As our previous experience with making computer videos was little to nil, and/or restricted to some specific C/C++ programming APIs (e.g. the Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora containers and formats), we started to search, read and experiment.
This post briefly summarizes our findings:
We use http://www.fraps.com (registered version) for recording the source footage.
Fraps works well, but remember:
- Fraps is a great tool, is easy and reliable to use, and generally does the job well.
- Computer performance (and thus Ca3DE FPS) drops dramatically as soon as movie recording is started.
The resulting stuttering can make precise player control very difficult.
- For playback of the generated .avi files on another computer, Fraps must be installed there, too (free or registered version). This is due to the custom Fraps FPS1 codec that is used in the .avi container.
- Windows Movie Maker "WMM"
The Fraps .avi files must be further processed / compressed / encoded / etc.
When only a conversion is desired, the Fraps Support website suggests VirtualDub, tmpgenc (Tsunami Mpeg Encoder), or avisynth.
None of these is a video editor though, and we found that the Windows Movie Maker "WMM" (free download for WinXP, included with WinVista) is a great program that makes creating great videos easy!
The WMM generates by default .wmv output in a good quality: http://www.ca3d-engine.de/files/Ca3DE-DemoClips.wmv
We could peacefully stop and be done at this point, but consider:
- Although download and playback of .wmv files is possible under Linux (tested with ubuntu), it's not the ideal cross-platform format.
- I've not been able to enter an URL ending with .wmv in the Firefox address bar and save the file locally: Both under Win and Linux it always attempts to open the file inline in the related plugin.
- Embedding such a video in a webpage is either not possible, or restricted to Microsoft browser plugins.
- YouTubeFinished video, additional / alternative action #1: Youtube upload.
Done that, it's very straightforward and simple, performance is great, but honestly, the quality is poor, despite good quality source footage for upload [EDIT: There is a new HQ button, see errata below!]:
Finished video, additional / alternative action #2: Use ffdshow-tryouts with WMM.
MP4 with h.264 video codec, as it is modern, good quality, an ISO/IEC standard, and can be played back by the Adobe Flash player - see next item.
- JW FLV Player
As the above .mp4 file can be handled by the Adobe Flash player, we can now embed it into the website.
"Raw" embedding is (apparently) possible, but leaves us without any player controls for "play", "pause", "rewind", etc.
Player controls are added by .swf Shockwave flash programs, obtained e.g. from:
Until now, we've successfully implemented everything in this list except for the last two items (MP4 and website embedding). We're working to complete these two, too, hopefully finishing them in the next few days.
In the meanwhile, watch the Ca3DE .wmw demo clips: http://www.ca3d-engine.de/files/Ca3DE-DemoClips.wmv