As you know, we've been equipped with a 4K capture card for months now, but things haven't been as easy as we hoped when it comes to providing you with 4K content. We quickly realized that our SSD was not fast enough to record lossless content with Amarec, but while OBS should have given us an alternative, though with compressed footage this time, we were never able to get a smooth result and it didn't make sense. Lossless recording being totally random, with sequences which would be captured correctly and others with missing frames everywhere, we had to go through hell to be able to give you some Horizon: Zero Dawn 4K footage that looked good. With the upcoming release of the new Xbox, we were starting to believe the future of Gamersyde would have to be written without 4K...
Thankfully, a new version of the codec we were using with Amarec was released. We actually didn't know because we had the free version of the codec. Because we had to find out if it could help, we decided to buy the latest version, which benefited to Davton, who had sync issues with the sound on his videos as well as regular crashes when he was using Amarec. The good news is that it also had a positive impact on lossless 4K capture, which is basically how we could share such fantastic footage of WipEout Omega earlier this week. Now we were fully aware that not everything was solved, as some circuits still caused visible drops in the captured file every time there was a bit of grass on the ground. Clearly, the "more basic" geometry of the game along with the absence of foliage most of the time helped us get clean footage.
We then turned to the PC version of RIME, which features natural landscapes that are a bit more complex to capture in very high resolutions. We set up the game as follows: 3840x2160 resolution with a 50% resolution scaling as the game would drop at 30 frames per second in 4K and would suffer from heavy frame pacing issues. Obvisouly, the game itself was not running in 4K, but Amarec was recording in 4K, which was the most important thing for our test to make sense. The short sequence we captured turned out smooth, as proven by the video you will find below. What is proved us was that 4K capture would highly depend on the game and the sequences shown, at least with the SSD we have for the moment. Stating the obvious? Well, yes sure, but we had to be sure the CPU, or anything else, was not to blame.
The next game we tested to see what could be improved in terms of capture performance was DiRT Rally, which runs at 60 frames per seconds in 4K on our rig. The lossless recordings we made confirmed that more complex environments made it too difficult for our SSD to follow, even more at high speed. Just like when we captured Horizon: Zero Dawn, we randomly managed to get smooth footage, but it was obviously not an acceptable situation as leaving things to chance would simply be a waste of our precious time - not to mention that heavily edited footage to hide the missing frames could lead to uninteresting videos, especially in racing games. When Miguel is back from E3, we will try to install one of the 2 SSDs Miguel will use in our newly acquired standalone capture system (that Blim bought with his own money) in the capture PC to see if lossless recording is still an option. Until then, we still wanted to have a back up plan.
As Blim had 30 minutes to spare this afternoon, he thought it was time to understand why OBS would give us such a hard time with compressed capture. Believe it or not, but he seems to have come up with a solution that has almost fixed all the problems we had. You will still see a few drops here and there that are not due to the game (check the Steam counter to be sure), but compared to what we had before, it's simply night and day in terms of smoothness. You can actually compare yourself by checking out one of our livestream replays, all of them having been recorded with OBS. Even in 1080p, the videos were never smooth and it was driving us mad. Now that the releases are going to slow down, we then have plenty of time to make sure that we will be ready when September comes with 4K ready games.
For now, what you can do to help is simply to download the different files and let us know what you think of the video quality, provided your PC can handle the high resolution and framerate. Below, you will also find 3 videos showing what the Shogun Inferno (the standalone capture device we mentioned earlier) is capable of. Hopefully, Miguel will be able to record the conferences in 4K and some direct feed footage of the games he will see next week. Be sure that he will do his best to bring back some high quality content, as usual. Again, we want to thank you all for your support and encouragements, we will do our best not to let you down in the months to come. That's it for now, we'll see you very soon, in 4K, here on Gamersyde.