New Fraps user

dalmvern

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So I just downloaded and started using the full version of Fraps and I have been playing around with it a bit, recording clips from Battlefield 3 and WoW but I have a couple of things I was wondering about.

First of all, being that Fraps produces uncompressed .avi files and I am recording in 1080p quality, the file sizes are huge. What are some of the best options for compression and editing out there? I would prefer a free solution, but im not adverse to buying superior software if warranted.

The second question I had was about the loop buffer length. Right now I am doing a 120 second loop, obviously dividing my video into 2 minute clips. Would it be better if I just set it to something outlandish like 600 second loop and just start and stop the video capture whenever I want? Are there any drawbacks to doing it this way?


I appreciate any input and advice you can give me!
 

ulillillia

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Virtual Dub is free and I use it a lot. It has limited support for file formats though uncompressed AVI is well supported. For encoding, look into either the XviD or H.264 codecs (you'll need VFW codecs, not an encoder program). I use H.264 myself for all of my current videos and it has the best quality. Trouble is, H.264 is slow for playback - my GeForce 7600 is unable to decompress 1920x1080 video at 29.97 fps fast enough resulting in the video playing back at a slower than normal speed (about half to 70%, depending on video complexity) with repeatedly skipping audio. XviD is faster for decompression, but colors aren't preserved as accurately. Whether Virtual Dub uses the video card or CPU for decompression, that I don't know.

As to the looping thing, I don't understand what you're referring to. I don't use fraps. Do you mean 2-minute segments? If so, then it doesn't matter what the size is. I've had 5-second segments being stitched together into a single massive video and I don't have problems. I've had a continuous 4-hour recording once or twice and don't have problems with that. Just make sure that the frame rates of the segments match exactly and you also have enough free disk space.
 

dalmvern

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I was reading a bit about Virtual Dub but didnt have a chance to download and try it out. If what I read is correct, it is the CPU that handles the decoding, which wont be a problem since I have mine OC to 4 GHz.

Yes, that loop buffer length determines the length of the clip segments. Thats good to know that combing the clips wont affect the quality, though I would like to know from someone who uses Fraps whether or not it would be better to use a long buffer length or if it is just personal preference.

I am going to have to buy another hard drive because of the size of the clips because as you say, I have to make sure I have enough space and with those uncompressed .avi files, those GB get sucked away very quickly.
 

ulillillia

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I work with video quite often, both game play from my console systems, the game I'm making myself, and various activities on my computer. Thus, I know quite a bit about video processing. I just don't use fraps, only Virtual Dub. VD does appear to have hardware acceleration being available, though it doesn't appear to affect much.

When dealing with uncompressed video, hard drive write speed is also important. If you're recording 1920x1080 video at 29.97 fps, you'll need a hard drive that can sustain a writing speed of 186,437,376 bytes per second (177 MB/s) meaning that one minute of such video will hog up 11,186,242,560 bytes of disk space (10.418 GB). Uncompressed video is a serious space hog, but it uses the least amount of CPU. Light lossy compression with H.264 at quality 1 (the best possible), with "ultra fast" for the speed will significantly improve disk space usage, but it puts a big toll on the CPU, which may hurt your games' frame rates. With 1, you essentially can't tell the difference from the original with H.264 (though colors are slightly muted with XviD's best quality).

For reference, you will get quality loss if the video is initially compressed using a lossy codec like XviD or H.264 then compressed again using a lossy codec. You can minimize the quality loss by initially using a very high quality, only using a lower quality for the final output. When I record video of my own game for posting on YouTube, I record H.264 at quality 1, the best possible. If I have to stitch multiple video segments together, I save each segment, whenever possible, into a lossless format - lagarith and Huffyuv are good for this though H.264 has support for lossless compression. Regardless if I use 1 segment or 50, I use quality 12 for the final result. For posting on YouTube, I use 24.
 

hell_storm2004

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I use Super 2011. Its great! Just have to have all the codecs installed! :)

Search softpedia for it!

But i do admit that those giant files are a bit of a problem. Even with XFire its the same. I was doing some recording with FRAPS one single lap of my F1 2010 for Catalunya and a 16 sec lap turned out to be 2.4 GB! :(
 

hell_storm2004

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Unfortunately... FRAPS does not have all these options. And FRAPS is mainly for recording game play. And since it uses the least amount of CPU, it is preferred for these applications as they have work simultaneously with the game.

But can you record game play with VirtualDub?
 

ulillillia

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I don't know if VD can record games. I don't play games on my computer except console games through my TV tuner and the game I'm making, of which I've been recording with Virtual Dub just fine. Then again, my own game isn't a decent test source as it's not a very demanding game since it could very well run on a GeForce 4200 or something just fine (10 generations behind). Video recording is a CPU-demanding task. Gaming is a GPU-demanding task. Thus, if you have a lot of cores and hyperthreading, recording with VD should be possible.

