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Expack3

Alternatives to FRAPS?

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As those members of PCGamingWiki who keep abreast of the latest trends in video capture, they'll tell you FRAPS is one of, if not the, worst piece of video capture software you can own - not to mention the fact it hasn't had a new version since February 26, 2013.

 

However, I am not one of those members - I'm one of those idiots who keep on using FRAPS just because they don't know where to look for newer, better capture software. As such, I'm looking for recommendations as to good alternatives to FRAPS. For the purposes of this inquiry, money isn't a consideration - I'm looking for what's best, not what's cheapest or strikes the best balance between price, functionality, and quality.

Edited by Expack3

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The Editing guide has a small list of recommended screen capture utilities. I personally use Bandicam due to its simplicity.

 

ShareX is also not a bad choice.

Guess I missed that part. Bandicam looks interesting with its ability to do hardware-accelerated encoding; in my personal case, I'm more looking for something with lossless or raw recording for when I'm not streaming and need the absolute best possible quality. Does Bandicam do that?

 

I like FRAPS, but Open Broadcaster works as a free alternative, it just sucks if you have a slow HDD though.

https://obsproject.com/

 

I really like FRAPS because I can still get really nice high quality videos even on slower machines.

I like OBS as well because it supports streaming and regular video capture with hardware-accelerated support out of the box! (Albeit AMD GPU users like me have to settle for a great, but unofficial fork.)

 

Also, I've been eyeing Dxtory, which looks like a spiritual successor to FRAPS. It also, among other things, is still officially supported, can use more modern CPU instruction sets like AVX and AVX2, handles OpenGL and DirectX 7 through DirectX 12, can use other codecs aside from its own, is able to hook its raw footage capture into any DirectShow-compatible application, and even has hard drive load-balancing (e.g. it balances its external write buffers over multiple drives to reduce speed penalties).

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...a new version since February 26, 2015.

TYPO ALERT!

 

Problem with Fraps is that it records lossless footage, it's super easy to use even for dumbest people and it's super popular (those who bought it of course don't want to change software, those who aquired it via other means don't bother checking anything else), so it won't die out for a while. Technically speaking there's not much wrong with it, but there's indeed are better solutions and it'll die out when it's not getting updated. 

 

Bought Dxtory lisence some time ago and it has been the best program so far as it basically has tons and tons of useful features. What I personally use really often is 120 FPS capturing using three storage devices, capping frame rate when I simply need to test capping, taking full quality PNG screenshots, seeing what directx versions game uses, etc. 

It actually just got updated to support Windows Apps, so that's also already huge plus as I haven't seen other programs being able to do that and basically only way to record them in the past was to record whole desktop. Measuring frame rate of Windows Apps was also bit painful and needed some developer side tools e.g. Intel GPA. 

 

As for free alternatives, Shadowplay really does work and does record 60 FPS material amazingly easily, BUT only compressed format and up to 60 FPS recording is supported. For regular user that may be the best option though. 

 

I would still like dedicated article for screen recording/capturing/streaming tools, because PC doesn't have handy "share" button nor saying "record that" to microphone does anything. Speaking of the devil, Xbox app does work with majority of the games and overlay does have some sort of recorder, just haven't tested that out. 

 

ShareX is also not a bad choice.

For screenshotting I ditched puush completely, but for recording footage, it seemed like it's designed to record desktop footage, not so much for gameplay. Though I haven't tweaked recording side of that software. 

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It depends on how much effort you're ready to put into configuring things to have it your way. Which is why, Dxtory is irreplaceable for me. Most of the time I do lossless captures and then encode them H264/VP8 myself as required. It's FULL of options and that's what I like about it. You don't have to deal with the shortcomings of the 'defaults' if you don't want to. Choose your own storage, your own codecs and codec settings, resolution, framerate etc etc down to the very minute level.

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I already wrote my opinion in an older thread

 

Tl;dr MSI Afterburner can do everything other programs do, from lossless recording to supporting NVENC or VCE, to good old software encoding (why not even with external codecs)

After having a look to other tools, only Dxtory still seems to have an edge in the event of really uber-complex recordings (thanks to distributed writing).

And perhaps OBS, which is targeted to streaming (and imo should be mentioned in a different page).

 

Everything else seems just sub-par. But I urge you to provide a rebuttal should you think I miss something.

