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Still playing with the video production! Here’s a bit of behind the scenes.

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Weekly Patreon Only Zoom Call!

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Why Blue Iris is the best NVR!

If you have never heard of Blue Iris it is a network video recorder and security camera management software that give you so much control and “nerd knobs” you won’t know where to start. Some people get overwhelmed with Blue Iris and all the options you have, but if you stick with it you will be happy you did.

I’ve used several different NVRs over the years from barely consumer ready to enterprise. For less than $70, you get a great bang for your buck which is one of the top reasons I think Blue Iris is a great pick for home use and small to medium business. Blue Iris let’s you control up to 64 cameras with a single license! If you go with something like Synology Surveillance Station, while robust and easy to use, you’ll be paying for each additional camera you add to the system.

Here is another example of why I think Blue Iris is the best NVR. A good friend of mine who also happens to be an electrical engineer decided he wanted an easy way for his wife to activate and watch a baby monitor from the kitchen. What he did was setup a Raspberry Pi connected to a foot switch. When his wife would hit the switch, it would boot up the Pi and load up a camera in Blue Iris. The cool part other than the obvious is his use of a technology called MQTT that Blue Iris supports. Another example is let’s say you wanted a light to turn on when you pulled in the driveway but didn’t want to turn on geolocation on your phone. You could set up a motion zone in your driveway that sends an HTTP command to IFTTT that is connected to your Phillips Hue bulbs. The possibilities are endless!

If you haven’t gotten the point already, Blue Iris is a tinker toy. Pretty much if you can think it, you can probably get Blue Iris to do it. It supports FTP backups and Flash and Windows Media Streaming. One of the best things it supports though is its UI3 web interface for viewing and controlling cameras. Blue Iris has worked hard to make the interface smooth and easy to use. See the picture below of the UI3 interface:

Blue Iris UI3 Interface

In short, if you are looking for a great piece of software that it is supported and has regular updates, Blue Iris is the thing for you.

If you are interested in purchasing Blue Iris, click the button below to be brought directly to the Blue Iris secure checkout page.

21 Best Video Capture Cards!

After weeks of research we have compiled a list of the best capture cards available today! This will serve as the ultimate buying guide when searching for this type of tech. These capture cards in particular are HDMI and not SDI or DVI for input. What we learned is that the card you should purchase really depends on the use case. For example, if you looking to live stream for gaming, a faster frame rate will be important but if you are in live event production, resolution might be more beneficial. The links and prices are what they were at the time of this article.

To download the spreadsheet in .xlsx format with product images click HERE.

If you have any questions feel free to comment on this post or watch the accompanying YouTube video HERE.

