Screen capturing (AVI/MPEG) directly to disk

Hi there,

I need a way to capture a local gaming session directly (in AVI or MPEG formats) to disk.

Ok, I've tried software like ScreenCorder and Camtasia, but the resulting frame rate is too low (only between 5 and 10). ScreenCorder stores images in a temorary file while recording and converts this to an AVI file afterwards. Camtasia presumably does the encoding to AVI on the fly. Both of these products are made for general purposes in connection with people's need for making training demos (for instance about how to use an office application), and they're probably not intended for my special needs. They are probably not programmed either for taking advantage of certain hardware specific accelerating features in different kinds of graphics card chips from for instance Nvidia, ATI or Matrox.

That brings me to one of my questions - Do you know of any graphics cards that would let me do this screen capturing directly to disk, i.e. graphics cards which have been designed for being able to include such a feature (with suitable software enclosed in the package)?

Several of the manufactorers now have powerful graphics card models with both TV-Out and Video-In included (and also the software needed for using these features), but in no reviews or manuals (or on Tom's Hardware Guide) have I seen my special needs described as a possibility. Is maybe my needs impossible to solve technically? I wouldn't think so. If the included software for the graphics card was made specifically for that model of graphics card, it probably could deliver much better results than the 2 general software packages mentioned above.

Of course, I could buy the Asus AGP-V7700 GeForce2 GTS DDR Deluxe package and use the TV-Out feature to capture the game session to my VCR and then play it back via the Video-In feature while capturing it to an AVI file. It would be much more convenient to do it directly to disk, though. Would it by any chance be possible to connect the TV-Out port to the Video-In port? Hehe, I guess not? That would demand that both these features could be used at the same time.

Well, if something of a solution to this problem comes to your mind, please let me know.

My PC: PIII 600MHz, 384Mb RAM, Creative GeForce DDR, IDE & SCSI disks
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  1. There's a utility called snagit! that does this sort of thing but I don't know if it will do games or the sort of refresh rates you are looking for - you can give it a try though.

    Don't have a site URL but searching should be easy.

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    email for application details
  2. Peteb, I downloaded SnagIt today and tried it out. Unfortunately, I discovered that SnagIt is the light version of Camtasia, made by the same company, so it didn't help me. But thanks anyway :)
  3. oh well, nothing ventured... sorry it didn't work out.

    -* This Space For Rent *-
    email for application details
  4. Dude I wish you luck but I doubt you will have any. Two of the apps that stress a computer the most are games and AV and you are asking your box to do both at the same time. You could use a second computer with video in and record directly from the first. I have a AIW radeon and it will do real time capture to disk from an outside source but it will not capture from a game on the same machine.
  5. I have the same problem you are having. I'm not interested in games, but OpenGL 3D geo displays. I've had some success with Camtasia, but not when I start to stress the system. I was hoping to find a resonablly priced system, like a second computer system to capture the screen video.
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