Ed Wood   11 comments

Back when I walked uphill both ways to get to Molten Core – I used to do video recording for my guild.  Back before the days of YouTube, when you uploaded your video for sharing via FileFront, I was somewhat prolific with FRAPS and Adobe Premiere Elements.  At some point several years ago, I ran out of the time that was required to produce the videos, and it fell to the wayside.

However, when someone mentioned yesterday that it would be interesting to see snippets of people’s UIs in combat, I decided that perhaps I would dust off my director’s chair and play around with some video again.  I mean, I still have a fully liscened copy of FRAPS.  I had already been waffling with updating my Adobe programs for several…years and decided to go ahead and upgrade the software, although mostly for the photoshop aspect (seriously huge upgrade, I was running Premiere Elements v. 2 – and upgraded to v. 9!  That should tell you how longs it’s been since I’ve played around with this stuff!).

Here I was – capture software, editing software and a shiny new YouTube account all in hand. 

I logged in, and headed out to Durotar to try and get a short snippet of my UI in combat (the AV queue failed me, so I was resigned to having to get a raid shot during trash this week).  I had remembered the basics of how FRAPS worked, I had remembered the basics of how Premiere worked.  Surely it would be like riding a bike and all come back to me, right?

Wrong!

Apparently in the (*starts counting on hands*) five (?) years since I’ve done any WoW video capture a lot has changed!  But because I think it might be fun to have some guild videos again, and maybe do some things here on the blog with video, it’s something that I’m toying with spending some time becoming re-acquainted to handle.  And what that means is that I have some questions for those of you out there that have some experience with in game video capture.

  • Is FRAPS still the best video capture program for WoW, or is there something better out there?
  • My frame rate in Durotar plummeted to almost an unplayable rate, so I can’t imagine what it would be like in a raid setting.  What are the ideal settings for FRAPS to ensure that you do not have too much loss of functionality in game?
    • For my editing software I need to capture Full Screen or I will run into quality issues – but I recorded at 60 fps, and I’m wondering if I shouldn’t drop that down to 30, or lower?
  • What are the recommended computer (PC) settings for video capture?
    • Is there a certain amount of memory that you should be running if you intend to try to do video capture?
  • Is there a way to have a paid subscription on YouTube that is advert free, and offers priority uploads?
  • In my minimal research last night it seems that FRAPS and Premiere no longer play particularly nicely together, however I did find a way to get a fairly crisp HD video uploaded to youtube, has anyone else had negative experiences with Premiere making FRAPS recordings blurry to the point they aren’t usable?
  • I used to have to convert/compress my AVI files to a smaller file type to upload, is this still required?
    • Note: I was able to upload directly to YouTube from within the Premiere program last night, at several quality settings, I think that this probably handled this for me – and running my video through a compressor like DivX isn’t necessarily required anymore?
  • In some of the limited research I did last night, I saw some people that use Premiere running conversions/compressions through QTPro.  Does anyone have experience with this?  Is it needed?  Is it something that is worth picking up and using?
  • If I want to do Narration, can you recommend a voice recording software?
    • Someone on Twitter mentioned a program called Audacity.
  • And lastly – does anyone have any good resource websites or books that they’d recommend?

While I intend to trudge my way through the information I can find, any recommendations or suggestions are more than welcome!

I did manage to snag some footage of my solo UI for our UI discussion thread, and I’ve added the video to my Power Auras post so people could see my auras in action.  But since you’ve stuck with me so far, I thought that I’d share the video here as well.  (Note – you may have to actually click through to YouTube for a better resolution and picture, as the embed seemed blurry in my power auras post.  I’m still learning how all this stuff works!)

Posted March 30, 2011 by Beruthiel in FRAPS, Video

11 responses to “Ed Wood

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  1. As far as I know FRAPS is still the best affordable video capture program for all DX and D3D rendered applications, which includes WoW on non-Mac systems (Mac copies of WoW have an in-built video recorder).
    As for quality and frame rates, most online video players only display 30fps, so recording with more just puts more strain on your system. Also, even if it might be laggy on your screen, Fraps will still record with the set fps, although your regular video output might be lower.
    Recommended settings aren’t that high, I would say. Memory is always nice, but the biggest impact on recording performance is the hard drive. Ideally you would be recording to a fast, big, dedicated HD that you don’t use for anything else. If that’s not possible for you, try not to record to any partition of your WoW and/or Windows drive.

    As for ads on youtube, huh? I haven’t seen any stopping me from uploading, and I don’t know what you mean by priority uploads. As for file size and length restrictions, Youtube arbitrarily lifts them on some accounts in good standing (no copyright infringements), but I don’t know how they’re choosing them.

