Church Production

Viewcast Osprey 820E Video Capture Card

With numerous features, Osprey 820e could solve a number of video projects in a single solution

By Bill Morrison
October 4, 2013 2:50 pm EST

Topics: Video, Streaming,
Tags: DVI, HD, HDMI, SD, streaming, VGA, video,

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Configuring the 820e with the Wirecast software was the closest thing to plug-n-play I’ve seen in a while.

The Osprey 820e from Viewcast is a dual-input, video capture card capable of ingesting SD and HD analog as well as VGA, HDMI and DVI. It also ships with the SimulStream driver/software that gives you the ability to stream at multiple bit rates—an important factor when you want an HD version and an SD version of the same broadcast.

The Osprey 820e is a PCIe x4 card for a Windows computer. It is only available on a Windows or Linux platform. The card has two channel inputs with enough connectors and adapters to pretty much connect to any HD video signal (HDMI, DVI, etc.). It accepts resolution and frame rates up to and including full 1080p on both ports. But keep in mind that with both channels running full tilt, you will require a pretty beefy computer—something in the way of a dual i7 running 3.4 GHz. It also requires a beefy budget. At upwards of $1,800, this unit is not cheap.

However, with its numerous features, we found the Viewcast Osprey 820e could potentially solve a number of our video projects in a single solution, from a single card slot. Considering its dual SD/HD video ingest functionality as well as the horsepower to stream a broadcast mix, we thought it a no-brainer to try out on our weekend services. Our church streams the broadcast mix coming from the auditorium switcher, as well as capturing another feed for local post-production editing. In our situation, the weekend services are produced by one team and the post production work is done by another. And while the IMAG shot is static for the live audience within the auditorium, we are able to introduce the other camera shots to mix an Internet broadcast of the weekend message. Until now, this broadcast mix was simply captured and pushed as a video podcast of the service. With the Osprey 820e, however, we are now able to stream this broadcast mix to smaller, single-screen satellite locations while capturing directly to a non-linear editing computer. This helps us skip another step in our workflow that requires multiple file transfers from compact flash (CF) card capture device to an editing workstation.

More uses

Our other, less conventional situation involves the use of a portable video cart used to capture and stream a multi-camera HD broadcast of certain mid-week classes held at our church. We found a cost-effective solution using Telestream’s Wirecast live streaming production software, and the capture capabilities of the Osprey 820e. In our situation, the Osprey 820e is connected to two Canon HDV cameras sitting on pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) tripod heads with remote controls. The Osprey 820e then passes both camera feeds to the Wirecast software for live switching between HD signals. Configuring the 820e with the Wirecast software was the closest thing to plug-n-play I’ve seen in a while.

The result is a visually engaging video mix of a series of mid-week classes delivered live to students who are unable to meet live either due to schedule or distance. The ability to watermark and to incorporate closed captioning (CC), as well as video enhancements, adds to the flexibility of the 820e.

And in addition to the live web stream of the class, the switched video was also being captured locally at a higher quality so productions of classes can be further refined in post-production. Using our new video production cart, a single operator is now able to capture, switch and stream a multi-camera class or message.

Parting impressions

The more we used this unit, the more we realized how many other uses might be possible. The capabilities that are included with the Osprey 820e means that this can be used for everything from a stand-alone, single-camera broadcast/capture to a full-on broadcast component in a larger video system. There may be less-expensive ways to achieve the same results (numerous connection options, frame-rate and bit-rate options, etc.), but if you need an all-in-one solution, this unit certainly delivers.

While it is easy to get lost in the details with the number of options available in Viewcast’s Osprey line of capture cards (there are a dozen different models in all different price ranges), we found the Osprey 820e an excellent performer. We wish it were available in a Mac version. But for Windows-based churches, it should be on your short list of video capture/streaming solutions.


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