1. #1
    This is a very basic guide to take you through the technical set up to get a video captured from a game and produce an edited movie. I will keep it to the basics for this guide and stick to one process, the process that I currently use for my own movies. These concepts can be transferred to any setup.

    You will need Fraps to capture the game footage, VirtualDub for pre and post processing and a non linear editor - in my case I am using Sony Vegas 7 (for Windows Movie Maker see my next post). Codecs I am using are DivX and HuffyUV codec.


    Resolution and framerate

    Before you start frapping your video clips, decide what format your final movie will be in. My current preference is for a resolution of 720x404 at 24 fps (frames per second).

    There is a large choice of resolutions. Have a look at John L. Sokol's comprehensive list. Quite a few, eh!? The key consideration is - 'The higher the resolution, the higher the quality, the larger the filesize'. Filesize isn't just a consideration for downloading, it is a serious worry for your hard disk drive! If you want to capture all your clips at HDV 720p then you will need a huge hard drive to edit any movie that lasts more than a few minutes.

    * I consider 720 pixels horizontal resolution to be of good quality. This is the current resolution of standard DVD's (at least until HDTV takes over the market). I also want my movies to be 16:9 widescreen which makes the vertical resolution 405 pixels. This needs to be changed to a number divisible by 4 for DivX to work so let's call it 404. So we have 720x404. If anyone starts off about anamorphic widescreen I will come and hit you with a big stick - remember, this is a basic guide!

    * If you have an uber machine and don't mind asking your viewers to download a higher filesize then go for 1280x720.

    * If you are only planning to upload to low quality youtube, then go for 320x240 (320x180 widescreen). Youtube also provides high quality *cough* at 480x360 (480x270 widescreen).

    * There have also been very respectable movies made at 640x360. I would name one but might get accused of a shameless plug!

    The next consideration is framerate. Have a look at what Wikipedia says.

    * My preference is for 24 fps. This is what you are watching when you go to the cinema, so that sounds good enough for me.

    * You could go with the PAL 25fps. This is the TV standard in Europe and many other countries. If you plan to convert your movie to a PAL DVD then it is worth considering (there is actually a very easy way to convert 24fps movies to 25fps movies - ask me somewhere else if you need to know). Some streaming sites also use this framerate when they convert your video to a flash video. If you are going to use Windows Movie Maker to edit your movies then you don't have the choice of 24, so go with 25.

    * NTSC video is rated at 30fps (or 29.97 to be exact, don't ask why, not in this thread!) as used in the USA for example. This is just silly for digital video. The human eye will hardly tell any difference between 25fps and 30fps movies so don't bother. More frames to capture and render means larger filesizes! The only reason for choosing 30fps would be if you intended converting your movie to an NTSC DVD.

    * Some video streaming sites convert movies to Flash at 15 fps. If this is your sole target, then you may as well do all the capturing and editing at 15fps as well.


    The Process

    I developed this guide with assistance from Lkmaciel who tested each step. My first request to Lkmaciel was to provide a short frapped clip at 1024x768 resolution, 12 fps, captured at half speed. You can download this here if you want to experiment. Unfortunately, there is a stutter half way through the test video. Regard this as a lesson to watch out for. By the end of this guide when you see the finished movie, that stutter will be obvious.

    The higher resolution means that cropping, zooming and panning can be used to improve the movie at a later stage. Capturing at 12fps and half speed is known as the Davinci method (after the filmmaker who invented it). Some computers cannot capture at 24fps without dropping frames. It is essential to get a smooth capture so Davinci developed the method of capturing at a slower framerate then doubling this later.


    Pre-processing

    Set up your game, IL2, to 1024x768 resolution (or as high as you can make it and still Frap without stutters).

    Set up Fraps as shown, and capture your raw footage.



    Open the frapped video (Lkmacial's test is currently 53MB) in VirtualDub.

    Click on 'Audio' and select 'No Audio'.

    Click on ˜Video', then ˜Frame Rate'.

    Select ˜Change to' and type in ˜24'.

    Click ˜Video', then Compression'

    Select ˜HuffyUV 2.1.1' then press ˜OK'

    Drag the slider to frame 12 and press the ˜mark-in' button, then drag to frame 130 and press the ˜mark-out' button.



    Click ˜File' then ˜Save As' and save the file as ˜Raw Clip - HuffyUV.avi'

    The resulting file will be 101MB and should play without any problems in Windows Media Player or Sony Vegas.


    Non Linear Editing

    Start Sony Vegas.

    Click ˜File' then ˜Properties' and enter all the settings shown below. Save this setup for future use by pressing the disk icon.



    Drop the clip ˜Raw Clip - HuffyUV.avi' into the first video track.

    Click the Event Pan/Crop icon in the clip, then right click on the preview in the Event Pan/Crop window and select ˜Match Output Aspect' (you can do a lot more creative camera work with this window, but that's for another tutorial). Close the Event Pan/Crop window.



