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[OLD] Video Snap Creation Guide


Circo

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I have this idea of making a very complete guide for this with videos and elaborate screen shots and a perfect step by step guide. However in the meantime I thought I would just post a summary of what is involved and make my perfect guides later when I have time. Please feel free to ask any questions and I hope this clears at least some of the mystery up.

Software Used:

Captures:

#1 Fraps

#2 Camtasia - For when Fraps doesn't work

#3 HD Extreme HDMI Capture (Currently only for NullDC, Pinball and Specialty work)

Editing and AVI Encoding:

VirtualDub

Corel Video Studio 12

Xvid Codec

Audio Normalizing:

AVI Gain

FLV Encoding:

Adobe Media Encoder C4

PC Specs:

Intel Core2Duo e8400 @ 3.8GHz

8 GB Ram

Dual Boot Vista 64 and Windows XP

2X WD Black 1TB HD (Raid 0) - Capture Drive

Windows XP works better than Vista for capturing, I am hoping windows 7 solves this but I have yet to make the change. The Raid 0 is overkill for most sets but is critical for the HD Extreme. As long as you have a modern processor and a 7200 rpm hard drive you should be ok for most sets. Make sure that you have the Xvid codec installed

Capturing:

Fraps or Camtasia

I try to capture at 640x480 resolution and in a window whenever possible. Fraps is always my first choice but it doesn't work with all emulators. When Fraps doesn't work I use Camtasia. I try to capture all games at 60FPS. Typically I will record the title sequence for at least 10-20 seconds and then start the game and I will play until I have a clean and interesting segment. This gives you a fairly large video, typically 700MB to over 1GB. Don't worry we will take care of that later. I will usually make a batch of 30-50 of these raw captures at a time.

Editing:

VirtualDub

#1 In virtualdub I first set the compression method to Xvid using the default settings (ok sometimes i will tweak them a bit but default is fine)

post-1-125750398176_thumb.pngpost-1-125750395548_thumb.png

#2 Audio is set to direct stream copy

post-1-125750386349_thumb.png

#3 I use the resize filter and disable the aspect ratio (640x480)

post-1-125750391783_thumb.png

#4 Using the cropping tool I ensure that I properly crop the video and it is resized back to 640x480

#5 I then cut the video two times, 1st time is the title sequence 5-7 seconds (I save this as gamename t.avi)

#6 2nd cut is game play 30 seconds (I save this as gamename g.avi)

Repeat for all videos

Note: If you wanted to stop at this step and upload the videos to the FTP for me to finish I am fine with that, it would still be a huge help. More advanced (Crazy) users continue on...

Corel Video Studio 12

#1 Open the video studio editor

#2 In the time line add to black pngs, needed for the transitions

post-1-125750410689_thumb.png

#3 first add game play video then title video

post-1-125750412258_thumb.png

#4 I then add 3 transitions: Beginning - crossfade / Title - crossfade / End - fade to black

post-1-12575041383_thumb.png

#5 If it is your 1st video you will need to shorten your black png files at the beginning and end so that they only last the duration of the transition

post-1-125750415376_thumb.png

#6 To Save: Share Tab - Create Video - Custom

post-1-125750416604_thumb.png

#7 Choose Save as type AVI then click options for the first video

#8 General Tab - change these settings: Frame Rate=30 / Frame Size 640x480

post-1-125750419753_thumb.png

#9 AVI Tab - change these settings: Compression=Xvid MPEG-4 Codec / Audio Format=MPEG Audio Layer3 / Attributes=48000 Hz, 192 kbps CBR, Stereo

post-1-125750420854_thumb.png

#10 Save File as gamename

Audio Normalizing

AVI Gain

I use a package called AVI Gain I believe I have posted this on the FTP and I will get it posted here soon as well. I edited the batch file some so it's custom.

Very simple to use copy avis into program folder, run the lossless bat and before you know it all avi's have a standard volume level.

FLV Encoding

Adobe Media Encoder CS4

#1 Drag and drop finished AVI's into window (I suggest around 50 at a time)

#2 Select the preset FLV - Same as source (Flash 8 and Higher)

(I will usually play with the bitrate settings here and try to get the file sizes as small as possible but the default settings work well)

#3 Start Queue and wait

Once this process is done you are left with an AVI and FLV version which is what we need to properly complete these sets. It's alot of work but with practice it goes fairly quickly. Like I said I will update this with some pictures and detail as time permits but in the meantime this should give everyone a pretty good idea of what "The Standard" is. I hate to deviate from this too much because in the end we are going for consistency.

