What is the Epiphan VGA2USB LR?

I recently purchased a Epiphan VGA2USB LR to record presentation video from workshops where multiple people present during the day.

This device is a frame grabber, it takes the VGA input from the computer and makes images, in fact it makes so many images that one can record video at 30 frames per second depending on the resolution.

I have found this device very nice to use with Camtasia.

The particular things I like are:

  • No software needs to be installed on the presentation laptop (this is huge!)
  • The ability to record what is being presented including software demos and videos (most local sw can’t record wmv video)
  • The ability to record a computer without impacting the computer itself, from a performance point of view (local screen recording can be compute intensive)
  • Can record wireless audio on a separate laptop

Here is how the video part is connected, speaker audio can be input to the recording laptop (Computer in this picture) via USB or Mic input.

Here is a youtube video of recording using the VGA2USB LR and Camtasia:

Direct youtube link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_qDaeeteRw

If you want a in depth review of this little device, check out this blog post by Victor, it even contains a device teardown to see whats inside.

Enjoy!

– Dom

Record in 3’s

One of the challenges of recording any kind of content (video or audio) to be distributed on the internet or a intranet is getting a good natural sounding “take”.

I came across this nice Camtasia audio article by Lon Naylor on capturing multiple attempts of the same audio to get a really natural “take” to be mixed or added to a longer audio sequence later.  The included youtube video is a great example of this (I’ve also included this video below).  The video also shows great microphone and pop filter placement.

This makes a lot of sense, once a person reads a script and gets comfortable with the content or phrase, repeating it will sound more natural the next time (also any nuances or word emphasis would be worked out by hearing yourself).  By the 3rd attempt it should sound good.

Thanks for the article and pointer to the youtube video Lon.

Enjoy!

– Dom

Direct link to video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t926G1FFzL4

Conexant HD SmartAudio 221

Just a quick post on this to help out others who use only the sound card on their laptops for recording audio.

I discovered today with my new Lenovo W500 (Win XP based) and using Audacity & Camtasia Studio 7, that the sound recorded sounded less than ideal (seemed to be missing some audio due to a bad sampling setting).  The output files sounded equally as bad.

Now, I’m a fan of using a USB connected microphone or mixer (like the Centrance MicPort Pro & Alesis MiltiMix 8 USB) to avoid this type of problem.  It allows me to use my professional (XLR connected) microphones like the Shure PGX wireless mic and Shure Beta 58A.  But when I’m traveling on the road, I like keeping my setup simple, so I use the laptop and a Plantronics .Audio 470 USB Stereo Headset (sometimes with and without the USB connector).

I checked the drivers for the sound card using Device Manager, and what came with the laptop was the “Conexant High Definition SmartAudio 221” at version 3.53.0.0, this was the first release of this audio driver.  With any version 1.0 software, drivers included, there is a higher likeliness of software bugs or settings not set properly since there is little customer feedback before release.

The current version of the Conexant audio driver is on the Lenovo support website here.  At the time of this writing it was at version 3.64.10.51.

I updated to the current version and the bad sampling problem went away.  It also changed the device name to “Conexant 20561 SmartAudio HD”.

Hope this was useful for those using the microphone port on the laptop to record audio.

– Dom