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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to record my Dell Studio's 1555's monitor to a dvd player. I know there are some programs which can record your monitor, such as Camstudio and Camtasia but I've had it crash mid-record, which means I won't be able to make a video file from what it had recorded previously- it goes to waste.

What I want to do is connect my laptop to my VCR/DVD combo machine and record preferably on a DVD, though I could record on a VCR tape as well. This way if my computer crashes I'll still have everything up to the point it crashed (the only other option is a point a camcorder directly at the screen)

My question really is, what kind of ports does my laptop need to do this? The only in ports my VCR/DVD player has is an S-Video and composite port (all three colors) so obviously I'd need one end would need to be S-video (the player side is a female S-video, so it would have to be a male S-video connector on that end) My laptop also has an HDMI, VGA and IEEE1394a (firewire) but it doesn't say whether those are for input or output Why would I need a specific video output port? I have USB headphones so the sound can be outputted via USB, why couldn't video?

Will it work outputting video from the monitor using a USB to S-video (and composite yellow, and white) cable? Or does it specifically have to be video-out (which the manual doesn't say I have any ports of. I've been trying to google such a device, but it's been difficult to find the specific, putting in "USB to S-video with composite audio male S-video connector" hasn't been working too good, some that say USB to S-video are actually the other way around the device to the computer, to computer to the device.

Also, I wonder if there are any devices which are hard drives with a record function build in, connect my monitor to those and they'll record, since a hard drive can hold more than any DVD or Blu-ray

I've tried doing some google searches, and I've emailed a few websites on whether they offer specifically what I'm looking for, that kind of the problem when googling it, if I put in "USB to S-video connector with male jack on S-video and composite ends" just wouldn't work too well, but here's what I've tried (and failed) using for searches

1. USB to S video output
2. USB to S video output from pc
3. PC to DVD player products
4. PC to DVD output
5. USB to S video output from pc
 

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The only solutions I have seen that come close to what you want to do involve connecting the laptop via S-video to a DVD recorder - is your DVD machine capable of recording or just playing? (you refer to it as a "player") S-video is only going to give you video signal and a very lo-res one at that, no audio so you would need to sort that one out too.

Honestly I would persevere with screen capture software such as the two you have mentioned -
what is causing them to crash?
how long do you intend recording (time)?
are you recording full screen?

It may well be that your files are becoming way too big - may need to either adjust the window size and/or the compression settings - both record close to uncompressed video by default but you can change the compression settings to use a hi quality/hi compression codec such as H264.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The only solutions I have seen that come close to what you want to do involve connecting the laptop via S-video to a DVD recorder - is your DVD machine capable of recording or just playing? (you refer to it as a "player") S-video is only going to give you video signal and a very lo-res one at that, no audio so you would need to sort that one out too.

Honestly I would persevere with screen capture software such as the two you have mentioned -
what is causing them to crash?
how long do you intend recording (time)?
are you recording full screen?

It may well be that your files are becoming way too big - may need to either adjust the window size and/or the compression settings - both record close to uncompressed video by default but you can change the compression settings to use a hi quality/hi compression codec such as H264.

I can try using them again, and I'll tell you what happens. I think my problem with outputting the DVD is just finding a device that can do it, I've been searching, I've found lots of them that can output from the player (Yes, it can record on a DVD or VCR tape as well)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have Camstudio v 2.6 (the recorder- there are a few different icons in the program under my start menu) and just had megaproblems trying to record and play a video

So, what I did was record a 10 minute video of me watching some videos and web surfing online, and I named it test11112 (today's date) it told me it couldn't save it. So, I did another test, I saved another video, the file name is marked with an asterisk (*.avi) and I didn't know what caused it not to be able to save the first time, so I tried saving it just with the asterisk, it wouldn't let me.

