the truth about FRAPS

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Dresden, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    I'm contemplating buying FRAPS due to the fact I'd like to start uploading videos I capture onto a page I made. Now I need some no b-s assessments; Is it satisfactory software? I hear a few people here and there harping on the issue with how it can impact your FPS negatively, or is that only with older systems? Also, how's the visual clarity? I've tinkered around with the trial version before, but it doesn't allow for very much tinkering outside of "take screenshot, capture movie and don't even think about adjusting settings." I perused their website and looked at one of their demonstration videos and I have to admit the visual clarity was pretty good, seemed almost HD, to the point where I could read fine print. So what's the deal?

    Thanks a bundle-

    Ink
     
  2. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    I don't directly use the software, but I just have a question:

    How is an application that is recording full frame render data at your full frame rate along with audio not going to negatively affect your performance? If it took away "only" 15% of my performance, I'd find that pretty stellar given what is going on underneath.

    So now I'm curious how much performance it saps versus how much people feel is acceptable...
     
  3. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Well, that was my question. Is there a universal performance hit taken or does it vary depending on your system? Obviously anyone in their right mind who feels it impedes their performance too greatly, wouldn't or shouldn't spend money on it. Thus why I asked the question.
     
  4. pcchen

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    I'm using FRAPS now, and mostly use it for recording WoW video. I haven't used any other similar softwares so I can't make any comparisons.

    Basically I didn't notice any negative effects when running FRAPS. Of course, when recording the FPS will suffer, because it needs to compress and write large files, but a reasonably fast computer can handle that easily. For example, on my computer (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz + GF 8800GT) it can record 1920x1200 WoW video near 30 fps.

    About options and settings it's basically the same as the trial version, that is, there are not much settings to play with.

    When recording movies it only uses its own AVI codec, which is a lossless compressor. You can't use other codecs such as motion JPEG. It does not have a lossy compressor available either. The upside is it's quite fast, so FPS doesn't suffer very much when recording, and the video quality is completely the same as what you see in game. The downside is that lossless codec needs quite a lot of disk spaces for a lengthy recording. So make sure you have a large and fast HDD for your video.

    A problem with FRAPS for me is the upper limit of the recorded file size. It can only record up to 4GB per AVI file, that means when recording at high resolution such as 1920x1200 an AVI file can only hold about 90 seconds. FRAPS will automatically split video into multiple files, but it would be better if it can support AVI 2.0 and record into a single large AVI file. This is just a small nuisance to me though.
     
  5. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Interesting, thanks pcchen. So what program are these lower quality, epic length PvP videos being captured with? I see them everywhere and their duration can vary anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour and a half. I always assumed it was the full version of FRAPS with the settings lowered.
     
  6. pcchen

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    The video on the internet (such as youtube or other similar video sites) are mostly recompressed with other codecs. It's almost impossible to share the original video recorded by FRAPS because they are simply too large. Furthermore, since FRAPS uses its own video codec, the original video files can only be played on computers with FRAPS installed.

    I used to share my video on stage6 which uses DivX codec (I use virtualdub to transcode my video), but since stage6 is closed now, I use vimeo now, which uses H.264. I use x264 (through megui, which is a front end for x264) to compress my 1920x1200 FRAPS video into 1280x720 5Mbps video, which quality is still quite nice. Megui uses AVISynth, which can concatenate multiple AVI files into a single video, so the 4GB limit is not a problem here. Many video editing programs can also concatenate multiple video files for editing.
     
  7. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Well, I got the program last night. I enjoy it so far, but I have a few issues. When you begin recording there's typically an FPS hiccup which is a little annoying if you ever want to have an epic intro. My biggest complaint is the filesizes are gargantuan in proportions, but this isn't a surprise. Unfortunately they're far, FAR too large for what I'd like to do. I noticed you mention you record WoW, which is what I intend to do. Do you use FRAPS and string together multiple videos, or do you just settle for the 90 second cap? I'd like something a little longer than 90 seconds, something more along the lines of your run-of-the-mill PvP video people post. I gather they use a program like FRAPS then compress it, reducing the quality significantly and the file size with another program. Is this right?
     
  8. pcchen

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    Yes. It's quite impractical to do real-time compression for very large video especially when running games, so it's reasonable for FRAPS to use fast lossless codec.

    If you don't have any video editing softwares and you don't want to spend money for any, you can just use virtualdub (http://www.virtualdub.org). It can open AVI files and append additional AVI files, so you can concatenate all AVI files recorded by FRAPS to overcome the 4GB limit. Then you can use it to save AVI files using more efficient codecs such as DivX or Xvid. Virtualdub also have limited editing capability which allows you to cut part of the video. For example, you can cut out the "hiccup" part.
     
  9. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    Further to this, you can also use it in conjunction with avisynth to do fancy manipulation of the video streams.
     
  10. Bludd

    Bludd Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
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    Avisynth is awesome and super-powerful. You can do some crazy stuff with it and you can program some really great filters. Megui has an avisynth script creator under tools which will help you with some of the most frequent tasks like cropping and denoising.
     
  11. Andrew Lauritzen

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    I use FRAPS for all of my recording needs and it works exceptionally well! Of course there's an overhead for large resolutions especially, but if you have a reasonably recent dual-core CPU and a decent hard drive, you won't have too much trouble there in my experience. Certainly up to 720p or so there isn't too much overhead. It gets more expensive with 1080p-like resolutions, but that's to be expected.

    It certainly works as advertised and I have no complaints. When DX10 come out, they prompt added support (and even let me play with the betas that had that support), and even now support capturing the Vista Aero desktop too. The updates so far have been good, it works great with the G15 keyboard LCD, and I can't really think of anything that I want that it doesn't have :)
     
  12. Dresden

    Dresden Celebrating Mediocrity
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    Well, as of last night I made my first, official PvP video, this time including a music bed. I really enjoy FRAPS and what's more enjoyable is Windows Movie Maker, considering it's software that comes with Windows, it's shockingly easy to compile and publish movies. One question I have though, is I've noticed a trend with the movies I record with FRAPS: They all end around 1:50 seconds, only to create a new file. The transition between them when I compile them with WMM is seamless, but I'm curious as to why that happens. It's just the additional files on my dekstop, that annoys me.
     
  13. Andrew Lauritzen

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    Make sure you're recording onto an NTFS partition. If you're using FAT32 then there's a limit on the maximum file size and so FRAPS has to split up the video into multiple segments.

    I actually don't remember 100% whether FRAPS always splits at 4GB anyways - it may - but you want to be using NTFS in any case nowadays IMHO.
     
  14. pcchen

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    FRAPS always splits files into 4GB chunks. It seems to be a limitation of AVI files. OpenDML (aka AVI 2.0) doesn't have this limitation, but it looks like FRAPS doesn't support it yet.
     

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