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I already wrote my opinion in an older thread

 

Tl;dr MSI Afterburner can do everything other programs do, from lossless recording to supporting NVENC or VCE, to good old software encoding (why not even with external codecs)

After having a look to other tools, only Dxtory still seems to have an edge in the event of really uber-complex recordings (thanks to distributed writing).

And perhaps OBS, which is targeted to streaming (and imo should be mentioned in a different page).

 

Everything else seems just sub-par. But I urge you to provide a rebuttal should you think I miss something.

The only thing I can think of in general terms is if MSI Afterburner has inferior CPU-usage compared to other tools. To use an exaggerated, hypothetical example, I don't want a free tool which tears up 10% CPU time just to record uncompressed video when there's a paid tool which uses 5% CPU time doing the same thing.

 

EDIT: On a more minor note, it only supports DirectX 8 and up, meaning I can't record games like StarTopia, Independence War 2, or Wizardry 8 without using dgVoodoo2 - and dgVoodoo2 still doesn't run every pre-DX8 game (assuming the game's issues with modern machines lie exclusively with graphics). A great example is Jagged Alliance 2 with the 1.13 mod, which AFAIK still uses the vanilla, pre-DX8 renderer the game defaults to. Can't even get the intro to play without a runtime error occurring when using the mod in conjunction with dgVoodoo2!

 

(Plus, if I had to nitpick: why the heck do I need overclocking tools with my video recorder?! Why can't I limit the frame rate below 60FPS despite Afterburner integrating with RTSS, which supports FPS capping to an arbitrary value? Don't they know some older games start breaking at 60FPS?....)

Edited by Expack3

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The only thing I can think of in general terms is if MSI Afterburner has inferior CPU-usage compared to other tools. To use an exaggerated, hypothetical example, I don't want a free tool which tears up 10% CPU time just to record uncompressed video when there's a paid tool which uses 5% CPU time doing the same thing.

I see your worry there. Indeed it only comes with RivaTunerVideo and MotionJPEG codecs.

But imo that doubt goes away once you realize what supporting external ones means.

 

I don't know other utilities codecs (even though I guess they all claim to be the fastest and the most efficient existing on the planet)..

but I find hard to believe they would be able to beat huffyuv, lagarith (and all their forks) and the almighty x264.

 

EDIT: On a more minor note, it only supports DirectX 8 and up, meaning I can't record games like StarTopia, Independence War 2, or Wizardry 8 without using dgVoodoo2 - and dgVoodoo2 still doesn't run every pre-DX8 game (assuming the game's issues with modern machines lie exclusively with graphics). A great example is Jagged Alliance 2 with the 1.13 mod, which AFAIK still uses the vanilla, pre-DX8 renderer the game defaults to. Can't even get the intro to play without a runtime error occurring when using the mod in conjunction with dgVoodoo2!

From one hand, I wouldn't even know if the other tools support things so old.

On the other.. if RivaTuner overlay works with Omikron (once you adjust it a little), I dunno why video recording shouldn't too.

In the same game, dgVoodoo2 also fixed z-buffer issues. And that's DX6 btw.

 

(Plus, if I had to nitpick: why the heck do I need overclocking tools with my video recorder?! Why can't I limit the frame rate below 60FPS despite Afterburner integrating with RTSS, which supports FPS capping to an arbitrary value? Don't they know some older games start breaking at 60FPS?....)

Oh, no need for smaller fonts. I love nitpicking!

You can't limit framerate below 60 FPS.. probably because that's your target framerate .-.

Once you lower it, it's not like multiples of your value won't appear (also, it's not like you couldn't set as you said unlimited framerate there, and limit the game in RTSS)

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[snip]

 

From one hand, I wouldn't even know if the other tools support things so old.

On the other.. if RivaTuner overlay works with Omikron (once you adjust it a little), I dunno why video recording shouldn't too.

In the same game, dgVoodoo2 also fixed z-buffer issues. And that's DX6 btw.

 

[/snip]

Dxtory and Bandicam, for example, support DirectX 7 (they also support "DirectDraw", but I have no idea what's meant by that).

 

Also, just tested Afterburner's recording capabilities with Age of Wonders, which is a DX6 game like Omnikron. No video was output. Croc 2 using dgVoodoo2, however, work just fine. I imagine Age of Wonders with dgVoodoo2 would also work.

