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Retro Consoles Connected to Capture Cards: Awful Quality

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I'm looking for an all-in-one solution for playing/capturing retro footage on my monitor/TV with the aid of a capture card. Right now, the video quality is horrible. There was an Anthony video with a similar subject. I'm not familiar with this kind of setup, but I am trying to learn. This is what I want to do. Gamecube > adapter to HDMI > Capture Card. It would be nice to plug other retro systems like a SNES into this setup if possible. I do not have composition cables for my Gamecube or other systems. Do I have options here? Any suggestions? Thank you!

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If you have a HDMI capture card, you'd want a proper upscaler to convert your 480p / 256x244 snes image to a bigger resolution ... one of the best is this one (but expensive) https://videogameperfection.com/products/open-source-scan-converter/

 

other upscalers here...

 

without an upscaler 

 

I would look into a capture card or device that can capture uncompressed RGB from VGA or something that keeps the input signal as unchanged as possible. 

For example, I'm thinking of epiphan products  like dvi2pcie card (accepts both analogue and digital, has dvi-i  so you can use passive dvi-vga passive adapter to capture raw rgb)  or epiphan av.io usb 3 grabber (same deal, has dvi-i, use dvi-vga adapter to capture vga)

 

Here's for example Epiphan DVI2pcie card (though not tested, but it's probably fine) : https://www.ebay.com/itm/325232137678 - and here's a brochure for it saying it can do 640x480 at up to 85 fps and 1920x1080 at 60fps : https://www.epiphan.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/epiphan-dvi2pcie-brochure.pdf

There's a version with vga connector here (but don't recommend it) : https://www.ebay.com/itm/255704475791

Anyway, problem with these discontinued models is that they may only have drivers up to Windows 7, you'd have to check, but in terms of raw capture the quality should be very good.

 

USB models don't need drivers so they're more future proof.. if you can get an old Epiphan AV.io USB grabber, you'd be golden.

 

Note the epiphan VGA2USB or DVI2USB usb grabbers are bad, really slow, can only do maybe 25-28 fps at 640x480, because they're based on usb 2.0 

 

Once you have the raw vga capture sorted, you need to figure out a way to convert composite or svideo to vga ... gamecube apparently outputs 720x480 SD, but actual area used by games will be much smaller, so you'd just be able to crop the area you want in post-processing. 

 

SNES has really low resolution, like 256 x 244 ... so you probably capture 512 x 480 and do deinterlacing or something to get good picture. 

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Start at the source. If you're just using the regular composite video cables the consoles came with, you're going to get dot crawl. This wasn't too noticeable back in the days of standard def CRT TVs, but blow that up to 55" at 1080 and they'll be very noticeable. If your video adapter has a good comb filter, it can lessen the dot crawl but you'll still take a quality hit. Garbage in, garbage out.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_crawl

https://www.avartifactatlas.com/artifacts/dot_crawl.html

 

You want to start with the best quality signal you can. RGB mods exist for most consoles, but if your console can just use regular component or S-Video cables then that's 95% as good for almost no effort. Then use an HDMI adapter to digitize the video and record it to a file with a capture card or dedicated capture device.

 

 

Just bear in mind that your real-hardware capture will never look as crisp as a screen recording of an emulator (unless you're capturing a purely digital signal like HDMI). Chasing that perfection is the path to madness.

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On 9/23/2022 at 2:43 AM, mariushm said:

If you have a HDMI capture card, you'd want a proper upscaler to convert your 480p / 256x244 snes image to a bigger resolution ... one of the best is this one (but expensive) https://videogameperfection.com/products/open-source-scan-converter/

I have been trying to figure out how to get AV out of the Gamecube to capture card/modern TV with high quality visuals, but then I consider, maybe there is a better/another solution that will fit most of my consoles instead of just one. The short answer is what you recommended. OSSC. I was looking at this device. However, I have come across the Epiphan below. Time for more research. Thanks.

 

On 9/23/2022 at 5:02 AM, Needfuldoer said:

Start at the source. If you're just using the regular composite video cables the consoles came with, you're going to get dot crawl. This wasn't too noticeable back in the days of standard def CRT TVs, but blow that up to 55" at 1080 and they'll be very noticeable. If your video adapter has a good comb filter, it can lessen the dot crawl but you'll still take a quality hit. Garbage in, garbage out.

It seems like insanity is just around the corner for me already even though I just started this journey. I was looking at increasing the video quality of the Gamecube, but wanted a solution for all of systems. That might be a fool's errand. Looking into dot crawl and analog capture. Thanks.

                                     "Linux is only free if your time has no value." ~Jamie Zawinski

"Peaches" CPU 10900k // Heatsink Liquid Freezer II 280 // GPU EVGA 2080 Super XC // MB z490 Vision D // RAM Corsair Vengeance 80GB 3600 // PSU Corsair RMx 850 // OS 2x Intel 660p 2TB NVMe // Monitor Half 8k // VR Vive Index // Mouse Naga 2020 // Keyboard Ducky Shine 7 // Fedora 34 i3wm / Windows 10

"HTPC" CPU 3900x // Heatsink D15 // GPU GTX 980 // MB Tuf x570 Plus // RAM Corsair Vengeance 16GB 3600 // PSU Corsair RMx 850 // OS Kingston 460GB SSD // Monitor 4k // VR OG HTC Vive // Fedora 32 i3wm / Windows 10

"Dell p690 3U Blade, Totally Not a Shitty Desktop Server" CPU 2700k // Heatsink Stock // GPU EVGA GTX 970 // MB Yes // RAM Vengeance 16GB DDR3 // Monitor xrdp // VR Google Cardboard // OS Kingston 480GB // Not Porn 4TB Spinner // Fedora 31
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