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Product Review - Elgato Video Capture Unit

19th December 2011; By Patrick

The Elgato Video Capture Unit by Elgato Systems is not designed specifically for use with Nintendo systems. It is not even designed for use with video games. "Why are they reviewing it, then?" you might ask. The answer is this: it promises a practical and simple way to record footage from anything with a standard video output cable, from DVD players to Wii's; the latter of which we will be focusing on.

The first thing I will put forth is the price. The unit does not come cheap. The unit costs $100 in North American regions, which is not a frivolous purchase. This review will ultimately tackle one question. Is this device worth the investment if you are interested in recording gameplay footage?

The device itself is relatively sturdy and sleek, being a simple rectangle with the expected cables coming out of both ends. Dropping the unit 20 feet to a hard floor did absolutely no damage, so the device will certainly last you a long time. The package contains the unit, and two pieces of included software. The first software, simply called Elgato Video Capture, is very straightforward, however the recordings don't come out that nice. The framerate is choppy, and the overall quality is pretty poor. Thankfully, the other included software is actually quite good.

CyberLink Power Director 8 is also included, and while slightly out of date, the free inclusion makes the lack of functionality in the other software easily ignorable. Power Director 8 has a host of features, including the ability to record from webcams, other external video sources, and inputs such as the Elgato Video Capture. Once your footage is recorded (or when your pre-made video files have been opened) it will take you to a full editing suite. The editing suite is fully capable software, and is incredibly powerful and diverse, but it maintains its accessibility throughout. Even options such as the soundbooth to adjust audio levels in sections of the video (even down to a millisecond of content) is available, as is the ability to do a voice-over narration.

The following video review shows off the rendering capabilities of the software (with the Wii set to 16:9) alongside what one can do with the software with functions available on the surface:

If you are thinking about getting this for yourself or for someone else, know that the investment is sound as long as they will get use out of it. If you are only looking to do maybe one or two things with it, then it is not worth the entry fee. If you want to use it for an extended period of time, however, it is well worth it indeed.

Review by Patrick

Functionality 8/10 - Build 10/10 - Lifespan 4/5 - Value 3/5
Equivalent to a score of 83% /