Video Capture Card NameSpecificationsPriceLinks
Elgato HD60s (USB)Interface: USB 3.0 Input: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U (unencrypted HDMI) Output: HDMI (lag-free pass-through) Supported resolutions: 1080p60, 1080p30, 1080i, 720p60, 720p30, 576p, 576i, 480p Dimensions: 4.4 x 3 x 0.75 in Weight: 3.7 oz Comes with: Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, USB cable, HDMI cable$179.00https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Game-Capture-HD60-PlayStation/dp/B01DRWCOGA
Elgato Cam Link 4K (USB)Supports up to 4K 30p Resolution 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A Connector 1 x HDMI Port Plug-and-Play Design$129.99https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Cam-Link-Broadcast-Camcorder/dp/B07K3FN5MR
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ (USB)
Up to 4k 60p HDR 10 bit Lag free pass through$399.99https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Elgato-Gaming/Capture/Game-Capture/p/10GAP9901
Elgato Game Capture 4K60 Pro MK.2 (PCIe)Immaculate 4K60 HDR10 capture and passthrough Power your workflow with ultra low latency instant gameview technology Enjoy 240 Hz passthrough on your dual PC setup Record unlimited 4K HDR10 footage directly to your hard drive Use flashback recording to save video retroactively$249.00https://www.amazon.com/Elgato-Game-Capture-4K60-MK-2/dp/B07VWXCXM7
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus (USB)Full HD 1080P video Recording: stream and record all your content in full HD at 60 FPS. Zero-lag pass-through video: enjoy playing uncompressed video straight on the PC monitor with No latency. Plug-and-play functionality: offers convenience, Just plug it to your PC, and it’s ready to record and stream. H.264 hardware encoder: with hardware encoding, this device takes load without putting any load on to your CPU. Supports RECentral streaming software: It is a powerful streaming and recording software pack with great functions, such as multi-stream, rich overlays, Chroma key, and more.$139.99https://bestbuy.7tiv.net/G74Gm
AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K (PCIe)4Kp60 High Dynamic Range (HDR) Recording High Frame Rate: Capture up to 240 FPS. 4Kp60 / 1440p144 / 1080p240 Ultra Low latency: Enjoy playing uncompressed video straight on PC monitor with virtually No latency RGB lighting: 3 preset RGB modes Cyber Link PowerDirector 15 included for 4K video editing. OS – Win10 x64$230.00https://www.amazon.com/AVerMedia-GC573-Live-Gamer-4K/dp/B07DHSZC4K
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini (USB)Full HD 1080P video Recording: stream and record all your content in full HD at 60 FPS. Zero-lag pass-through video: enjoy playing uncompressed video straight on the PC monitor with No latency. Plug-and-play functionality: offers convenience, Just plug it to your PC, and it’s ready to record and stream. H.264 hardware encoder: with hardware encoding, this device takes load without putting any load on to your CPU. Supports RECentral streaming software: It is a powerful streaming and recording software pack with great functions, such as multi-stream, rich overlays, Chroma key, and more.$159.00https://www.amazon.com/AVerMedia-Live-Gamer-Mini-Recording/dp/B07R6P2JJR
Razer Ripsaw (USB)4K 60 fps pass-through for uninterrupted, smooth gameplay for uninterrupted, smooth gameplay Full HD 1080P at 60 FPS for powerful streaming performance for powerful streaming performance Hemi 2. 0 & USB 3. 0 Connectivity for zero latency output and maximum details 3. 5 mm audio cable for easy, software-free setup for easy, software-free setup Full audio MIXING capabilities for hassle-free Audio management for hassle-free Audio management Other Supported Resolutions: 2160p, 1080p, 1440p30fps , 720p, 480p$160.00https://bestbuy.7tiv.net/bYr2v
Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle (Thunderbolt/USB)Thunderbolt capture and playback in HDMI and analog Works with compressed or uncompressed video Captures full HD images with 1920 x 1080 pixels for every video frame DVD and Blu-ray authoring – Create QuickTime and AVI video files that are fully compatible with editing and DVD authoring software Works with all leading streaming software so you can capture video in the highest possible quality before applying a single form of compression that suits delivery over the web$300.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/842013-REG/Blackmagic_Design_BINTSSHU_THBOLT_Intensity_Shuttle_with_Thunderbolt.html
Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder (USB/Thunderbolt)Video Input Connectors 1 x HDMI Female 1 x BNC (3G-SDI) Female Input Video Format HDMI (10-Bit 4:4:4/4:2:2/4:2:0) 1080p: 23.98/24/25/29.97/30 fps  1080PsF: 23.98/24/25/29.97/30 fps  1080i: 50/59.94/60 fps  720p: 50/59.94/60 fps  SDI (8/10-Bit 4:2:2 YUV) 1080p: 23.98/24/25/29.97/30 fps  1080PsF: 23.98/24/25/29.97/30 fps  1080i: 50/59.94/60 fps  720p: 50/59.94/60 fps  PAL: 50 fps  NTSC: 60 fps  Input Audio Format Analog: 48 kHz / 24-Bit$145.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892453-REG/Blackmagic_Design_bdlkulsdzminrec_Ultrastudio_Mini_Recorder.html
Blackmagic Design DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder Capture Card (PCIe)PCI Express 8 Lane Generation 3 (Compatible with 8 and 16 Lane PCI Express Slots) 8 x Embedded (HD and SD) DCI 4K: 4K: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 UHD 4K: 2160p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 HD: 1080p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1080PsF: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 1080i: 50, 59.94, 60 720p: 50, 59.94, 60 DVI: 2560 x 1600p: 50, 60 2560 x 1440p: 50, 60 1920 x 1440p: 50, 60 1920 x 1200p: 50, 60 1600 x 1200p: 50, 60 1440 x 1080p: 50 60 1440 x 900p: 50, 60 800 x 600p: 50, 60 640 x 480p: 60 SD: 525i: 59.94 NTSC 625i: 50 PAL$545.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1464918-REG/blackmagic_design_bdlkdvqdhdmi4k_decklink_quad_hdmi_recorder.html