    You can then add any more raw video captures but for this guide we are keeping it very basic with just one clip.

    Drop some music into the first audio track and change the duration to match the video clip. Add fades at the start and end of the video and music track.



    Click ˜File', then ˜Render As'.

    The first time you do this you need to set up the render settings and save them. For subsequent renders you just use the saved settings. To get a clean template, open the Template drop down menu and select ˜Default Template'.

    Click ˜Custom', then click the ˜Video' tab and enter all the settings shown below. Save this setup by giving it a name and pressing the disk icon.



    Press OK, make the File name ˜Test' and press ˜Save'.

    The movie will render and be saved. The filesize should be 40MB.

    Post Processing

    You can now compress the movie using VirtualDub again and DivX. See my compression guide HERE. This will produce a filesize of 1Mb which you can download or watch on Vimeo.com (complete with that unfortunate stutter that serves as a lesson to ensure optimal set up for frapping!)
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  2. #2
    Awesome tutorial. So much helpful.

    I'm glad to be the cause of it, and please, forgive me that stutter.
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  3. #3
    310th Falcon's Avatar Senior Member
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    S! Joe

    Excellent job mate! It needed to done long ago for our young and upcoming film makers.

    Now it needs to become a sticky... any Mods here in the mix??


    Best Regards
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  4. #4
    Addendum.

    For completeness, I will add the basics for using Windows Movie Maker 2.1. This is only a basic guide for the technical setup. For more information about how to make a full movie I recommend Dart's ˜How to Make Your Own Simulation Movies'. There are some technical inaccuracies in there but nevertheless it is a great tutorial for new movie makers.

    Once again, decide on the output format as this will dictate the format of the input. Windows Movie maker has a limited choice of outputs. For this guide I have chosen ˜Video for local playback (1.5Mbps PAL)' - 720x576, 16:9, 25fps.

    The observant may have spotted that 720x576 is not widescreen. Well, actually, it is because it uses anamorphic widescreen. ˜Anamorphic' basically means that the widescreen video is stretched vertically to 576 pixels. When Windows Media Player plays back the file it reads the video information and squashes it back to normal. Be warned that some media players do not read the video information correctly and leave it stretched.

    If that freaks you out a bit, then you can use the ˜Video for local playback' that outputs a true 856x480 widescreen format. For that option, you should really make your raw video footage at least as large as that too.


    Pre Processing

    Capture your raw footage the same way as I described in my previous post.

    You could actually capture at 800x600 if you want because WMM 2.1 does not offer the Pan/Crop tool that Sony Vegas does. Any cropping you want to do needs to be done in VirtualDub. You might have need to do this, for example to cut out some part of the picture that you don't want to show, or zoom into a more appealing part of the picture, or even to crop using the ˜Rule of Thirds'.

    If you have Windows Vista the version of WMM you have does allow zooming and cropping so it is worth capturing at a higher resolution so you can zoom or pan during editing.

    Assuming you have captured at 1024x768 and 12fps you now need to convert to 25fps and 720x405 (note that I am using the accurate 16:9 vertical resolution of 405 pixels because the WMV codec can handle this. DivX needs the resolution to be a multiple of 4 so I used a vertical resolution of 404 in that case).

    Load the clip into VirtualDub.

    Click on 'Audio' and select 'No Audio'.

    Click on ˜Video', then ˜Frame Rate'.

    Select ˜Change to' and type in ˜25'.

    Click ˜Video', then Compression'.

    Select ˜HuffyUV 2.1.1' then press ˜OK'.

    Drag the slider to frame 12 and press the ˜mark-in' button, then drag to frame 130 and press the ˜mark-out' button.

    Click on ˜Video', then ˜Filters'.

    Press ˜Add', click on ˜Resize' and press ˜OK'. Resize the clip to 720x540 using all the settings as shown below and press OK.



    Press ˜Add', click on ˜Null Transform' and press ˜OK'.

    Select the ˜Null Transform' filter the press ˜Cropping'. The current vertical size is 540 so you have to remove 135 pixels. In this case, I will crop 68 from the top and 67 from the bottom as shown below. Press ˜OK' twice.



    Click ˜File', ˜Save as' and make the File name ˜Raw Clip - HuffyUV - 720x405.avi', for example.


    Non Linear Editing in Windows Movie Maker 2.1

    Start Windows Movie Maker.

    Click on ˜Tools', then ˜Options', then the ˜Advanced' tab and set the PAL 16:9 option as shown, then press ˜OK'. Note that we are using the PAL standard to get 25fps. PAL and NTSC are TV formats and are of no consequence for watching video on computers. NTSC settings will be at 30fps which is a waste of bits and leads to larger filesize. The ideal framerate for digital movies is 24fps but Windows Movie Maker does not have this option, so PAL is the closest.



