My experiments with Game Capture Card

I have been playing on my Nintendo switch for a long time now and have thought about recording my gameplay for reference. Past few days I have been reading about how to do game streaming and / or recording.

I found a lot of interesting things and a simplified way to achieve my goal. This blog post documents the entire journey along with the solution I am using right now its limitations.

Problem Statement:

So let’s first outline what we are trying to achieve here.

Record Gameplay from my Nintendo Switch console. Either for live streaming purposes or for recording and uploading it to YouTube or likes later.

Hunt for solution

Let’s work these backwords.

a. Where would the recording / streaming go online?

The options at this point become twitch or YouTube.

Nintendo Switch only allows 30 seconds of recording at a time. It doesn’t support uploading to YouTube or twitch natively. So We need an intermediatory that can help me with this.

b. Where would I record the video?

The intermediatory that I talked about has to support recording / streaming to twitch/YouTube, and a laptop / PC is the perfect fit in that scenario. Looking at software’s that can help in this case OBS Studio stands on top of all other options. Did I mentioned its free and open-source also? Did I mention I have one of those cursed MacBook with only thunderbolt / usb c type ports? ya, it will come into play later.

c. How do I bring the feed to my laptop

This part was way more tricky than I could imagine. My initial thoughts were if I just connect USB C of switch to USB C of my laptop, things would just work. But it doesn’t work that way. So that’s where my google search started and eventually brought me to the wonderful world of Game capture cards. Based on my understanding and reading, the recommended way looks like below.

However, the options available as a game capture card are just too expensive like the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S even the cheapest option for these configs I could find was Csecurity 4k Video Capture Box.

At this point I looked at OBS and realized I can actually make use of my attached secondary monitor if i can get the feed from switch to my laptop.

So I tweaked the setup a bit and zeroed in on this setup

In this I would create a scene with required elements in OBS and then project as a full screen projector on the other monitor, and this allows me to capture and play in full screen. This second display can be my monitor or a TV anything works.

Now my hunt was for a game capture card, which can give me video capture via HDMI. This bought it down to two options by same brand Oxlaw. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

Remember the fact that my laptop supports Type C / Thunderbolt directly, so I went with this game capture card.

Setup was very easy, OBS picks it directly as an USB 3.0 Capture source & audio as a USB 3.0 audio input source. This now allows me to capture my gameplay. So the first successful run of Hades game I captured is here.

However, all is not good and there are some caveats that we need to be aware of.

  1. It’s an external card capturing the video and 2 layers of processing so output on the display might get sluggish.
  2. I am still fiddling with the setup and I can’t hear the sound right now. It gets captured and stored in recording, but I can’t hear it as of now. I might have a solution for this problem later, but not right now.
  3. It’s a tiny card and quite compact that always worries me about heat issues. I would avoid doing over 3 hours of live streaming or continuous recording via this device.

Edit : 16 April 2021

Found the way to hear the sound as well as record. In advance audio properties you need to select monitoring and output option as shown below.

Disclaimer: All links in this article are for my associate ID, so in case you buy these devices, I get commission from amazon on it.

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