Setting up HD-SDI Video Capture Devices

Livegrade supports the capturing of live HD-SDI signals for reference and display purposes. Therefore a supported HD-SDI video capture device is required. See the “Capture Devices” section of the article All supported devices for more information on supported devices.

Note: Capturing SDI metadata is currently only supported with HD signals.

The various HD-SDI setup options with Livegrade are described in the article HD-SDI Setup Options.

Capturing video signals with a capture device with Livegrade


For a list of compatible devices for HD-SDI output see the article Image View Output to HD-SDI in LiveGrade Pro.

Setting up a video capture device

You can add a capture device to a slot by choosing “Add Capture Device…” in the “Add Device” submenu of the “Slots” menu, or in the device manager.

Configuring and adding a capture device

Choose one of the connected capture devices in the table on the left.

You can then choose from the following options:

  • Video Format: Choose the appropriate video format for the captured signal. Note: The readout of SDI metadata is currently only fully supported for FullHD signals.
  • Camera Type: If not chosen automatically, choose the camera type here. This enables metadata capture from ANC for that camera type.
  • Decoding Levels: Choose the video levels that shall be used for decoding the signal (ARRI cameras for example usually are decoded “Legal Range”, while Sony cameras might be captured “Full Range”).
  • YCbCr-RGB Conversion: Choose the appropriate color conversion matrix (Rec.709/Rec.2020) for your incoming video signal. This parameter will also be passed on into the metadata of your recorded movies.
  • Capture Source: Tell the application if the incoming signal is the “log” output of the camera (which is recommended), or if the signal is pre-graded (e.g. when capturing the output of a LUT box controlled by the application). This setting avoids “double LUTting” in the case when you need to capture a pre-graded signal.
  • Auto Record: Enable / disable and choose the method for detecting the record state of the camera for auto-record functionality.
    Note that the appropriate “Record Trigger” method depends on your setup and camera:

    • All SDI connected cameras support “RecRun Timecode”
    • “Vertical ANC Record Flag” is only supported by older Arri Alexa camera models
    • Choose “Horizontal ANC Record Flag” for supported AJA capture devices (Kona 4 or newer and IO 4K series) when using ARRI, RED and Sony cameras

Click “Add” to add the capture device to the slot.

The capture device appears as a new row in the device manager. You can enable and disable auto-record functionality for that capture device from the capture device row with the button “Auto Record”.

When the device is added to the slot and configured properly, you can watch the live video signal on your computer monitor. The live image can be shown

  • in the thumbnail view the slot (updated about every second), or
  • in the applications image viewer.

How to use the image viewer to compare different image sources is explained in the article Image viewer.

Capturing media assets with shots

Once the setup is complete, it is possible to record clips or grab frames for storing them in the shot library. Both recordings and frame grabs are saved as captured (e.g. “log”), but the currently applied look is also saved with the shot in the shot library. This way the look will be applied during playback of the clips and frame grabs.

See the article Collect Shot, Clip, Still, and Look Information for more information about storing captured media assets in the shot library.

Taking frame grabs

Frame grabs can be taken in two ways:

  • Click the refresh button in the slot UI or in the image viewer to manually create a new frame grab
  • Create a new shot entry in the shot library. When the option “Refresh frame grab….” in the General section of the Preferences is set, a new frame grab will be taken.

Recording clips

To start a recording for a single slot, click the record button the slot UI. To start a recording for multiple slots, click the «Record» button in the toolbar, or choose “Start Recording” from the main menu.

You can enable and disable recording for a slot by clicking the arrow button besides the record button in the slot UI. When set, the slot is “armed” for multi-slot recording.

The default destination for storing recorded clips is ~/Movies/LiveGrade Recordings in the user’s home directory. This folder can be configured in the Preferences>Recording settings.

During recording the slot UI will indicate that the recording is running:

Recording indicators in the slot UI

The header bar of the slot will be marked red, and the record button will also become red. The image preview will show a record indicator with the current length of the recording.

Updating frame grabs

To update the framegrab and a selected shot entry in the shot library choose

  • “Replace Image of Selected Shot” in the “Library” menu in order to only replace the image
  • “Update Selected Shot and Replace Image”  in the “Library” menu in order to only replace the image

Please be aware that frame grabs from pre-graded image source cannot be updated when the look of the shot is updated.