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Optimizing Your PC Display Settings for Camstudio and Screen Recording

This video was in response to a viewer of the “Camstudio Settings” video (“Larry” mentioned in the beginning) who was having trouble getting adequate framerates for recording games, but it is useful for anyone trying to get better framerates. Keep in mind, that for normal tutorial videos using only a slide program and an application screen, the normal optimizations are plenty adequate.

I now stick with the 856X480 size for readability and universality for dial-up users. (480p) 16-bit color produces the most efficient recordings with the smallest file sizes and fastest playback rates possible, especially with all hardware acceleration features turned off at the video card level (under “Troubleshooting” in Advanced options from the Settings tab as mentioned in the video). But 16-bit color won’t work with several of the codecs out there.

Additionally, to improve CPU performance just for the duration of your recording, you can try turning off any screen enhancements. In Windows XP, this is done via the System control panel, Advanced tab, the Performance “Settings” button, Visual Effects tab, and turning all of the visual effects features off temporarily. This will speed up your PC anyway, and consequently may improve your screen recording’s capture frame rate. Try that out and compare with two recordings of the same thing!

(For Vista and Windows 7 users: Nick added this in the forum, “@tbritton, that “drop your display to 16-bit” tip is a cracker. I believe Vista/Win7 Premium users can get the same effect automatically by selecting “Disable Desktop Composition” in the Compatibility tab after right-clicking Recorder.exe and selecting Properties.

At least I see the same “The color scheme has been changed to Windows Vista Basic” message.”

Some Codec-specific observations:

ffdshow requires very specific sizes to work. Width must be a multiple of 2. Height must be a multiple of 2. Any color setting works (16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit)

DivX needs to be in 24-bit or 32-bit color mode, so you’ll never get great speed out of that one. If possible, go for 24-bit (32-bit only includes the 8-bit transparency channel, which is not useful for most screen recordings.) Width must be a multiple of 4, height must be a multiple of 2.

CamStudio Lossless needs even numbered dimensions for uploading to YouTube, otherwise skewing occurs. (Likely taking place during YouTube’s codec conversions). There are also some even-numbered dimensions that YouTube dislikes.  Works with 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit color.

In VirtualDub, Xvid says “No Known Restrictions”, but I’ll bet you need to be even-numbered dimensions like with CamStudio Lossless for successful upload to YouTube. (Not tested yet)

Microsoft Video 1 – no known restrictions, but huge file sizes even at lower “quality” slider settings.
BTW – the “quality” slider only works with codecs that do “lossy” compression. It does nothing with lossless compressor codecs like CamStudio Lossless (or so I’ve heard…)
There are others, but I’ve never seen them mentioned around here, nor do I know whether they work with YouTube:
Huffyuv – 24-bit color only
Intel Indeo Video R3.2 – Valid Depths: 16-bit and 24-bit
LEAD MCMP/MJPEG codec (VFW) – Valid Depths: 24-bit
Cinepak Codec by Radius – No known restrictions
New Soft H.263 Codec – Valid Depths: 24-bit
VP70 General Profile – Valid Depths – 24-bit and 32-bit
MSU Lossless – no known restrictions, but no longer works with YouTube (amazing lossless compression, though!)

Again, at least for XP, “Sizer” is the best tool for setting up window sizes when using the 2.6 beta’s Region==>Window setting.
http://www.brianapps.net/sizer/
I have it load at startup now (choice available during installation), as I use it several times a day, it is so darn handy!

(Frustratingly, it doesn’t work with Google’s Chrome browser window, though it does show you what size you are re-sizing that window to when you drag the lower-left corner out…)


One Response to
Optimizing Your PC Display Settings for Camstudio and Screen Recording

  1. Thanks for this. Just wanted to let you know for Windows Vista/7 you can configure the settings at this path: “Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Display\Screen Resolution” …You can get there by going to desktop and right click Screen Resolution.

    (Oops forgot to mention to click on Advanced Settings > Monitor > (Colors: – bottom of window)

    NOTE: You can tell you are in 16-bit color when your recycle bin icon has changed.

    REGARDING:
    “(For Vista and Windows 7 users: Nick added this in the forum, “@tbritton, that “drop your display to 16-bit” tip is a cracker. I believe Vista/Win7 Premium users can get the same effect automatically by selecting “Disable Desktop Composition” in the Compatibility tab after right-clicking Recorder.exe and selecting Properties.”
    That isn’t actually in 16-bit color. It’s still in 32-bit color. Take a look at the recycle bin! It hasn’t changed.

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