Edited by Expack3

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I don't know other utilities codecs (even though I guess they all claim to be the fastest and the most efficient existing on the planet)..

but I find hard to believe they would be able to beat huffyuv, lagarith (and all their forks) and the almighty x264.

Try MagicYUV. Lagarith used to be fast once, that was overtaken by Ut quite some time ago and while I don't have Benchmarks at hand I personally found MagivYUV to be quite good/fast, especially when the software supports the x64 variant of the codec.

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Dxtory and Bandicam, for example, support DirectX 7 (they also support "DirectDraw", but I have no idea what's meant by that).

 

Also, just tested Afterburner's recording capabilities with Age of Wonders, which is a DX6 game like Omnikron. No video was output. Croc 2 using dgVoodoo2, however, work just fine. I imagine Age of Wonders with dgVoodoo2 would also work.

That may definitively be a point for them.

Though, did you create a custom profile in RTSS for the game?

With high detection level and/or different OSD modes/coordinates

 

Try MagicYUV. Lagarith used to be fast once, that was overtaken by Ut quite some time ago and while I don't have Benchmarks at hand I personally found MagivYUV to be quite good/fast, especially when the software supports the x64 variant of the codec.

It's not me you have to convince of :p

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That may definitively be a point for them.

Though, did you create a custom profile in RTSS for the game?

With high detection level and/or different OSD modes/coordinates

Yes, and still nothing.

 

However, to play devil's advocate: with the exception of the original StarCraft, how many people these days are actually interested in capturing footage of pre-DX8 games?

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:p

Well, that's nevertheless an argument.

 

How are the other tools doing on the other hand?

After prolonged testing, they stink by comparison. For doing lossless game recording, MSI Afterburner is just as fast as the other tools while using less memory. (Plus, I have no need for lossless compression, hardware-accelerated or otherwise, as I'm not doing any 4K+ recording.) Top it off with the non-existent price tag, and I can see why you love it so much.

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If it wasn't that Rivatuner settings actually are an added feature lacking in the other programs rather than something standard split randomly.

I mean.. I wouldn't know if other alternatives let you use different hooking methods.

 

99% of times you don't need them afaik.

And btw, there's not only afterburner built around rivatuner. Try EVGA precision if you'd like a more aggressive UI (my experience is mixed with that though)

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I would use MSI Afterburner if the UI wasn't so confusing and clusterfucky, I hate how you need two separate programs just to get one thing setup, it's all very confusing.

Use the gaming skin. It makes things so much cleaner. Also, that second program can be mostly configured right from MSI Afterburner - including setting up keybindings for video and screenshot capture. You'll only need to touch RTSS directly for those odd cases where it can't hook into the game you want to record (assuming said game isn't using DirectX 7 or earlier).

 

EDIT: Plus, RTSS and MSI Afterburner (this is with the latter's low-level hardware access turned off as it's unneeded for video/screenshot capture) have a combined memory footprint of 15MB. By comparison, FRAPS uses ~30MB, and Dxtory uses a whopping ~50MB! I honestly don't mind having two programs when they're quite clearly using their memory extremely efficiently.

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Finally, I can post. (Clicking this thread took me to an RSS page oddly for a while).

MSI Afterburner + RTSS is unrivaled for screenshots. 
(UI Clunky? No way man. AB/RTSS have the most functionally workable UIs that are clearly and concisely laid out. In comparison to it's peers. I refuse to use anything else)

And Video...when you can get it to work >_>

I... I still use FRAPS for Video footage. Aside from the lack of updates (Perhaps due to piracy of the program?) and CPU overhead involved, I've never had too much problem capturing video with it.
It's lossless (Albiet with sub-sampled Chroma) and translates well to re-encoding.
 

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I'll give it another try, I just find it incredibly frustrating to use. I'll probably write some instructions on a page.

Finally, I can post. (Clicking this thread took me to an RSS page oddly for a while).

MSI Afterburner + RTSS is unrivaled for screenshots. 
(UI Clunky? No way man. AB/RTSS have the most functionally workable UIs that are clearly and concisely laid out. In comparison to it's peers. I refuse to use anything else)

It wouldn't be so bad if the window was a tiny bit bigger.

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Okay so now I see what really annoyed me, I didn't realize MSI Afterburner was using my Public folder which was kinda annoying. I didn't pay too much attention though seeing as I just hate this tiny ass window. I don't really know what settings to use.