So, I saved the video simply named "test" Then when I get back to my desktop, I found out that it HAD saved the file test11112, I tried to play it both with winamp which it shows the icon for it, it wouldn't play. I tried to play the file test that I just saved and it opens it with winamp, shows the name of the file, but never starts the video. Nor can it play it with camstudio's player either

So, before I posted this video I needed to know what version of the recorder I had. So, I tried opening the program so I could click the about menu item under help, the program wouldn't open, after I a minute of clicking that icon. I tried it again- waited a minute, it still wouldn't open. Then, finally I restarted my system and I was able to open it, so I could tell you what version I have

See, this is why I don't like using it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One thing I just realized is it has to first compress the video before I can play it, which I didn't know. And, actually I had it set to play the video after it had done that, which I turned off. Since I've done this I've gotten videos to play both with the Camstudio player and winamp, and yes I'm recording full screen.

But, is compressing supposed to be so slow? I recorded a 180 second video and it took, it seems, as long to compress that as to record it. The Codec it says is Cinepak codec by Radius, under the video options menu, there are some other choices too, but says MS video 1 when actually recording the video
 

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yes video compression is a slow process - I have a quad core 2.66GHz desktop with 8GB RAM and an i5 laptop with 8GB RAM - the laptop is the better performer for rendering out video so I cut on the desktop and when a project is complete xfer it to the laptop for final rendering - a 20 minute doco I did just recently that had a number of effects and multiple tracks took about 4 hours to render out.

You have a slower system than me - the CPU is the main element in video rendering, so you can expect lengthy render times.

Try reducing the window size - even small reductions in recording area can make a difference in render time without too much loss of quality when blown back up to fullscreen when playing back. I use Camtasia Studio 6 and usually record the screen with a window reduced to about a quarter of my 22'' screen size.

If your recording compression settings are set to use MS video 1 - it will give pretty hefty files that will take some time to compress - it is one of Microsoft's older video codecs.

The Cinepak codec does give fairly high file sizes too - have a look at both the recording and exporting compression settings - if you have either xVid or DivX or one of the other H.264 codecs available use it for export at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Another thing is Camstudio has a 2GB file limit. Well, actually I think this is a limit of (at least some) avi files. Though, I wish it would stop recording at that limit, rather than recording beyond it what it's not going to be able to save.

Take a look at this video though, over 4 hours long, though it was taken with a video camera. It's not a video of a screen capture. It's in flash I believe. I will need some videos to be long. Though I have avi's of some episodes of shows that are an hour long, and usually just a few hundred megs big.

Live LEGO Build: Star Wars Tantive IV [10198] - YouTube
 

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a couple of things to note here:

1) the video you linked to is a low resolution (360p) .flv which comes in at around 940MB - not something you would want to watch on a large screen - either monitor or TV. If you were to put this onto a DVD the image would be of very poor quality.

2) as far as I am aware XP has a 2GB file size limit anyways - no matter what the software is capable of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
a couple of things to note here:

1) the video you linked to is a low resolution (360p) .flv which comes in at around 940MB - not something you would want to watch on a large screen - either monitor or TV. If you were to put this onto a DVD the image would be of very poor quality.
Well, what I want to record I want to upload to youtube, some reviews of some things I plan to download, so people can see what they're really like. That res is good enough for me, and mine won't be nearly that long, an hour at most I'd say.

Actually, come to think of it, here's another video of someone which is a recording of their monitor/desktop

Copy that game video game copy software fraud, copy that game scam - YouTube

that video at 1:07 is pretty good. Wonder what the file size of this is


Any codec you recommend for camstudio? Not too big of a file size and good quality?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here are the codecs I have. I've done recordings with Camstudio with all of them now.

1. Xvid MPEG-4 Codec- Best one I've seen sofar, very good quality video. I did a 40 minute recording, but just the file size is way too large. I don't know exactly how long I'll need my video to be, an hour at most, too large to upload.

2. Cinepek Codec by Radius- not bad, I only did a 3 minute recording, but the video, like it is with a few other codecs is upside down.

