Adventures in Hauppauge Capture (32022)

Someday, someone may experience these bizarre events. Hopefully, they will find my notes useful.

So I’ve been experimenting with the Hauppauge Capture which is the software you use for capturing (in this case Wii footage – using component cables) from your Hauppauge device, which includes mine, the HD PVR 2 GE+.

Actually, I imagine you can use a few different programs to capture, but this seems to be the purpose-built one. Feel free to tell me if you’ve found something else. I haven’t tried the other bundled one, (ARCSoft?) since I have a video editor I’m already very happy about (KDEnlive).

I was actually pretty excited by the new version and its promise of Multiple Audio Tracks after finding that recording separately with Audacity would have the two recordings slowly wander out of sync. Multiple Audio Tracks is where the produced video file has multiple audio tracks with each track from a different source. Which is a very good idea; you can line up the microphone’s audio with the game audio by dropping the produced file onto audacity, or at least, that’s how it would work in my workflow. In the end it is not usable for me. The sound doesn’t wander out of sync anymore – which is great, but it didn’t keep recording the microphone for the entirety of the video. Half-way through it started recording the game audio on the track for the microphone. So I had two tracks (it actually records three, but I’m uninterested in PC audio, so that track just ends up being silent), but whilst at first it was from the mic, about half-way through the video it suddenly became another copy of the game audio, albeit louder than the mic audio track. This happened around the 4gb mark which is perhaps relevant and may be a hidden limitation accidentally built into the program (FAT32 has a 4gb file size limit). If that were the only problem of course, I would simply keep the file size’s under 4gb. However, there were also some other sound artefacts on the mic track that are not there when recording outside of the software – occasionally, the mic would become overly loud and all the way through you could hear the game audio twice, once as picked up by the mic as expected and another more delayed version of the game audio (the computer was on mute in case you were thinking I was picking up the capture program’s delayed sound from the PC).

So multiple track recording was out. But I’d still like to use the latest version of course, which leads me to the next bit.

The software previously let you set the quality and codec of the encoded audio (sadly, it doesn’t let you pick anything lossless – I’d rather preserve as much quality as I can than disk space and I’m used to FRAPs eating up tons of space), however, that has gone away since the software has supported Multiple Audio Tracks. So where you used to be able to select aac and HE-aac, you are stuck with the default MPEG1-Layer 2 (mp2). You’ve all heard of mp3? Well, mp2 is what preceded it. It isn’t a fantastic codec needing a pretty high bitrate to start being transparent (i.e. where you can’t tell that it isn’t the source). There doesn’t appear to be any appreciable way to change the bitrate, but actually the aac bitrate option will change the bitrate of the captured mp2 track or tracks too. In fact, the lowest bitrate option is the highest one. Setting the aac bitrate to 32kbps will result in a bitrate of 384kbps which is pretty high. Not sure why this is, but if I had to guess it would be a side-effect of the bitrate not being recognised by the encoder which then goes to a default which happens to be very high. If you’re thinking that the 256kbps highest bitrate is sufficient remember that unless you’re literally taking the .TS file and uploading it chances are you’ll be transcoding that mp2 data into another format and you’ll be throwing out more of the original data – using the export mp4 option will transcode from the original to mp2, to aac, then Youtube or whatever site you’re using will transcode it again – and that’s not including any editing you do. Anyway, it’s a shame the other options have gone for no reason I can discern. If you can’t do multiple tracks in aac as the hardware wasn’t built to support it then you could at least have the option when multiple tracks are disabled.

The other small issues were the game volume slider is always at zero even though it records fine and you can set the volume, and the sharpness slider doesn’t appear to do anything.

I think I may revert to the version of the software that does not support Multiple Tracks so I can use higher-end codecs again, but I’d love to use the feature. I can only hope Hauppauge concentrate on this first before adding more new features.

I’ll also reach out to Hauppauge themselves in case they wish to look into some of these issues or comment.

p.s. How come sometimes the default isn’t the … default? For example, Microphone Audio defaults to -50ms, then you hit reset to defaults and it changes to 0ms. The H264 profile is set to high by default despite there also being a ‘default’. Stuff like that.

The Hauppauge people got back to me.

“Thanks for the link. A few comments:

– Sony Vegas, a popular video editor used by many of our customers, cannot
accept AAC in a TS file (TS is an AVCHD transport stream, which is the
native video format used by the encoder chip inside the HD PVR 2).
Therefore, to make sure our customers can edit with Vegas, the default audio
format of HD PVR 2 is MPEG 1 layer 2.
– we will be adding a direct to MP4 record format which will use AAC audio.
Look for this in the next few weeks.
– we are looking into the other comments you made regarding the ‘stickiness’
of the default settings and your other comments.

We appreciate the time you spent in writing this up. It is very helpful!

The Front Desk
Hauppauge Computer Works, Inc.”