Magewell Pro Capture Quad HDMI Card 225 MHz HDMI receiver Adaptive HDMI equalizer support for cables lengths up to 98′ Supports customized EDIDSupports RGB, YCbCr 601, YCbCr 709, YCbCr 2020 color formats Supports multiple cards plugged into one system Unlimited output streams for any one input channel Supports auto detection of Intel tiled GPU surface Supports DirectGMA for AMD video adapter chipsets Supports GPUDirect for NVIDIA video adapter chipsets 400 MB/s per channel DMA bandwidth in a PCIe 2.0 system 200 MB/s per channel DMA bandwidth in a PCIe 1.0 system$899.00https://amazon.com/Magewell-Capture-Quad-HDMI-Video/dp/B0178DV064
Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2 (USB)HDMI (8/10/12-Bit 4:4:4/4:2:2 RGB, YCC) 2048 x 2160 1080p: 60/75 fps  Audio: HDMI: 2-Channel$299.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1105735-REG/magewell_xi_100_d_usb_hdmi_one_hd_hdmi_usb.html
Magewell USB Capture HDMI 4k Plus (USB)Up to 4096 x 2160 
Frame rates up to 120 fps (actual capture frame rate can be limited by USB bandwidth and internal working frequency; typical capture frame rates on the Intel USB 3.0 controller are: 1920 x 1080 YUY2 at up to 90 fps, and 3840 x 2160 NV12 at up to 30 fps) 
NV12 and I420 4:2:0 8-bit (up to 4096 x 2160)  YUY2 and UYVY 4:2:2 8-bit (up to 4096 x 2160)  RGB24 and RGB32 4:4:4 8-bit (up to 2048 x 2160)  Default capture formats are YUY2 and NV12
$459.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1358688-REG/magewell_32090_usb_3_0_dongle_1_channel.html
MiraBox HSV321Host Interface: USB3.0, *300-350MB/s,USB2.0,*40MB/s Input Interface: HDMI interface HDMI Input Formats: 480i,480p,576i,576p,720p50,720p60,1080i50,1080i60,1080p24/25/30/50/60 Output Resolutions: 640×480/720×480/720×576/768×576/800×600/1024×768/1280×720/1280×800/1280×960/1280×1024/1368×768/1440×900/1600×1200/1680×1050/1920×1080/1920×1200/640×360/856×480/960×540/1024×576 Frame Rate: 25/29.97/30/50/59.94/60 fps Audio and Video capture: standards of UVC and UAC$126.00https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C6KCBYB/ref=twister_B07VFLM4KP?_encoding=UTF8&th=1
IOGEAR HDMI to USB Type-C Video Capture AdapterSupporting 480p, 720p, and up to 1080p60$99.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1455743-REG/iogear_guv301_hdmi_to_usb_c_video.html/overview
AJA U-Tap HDMI Capture (USB)Video: 1920 x 1080p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1920 x 1080i: 25, 29.97, 30 1280 x 720p: 50, 59.94, 60 625i: 25 525i: 29.97
Computer: 1920 x 1200p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1680 x 1050p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1600 x 1200p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1280 x 1024p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1280 x 960p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1024 x 768p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 800 x 600p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 720 x 576p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 640 x 480p: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60
Scaled: 1920 x 1200p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1920 x 1080p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1280 x 720p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 1024 x 576p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 856 x 480p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 768 x 576p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 720 x 576p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 720 x 480p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 640 x 480p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 640 x 360p: 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60
Audio: 2-Channel, HDMI Embedded Audio, 48 kHz Sample Rate
$345.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1248099-REG/aja_u_tap_hdmi_u_tap_usb_3_0_powered.html
MYPIN Game Capture Live Stream (USB)Capture Resolutions: 1920*1200 / 1920*1080 / 1680*1050 / 1600*1200 / 1440*900 / 1368*768 / 1280*1024 / 1280*960 / 1280*800 / 1280*720 / 1024*768 / 1024*576 / 960*540 / 856*480 / 800*600 / 768*576 / 720*576 / 720*480 / 640*480 / 640*360
Frame Rate: 24 / 25 / 29.97 / 30 / 50 / 59.94 / 60 fps, same frame rate as the video input, not adjustable.
$119.99https://www.amazon.com/MYPIN-Capture-Gamepad-Streaming-Compatible/dp/B07MZQJYYM
ClonerAlliance Flint 1080p 4k passthrough capture (USB)4K@60fps Passthrough – Experience 4K while recording or streaming at 1080p@60fps without sacrifice.  USB 3.0 Type-C port for PC and Mobile. Converters, adapters included. $180.99https://www.amazon.com/ClonerAlliance-Passthrough-Capture-Ultra-Low-Consoles/dp/B07YY52YP6/
Epiphan AV.io 4K Video Grabber (USB)4096 x 2160 (DCI 4K) in YUY2 4:2:2 at 5, 10, 15, 20 fps and in NV12 4:2:0 at 15, 23.97, 24 fps 
3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K) in YUY2 4:2:2 at 5, 10, 15, 20 fps and in NV12 4:2:0 at 15, 23.97, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 fps 
640 x 360, 640 x 480, 960 x 540, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 720, 1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1200, 1920 x 1080 in YUY2 4:2:2 and NV12 4:2:0 at 15, 23.97, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps
$499.95https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1271171-REG/epiphan_esp1100_av_io_4k_usb_3_0.html/specs?SID=grd-1128906738054647900
INOGENI 4k HDMI to USB 3.0 Capture Card (USB)4K (4096/3840 x 2160), 1440p, 1080p, 720p, 1080i, 480p, 576p 23.98/24/25/29.97/30/50/59.94/60p (4K Resolutions Limited to 30 fps Max)$395.00https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1073122-REG/inogeni_4k2usb3_4k_hdmi_to_usb.html

