Connect video cameras to a computer
How to Connect a video cameras to a computer.
We get asked this question almost every day.
The question starts by expressing interest in Finncast Studio and a question “how do I connect my video cameras to your software?”
The answer, you can connect the cameras in many ways, by using fire-wire cards, video capture cards, NDI cameras over the local network, ip cameras or simply using webcams.
This all boils down to your budget on how you will connect video cameras to your computer. If you a solo broadcaster making videos for YouTube with a small budget, perhaps a Full HD webcam is more than enough. There are so many excellent HD webcams on the market today.
If you want to spend more money to connect video cameras to your computer and have a really good high-quality camera a video capture card is probably the best way. Video capture cards come as external cards and internal cards. External video capture cards usually connect via a USB cable into your computer.
Decklink USB Shuttle is a good choice of an external video capture card.
The shuttle is an external video capture card and can be connected to a Desktop/Tower computer and a laptop.
Decklink Studio Pro 4k card
Some computers come with a fire wire port.
You can buy firewire cards such as the 4 Port PCI 1394a Firewire Adapter Card
When we speak about how you connect video cameras to a computer using video capture cards, we are not just referring to cameras. Think video signal instead of video camera, as this sort of thinking will give you so much more options.
A video capture card has a video input waiting to receive a video signal. The video signal is from some sort of video output, i.e. your camera outputs a video signal and so does your computer, your TV, gaming console like Xbox/PlayStation, some smart phones, tablets, video projectors and so on.
To simplify a video output, it is the devices outputs visual (what the end user will see) you want to display.
You can already see the more options you have when you understand video inputs & video outputs.
We also get asked the question, can I run Skype / Power point in your from a video capture card? Yes, is the answer, of course. If you have a video capture card, you can connect a computer to one of the video inputs on the capture card and then open Skype on the other computer.
As you may have noticed we have used the words video input and output, this can cause confusion for some people of which is the input, and which is the output. The video input, is an input for example on a video capture card which receives a video signal and uses that signal to either capture or display the video or do both. Let’s break this down a little more, you have a Desktop computer and you have a monitor which are connected by some sort of cable, like a VGA or HDMI.
The computer has a graphics card (not the same as video capture card) which outputs a video signal or if you like the graphics card has an output & some cards have maybe two or more output types like VGA, DVI, RCA, TV/S, HDMI giving more connection options.
The computer monitor has a video input for receiving the video output from the computer (computers graphics card output) and the monitor will display the video signal on screen. Most computer monitors today will have a few input types allowing for more options on receiving the video signal.
There are times when you may have a video capture card that may only have a video input the does not match the output on your device such as a camera. It is useful when the cameras video output and the video capture card video input have matching connection i.e. an SDI connection which is usually found on High Definition cameras.
However, there are more times that the output on your device will not match the input on your video capture card. And remember video in/outputs are the connections.
This is not a big issue, there are many leads/cable & video converters available that allow converting from one video signal connection type to another. For example, SDI to HDMI, or VGA to HDMI & so on.
Now that we have talked about video capture cards and devices one thing that should not be over looked is video resolution. Having a HD or 4K camera and a video capture card that is only standard NTSC which is only 720×480 may not give you the result you want, but it will work.
It will all boil down to a few things like your budget, your audience, or simply just a descent looking picture. If your video footage is for an online audience standard definition may well be acceptable and remember a lot of computers / smart phone & tablets do not have 4k resolution yet! as standard and if they did, the end user may chew up their metered data streaming 4k footage.
If your video footage can capture an audience because of its content, no one is going to be complaining about standard definition 720/576 pal 720/480 ntsc and most likely will not even notice or even know or care.
If you are starting out in video production, purchasing very expensive high-quality equipment may not be a good idea as your project business may not succeed and you will be left with a big bill for great equipment usually used by well-established video production companies & television stations.
It would be like starting a business & buying a 20-storey building with expansion in mind. You build on success or if you like you grow your business at the right stages.
This is why Finncast has developed high quality and very affordable software for video production & live streaming that can be used at all levels of your success, it is like they are giving you the 20-storey building for the price of 1 floor. They know the market has changed hugely with the success of online video streaming & video content on YouTube, Vlogging and all other areas & people are just simply not camera shy anymore. Before it was for the television companies now it is for anyone even an individual. And many people are making a great living on their produced video content. We all know of success stories on Tech reviews, make-up reviews, even ASMR videos are hitting millions of views for a single video.
So, breaking it down to be professional within a budget. Get yourself A good camera, a video capture card, a computer a copy of Finncast Studio and you are ready to produce and even live stream to the world. And if you are not broadcasting live you can even use your phone camera to record and then edit/produce in Finncast at a later stage.