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Topic: Screen Capture of Synth

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sir_ivar (Over 1 year ago)
I'm presenting a paper at a conference in a couple of weeks about my synth work.  Can anyone suggest the best way to capture video of a synth for replay in Power Point?  I'm currently using CamStudio for screen capture but the resulting video is very low quality and pixilated.

I don't have the option to actually connecting to Photosynth during the presentation.

Thanks in advance!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Expression Encoder 3 comes with screen capture. Download the trial here: 
http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Encoder_Overview.aspx

and if you enjoy it, consider one of these programs to get it at reduced cost:

DreamSpark (free software for students): 
https://www.dreamspark.com/

BizSpark (for startups): 
http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/

WebsiteSpark (for beginning Web Designers and Developers):
http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark/
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
If cost is no object, though, the gold standard seems to be Camtasia: 
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
sir_ivar (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks Nathanael.  Have you actually tried any of these with Photosynth? CamStudio (the software I currently use) seems to work great in other applications.

Thanks.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, Sir Ivar,

It's really just the two options that I suggested. Either Expression Encoder or Camtasia. The 2nd through 4th links were just ways to get the full version of Encoder on the cheap or no cost up front.

Really it comes down to two things: is your computer powerful enough to run your video capture software and Photosynth well at the same time? That is to ask, "While recording, is Photosynth's framerate (and|or resolution) better than what is recorded in the video?". 

If so, perhaps there are quality settings for CamStudio as far as resolution and frames per second captured. That's what I would look for in any such program. I'll see if I can't get my hands on trials to run a comparison.

Back in a few...
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I tested out both CamStudio and Expression Encoder the night before last.

I tried the default settings in CamStudio but found that it used a lower colour depth and I was not overly pleased with the framerate either. Trying to alter this and do the conversion of how many milliseconds should be between each frame and how many frames played back per second that should be was all a little much for my liking. There was also the issue of manually setting the area of the screen that was going to be captured by CamStudio.

Expression Encoder is an absolute joy to use. Recording honestly couldn't be easier. Selecting the area of screen that you wish to capture is dead simple (just click on the appropriate bit - in our case the Photosynth viewer), you can tweak the dimensions of the capture by hand if you like, but it's much simpler because you're starting from the correct spot already, so shaving a few pixels off the right is no effort at all.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
You should use the settings (the little gear icon to the left of the record icon) to set your capture framerate to a minimum of 30, frame quality to 100 (95 is default), and possibly turn off capturing your mouse before beginning. Encoder Screen Capture also gives you a 3 second countdown to allow you a little time to compose yourself before recording kicks in. There is integrated support for recording voice and|or a webcam at the same time, if you so choose, or neither, if you would rather leave the talking to what you'll be saying onstage.

Once you decide you like what you've captured, click the Encoder icon in the lower right hand corner of the capture-review player and it will ask you for a place to save your recorded inputs in Encoder Project format. When this is done  Encoder will automatically launch with your video ready for encoding to a final wmv (or mp4 if you've got the full version) output.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
When you've got your video in Encoder it will want you to choose quality settings. You'll certainly want to set Encoding Quality to 'High' under 'Presets' in the right hand panel (click the apply button button once you've highlighted 'Best Quality'). 

Secondly, expand the 'Video' settings (the lowest section in the settings panel). You'll want to visit the 'Bitrate' settings and raise it from 1045Kbps (the default) up to nearer what Screen Capture recorded at (its default is 30000Kbps) although you should be able to get away with 10000Kbps or possibly a bit less if you bump the video encoding 'Mode' up to "CBR - 2 pass".
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Thirdly, set 'Size Mode' to 'Source' if you captured your synth in windowed mode. If you captured in fullscreen (generally not the best idea for space and performance reasons unless your machine and the computer that will be playing back the video are extremely powerful and can handle very high res video) you can use the width and height to resize your video to fit on a projector (generally 1024 pixels maximum width).
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
There is no doubt that this will result in rather large video files (large in filesize, rather than necessarily large resolution), but I assume that quality is the primary objective and carrying your powerpoint presentation and the video(s) on a USB thumb drive|jumpdrive should work just fine. 

If at all possible I would try to play your video on their equipment as far in advance of your presentation as you can to iron out any technical difficulties that may arise. Ideally you could carry your own laptop with you where you know everything will work properly (same version of Powerpoint, all appropriate codecs installed, etc.).
linnil (Over 1 year ago)
This is Expression Encoder team.  Thanks Nathanael for the detailed description of Encoder Screen Capture.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hey there! You're very much welcome and thank *you* for the great tool. Your work is deserving of praise. If you've got tips for encoding profiles, I'm all ears.
sir_ivar (Over 1 year ago)
Just an update.  The conference went well and the paper was a hit!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Congratulations! I don't suppose anyone taped your presentation? 
I know I, for one, would be interested in seeing it if anyone has a copy.
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
It would definitely get at least 2 hits on youtube nathanael, me being the other.
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