Budget HDMI Video Capture Card for OBS Studio
As part of the project “Live video streaming: low budget studio with OBS” I was looking for a cheap HDMI capture card to use video signals from cameras and laptops as a video source on a PC with OBS Studio. Common brands and types are often quite expensive, the cheapest budget HDMI capture cards go for 60 to 80 euros. Until recently on my favorite Chinese webshop, Banggood came across a number of new copies, the cheapest of which costs just 10 euros.
The device in question is an aluminum USB dongle (USB 2) with a full-size HDMI input. A USB-A to USB-C adapter is included, as well as a user manual. Drivers are not required, the dongle is automatically recognized and supported. There is no brand name on the packaging or in the manual, but sometimes the dongle is sold under brand names such as “GOODAN” or “BlueAVS”.
The specifications according to the different websites are as follows:
- HD Resolution: Max input can support 3840×[email protected] / 4K
- Video Output Resolution: Max output can be 1920×[email protected]
- Video Input Format: 8 / 10 / 12-bit Deep Color
- Video Output Mode: YUV / JPEG
- Support Audio Format: L-PCM
And also the following comments:
- Support most acquisition software, such as VLC, OBS, Amcap, etc .;
- Support Windows, Android and Mac;
- Comply with USB video UVC specifications;
- Conforms to USB audio UAC specifications;
Whether this is all correct, we will see in this blog.
These capture cards have not gone unnoticed in the live video streaming scene. EposVox, among others, has made a video about it in which he tests the device. In it, he also quotes Arsenio Dev, who opens the dongle to see what exactly is inside.
Got one of those "camlink" USB converters because I was curious about em, and WHOAH I was shocked. UVC output, 20ms delay and signal looks to be properly grabbing [email protected] Single chip solution under a small sink and costs under $20. What in the heck is this. pic.twitter.com/J7HYM3cf3M
— Arsenio Dev (@Ascii211) June 4, 2020
They (and many others on YouTube) come to the conclusion that this video capture adapter offers a lot of value for money, and is not inferior to more expensive comparable devices from famous brands.
Of course, to see if the dongle I received from Banggood is the same, I had to open it.
It not only looks the same on the outside but is also identical on the inside. It is even slightly newer, the PCB shows version 1.6 of 22-05-2020. Then quickly screw it back together and see how this device performs in practice.
Budget HDMI video capture card in practice
Installing in Windows 10 is easy. As soon as you connect the dongle, it is automatically recognized and is ready for use after a few seconds. In “device manager” you will see it under “Cameras” as “USB Video”.
When you open the Windows 10 Camera app, you should see the dongle’s color bars as long as nothing is plugged into the HDMI input.
In OBS Studio you can then add the dongle to a Scene as a “Video capture device”. Then choose the device “USB Video” and use the following settings:
- Resolution/FPS type: Custom
- Resolution: 1920×1080
- FPS: 30
- Video format: MJPEG
- Color space: 709
- Color range: Partial
- Check “Use custom audio device“
- Audio device: USB Digital Audio
An alternative to webcams during COVID-19
A video capture card is a useful addition to any (streaming) video studio. Especially now that there is a scarcity of webcams because of Corona (COVID-19) and prices are often much higher than normal, it can also be an interesting alternative to a normal USB camera. With a capture card (or “frame grabber”) you can use other cameras with a video output as a webcam, for example, a DSLR, (GoPro) action cam, digital compact camera or handycam.
Set this up, but it’s showing the Canon camera/menu information on screen. How can I turn this off?
Also, getting black bars around the image. I can manually crop it, but this doesn’t seem like it should be necessary
Some cameras wont be able to remove that information. Look up “hdmi clean output” and your camera model on google. There would be settings in the menus to do that.
What type of Canon camera are you using? Would this work with a Canon PowerShot A3300IS?
I have a coolpix L820. when i connect the hdmi cable the live view goes away and only shows the photos i have taken. It does not show live video. Some help?