    I don’t know about problems between Fraps and Premiere, but I know that there are many people that don’t like the codecs Premiere usually uses to encode videos, which hooks into the next question. The point in encoding/compressing videos is that the file size gets lower, because especially Fraps records nearly lossless, which leads to huge files (4GB for 2-4 minutes in 720p on my system).
    Premiere manages encoding by itself, so you don’t need to use DivX for that.
    For audio recording, Audacity is probably the best free program you can get.

    And for a resource, although they hate Premiere and don’t have guides for it, I can seriously recommend the Let’s Play Tech Support fort on SomethingAwful (http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3370185), they basically have all that stuff I typed up and even more on there.

    • Thanks for the tips!

      I’m not tied to Premiere in any way, really, the progam comes with the Photoshop bundle that I buy – and I’m not opposed to using something different. It’s just what I’m familiar with. What are some other recommended editing programs?

      I will definitely take a look at that thread when I get home!

      As for hard drive – right now I’m just running with one Hard Drive – but it is fairly large (800GB, I beleive). Given that my PC is a few years old now, I probably wouldn’t put another Hard Drive in at this time as I’m starting to consider a new PC, but that is definitely something to keep in mind for a new machine!

  2. I noticed that your High Def goes all the way up to 1080p. Which is nice, but seems unnecessary. 720p seems to give more than enough resolution to be able to follow what is going on accurately.

    I noticed that at 720p I can’t quite make out all of the text (like the numbers for your health bar). However, I still can’t make them out at 1080p. So something else is getting in the way of being legible. As such, a clearer 720p cut would be better than a fuzzy 1080p.

    I wonder if Fraps is causing the problem in trying to compress the data during the record phase. In which case, letting Fraps do less compression, and doing better post-filtering in Premier.

    For example, if you look here:

    That Tankspot video doesn’t go about 720p. However, I can read the text without problem. I guess the chat text is hard to read, so maybe it is a font issue. Because I can read the much smaller Threat numbers. And even the tiny time-of-day on the bottom right.

    I think your video is pretty good, but I do think there are still some settings that can be tweaked if you want.

    • John, the problem with going for 720p videos would be that Beru would have to record at that resolution. From seeing that there’s a 1080p choice, I think she’s playing on 1920*1080, and in that case recording at 1080p is better.
      The video being fuzzy at the high def settings is caused by Premiere’s encoding settings and encoder, not by Fraps compressing the data, as Fraps doesn’t compress the data :D

      • Yar – Triz is spot on here. The fuzziness is a Premiere issue, not a fraps issue. Because if I play the fraps avi file back using something like divx it’s crystal clear. But the file is massive. You are also correct in that I play at 1920 x 1080 :)

        I read from others using premiere that if they compressed the .avi file in QTPro first and then loaded it into Premiere this solved the blurriness issue. I just really haven’t had enough time to explore this option yet. And I wanted to get some feedback on if this really works – since QTPro is a paid program (not that it’s an issue, I just wanted to make sure that it works before shelling out cash on it!).

  3. There’s a great thread on Premo’s site with a guide on optimizing your video to get good picture/quality, esp for uploading to places like youtube.

    http://premoguild.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6048

  4. Beru, the problem with compressing the file in QTPro first is that every compression/encoding you do on any video file makes you lose some of the quality, except for when you use a lossless codec, and in that case you don’t lose file size anyway.
    I don’t know how good the QT codec is for actually encoding stuff, but you basically always should do edits on your raw files and encode after that.
    For adding audio afterwards, you can mux that in whenever you want, it doesn’t really matter that much.

  5. After reading Xav’s thread, I went ahead and picked up Sony Vegas – but not the “Pro” version (which retails for about $600, and I just don’t see myself using it enough to make that kind of investment), the one that’s similar to “premiere elements” – and I’m playing around with it some now. I was able to tweak the program in all of the ways Xav recommended, and I found it on Amazon for $70! (It seems average retail is $130). I’m also going to add a second hard drive and a bit more RAM (I’m running at 6g currently – but my machine can support 24, so I might go up to 10 or 12).

    I might try to FRAPS a boss fight with my warrior for her power auras that I’m going to put up this weekend-ish.

    I’ll let you all know how it turns out :)

  6. So – here is the result of the edit via Sony Vegas (note that it views best at either 720 or 1080):

  7. Pingback: Ed Wood – Take Two (Nefarian Video) « Falling Leaves and Wings

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