VD can also scale down the video resolution in real time as well so it puts less strain on the CPU, though this may have a negative effect on the game's performance, depending on whether or not the scaling down is done on the GPU or CPU. 1920x1200 reducing to 960x600 cuts the data rate by 75% and most details should still be easily readable.

Thus, you'll have to try it. I don't have any recent computer games that my system could run on so I can't test anything and my GeForce 7600 GT is far behind, unable to handle pretty much any of today's games. To do this, start Virtual Dub, go to "file" then "capture mode". Set the parameters so you get screen capture, set the custom format to the size that you intend on running your game at (1920x1200 if you intend on running your game at 1920x1200), and adjust the other settings like compression. Set the file to record to, hit "start capture", load or switch to your game, and begin recording. When done, view the AVI output. If you're getting dropped frames, try scaling down the video by enabling real time filters and the "resize" filter.
 

dalmvern

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I tried out VD last night and couldnt exactly figure out what to do with it. Then I downloaded H.264 and was able to easily use it. I have converted about 1/4 of my videos to .mp4...drops a 2 min video from 4 GB to 440 MB...totally worth it.

Now you were talking about stitching the clipped videos together...what program do you use for that?
 

ulillillia

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Virtual Dub can stitch segments together. To do that, you use the "append AVI segment" option (under the "file" menu). The frame rate and audio formats must exactly match though and this only works for AVI originals. If they don't, you'll need to save each video segment so they exactly match and then stitch them together. VD has a batch processing mode available; however, this is a feature I've otherwise never used. There are probably other programs that can merge multiple videos together into a single video that might work better than VD, especially best if it works when there's a frame rate mismatch (I've had VD in the past complain that 29.96704 is not the same as 29.96704 because the numerator and denominators were different (these are in the file header info in an AVI video.

Given the 4 GB size of your segments, I'm suspecting that fraps is splitting segments so that they are compatible with FAT32 file systems (which have a 4 GB file size limit). I've recorded single videos that go far more than 4 GB, even over 200 GB a few times.

You must be using a very high quality for only a 10:1 compression ratio. Of course, the quality you use is entirely your decision. I can only give recommendations.
 

hell_storm2004

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Even i found VD a bit complicated to use! Its good for experts. But for part timers like me... Super is the way to go. Its just plain simple point and click!

BTW... which car is it that you are in?? :)
 

ulillillia

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The problem with Super, from my experiences, is that it won't go above 8000 Kbps, and for HD video, that's horrible quality. The fact it's always on top of everything and you can't disable "always on top" only makes it more annoying to use.
 

hell_storm2004

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I dont know about that! As i am just a part timer! All i do is just make game videos using FRAPS, compress it with Super and upload on youtube and that too occasionally!

And i think the newer version of Super has that "Always on top" option!
 

ulillillia

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I don't know what version of Super that I had, it was one of 14 programs I tried to solve my M2TS problem and the 8000 Kbps bit rate limit was horrible. There was a higher bit rate option available, but the program glitched, changing it to a lower value. For 1920x1200 video at 29.97 fps, you shouldn't go much below 16,000 Kbps because the video will look rather pixilated due to lossy compression artifacts. I'd recommend at least 24,000 Kbps. Also, always use a variable bit rate, never constant. You'll get much better quality for the same bit rate. For future editing, the higher, the better, to a certain point.

However, for very basic video editing (no frame deletion, just nothing more than compression), then Super would be better than Virtual Dub. However, if you want to get into more advanced video editing, such as fixing the audio stream's alignment with the video, cropping the video so that only the parts you're interested in are kept, and other such things, you'll need actual video editing software for that, of which VD is quite decent for. VD does take some time to get used to. I've used it for years so I have a lot of experience with it.
 

hell_storm2004

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The first time i opened VD i got completely lost with the menu options and the terms used! Not to mention i still am! :)

Whatever you say... i will take a look at VD when i go home today! I have it lying around somewhere.

Since we are on it... I have FLV video (downloaded from youtube at 480p)... It doesn't play on the WMP! Which would be the best format to convert it to using VD?

I will start learning today!! :)
 

ulillillia

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Virtual Dub, as far as I'm aware, can't open FLV. FLV is "FLash Video". Thus, you'll need something that can convert FLV to something else.

