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Pokemonmaster888: 2020-12-02 01:45:10 am
Pokemonmaster888: 2020-12-01 05:13:26 pm
Fierce Competitor
Hello. I recently have been focusing on making sure my video game recordings are as true to the source intent as possible regarding many things, but the subject for this forum topic is aspect ratio. I have a more "modern" video capture device that records in lower definitions through standard definition (480) up to 1080p (it is the Elgato Game Capture HD). The input from a Wii or GameCube for example is processed (or recognized?) as 720x480 and the Game Capture HD software it can be used with, as well as other recording software like OBS Studio, takes that input and the resulting video is stretched a little due to the input dimensions being wider compared to what is usually seen for these sources (640x480). I don't know if this issue is from the video capture device itself or will be the same for all modern video capture devices, or if it is even a problem on legacy devices that only recorded in 4:3. My question here is about how to record these consoles correctly with the best recording software and if the video capture device itself is the problem here for the aspect ratio issue. The pixel aspect ratio seems to be different than square in these cases as it is set in a resulting video file.

I spent many hours this year looking for information on video game native pixel dimensions outputs, how TVs process them, and how video capture devices process the video signals. I still have not found anything definitive on the clearest way to proceed about recording properly. I am unsure if it is even feasible to define a "correct" aspect ratio or set width and height for video here due to the rendering resolution from consoles versus how it is displayed on a screen. This is why I would like some help on this subject - what should I be aiming for to record in, and how should I set up my systems/equipment to do that? What software program(s) are the best for recording and editing to keep the video game content as true as possible? I am planning on submitting a speedrun here to update my Super Smash Bros. Melee speedrun that I submitted in 2009, and I want to make sure I am doing everything as it should be beforehand. The video file in question for this speedrun has already been adjusted numerous times over the 1.5 years it was made as I had to correct the aspect ratio it was recorded in with some adjustments that seem silly - hence my goal to do this properly from the start so I don't have to waste time or fool around with changing video files again. Help would be appreciated.
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720x480 is traditional for capturing analog video. reason is, with analog video, the horizontal is analog (hence "analog video") rather than digital (which would be pixels). with analog, the video signal is continuously changing from one level of intensity to the next as it moves from left to right across the screen. it can't simply turn off or on - it takes some time to move from one extreme to the other. inside of the two extremes (white and black), it takes a smaller amount of time to change from one level of intensity to another. the smallest "step" in intensity that can be captured by digital capture equipment used to be 8-bit, which means a total of 256 possible levels of intensity (0 being pure black and 255 being pure white). the amount of time it takes the analog signal to change from e.g. intensity level 44 to 45 can be calculated using a formula (called nyquist or something), and it turns out that the signal can change up to 720 times per line. so that's where 720 comes from. if you capture 720 pixels for each analog line then you can be sure you didn't lose any information from the original signal.

640 is simply the width associated with a height of 480 (ntsc analog tv visible lines) in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

back in the day (~2003), before modern video container formats (.mp4), you had to either capture at 640x480 (rare because most capture devices didn't support that) or else scale from 720x480 to 640x480 in order to get the right aspect ratio. nowadays you can just leave the input 720x480 and ask the muxer (which creates the .mp4) to attach "aspect ratio metadata" to the output file that instructs the playback software to scale the video as it's playing it back. this way you can preserve a little bit more of the original information in the source video, which could be helpful if you are viewing the output video in fullscreen on something larger than a 640x480 screen (as almost all are today). of course in the case of speedruns, you are capturing a signal from a game console that only runs at a maximum 640 pixels width to begin with, so the 720 pixels is overkill. but if you ask me, it doesn't make much difference either way. the 720 number is only a *theoretical* maximum anyway, like if you had pure gold cables and were capturing in a nuclear bunker or something.