Some things to watch out for:

#1 - 2 minute video because the game is cool (no point your scrolling through the game lists so you will hardly even notice, it balloons up file sizes and it's not consistent.

#2 - Adding filters or scan lines (Just please don't) I will occasionally add a slight blur in vdub as it can decrease file sizes and smooth out the pixelation lightly but thats it PLEASE!

#3 - 4 minute title sequences vs just the 5-7 second title (see rule #1)

Ok guys the floor is yours, let the questions begin!

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Thanks for the quick how-to, it has answered some of my more pressing questions.

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Awesome. This was definitely necessary. I'll be doing them like this from now on.

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Are they all going to look like this eventually? I noticed some sets don't seem to be of this quality. I did look at some of the new mame videos and the only word that I can come up with is impressive!!! Hats off to you I can't even fathom how much work has gone into this.

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Are they all going to look like this eventually? I noticed some sets don't seem to be of this quality. I did look at some of the new mame videos and the only word that I can come up with is impressive!!! Hats off to you I can't even fathom how much work has gone into this.

That is the intention, to have a seamless experience across the entire FE. The first big step towards that is the normalization of all the audio in the different sets. I am currently leveling it all out so all the volume spikes and lulls disappear. Unfortunately it means re-encodes of the flv's for hyperspin users. So that is taking up most of the time but progress has been good on that front.

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Hi, this is my first post here!

I'm thinking of helping out creating some vids, primarily Amiga and old PC-games. I have pretty good knowledge with video editing and have some questions/pointers regarding the creation guide.

It looks like you are encoding to xvid with only one pass? Two pass will give better quality/smaller size.

Encoding the video in 640x480 is waste of space for most systems since they use about half that resolution. If you want higher quality (For the HQ set) increasing the bitrate will be a better option.

Looks like you convert the FLV from the already xvid-encoded video? That means reencoding a lossy source = not good (same with normalizing the sound?)

There's also no mentioning in the guide how to encode the sound if you dont use Corel Video Studio 12, i.e. what bitrate, how to merge it with the video etc.

I understand that it isn't the end of the world if these issues aren't addressed, but I think it's worth to point if you want the best possible quality.

So, what's your thought on this?

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Hi, this is my first post here!

I'm thinking of helping out creating some vids, primarily Amiga and old PC-games. I have pretty good knowledge with video editing and have some questions/pointers regarding the creation guide.

It looks like you are encoding to xvid with only one pass? Two pass will give better quality/smaller size.

Xvid has ALWAYS crashed on me when trying to do two-pass, don't know why.

Encoding the video in 640x480 is waste of space for most systems since they use about half that resolution. If you want higher quality (For the HQ set) increasing the bitrate will be a better option.

I had looked at this but when playing back full screen it just always seemed better in testing to do it that way. I tried lower resolution, higher bit rate. Results could be argued but file sizes were basically the same, for consistancy I finally settled on 640x480. I scale the window when I capture and now no longer capture lower than that. So while not authentic, I actually do run the systems at that resolution.

Looks like you convert the FLV from the already xvid-encoded video? That means reencoding a lossy source = not good (same with normalizing the sound?)

Your right, and that started because we were encoding existing sets and while I tried working with uncompressed for awhile, it added an extra encoding step for the avi's and my file sizes were larger for the flv's. It's already much work to make these and i was trying to cut out a step.

There's also no mentioning in the guide how to encode the sound if you dont use Corel Video Studio 12, i.e. what bitrate, how to merge it with the video etc.

I picked corel #1 cause it's cheap (and readily available if you know where to look) and I was trying to come up with a system that everyone could do. It's very easy and there is no merging of audio. I have tried to keep this as basic as possible while still being able to have consistant results. I am positive that the transitions are simple enough that they can be done using other progs. But I would leave that to the individual user.

I understand that it isn't the end of the world if these issues aren't addressed, but I think it's worth to point if you want the best possible quality.

