Capturing the cell phone screen

How to Capture a Phone App

Capturing a cell phone screen and broadcast it to your computer.

Have you seen those cool magic tricks where a random person picks a card from a deck, and it magically appears on their cell phone? I thought it would be cool to use a tablet or a smartphone during a virtual show. Those tricks that use smart devices can be tricky because the studio lights reflect off the screen.  You might be wondering why a balloon entertainer is talking about a magic trick.

The light bounces off the tabelt when doing a virtual show

It all started with me trying to improve my YouTube channel viewing time.  By luck one day, I went to my channel, and there on the screen is one of my son’s YouTube gamers that he follows.  On the thumbnail is a capture reading “Fav TikTok Videos.”  That’s it!  I record myself watching TikTok videos.  I can talk about the videos and make comments.  This could be fun.  The problem I quickly learned is TikTok is doesn’t allow you to search for videos from the computer. The search feature is only available on the phone app.  Next question,  “How to capture a cell phone screen and broadcast it to my computer?”

It took a couple of hours of playing, but I found a way to do it. I can broadcast my phone apps to my computer. Using my broadcasting software (OBS), I can capture the input screen and using my webcam, record myself, and the streaming TikTok video from my cell phone.  Success,  or was it?

My muse was on overload, giving me ideas on how to use this new tech.  I realized that my muse must be a fan of magic, as many of the ideas were magic related.  However, my goal was to capture TikTok videos and stream them to my PC.

It turns out my computer lacks the processing capability to record the videos successfully. The problem is the lag time.  The streaming TikTok video is lagging to the point that it is not worth recording.

For me, it was a failure, but for others who have new computers with faster processors and more video memory than me, you might find this useful, especially if you do any tricks with a smart device and want to capture the screen.

I used the SCRCPY  method as I have a PC, and I was looking for the cleanest possible way to bring a cell phone input into a PC.

The road to creating a virtual show has taken me down many paths.  Some have been successful, while others lead me to dead ends.  This one was not a total failure as I learned it is possible to capture your cell phone app and send it to a PC.  Who knows, in 6-months, I might have a new PC and this option will be reviewed again, or maybe another entertainer can see another use for this technology.

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