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HDMI Video Capture Card support for Virtual Production

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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
    Last edited by Greg.Corson; 09-11-2019, 06:58 PM.

    #2
    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

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      #3
      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.

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        #4
        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

        Last edited by shamota; 09-15-2019, 10:49 AM.

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          #5
          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.

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