3. Intel Indeo(R) video R 3.2- shows up when recording as MS Video 1. I use winamp to play videos, I'm guessing this was meant to be played in another played. I tried both winamp and Windows Media Player, it comes out very distorted. Anyway, it doesn't really matter if it didn't. A little over 3 minutes of video was 575 Megs, way too big

4. Intel IYUV codec (shows up as MS video 1 while recording)- pretty much the same as number 3, video won't play clearly and the file size is way too big.

5. Microsoft Video-1- and does actually show up as Microsoft Video 1, not MS video 1 when recording. This video is upside down 152K megs is three minutes, still too big

6. Indeo Video 5.10, is upside down, 153K in three minutes

7. Microsoft MPEG-4 VKI Codec V2, picture is right side up 22K for 3 minutes. Video isn't too bad, but not too great either, I was recording a video of a video the person's face is pixelated somewhat

5. Microsoft MPEG-4 VKI Codec V1. Smaller file size, worse quality than number 7

6. Lagarinth Lossless Codec- I had to stop the recording after a minute, since it was 752 megs big, but it is lossless, so I would expect this.

7. Microsoft MPEG-4 VKI Codec V3- pretty much the same as number 5.

8. Cinepek Codec by Radius- looks ok, but it's upside down.
 

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Not sure why your videos are coming out upside down with so may of the codecs though I have heard of this before, particularly with earlier versions of the DivX and Xvid codecs - look in the settings area and you may find an option to flip vertical or some such.

Also with most codecs - after you have selected them in the screen recording software you may find there is an option to configure the codec settings - if the files are too big you could try for less in any quality sliders or bitrate settings - it will just be a juggling act to find the setting that gives OK quality for low enough file size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not sure why your videos are coming out upside down with so may of the codecs though I have heard of this before, particularly with earlier versions of the DivX and Xvid codecs - look in the settings area and you may find an option to flip vertical or some such.

Also with most codecs - after you have selected them in the screen recording software you may find there is an option to configure the codec settings - if the files are too big you could try for less in any quality sliders or bitrate settings - it will just be a juggling act to find the setting that gives OK quality for low enough file size.
I'm in contact with someone who says to download this codec, which they claim can give good video quality even with a quality setting of 1. It's called Jawor Xvid, googled, I download this one

Jawor's Xvid Binaries

The first one in the list, 32 bit version. Then I try installing it, it asks what specifically I want to install, I choose the Xvid codec, but there is nothing under Camstudio video options that says specifically "Jawor's Xvid" unless it's called something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And, I just did a 30 minute video with Camstudio, using the Xvid MPEG-4 codec, on the lowest quality,when I was done recording Camstudio said the video is under 200 MegaBytes, but the avi file shows it as being in the 300's! Guess quality isn't the only thing I'll need to tweak. Any idea why it doubled the file size? It compresses it at the end, which is supposed to lower it.
 

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I'm unsure of what you are saying here - is it that the capture file was recorded using Xvid and was 200MB then when you exported it, it became 300MB?

If so, it could be that the export settings contributed to the file increasing (not doubling) in size.

Compression/re-encoding is a funny animal - you can take a file and run it through a converter (Prism, Any Video Converter, Format Factory etc.) and get differing file sizes according to codecs and their settings. What you have to remember with compression/re-encoding is that the first of all the file is unpacked (decoded), then re-packed (compressed) and it will depend on how the software, along with the actual codec, interprets the footage and the level of information that is kept/thrown away.

If I were to take an .avi file that I may have on my computer and run it through Format Factory on the top quality settings for Mpeg4 using H.264 (aiming for high quality and low file size) it very well may come out bigger than it went in - it can't have any better quality because the information is just not there, but it can have higher bitrate (both video and audio) as well as other settings.

btw - 300Mb for 30 minutes is pretty low file size - when I compress for uploading to Vimeo using their recommended export settings, I'm getting 300Mb for a 10 minute 1280x720 video
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm unsure of what you are saying here - is it that the capture file was recorded using Xvid and was 200MB then when you exported it, it became 300MB?
I'm saying in the record window when I recorded the video, when I stopped recording after a half hour, it said the video would only be about 156 MB's big, but then when I looked as an avi file in the folder I recorded it to, it said it was over 300MB's big

If so, it could be that the export settings contributed to the file increasing (not doubling) in size.
Don't really know what the export settings are, but all I did was stop the video, name it, then the next time I looked at it, it was way bigger than what the in-video recording setting said it would be.