Early on, like version 1.5, Virtual Dub was rather complex and confusing. Version 1.9.11, the version I have, is much better as far as usage goes. The only issue is when it comes to working with audio in VD. For this, I just extract the audio track and make the edits in Audacity instead then take the output from Audacity and import it back into VD. This is how I add my narration to my YouTube videos as the narration track is a separate recording. The H.264 codec is the best for pretty much everything. It preserves colors accurately, provides a very good compression ratio, and it also great flexibility for settings. The only downside is that it's more demanding for decompression. For 480p, you won't have playback problems. That only starts becoming an issue when you get into the 1440x900 size and larger. Then again, I have a very dated video card which could cause a lot of the playback speed problems I have.
 

hell_storm2004

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I have lots MPEG music videos of the size of 60MB/70MB. Any way VD can do it nice and quick and reduce size. Would love to have them AVI and less size with the exact video quality!
 

ulillillia

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VD does support MPEG files. If they are an MPEG-2 stream, however, you'll need a plug-in before VD will open them. You can certainly open and edit them them VD. That's what I've done with my TV tuner's videos when I recorded game play (I'm going with uncompressed video with my TV tuner as 8000 Kbps, the highest it goes, is not good enough (for 720x480 at 29.97 fps).

Edit: If I knew the lengths of your videos, resolution, and the file size, I can work out the bit rate and determine recommended quality settings. In general, quality 3 with XviD is decent and quality 12 with H.264 is even better for a slightly bigger file size.
 

hell_storm2004

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All were downloaded from P2P's, Torrents and a bunch of other places. Most have different resolution/encoding everything... So cant say out of the blue! I can post one file details and you let me know.

Ok... Here's one Metallica video that i have:

General
Complete name : G:\Videos\English\Metallica\Metallica - Enter Sandman.mpeg
Format : CDXA/MPEG-PS
File size : 56.1 MiB
Duration : 5mn 32s
Overall bit rate : 1 415 Kbps

Video
ID : 224 (0xE0)
Format : MPEG Video
Format version : Version 1
Format settings, BVOP : Yes
Format settings, Matrix : Default
Duration : 5mn 32s
Bit rate : 1 126 Kbps
Maximum bit rate : 1 152 Kbps
Width : 352 pixels
Height : 240 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 4:3
Frame rate : 29.970 fps
Standard : NTSC
Color space : YUV
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Compression mode : Lossy
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.445
Stream size : 44.6 MiB (80%)

Audio
ID : 192 (0xC0)
Format : MPEG Audio
Format version : Version 1
Format profile : Layer 2
Duration : 5mn 32s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 224 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy
Delay relative to video : -67ms
Stream size : 8.87 MiB (16%)

 

ulillillia

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To stitch together multiple segments, they must have the following:

1. The frame size must be identical. In your example, you can only stitch together other videos of the size 352x240 pixels. Should there be a mismatch, you'll need to resize the videos so that they do match. To do that, simply use a lossless compression codec or quality 1 for H.264 and reencode all videos, including this one, to the size of the largest video. I would advise against upscaling the videos, just add black borders around them.

2. The frame rates must match. The match means the numerator and denominator must be identical. If not, you'll need to change this and this isn't as easy to do when you've got some at 29.97 fps and others at 24. I think there was a filter that does this, but I've never used it.

3. The compression codec must be the same. A video compressed via XviD (MPEG-4) is not the same as one compressed via H.264 or Indeo. Fixing this involves recompressing all of your videos, including the example case, into the same format (I prefer lossless initially).

4. The audio format must be the same. This includes the sampling rate, bit depth, and channel count. VD has decent controls for adjusting these, fortunately (the more advanced stuff such as speed changes or merging 2 audio tracks into one are best done in Audacity as VD is rather confusing here).

5. The audio compression format must be the same. Audio encoded uncompressed won't work with one encoded as MP3, OGG, or AAC. You'll need to convert these.

For best results, combine all mismatches into a single operation. Thus, if you frequently have resolution and codec mismatches, set the resolution so that it's always the same for each video and reencode these into a lossless format. For quicker import when done, be sure that, when you reencode, you append a number at the end and keep the same first part. For example, name your first file "Metallica 01.avi", your second as "Metallica 02.avi", and so forth. If you have more than 99 segments, use 3 digits such as "Metallica 003.avi". I don't know how Virtual Dub treats files without leading zeros as I haven't tried it. This has been my standard since even as far back as 2001.

The program you're using is reporting the wrong aspect ratio. 352x240 is actually a 22:15 ratio, closer to 3:2 than 4:3. This part, however, doesn't matter. It's only the frame size that does.
 

hell_storm2004

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I used something called MediaInfo. I just did a "Save as AVI" and the video turned out to be 2.41 GB! :p

I will take a look at all the info that you gave and put it all together! Thanks for the advice!
 
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