices in Unreal 4.22 at all.

Elgato CamLink 4k USB— DOES work with Unreal.

Yes, I did buy all 5 of these devices and test them all, the Elgato was the only one that worked with Unreal AND the HDMI action/cams and DSLR.

Since all of the above cards seem to work with things like Premiere and OBS I suspect there is just something basic that’s preventing them from opening in Unreal, so maybe you just need to do a bit of debugging and not write a custom driver.

Greg

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Hi Greg. How is your experience going? Elgato card is ok? I want to make Virtual production live green screen and this card js the only HDMI option besides 895$ BLackmagic card

Not great so far, only the Elgato CamLink 4k USB is working. I haven’t re-tested the other cards since 4.22 but I don’t think there are any changes that would help. As I mentioned, the Blackmagic Intensity pro does NOT work with the unreal plugin and even stand alone has problems with GoPro and Sony DSLRs so I’m not real happy with Blackmagic right now. I’ll be getting one of Aja’s 4 input HDMI cards in a few weeks to test, hopefully that will work better.

Also the cheaper cards don’t do Genlock or Timecode support. I think Epic could make some improvements in their setup for lower cost video solutions, like having a way to delay the tracker data to match the video latency and supporting some less pricey cards. Blackmagic, avermedia and Magewell all have some good lower cost options but none of them are on the “supported” list right now.

Thank your Greg for the reply.
Aja card is super expensive, so I better stick with Elgato. Can you tell me if it works with current pipeline for Virtual Production? I mean can I use it for live green screen and Virtual camera at the same time?

And by the way, have you considered Blackmagic DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G? It’s the same price as Aja’s HDMI, but also has SDI so it’s more versatile, and this card is on UE supported list

I have used this Elgato Camlink 4k USB for a live tracked camera (GoPro or Sony A7R) at 1080p60, it is supposed to handle 4k also but I haven’t tried that. The green-screen through composure works for me also. I can’t speak to Virtual Production stuff I haven’t tried. Some early examples of what I’ve tried are here https://www.youtube.com/user/GregCorson

I’ve also noticed quality of the video I’m getting doesn’t seem as high as I expected. I’m not really sure why, it could be the way I have things setup, cameras, lighting…etc. I haven’t had time to do a more careful test of my setup.

The main issue with something like the Elgato is that it doesn’t support genlock or timecode sync which makes syncing up live video with live motion capture more difficult.

Blackmagic products MAY work, but as I said earlier their Intensity Pro 4k did not work with some of my cameras and they told me there was no fix for this. They couldn’t say if the DeckLink cards or ATEM switchers would have the same issue or not, which is why I’m considering Aja.

For your purposes I’d suggest you make sure whatever you buy is returnable, just in case. If you have more recent vintage cameras you may have better luck than me with BlackMagic.

Also whether BlackMagic or Aja, if the card isn’t on the plugin’s “supported” list don’t expect it to work.

I have a Elegato HD60S and its working fine with my D5100 Nikon DSLR.

hello. i realize this thread is old, but can anyone provide documentation on using the Elgato Cam link and unreal?

At least for the Elgato Camlink 4k USB I didn’t have to do anything special, I just hooked it up and it started showing up in the Unreal Media Player.

See this example Playing Live Video Captures | Unreal Engine Documentation

Greg, thank you. I will try again. I’m really hoping to get this to work. Are you mac or pc based? Thank you again for responding. Apologies for the user name. My son plays fortnite on my unreal account :slight_smile:

Okay, on the PC side i was able to see the camlink feed. Can you or anyone suggest how i can make that feed a texture on a mesh so that It shows the live feed while running the project (launched). Imagine a stage with an LED screen on it. I want to feed the LED screen live.

@TraShPanda425 That link I posted earlier shows how to setup a media player that plays live video in a HUD. The mediaplayer makes a texture you can also apply to an object like a cube or plane. Just try going into an object and selecting the texture from your media player, should just work.

@Greg.Corson - Thank you and THANK YOU! Without your post about the Elgato and your notes, I wouldn’t have started down the path myself. I have solved it! Not only the HDMI into Unreal, but also the texturing on a mesh. I appreciate your responses tremendously. Oddly enough, the Elgato Camlink is not recognized by Unreal on the Mac side. (can’t see it when I try to select it as a source). But on my PC, It worked perfectly.

Again, my thanks!

Is the Elgato Camlink recognised on the Mac at all outside of Unreal. You might need to to allow it permission to access your camera and audio.

Hello all,
Having some continued frustration trying to get my camera into UE.
My rig…
MacBook Pro with dual core i5, 8gb ram, eGPU with Radeon RX850 w/8gb ram
Elgato HD60s capture
Nikon D560, also a Logitech 920 webcam.
I’ve followed a bunch of the tutorials, but can’t get either camera to show up in the video popup selection of the media player.

Any ideas?

I wonder if UE can’t see my cameras because it doesn’t ask for permission for them like other programs?

From my test and experience we tried :

MAGEWELL USB3 HDMI Capture - Working fine
MAGEWELL PCI Double HDMI Capture - Not working

ELGATO HD60S USB3 - Working fine
ELGATO PCI 4k60 Pro - Not working

I looks like USB capture card work easy when PCI Cards from the same manufacter shows up but doesn’t input anything into unreal.

If someone has a workaround for PCI capture cards.

As near as I have been able to tell, on windows if a capture device can make a camera appear as a webcam (ie: if it shows up in the windows “camera” app or something similar) then it will work with unreal, MOST USB capture devices seem to do this, but not all. A lot of cards use special software to interface them with programs like Premier, vmix, wirecast or other video apps. These usually do NOT seem to work. I have an Avermedia USB device and a 4k card, neither works with unreal. These are designed for capturing uncompressed game video and seem to only work with Avermedia’s software and a few apps with special support. The card will sometimes show up on the media player menu but does not work when selected.

It would be REALLY NICE if these worked with unreal. Since they use uncompressed video the latency is probably as low as a BlackMagic or AJA “pro” card. But somebody is probably going to have to write a plugin for unreal to make it work

Could you please tell me how to make Elgato HD60 S working? In “New Media Player” I can see “Game Capture” in Videos, but it’s black screen. My PC camera is ok here, and in Game Capture itself everything is ok too. Maybe another soft from elgato?

Please help

Tell me you figured it out, I have the exact same problem and I’m banging my head against the wall.

I figured out the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S issue of just getting a blank screen in the media player. I rolled back to Unreal 4.22.3 and it just worked.

Tested the Blackmagic ATEM Mini (~$300 with 4 switchable HDMI inputs) on a PC with UE4.25 and it worked fine through MediaPlayer: https://youtu.be/NIZ5ST1XxZM