I really do appreciate your comments and I am mostly speaking of my thought processes and why I chose to do it this way. I have been trying to figure the best way for awhile now through much trial and error. I have tried to find the best balance between quality, file size, and time to create. Of course their has to be a better way to do things, there always is, but I was hoping this would be realatively easy for someone just getting started, and I ended up doing so many tweaks per set that I was getting nothing done rolleyes.gif

So, what's your thought on this?

I am open to anything that saves time and makes it easier while keeping consistant results. Let the debate continue mail1.gif

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OK, so if I want to contribute with some videos, how do I know which one that are not already done? Where do I upload them? You have some kind of system for this?

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OK, so if I want to contribute with some videos, how do I know which one that are not already done? Where do I upload them? You have some kind of system for this?

They are all on the FTP file server. I had been laboriously trying to hand edit the HTML front of this website with all of the info but it was too much work. So as soon as I can get the downloads section up you will be able to see everything we have. It's been a chore trying to migrate all of that data to our new server. But if you stick around for a couple of weeks we should be 100%. The main site will be tore down soon after with a more informative yet simple portal.

I have also just added a project tracker to this site so that we can all keep track of whats going on and who is working on what. morning1.gif

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I've been playing around with encoding Genesis videos to flv. Testing a lot of different settings and my conclusion is that encoding 320x240 with higher bitrate gives higher quality than 640x480 (for the same filesize of course). I've found a pretty good and fast work routine wich also normalize the sound.

My question is: how big should a normal HQ and SQ video be? You could cut the filsize about 30% if you encode the video in 30 fps instead of 60. Should the sound be in stereo in the SQ version aswell?

Now I just have to incorporate the xvid conversion in my work routine, flv looks (not suprisingly) to be a lot better at encoding game graphics though, so the xvids will be larger or not as good looking.

I chose to not use a crossfade between the title screen and gameplay though, since that slows down the process quite a lot and I don't think it's worth the time...

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I've been playing around with encoding Genesis videos to flv. Testing a lot of different settings and my conclusion is that encoding 320x240 with higher bitrate gives higher quality than 640x480 (for the same filesize of course). I've found a pretty good and fast work routine wich also normalize the sound.

My question is: how big should a normal HQ and SQ video be? You could cut the filsize about 30% if you encode the video in 30 fps instead of 60. Should the sound be in stereo in the SQ version aswell?

Now I just have to incorporate the xvid conversion in my work routine, flv looks (not suprisingly) to be a lot better at encoding game graphics though, so the xvids will be larger or not as good looking.

I chose to not use a crossfade between the title screen and gameplay though, since that slows down the process quite a lot and I don't think it's worth the time...

Can you upload some samples?

On the crossfades I guess I can add those later.

On the normalizing we are doing across sytems not just games within a system. What are you using?

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Sure I'll upload some samples later.

What do you mean normalizing across systems and not just game? I used Audition when I tested.

By the way what systems need movies? I saw in one thread you mentined Genesis, but then I saw there already is a SQ pack for Genesis with about 640 videos. Is it to make them better quality? Isn't there other systems that don't have a complete set? Amiga for example? DosBox?

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Sets I made back in 05 and 06 generally suck. I am using AVI gain to rename all of the sets because with the settings I have it ensure each set is at the same volume level so you don't get a volume jump when switching between systems. It's a batch process and takes just a few minutes per set. I will try to add it to the uploads section this evening.

On the main site it shows what sets have vids and which ones dont, there is a push to replace the old tired sq sets with shiny new HiQ ones, and when those older sets were made there was no editing and the quality is poor when compared to newer sets. But when picking a set to do, I suggest picking one that you have a passion for.

Off the top of my head sets that have no videos:

Amiga CD32

Intellivision

Amiga

PC

Wonderswan

Wonderswan Color

Nintendo DS (I am hoping to get to this one this year, I have a touch screen so I can record w/o cursor)

Genesis is the most requested set to be redone.

Looking forward to seeing your work, I admit I am hesitant on the 320x240 with higher bitrate because of how we normally package releases, but I am keeping a very open mind here yes.gif

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Again, using AVIGain on already encoded vids is not optimal... and won't work at all for flv's.

But you were right about the 640x480 vs. 320x240. I found that recording resizing the vid from 320x240 to 640x480 gives a nicer result. I guess the encoder works best when it's slightly blurry , and also it doesn't increase the filesize that much either. Talking still only about flv though.

I'm attaching two sample videos. The HQ is 640x480 with original 50 fps. The SQ is 320x240, 25 fps and mono sound and of course lower video bitrate.