4gJcho1.png

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I don't see why people don't always use MKV containers.

Besides, NVENC encoding is available under external plugin.

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Okay so now I see what really annoyed me, I didn't realize MSI Afterburner was using my Public folder which was kinda annoying. I didn't pay too much attention though seeing as I just hate this tiny ass window. I don't really know what settings to use.

If you have a spare 1TB or greater hard drive/hard drive array you can use, I'd use uncompressed video and save exclusively to that hard drive. Why? You'll be quickly accumulating gigabytes of hard drive space just for a couple of minutes of footage. Otherwise, what you have selected in terms of compression is good; that said, if you have a GPU which supports one of the hardware-based compression schemes (Intel Quick Sync, AMD VCE, or NVIDIA NVENC), you may want to try one of those as well. They'll give you great quality with minimum lag since your GPU's on-board H.264 co-processor will be handling the compression.

 

As for the other options...

  • I'd use "full frame" frame size (unless you're doing 4K, in which case you may want to keep it as-is).
  • Cap the frame rate using both the setting which just says "Framerate", which sets the video's FPS, and the Framerate limit setting, which sets the FPS the recorded game will be limited to while recording (using multiples of the video's framerate from 0 to 5, with 0 representing no cap), to either 60FPS, the maximum effective FPS for YouTube, or the FPS limit of the game you intend to record.
  • Quality should be as high as your system can handle (i.e. 100% quality if your system can record without issue, something lower like 90% or 85% otherwise).
  • Multithreaded optimizaiton should be left at "automatic" since AFAIK it doesn't suffer from the logical processor detection issue Outcast 1.1 does (see its article for more details).
  • Enable the dedicated encoder server. What this actually does is tell RTSS to create a separate process which seamlessly bypasses the issue of using 32-bit codecs with 64-bit games and vice-versa.
Edited by Expack3

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If you have a spare 1TB or greater hard drive/hard drive array you can use, I'd use uncompressed video and save exclusively to that hard drive. Why? You'll be quickly accumulating gigabytes of hard drive space just for a couple of minutes of footage. Otherwise, what you have selected in terms of compression is good; that said, if you have a GPU which supports one of the hardware-based compression schemes (Intel Quick Sync, AMD VCE, or NVIDIA NVENC), you may want to try one of those as well. They'll give you great quality with minimum lag since your GPU's on-board H.264 co-processor will be handling the compression.

 

As for the other options...

  • I'd use "full frame" frame size (unless you're doing 4K, in which case you may want to keep it as-is).
  • Cap the frame rate using both the setting which just says "Framerate", which sets the video's FPS, and the Framerate limit setting, which sets the FPS the recorded game will be limited to while recording (using multiples of the video's framerate from 0 to 5, with 0 representing no cap), to either 60FPS, the maximum effective FPS for YouTube, or the FPS limit of the game you intend to record.
  • Quality should be as high as your system can handle (i.e. 100% quality if your system can record without issue, something lower like 90% or 85% otherwise).
  • Multithreaded optimizaiton should be left at "automatic" since AFAIK it doesn't suffer from the logical processor detection issue Outcast 1.1 does (see its article for more details).
  • Enable the dedicated encoder server. What this actually does is tell RTSS to create a separate process which seamlessly bypasses the issue of using 32-bit codecs with 64-bit games and vice-versa.

Ah the settings in the picture were the default settings, I still hadn't changed a whole lot yet. I tried the NVIDIA plugin but the quality was pretty poor, I guess it has something to do with my system. Anyway I just got home now so I'll probably screw around a little bit with all the compression settings.

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I'm going to see if I can color correct this. But this is how my videos look with the nvidia plugin.

mYjY1Ns.jpg

 

I'll just use the uncompressed setting, it works fine anyway.

...ew. That's not how it should look! Did you try clicking the button with the three dots next to the video format list when you had the NVIDIA plugin selected? That should bring up some quality control settings which will enable you to get better quality than...that ugly mess of default settings.

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These were my settings. This doesn't happen on lossless.

QS9AKwV.png

 

For some odd reason it looks better in Window Media Player. Some color is still lost but, I'm not sure what happened. Kinda blurry.

Uc8OCf4.jpg

 

VLC

ZgVvWGE.jpg

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I fixed it, just had to uncheck this box in VLC. (The YUV->RGB one)

CpNnKmg.png

 

The colors are correct now.