    Drop the clip ˜Raw Clip - HuffyUV - 720x405.avi' into the Collection space, and then drag it onto the timeline. Add some music and change the duration to match the video. Add fade in and out to the video and audio.



    If you are finished editing your movie, click on ˜File', then ˜Save Movie File', then ˜My Computer' then ˜Next'.

    Enter a filename and location and press ˜Next'.

    Click ˜Show more choices', then ˜Other settings' then select ˜Video for local playback (1.5Mbps PAL)' and press ˜Next'.



    You now have a completed movie with filesize of 1MB. The filesize is a little smaller than the DivX version, but so is the quality.

    You can view it on Vimeo.com or download here if you want a comparison.
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  5. #5
    Outstanding Tutorial. How many times have we seen the thread subject-question asked???

    This will stand for years as an invaluable aid to Newcomers.....as well as to old-timers who just occasionally show up to dabble.
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  6. #6
    Thanks for the guide.

    Couple of things,
    firstly for the Huffy codec to appear in the compression options it needs to first be downloaded. This might be obvious to you but wasn't to me!

    I have downloaded virtual dub 1.8.7 there is no "save as" would you suggest save as AVI or save as old format avi ? I have no idea what the difference is.

    Also I have tried to capture the audio from fraps but for some reason it isn;t working.
    It is the 30 second free version I am playing with. that might be why, but it doesn't say audio is turned off.
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  7. #7
    I think I've found the right save as option.

    Just to confirm: I'm recording in 12fps for 30secs, = 360 frames. Therefore when editing to 24fps I now have a 15second clip?

    Sorry if this sounds dumb!

    I've produced a watchable avi file which is a success I suppose. So I'm almost there, just need to figure out why the audio isn't working.

    One last question. Is it prudent to stop all other programs before you save the video? I know video editing is meant to be quite demanding on the PC, that said it is quite powerful: Core 2 1.86Ghz, 3gb Ram (although I think there is 4, but XP doesn't recognise it!)
    I have a Geforce 7900 GS and two 300Gb Hard drives.
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  8. #8
    hi iruffy,

    i hope, i may answer in this quite excellent guide of joe's!
    in 'virtualdub' your choice would be 'save as avi'. 'old format avi' is restricted to 2gb and is from the older days, wher 1gb was the size of a hard-drive (well, not that old ). which doesn't matter much, if i remember correctly, you can even rewrite the header of an 'old avi' without recompressing to 'new' avi.

    the lack of audio-capturing is a frequent problem, most times it can be solved by changing the source in your system: double-click the tray-icon for volume-settings and go for 'options -> properties', there you can chose 'recording' instead of 'playback'... which shows all possible sources. many times only 'microphone' is activated, try to activate all (mainly 'wave' or 'stereo-mix'). additionally try to chose the source inside 'fraps' for yourself, instead of letting 'fraps' chose best. it's a bit of try and error, but should be worth it.

    concerning the frame-rate change you are right: since the trick is to let the game playback in half-speed, doubling (adjusting) the frame-rate results in half the original time. this doesn't work for audio though, which means, that the audio will be out of synch (needs a separate process in an audio-editor)

    about the performance of 'virtualdub': you can try to enhance compression by controlling the number of threads. under 'options -> preferences -> threading' you can change the number of threads from zero to one. 'virtualdub' then tries to run the compression in a parallel pipeline (which can be directed to a second cpu/core). this is mainly depending on the video-codec though and not always successful. in case, you leave it at zero, only one core will be used... so other applications on the second core shouldn't result in a slow-down.
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  9. #9
    Ahh yes I remember when 2 gig was a lot!

    Thanks for the reply. It seems that I can capture 25 fps without problems so far, so I should be able to capture audio at the same time but I still cannot get it to work.

    I have checked FRAPS help and it says the same as you advise.:
    Adjust the volume for the Input that Fraps is recording from. This is usually named "What U Hear", "Record Master", or "Stereo Mixer".

    The trouble is that in my sounds options in control panel I only have Line In, Rear Mic and Microphone. The sound input in FRAPS is set as Line In and I cannot change it.

    Do you think this is something that will work in the paid for version?
    Or is the sound board in my PC useless?
    It seems that I might have to connect the sound output to the Line in to get it to work!

    Or barring that put a mike in front of the speakers! It says I should see a "What U Hear" option but this just isn't there.
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  10. #10
    310th Falcon's Avatar Senior Member
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    Do you think this is something that will work in the paid for version?
    Or is the sound board in my PC useless?
    It seems that I might have to connect the sound output to the Line in to get it to work!

    Or barring that put a mike in front of the speakers! It says I should see a "What U Hear" option but this just isn't there.


    When you select "Detect best sound input" Fraps will determine the best input to record the game sound on. If you choose "Use Windows input" the default Windows recording input will be used. The Windows input may not capture all of the game sounds, so you should generally let Fraps detect the input unless you want to capture sound from an external source.


    Best Regards
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