640x480-2000.zip

320x240-400.zip

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The HQ sample of yours is awesome. You can really tell the difference between it and the SQ sample.

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Again, using AVIGain on already encoded vids is not optimal... and won't work at all for flv's.

But you were right about the 640x480 vs. 320x240. I found that recording resizing the vid from 320x240 to 640x480 gives a nicer result. I guess the encoder works best when it's slightly blurry , and also it doesn't increase the filesize that much either. Talking still only about flv though.

I'm attaching two sample videos. The HQ is 640x480 with original 50 fps. The SQ is 320x240, 25 fps and mono sound and of course lower video bitrate.

Ok that's pretty damn good!

With what your using for normalizing, can you normalize all of the sets against each other?

As far as a blur I usually ass a slight blur to some of the more modern systems, barely noticable and drops both avi and flv sizes 20% or so.

I added avi gain so you could see, to try just place in the same folder as vids before encoding and run the lossless bat

AVI Gain.zip

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I'm nomalizing to 100%, so yes every video file will have their sound peak at 100%.

Had a look at the gain batfile. Pretty massive, what does it really do? All it should do is normalize the (uncompressed) wave from the (uncompressed) avi and save it back?

I can see it's useful of you batch run it on a bunch of files, but it can't be lossless if you apply normalize to an already encoded video.

About the fading:

Should it fade from black in the beginning, crossfade from gameplay to title and then fade to black? I'm guessing the sound should fade the same?

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I'm nomalizing to 100%, so yes every video file will have their sound peak at 100%.

Had a look at the gain batfile. Pretty massive, what does it really do? All it should do is normalize the (uncompressed) wave from the (uncompressed) avi and save it back?

I can see it's useful of you batch run it on a bunch of files, but it can't be lossless if you apply normalize to an already encoded video.

About the fading:

Should it fade from black in the beginning, crossfade from gameplay to title and then fade to black? I'm guessing the sound should fade the same?

It normalizes and reencodes the audio track, does not touch the video whatsoever.

In Corel, the two types of fades automatically fade the audio as well. But as far as the order you are correct.

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That's what I thought. I'll use Audition though, since there's no reencoding and doesn't take many more seconds.

I was thinking of just doing the HQ from lossless audio and video. Then someone can reencode the HQ to LQ in a batch process.

I'll probably do vids for Amiga, however I saw some dude at the Hyperspin forum that was doing it also, so I should contact him. If he hasn't done the fading I'll skip it aswell though.

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That's what I thought. I'll use Audition though, since there's no reencoding and doesn't take many more seconds.

I was thinking of just doing the HQ from lossless audio and video. Then someone can reencode the HQ to LQ in a batch process.

I'll probably do vids for Amiga, however I saw some dude at the Hyperspin forum that was doing it also, so I should contact him. If he hasn't done the fading I'll skip it aswell though.

I will give audition a shot, if 100% is standard across the board (many emulators have diff volume levels) then its worth a shot

Yeah you dont have to worry about sq, its getting less and less important anyway :) Plus they are easy to batch.

Not the biggest deal on the fades, I can always reedit the avi's later and update the set.

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Although apllying fades afterwards means reencoding the whole vid and sound which means worse quality on the whole vid...not good...I'm a perfectionist hehe...

By the way what filesize should typically a normal 30 sec video have? 10-15 mb?

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Although apllying fades afterwards means reencoding the whole vid and sound which means worse quality on the whole vid...not good...I'm a perfectionist hehe...

By the way what filesize should typically a normal 30 sec video have? 10-15 mb?

Completely depends on the system, I usually average 3-6MB but some games do get up into the 10-15 range usually more modern systems.

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I guess that is for the SQ sets?

I encoded a 22 sec video from Amiga in FLV. It looks great and it is 4.1 mb. Encoded an xvid (from raw material) and to get the same quality the xvid becomes about 25 mb... but I'm gonna do like this if it's ok with you: I'll encode the videos to HQ 640x480 in FLV, and then you can use the FLV and batch convert them to avi in what quality you'd like. I'm sure there are progams for that. I'll try to insert the fade-ins aswell.

Edit: What time do you use for the fading? 1 sec at the start and the end and 2 secs for the crossfade?

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I just use the defaults I think it 1/2 sec

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