The calling cry of the Razer's brand new capture card was that it was disgustingly simple to setup and install. If only that was true.
I've been mucking around with a review unit of the Razer Ripsaw which, as Mike discovered, is basically the same as AverMedia's Live Gamer Extreme. AverMedia's box doesn't cost anywhere near as much as Razer's, of course, although the upside of the Ripsaw is that it's meant to work flawlessly with Open Broadcaster Software and XSplit.
Except it doesn't — at least not with OBS.
OBS has been a staple on my video recording rig at home for years. It's an excellent piece of software and has only grown in leaps and bounds over the years. It makes a lot of sense for Razer to just support that rather than building their own streaming/recording solution in-house.
But the software is slowly being revamped. Last year the developers behind the open-source tool began publishing OBS Studio, a "complete rewrite" of the original software. It's designed to make it easier to add features to OBS over time, improve support for things like SLI and Crossfire, operating systems beyond Windows, and so forth.
Not everything's been ported over from the Classic build, however. Once you've plugged in the Razer Ripsaw and installed the Razer Synapse drivers — which Razer could advertise a little more clearly — you'll have to add the Ripsaw as a video capture device within OBS.
From there, you'll have to configure the Razer Ripsaw to get the colour and sound settings right. The colour settings might take some tweaking before you get it right, and there's always the consideration of what you'll need as a streamer against what's appropriate for local recordings.
The sound's the real killer too. In OBS Classic the Razer Ripsaw settings look like this:
And in OBS Studio — the program that Razer recommends all Ripsaw users download:
I've scrolled down so you can see the last audio option, which is the important one. The default setting on both versions of OBS is for the Ripsaw to capture sound only, rather than exporting it to your speakers.
The capturing part is bugged in OBS Studio though — unless you change the output mode to "Output desktop audio", OBS Studio won't pick up any sound at all. OBS Classic works without a hitch, although with either program the sound is fairly quiet (although you can fix that up in Sony Vegas/Premiere before encoding).
It's a touch frustrating given that Razer are promoting the Ripsaw — which is absurdly expensive at $329.95 — as a hassle-free, easy to use product. Here's their video pitch, for reference.
Note the video didn't mention you have to install the Razer Synapse software for the drivers.
And this is just the little tips and tweaks to get everything right with a console. (And don't forget disabling HDCP if you're using a PS4!) Recording on PC is a little easier, although if you're a streamer who wants to use their 144hz monitor with the 60hz Ripsaw then there are a few hurdles you'll need to overcome. (How you're supposed to manage things if you stream or record from your gaming PC, Razer hasn't really outlined yet.)
For now, I've simply had to clone my main monitor onto the Ripsaw. Razer's advice suggested extending, but that involved dragging the OBS window to a virtual desktop — that I couldn't see. Another bonus for NVIDIA users: make sure your monitors are set to display the full dynamic range in your video colour settings, otherwise everything is going to look washed out and you'll be confused as all buggery. (See here.)
Needless to say, it's a good lesson for everyone: no matter what anyone says, streaming and recording is a slightly more tricky process than what manufacturers would have you believe. Doing the hard yards and learning how to use software like XSplit or OBS is always better in the long run, especially if this kind of content creation is something you'd like to explore on a long-term basis.
But don't pretend it's as simple as plugging in two or three cables and hitting a button. It isn't, and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit.