I wrote a while ago that I was disappointed with the built-in image capture from the PS3 on LittleBigPlanet, so I started digging through my box of goodies to see what I could find. I found an old PCI, Rage-based ATI All-in-wonder card that I've never been able to get supported under Windows XP (it has a Brooktree chipset, but not one of the common 8XX versions, so it's almost impossible to find current drivers for). I chucked it back in there and kept rummaging, but couldn't find anything.

Then yesterday, the GPU fan on my wife's Radeon card died, so she replaced it with my old Matrox G450 for the time being (all she does is work anyway, and in unrelated news she also discovered the joys of dual head displays) and in the process she yanked out her old capture card that's from around 1995.

dangerouslycheezypodI've had mixed success with this card. It's a Brooktree 848 card with two S-Video inputs on it, so I installed a generic BT8XX driver and tried various cards to get it working, but I've only ever been able to get it working in black and white. Well yesterday I finally figured out why.

It seems that this particular BT848 card has support for four discrete input signals, so it uses two for each S-video connector (chrominance and luminance, ie "color" and "brightness") and then the driver (which I don't have any more) does some funky ninja in software to merge the two together into a single picture. The generic driver (linked above) simply treats it as a card with 4 composite inputs, as a result it only grabs the luminance and tries to pretend it's a composite video signal, which results in a black and white signal (as evidenced by the video capture from my B-Trigger example video being in B+W).

So I cut up a perfectly good S-video cable and mucked about with an old DVD player, and I finally deduced that I could run two S-Video cables into the card, the chrominance of each input being two composite video inputs, and the luminance being two composite video inputs, which results in full color captures. Huzzah! I then cut up the video cable my dog chewed up from my old PS2, connected it to one pair of the S-video cable I cut up, ran a 3.5mm plug for audio, and presto! Full color capture with audio.

The downside? Composite video doesn't look so great at PS3 resolutions, but you couldn't tell because the card works at a native 352x240 anyway. Asking it to do more results in weird firmware-based de-interlacing which looks nasty in any kind of fast motion.

So the results are a little mixed. See screenshot above left, and my example video capture of LittleBigPlanet. Considering it didn't cost me a cent though, the results are okay. I'll spend some money on a decent capture card later. :D

Montpelier, IN 47359, USA fwaggle

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