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Fraps'ing Your Way to Video Victory

It was brought to my attention by an awesome shaman that maybe I should blog about my process for recording and producing Fraps videos of our raids (or other crap I tend to record). And the little things that go into making a WoW video.

Let me preface the following post by saying that I’m not a videographer, a video producer, a hobbyist of video-making tendencies.. none of that. I just record our boss attempts/kills and sometimes add music.

My computer setup:

OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 (Service Pack 2)
CPU TYPE: Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz
VIDEO CARD MODEL: ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series
VIDEO CARD DRIVER: aticfx32.dll
DOWNLOAD SPEED: 1.63 MB/s (13.7 mbps)

(I totally pilfered that from my beta profile on bnet :>)

I generally have 30-45 fps in a major city even during peak times, even given my not-quite-awesome video card. So…Yeah I got no advice on that part. It is what it is.

My WoW Video Settings:

Fraps How-To: A Basic Introduction

Fraps is software that lets you record window content — games, browsers, etc. You can even record your desktop. You can download a trial (but only record limited-length videos), but I recommend buying a license. It will be money well-spent!

Here are screenshots of each of the Fraps settings screens to show how I have mine setup. Your mileage may vary depending on your hard drive space and personal preference for overlays, etc.

The General tab shows my current version and build of Fraps — I have the paid version.  The boxes that are checked are just some personal preference-type things about how Fraps window behaves. This part won’t make or break your vidya producin’.

The stuff on the FPS tab all looks really important, right? NOPE. The only part of this screen I actually use is where to put the overlay when it’s on the screen. Lower right (because it doesn’t cover anything too important).

Okay now.. the Movies tab is where the customization comes into play. I’ve selected a file path for saving movies after they’re recorded (done automatically after using the hotkey to stop recording). To make my life easier and my computer last a bit longer, I’ve selected a folder on my 2TB internal hard drive. Believe me when I say you will need a big hard drive if you are seriously thinking of working with video files. They can be monstrous in size and your computer will cry and kittens will cry, etc etc.

I’ve set up my hotkey to be F9 because, well, it wasn’t being used in-game. If you use default keybindings, you will want to unbind F9 because it’s default binding is to open one of your bags. You don’t want a bag opening at the beginning of every video you make, right? Esc > Keybindings > Open Bag # (look for F9) > Unbind Key. Done.

I also selected the “Record Win7 Sound” because this is what will capture vent/mumble sounds and game sounds. I suggest you don’t select “Record external input” because it will pick up EVERY LITTLE SOUND. I never realized how often I sniffle until I used that setting one night. The video had to be trashed. >___>

The Video Capture Settings is set to 30 fps by default. I picked 60 fps because it seemed the best. Things have been going okay so far…

As for the last of the settings on this panel, I just don’t use them. If you end up using them, let me know how it goes!

This final panel shows some screenshot settings. I don’t use them mostly because I use WoW’s default screenshot key (print screen). But if you’re not playing WoW and want a screenshot, Fraps will let you do that! I think the settings here are pretty self-explanatory, so.. :}

Produce That Vidya!

Now! So you’ve recorded some video of your awesome Blackhorn kill from last week but you don’t know how to get it on to Youtube! What do you do! I can show you how I do it on my Windows 7 PC. If you have a Mac, I’m sure there’s some sweet ass app you have that will do this a thousand times better… :|

First, you need to make sure you have a Youtube account. :|

Second, Open up Windows Live Movie Maker. Make sure it’s the Live version and not the previous Windows Movie Maker version (the previous is not as easy to work with and does not come with upload-to-Youtube-directly capabilities). If you don’t have WLMM, you can get it here for free.

Click to enlarge.

Third, Click the “Click here to browse for videos and photos”, find your raw Fraps video. WLMM will load it up.

Fourth, Make any edits to the video in terms of trimming out that accidentally recorded 10 min raid break >__>

Fifth, Add a witty title and credits pages, as necessary.

Sixth, Click the Youtube link, sign in, fill in all the field YES ALL THE FIELDS JUST TYPE SOME CRAP OKAY. You can always edit this later :>

Note: If you select Private at this screen, you will need to edit the video later to set it to Unlisted if you want to share it but not make it Public. Private means what it sounds like — only you will be able to see it.

Seventh, Click Okay (or save or whatever it says that isn’t Cancel) and your movie will be saved then published!

After the “Publishing” timer is done, you’ll be offered to “Watch Online,” “Open Folder” or “Cancel” (I think, I didn’t really pay attention xD Old habits!). If you click “Watch Online,” you will see this screen:

Click to enlarge.

Once your video is available, you can make minor edits to it or add music.

Other things to know:

– If you want to add music, make sure it’s of a free nature (and I don’t mean no cost; I mean not copyrighted!) You can add music in WLMM (there’s a button for it!) or you can add it after it’s uploaded to Youtube. Note: If you use Youtube, know that it will swap out any sound in the video for the music (that’s why it’s called “AudioSwap”).

– There are some pretty nice transition animations included in WLMM. Take a look for some fancy stuff!

– Be sure to save your movies at the highest resolution as possible for best playback quality.

– You may notice that most of my videos have a black border all around it. This issue is caused by what I call “double-letterboxing”: WLMM puts black bars on the left and right of the video (I think) and when it’s uploaded to Youtube, Youtube adds the top and bottom. I dunno man, it doesn’t really bother me. xD

Good luck in your vidya-ing ventures! Please let me know if you have any questions!

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