Compression/re-encoding is a funny animal - you can take a file and run it through a converter (Prism, Any Video Converter, Format Factory etc.) and get differing file sizes according to codecs and their settings. What you have to remember with compression/re-encoding is that the first of all the file is unpacked (decoded), then re-packed (compressed) and it will depend on how the software, along with the actual codec, interprets the footage and the level of information that is kept/thrown away.

If I were to take an .avi file that I may have on my computer and run it through Format Factory on the top quality settings for Mpeg4 using H.264 (aiming for high quality and low file size) it very well may come out bigger than it went in - it can't have any better quality because the information is just not there, but it can have higher bitrate (both video and audio) as well as other settings.
Not exactly sure what a lot of this means, but someone is telling me that the audio may not count/be part of what it is telling me the file size will be

btw - 300Mb for 30 minutes is pretty low file size - when I compress for uploading to Vimeo using their recommended export settings, I'm getting 300Mb for a 10 minute 1280x720 video

I have some AVI's of tv show episodes that are about 250 megs big for a whole hour, and have very good quality. Shouldn't I be able to get that for a video of a computer screen?
 

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I'm saying in the record window when I recorded the video, when I stopped recording after a half hour, it said the video would only be about 156 MB's big, but then when I looked as an avi file in the folder I recorded it to, it said it was over 300MB's big
Many encoding softwares give an estimate of what the file size should be but they can be very wrong (as you have found out) the reasons for this are complex but in essence it comes down to what the source is, how complex it is - lots of movement, lots of colours increases the file size as there is more information to be stored. If the estimate is based upon an average then there is much room for error. If encoding with variable bit rate (VBR) then it becomes more unreliable as the bit rate (and so file size) changes with the amount of information being encoded.

Don't really know what the export settings are, but all I did was stop the video, name it, then the next time I looked at it, it was way bigger than what the in-video recording setting said it would be.
My mistake here - it should have read capture settings. When you capture the video the software has to encode it using either lossless or lossy compression and VBR or CBR (Constant Bit Rate) also see above for clarification.

Not exactly sure what a lot of this means, but someone is telling me that the audio may not count/be part of what it is telling me the file size will be
Audio is the least of your worries when compressing - compared to video, audio has tiny file size implications - you can just about always set your audio compression settings to the highest quality (lowest compression), highest sample rate, highest bitrate
All I was trying to communicate here was that compression by us amateurs is a strange animal and that factors such as bitrate and codecs used have a huge impact on the end result.


I have some AVI's of tv show episodes that are about 250 megs big for a whole hour, and have very good quality. Shouldn't I be able to get that for a video of a computer screen?
Theoretically, yes - in practice, not that easy for the reasons outlined above.
Without knowing information about the source files and compression methods used I can't comment - Many TV shows are still recorded and transmitted in Standard Definition for starters so their pixel dimensions could be as low as 704×480 or 854×480 (NTSC - USA, PAL slightly different) Other factors include the type of software used - commercially produced videos aren't using a couple of hundred dollar editing software to do their compression, they are using multi thousand dollar compression-only software packages.

Sorry if this sounds negative but I think many of us take for granted the tasks that computers can do - video editing and compression has only recently become a mainstream consumer activity and without a full understanding of the technicalities (which I am happy to admit I don't have) it may seem easy but it is not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, it may not be an issue, even if the file size is bigger. I think the maximum file size of a youtube video is 2GB's (with whatever you get with the default free account) not sure about time, but I'm guessing 10 minutes or less, as 2 hour long movies there are split into several segments, but an hour at most is what I'll need, it will be less than 2GB's,
 
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