anyway, that's the theory. the practice is: capture at 720x480 (or 640x480 if you can, doesn't matter), drag the file into yua, check the aspect ratio box (4:3), make sure the interlacing settings are correct, and then encode. if you have any further questions i'd be glad to clarify.
Fierce Competitor
Thanks nate, this helped shed some light on the subject. I'd prefer to have the video file be presented in 640x480, 4:3 for standard definition games that run at that resolution (or a close/exact 4:3 value for older systems with their native resolutions that are in the range of 320x240 and such). I like keeping the content just like you would generally see it when displayed on a TV/monitor. If I did want to ensure this, what is the best way to do it via recording and/or editing after recording? As of now I use Avidemux to remove the video file's borders it is recorded with, resize the result to 584x480 (seems to be a resolution various GCN/Wii games run at internally, as an example), and then add borders to the left and right to get that to 640x480.

I looked through SDA today and familiarized myself more with a bunch of hardware/game knowledge, as well as some other software programs out there like AmarecTV. For recording/editing, there seem to be numerous programs that do a lot of the same tasks. If you could recommend the best combination of software (least amount of programs needed) to do recording/editing, what would they be? Some software is indeed a bit older versus newer programs out there, which is why I am unsure what I need. I currently use Avidemux for editing/encoding, and I of course looked at Yua which seems good in general (apart from SDA-specific usage). This seems to be an issue of many programs available to use and not knowing what I really need for my purposes. I've tried VirtualDub and HandBrake in the past but they both had specific problems for my use-cases that caused me to look for other programs. Avidemux works as I want, but it is not recording software. Also, when I submit files for my next speedrun, I'll provide the raw (mp4) file as well for reference.
this is a hard question for me to answer with specifics, unfortunately, as i haven't done analog video capture in many years. you seem to be farther along than i am in familiarity with the software that's out there right now. for what it's worth, when i stream and/or capture nowadays, i use obs, which seems pretty well done for my use case, with the caveat that i've not once used it with analog video. your goal is to get obs to save raw 720x480 interlaced video (it will be 29.97 fps, approximately, for now).

i think for display on anything *other* than analog tv, since you're capturing a d1 game at 720x480, the sequence of steps is always the same:

1. capture raw video in obs or similar
2. since the game runs at ~60 fps (called "f1" at sda), deinterlace by splitting the fields into separate frames and reconstructing the missing lines (yua does this for you, and i think it's likely that there is at least one deinterlacing filter like this in avidemux as well) -> now the video will be 720x480 59.94 fps
3. scale to 640x480 (must happen after deinterlacing unless you have an interlacing-aware deinterlacer, which is hard to verify in my experience) -OR- specify 4:3 as the aspect ratio in the output container file's metadata (again, yua does this for you)

then you will have something that looks like what you saw on analog tv, except displayed digitally, to the greatest extent possible given the considerable differences between the two systems.

if i may make a suggestion, moving over to component capture would remove the deinterlacing step entirely and dramatically increase the quality of the final video, especially brightness/contrast and color. you have an advantage capturing melee in that you can run it on a wii which supports component output natively. the only complication is the capture device which may not support sd capture over component. but i think the game capture hd does since i'm pretty sure i used it to capture the most recent round of videos for metroid 2002, and those i did with component.

as you say, providing the raw file to us at sda (in addition to taking your best shot at encoding your run yourself) greatly decreases the chances of something going wrong in the process.
Fierce Competitor
I do use progressive scan technology to play and record video game videos. I have not recorded in the interlaced format in years. I'll keep in mind what you said here regarding the scaling alteration from 720x480 to 640x480. I haven't recorded in uncompressed format in a long time though since the file sizes are so large. I'll have to pinpoint a good way to record in that format without having unbelievably large files.
oh, glad to hear it!

back in the day, people attacked the huge file size problem by using lossless video codecs like huffyuv or lagarith. i think lossless x264 started to replace those as cpu speeds increased and hardware encoding started to come in. i think when i used the game capture hd, it actually output h.264, but i was also using the software that came with the device rather than obs, which might give you more flexibility in terms of output formats. either way works - the quality is probably indistinguishable.