U0aGLee.jpg

 

Sorry I was really annoyed seeing as I didn't understand why the videos looked all washed out, no matter what format I used, but now they are displaying correctly.

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That just seems like a player is set to use 0-255 RGB output values (full), while other is set to 16-235 (limited).

 

Besides, there's a gamma correction setting in MSIA.

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That just seems like a player is set to use 0-255 RGB output values (full), while other is set to 16-235 (limited).

Ninja'd. Was about to say this. Had similar problems when I used to render videos with video editor. 

 

Also VLC uses internal codecs while WMP uses computers installed codecs. VLC is miracle in sense how wide variety of files it plays, but overall playbacks quality is still lacking even though they have improved over time significantly. 

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Ninja'd. Was about to say this. Had similar problems when I used to render videos with video editor. 

 

Also VLC uses internal codecs while WMP uses computers installed codecs. VLC is miracle in sense how wide variety of files it plays, but overall playbacks quality is still lacking even though they have improved over time significantly. 

Personally I use MPC-HC which, with the right additions, can even satisfy the most exquisite needs.

It has "codec pack" in the name, but it's nothing like all the other rubbish. Just the most advanced media splitter and video and subtitle renderers.

 

I recorded another video but for some reason MSI Afterburner recorded the launcher instead of the main game window.

Is there any way around that?

Go in RTSS setting and turn off support for launcher executable

 

ps: there's a comparison between fixed function encoding and normal software one here

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While I really like MSI Afterburner, are there any decent video sharing websites which do not butcher the video quality like YouTube does? Vimeo is great but there's like a 500 MB limit which is absurdingly low. I'm not going to pay just to upload a bunch of videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpF86vipxs0

 

Meh.

6jjJb7r.png

 

wut

XsoDx8A.jpg

 

I'm pretty sure the videos would look miles better if I recorded them at 2048x1152

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Well, last time I checked Vimeo didn't even allow pure gameplay material in their site (and I can understand from their point they will have a lot less fighting over who owns what)

 

As for youtube, there are many presets available made by people for video editor/converter you use to make it not suck horribly, for some really odd reason WMV is best export format for Vegas for example. Lately personally stumbled upon FFmpeg which is basically godlike tool for video editing/converting and it does have so good tools you can basically make video to match almost perfectly youtubes own algorithm thus nullifying youtubes own conversion artifacts, haven't tried this yet (though I would believe that rendering withing exactly same format shouldn't decrease quality). 

Then of course youtube did introduce 60 FPS playback, so uploading video in high bitrate 1080p+ resolution 60 FPS makes video quality pretty good as 60 content is handled with higher bitrate. I have actually seen people uploading 30 FPS content in 60 FPS just because of this fact as well as upscaling HD content to 4K, of course those are awful approaches. 

 

However you should never expect perfect quality from streaming sites, you won't get that much better from youtube. If you need to give that level of quality, then use cloud services (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, MEGA, etc.) to share rendered file instead. 

 

EDIT: "In October 2014, we started allowing video game content on Vimeo again." Oh, never mind that then. 

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YouTube doesn't support 60 FPS MKV videos. At least that's what I understood from what Mirh told me.

MKV is just container, not video format. 

And yes, 60 FPS videos are supported in Youtube. At least I have been uploading them and they state 1080p60 as quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbwvEB8qs6I (need to find out why footage from that capture card stutters like that at some point) 

 

Also speaking about video recording, switched to MagicYUV codec with Dxtory. Getting tons of more frames when recording stuff. With full RGB 1920x1080 I'm getting ~100 FPS while others (UtVideo, Lagarith) were ~70 or below, so with just slight resolution and color scheme reduction I'm getting much more performance. 

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Meh, I don't know, for some reason they are being converted from 60 to 30. But honestly I'll bother playing around with this stuff when I'll get some better hardware, right now I was kinda looking for something free and a bit more lightweight than FRAPS.

 

Bear in mind I uploaded the raw footage.

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Bear in mind I uploaded the raw footage.

That's not adviceable thing to do. 

 

This goes bit off topic here, but if anyone happens to know better solution to VirtualDub or how to fix audio capturing in the thing that would be nice. At least using that fixed stuttering that manufacturers bloatware was doing. https://youtu.be/jWIjH1yDakw

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