Roxio Game Capture doesn’t just let you record video of your own gaming exploits – it also comes with the software to chop up clips and weave them together with transitions, effects and text overlays. The included software suite is careful to keep the capture and editing halves separate, although any clips just captured are easily accessible one you switch to the VideoWave video editor.
The interface is set out like a storyboard, letting you drag clips into slots linked together with transitions. On top of this, you can add music – which doesn’t have to replace the sound captured from your console – text, overlaid images and plenty of effects. It’s surprisingly flexible too, as each of these elements can be as long or short in duration as you like. Each isn’t tied to the length of a specific clip.
There’s a definite learning curve, especially if you’ve never used a video editing program before, but we found ourselves starting to get to grips with it within 15 minutes or so. Check out our demo video of 2D Boy’s World of Goo on the first page of this review to see some effects in action. With a bit of effort, it’d be easy to surpass the quality of most YouTube uploaders – and perhaps even match the quality of professional gaming publications (non-HD content aside) if you put in a little artistic flair. What’s more, creating your own mini-movies from your gaming vids can be fun too. The software doesn’t offer the power of a pro-quality editing suite, but its toybox-like approach works well.
However, it’s far from perfect. Even with a reasonably speedy desktop PC equipped with a half-decent gaming graphics card, the software chugs frequently. It’s at its worst when you’re browsing through the effects roster, when it occasionally slows down to a painful crawl. To give the editing suite its due, effects are rendered in real-time in the preview window, but we’re sure overall performance could have been significantly improve with some simple tweaks.
The Roxio Game Capture is essentially a tailored capture card. Its key feature is that it effectively splits the signal, sending it to both your TV in HD (if available) and to your computer over USB in 480p resolution. However, it also diminishes the quality available to you. Using the box’s outputs you’re limited to 1080i resolution and stereo sound. This zaps away some of the gadget’s convenience factor, when most hardcore gamers are unlikely to be happy “making do” with this level of quality for general gaming sessions.
It is also possible to get similar results going down the do-it-yourself route. Component video splitters can be bought online for less than £10, and component capture USB sticks less than £30. To get better results than you’d achieve with the Roxio Game capture, you need to spend a fair bit more. The Hauppauge HD PVR will let you record in 1080i HD and pass-through optical audio and an HD signal back to your TV, but costs around £155 – almost double the Roxio solution. How much do your golden gaming moments mean to you?
The Roxio Game Capture device is the neatest solution for PS3 and Xbox 360 gameplay capture at the price, but it’s not without serious drawbacks. You can only record in 480p, and using its outputs rules-out 5.1 audio. However, if you’re willing to draw a line between your normal gaming sessions and your recorded sessions, and alter your setup between them, this will come up with some good-quality results.
The bundled video editing suite is fun-to-use and flexible for what’s almost a freebie, but minimal optimisation means it struggles to run smoothly on reasonably powerful PCs – a surprise when the content being edited isn’t even HD. However, to get significantly better results you have to spend roughly double the price.