Video Capture Guide

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Video Capture Guide

Post by Lax » Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:30 pm

WinEQ 2.03 Video Creation Guide

Under construction and incomplete, but here it is

WinEQ's video capture process is two steps. First comes the recording process, and then the encoding process. The recording process is designed to be as fast as possible, and encoding may be far too slow to do while playing and still be able to play. For this reason, the recording process buffers all of the raw recorded frames to memory and to disk. This does cause some slowdown in the game, but much less than trying to encode the final video at this time. As soon as you end recording, the encoding process begins. The encoding process is handled by the tray program, so if you want to close your game during this time that's perfectly okay to do. WinEQ videos are stored in WMV format. Recording requires Windows Media Player 9.0 or later, and viewing simply requires the codec and should work equally well in any media player.

Each raw frame takes up a lot of space -- consider a 1024x768 resolution. This is 786,432 pixels. Each pixel takes 2 to 4 bytes, depending on your desktop color depth (16-bit or 32-bit color). If each pixel is taking 4 bytes at the time, this is 3,145,728 bytes per frame. A 640x480 resolution at the same color depth is only 1,228,800 bytes, and at 16-bit color depth is only 614,400. So we've now outlined two ways to make the temporary file created during recording smaller -- lower resolution, lower color depth. The larger the frame size, the larger the file will be, and the slower the recording process will be as well. WinEQ also allows two other options for making smaller videos -- compression and Pre-shrink. Compression of the temporary file is "lossless" meaning the quality of your final video will be just as good as it would be without compression. Compression however comes at the cost of CPU time. Pre-shrink tells WinEQ to shrink each frame down to the final size of your video before buffering. Pre-shrinking is "lossy", meaning that the quality of your final video will be much worse, but the size of the temporary file will be much smaller.

Encoding the video is somewhat slow, and may take a few minutes if you recorded a lot of frames. You will not be able to start recording another video until the previous one completes encoding. Once the encoding process is complete, the temporary file created to store the frames will be automatically deleted. The video will be stored in a folder found in your WinEQ2 folder called "Videos".

To begin recording video, first configure how you want recording to work for the game you are playing. You need to set a hotkey, but the rest of the options CAN be left default. You will want to play around with the settings later to get the quality of video that you want with what you have available to you. Then, in the game simply press the hotkey once to start recording, and press it again when you want to stop recording. Sometimes you may see a message that the capture could not be processed -- this happens if your game window size is ODD, meaning not divisible by 2. Thus, if you have an 801x600 window instead of 800x600, you would have to resize the window in order to begin recording.

Hotkey: This hotkey is used to begin and end recording
Width: Width of the final video
Height: Height of the final video
Quality: Image quality (percent) of the final video
Rate: Rate of capture (percent)
Compression: Compression of temporary file (lossless)
Pre-shrink: Shrinks raw frames to final video size (lossy)

"Recommended" settings:
There is no one-size-fits-all, that's why this is completely configurable. Here's some recommendations based on what exactly you want:

Small Temporary File (allowing LONG videos)
Width: Only affects final video
Height: Only affects final video
Quality: Only affects final video
Rate: Lower rate = smaller temporary file, but final video will not be as smooth
Compression: Compression enabled = smaller temporary file, but uses a little more cpu during recording
Pre-shrink: Pre-shrinking = smaller temporary file, but
GAME WINDOW SIZE: Smaller game window size = smaller temporary file, and much less cpu usage
WINDOWS DESKTOP COLOR DEPTH: 16-bit color depth should make much smaller temporary file than 32-bit

High Image Quality Video (possibly costing you framerate)
Width: Higher resolution results in better quality video
Height: Higher resolution results in better quality video
Quality: 100% quality is perfect image quality. 75% quality is still extremely good image quality. 50% is not as good
Rate: Higher rate means better motion in video, but increasing rate of capture will at the same time decrease your actual framerate. 50% is probably a decent rate.
Compression: Compression will slow you down. If you have the disk space to spare, you should not use compression
Pre-shrink: Leave this OFF for high quality video

High Framerate Video (at the cost of image quality)
Width: With Pre-shrink OFF, width has no effect on framerate. With Pre-shrink ON, smaller width should result in slightly higher framerate
Height: With Pre-shrink OFF, height has no effect on framerate. With Pre-shrink ON, smaller height should result in slightly higher framerate
Quality: No effect on framerate
Rate: Higher rate means higher framerate in video, but increasing rate of capture will at the same time decrease your actual framerate. You probably don't need any higher than 75%, particularly if your framerate is normally high while playing
Compression: Compression will slow you down. If you have the disk space to spare, you should not use compression. If your game framerate stays high with compression, then it certainly won't hurt to use it.
Pre-shrink: Turning this ON and using a small width and height can greatly improve framerate by reducing the buffered frame size, but severely hurts image quality
GAME WINDOW SIZE: Reducing game window size is the BEST way to improve framerate
WINDOWS DESKTOP COLOR DEPTH: Reducing Windows desktop color depth to 16-bit should greatly improve framerate