Passing AWS SysOps Admin Associate on the First Try!

I took the AWS SysOps Admin Associate exam this week and passed, thankfully! I found the exam to actually be harder than the Solutions Architect Associate exam. It was a bit odd though, some questions were super hard and others were much easier. I am required to have certifications for my role so I ended up doing the Cloud Practitioner and the SysOps admin within two weeks of each other to fulfill my goals.

The exam is 130 minutes long and mine was 65 questions. I finished with about 45 minutes left then spent another 15 minutes reviewing my flagged questions. With 30 minutes left I clicked submit, answered the silly survey, and was shown “Congratulations! You passed.” There was a weight lifted and I could relax!

The most challenging topics on the exam for me were the questions that required you to look at a JSON policy for either S3 or IAM and figure out what the issue was and how to fix it based on the what the question was asking.

If you want to watch my more detailed description of my study techniques and types of questions that came up, here is my video. Also consider subscribing to the Cajoling Technologies YouTube channel!

How I passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner on the first try!

In my latest YouTube video on the Cajoling Technologies channel, I detail how I studied for the exam and passed on the first try. I also give some study tools my peers have shared with me. I found the exam to be challenging but not impossible as long as you take the time to study.

The 4 domains to study are:

1) Cloud Concepts
2) Security and Compliance
3) Technology
4) Billing and Pricing

Here is a grouping of links to that will help you study. You won’t need to use all of these, but choose what is the best fit for your style:

AWS Certification Main Page: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/?nav=tc&loc=5

Exam Guide and Sample Questions: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-cloud-practitioner/

AWS Management Console: https://aws.amazon.com/free/?all-free-tier.sort-by=item.additionalFields.SortRank&all-free-tier.sort-order=asc

Official Study Guide: https://www.amazon.com/Certified-Cloud-Practitioner-Study-Guide-ebook/dp/B07SYD8VQQ

Study Sites:

A Cloud Guru: https://acloud.guru/
Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/
Linux Academy: https://linuxacademy.com/
Whizlabs: https://www.whizlabs.com/

White Papers:
Overview of Amazon Web Services: https://d0.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/aws-overview.pdf
Architecting for the Cloud: https://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/AWS_Cloud_Best_Practices.pdf
How AWS Pricing Works: http://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/aws_pricing_overview.pdf

Support Plans: https://aws.amazon.com/premiumsupport/plans/

AWS Cost Management FAQ: https://aws.amazon.com/aws-cost-management/faqs/

For more information, watch my video here: