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Old 07-31-04, 10:19 PM   #1
MikeC
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Thumbs up Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Roderick Maher has done a great job with the ongoing enhancements to the video recording capabilities in FRAPS. A couple of recent changes that have improved the performance of capturing video are support for the AMD64 platform and DirectX 9.0c.



The FRAPS video decompressor is capable of generating high quality audio/video (AVI) files, although the files can become quite large. For example, an uncompressed video from a 20 second recording of Painkiller was close to 150 MB.

However, with the freeware program VirtualDub and XviD's MPEG-4 codec, I compressed the video files down to 7 MB while retaining a good quality.



Video is an excellent way to demonstrate certain features of a graphics card as we did last year in a review of Creative's 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra. It is also helpful for demonstrating gameplay scenarios that are used for benchmarking purposes. For example, the following three videos were created from key sections in a gameplay scenerio I've been developing in Painkiller.

I configured FRAPS to record video at half the size of the in-game resolution of 1280x960 at 25 fps. Although in-game graphics options were at their maximum quality, antialiasing and anisotropic filtering were disabled during the recording.

Each video is 512x384 and around 7 MB in size.

XviD MPEG-4 Video 1 - 7.76 MB
XviD MPEG-4 Video 2 - 6.45 MB
XviD MPEG-4 Video 3 - 7.09 MB

You may need to install the XviD MPEG-4 codec - 617 KB.

Update:

I used the freeware program TMPGEnc to create the following MPEG-1 video clips.



Each video is 312x240 and around 2.5 MB in size.

MPEG-1 Video Clip 1
MPEG-1 Video Clip 2
MPEG-1 Video Clip 3

MPEG-1 is a standard codec in Windows Media Player.

Note that the full version of FRAPS is needed to access all of the video capture features!

The information at VideoHelp.com was very helpful for this project.

Next game: Doom 3!
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Old 08-01-04, 12:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Nice explanation. I'll have to reinstall FRAPS.
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Old 08-01-04, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Look like you had fun blasting them priest monsters !

that was a good "show" & info Mike !

You know what ? i think this might be a good concept for the future video cards reviews & benchmarks .. to include a small video clip from the in-game with the framerate on it .. so the reader will see some of the game & at same time witness the video card's playability himself .

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I'm eager to see that one !
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Old 08-01-04, 10:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by SH64
Look like you had fun blasting them priest monsters !

that was a good "show" & info Mike !

You know what ? i think this might be a good concept for the future video cards reviews & benchmarks .. to include a small video clip from the in-game with the framerate on it .. so the reader will see some of the game & at same time witness the video card's playability himself .
I've been having a blast with Painkiller. It reminds me very much of the original Quake.

Unfortunately, recording video during gameplay takes a huge strain on the system. Depending on the recording options, areas where I was getting 150 fps drop to 30-40 fps during a recording. In this case, a frame rate counter would be misleading.
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Old 08-01-04, 10:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Thats right .. i forgot that .
i tried recording before & the framerate numbers goes down & dosent represent the actual fps . (esp when it goes white which indicates recording status)
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Old 08-01-04, 11:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Looks good . I have a few questions though:
  • Why'd you choose 512x348 as the resolution, instead of the more-standard 640x480? Just for file size considerations?
  • Why'd you use the legacy (at least 4 years old, if not 5 or 6) MS MPEG-4 V1 codec (which XP computers have by default, but W2K and W2K3 do not)? Why not the much more modern WMV9 codec (two-pass VBR has excellent quality), or even DivX/XviD?
  • Did you know that the "MPEG-4 Video Clip 1", "MPEG-4 Video Clip 2", and "MPEG-4 Video Clip 3" links all point to the same file?
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Old 08-01-04, 03:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by IGx89
Looks good . I have a few questions though:
  • Why'd you choose 512x348 as the resolution, instead of the more-standard 640x480? Just for file size considerations?
  • Why'd you use the legacy (at least 4 years old, if not 5 or 6) MS MPEG-4 V1 codec (which XP computers have by default, but W2K and W2K3 do not)? Why not the much more modern WMV9 codec (two-pass VBR has excellent quality), or even DivX/XviD?
  • Did you know that the "MPEG-4 Video Clip 1", "MPEG-4 Video Clip 2", and "MPEG-4 Video Clip 3" links all point to the same file?
Thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned earlier, system performance is a consideration when recording with FRAPS. I found that playing at a resolution of 1024x768 and recording at half-size (512x384) performed well on my system. I'll experiment with the other codecs and report back.
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Old 08-01-04, 04:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

DivX = Nagware. Everytime I compressed the original video using DivX, I get a popup that asks me if I want to upgrade to the Pro version. Plus, the quality is not as good as the MPEG-4 format at the 7 MB file size.
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Old 08-01-04, 04:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

DivX VBR 2pass ot XviD give even better results in terms of quality/size ratio.
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Old 08-01-04, 05:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

I regularly record TV shows using BeyondTV3, to WMV7 6mbps (WMV7 is a lot faster at encoding than WMV9, and 6mbps is about lossless at 640x480). Then, during the night, BTV transcodes the shows to WMV9 VBR 2mbps two-pass, which looks 95% as good as the original to me.

I personally prefer WMV9 over DivX/XviD, partly because then I don't have the whole problem of installing codecs or choosing which codec to use; WMV9 is already on most computers, and if it's not it usually is automatically downloaded when the user tries to play the video. But, I have seen some really, really good quality XviD videos too. Another reason is that it's completely free to encode to WMV9 (plus you get a good encoding app), while DivX costs if you want good quality.
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Old 08-01-04, 09:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloody
DivX VBR 2pass ot XviD give even better results in terms of quality/size ratio.
Thanks for mentioning XviD. I used a utility in TMPGEnc to dump bitmap images of each frame to disk. After a comparison, I found that XviD provides slightly better image quality than Microsoft's MPEG-4 codec when the compressed files were a similar size. XviD also has a number of additional options to further enhance video quality.

Microsoft MPEG-4 Video 1 - 7.75 MB
Microsoft MPEG-4 Video 2 - 6.56 MB
Microsoft MPEG-4 Video 3 - 7.06 MB

XviD MPEG-4 Video 1 - 7.76 MB
XviD MPEG-4 Video 2 - 6.45 MB
XviD MPEG-4 Video 3 - 7.09 MB

XviD MPEG-4 codec - 617 KB.

The Unofficial XviD FAQ.
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Old 08-01-04, 09:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Real-time gameplay video using FRAPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by IGx89
Another reason is that it's completely free to encode to WMV9 (plus you get a good encoding app), while DivX costs if you want good quality.
What software will convert AVI to WMV9?
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