Camtasia (Windows): Record Video Games

Problem

How do I record video games for editing?

Solution

Recording footage from video games can be a very system-intensive process, even on a computer that exceeds our recommended system specifications. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the best possible performance from Camtasia (Windows) when recording.

Option 1: Free System Resources

The game you are going to record and Camtasia will be utilizing a lot of memory and processing power, so any spare resources that are available will help. It is best to limit your open applications to just Camtasia and the game. A reboot of the computer can also help to clear up other resource issues.

Option 2: Set the Game to Play in Windowed Mode

For better results, we recommend playing the game in windowed mode at 1280x720. Most games will have this as an option in their video settings. The reason we want to avoid fullscreen mode is because the resolution can change when moving into the game after you start the recording. With the game running in a window of a set size, you can tell Camtasia to record that area of the screen.

Some games like Minecraft do not have specific resolution options. In this case, there are different applications and custom launchers that can be used to force the window to be 1280x720, but this will force the whole window to be that size – the actual gameplay region will be smaller. Follow the instructions to set the correct video dimensions:

  1. Open Camtasia Recorder.
  2. Select 720p HD (1280x720) under Custom.
  3. Click Start Recording.
  4. Resize game window to be within the recording area.

This will record only the gameplay, and not the window heading and border, although it will require some editing to cut out the setup phase.

Option 3: Disable Aero

This is pertained to only Windows Visita and Windows 7

Aero is the term for the slick visual effects in the main Windows Interface. It provides the see-through “glass” effect on title bars, allows previews of minimized windows, and some enhanced alt-tabbing visual effects. Unfortunately, these effects can drain in the system resources.

To turn off Aero, select Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization > Change the Color Scheme. Choose one of the Basic color scheme to apply.

Basic_Theme.png

Option 4: Third-Party Recording

Some of our users like to use a capture recorder called FRAPS. It is designed to specifically capture video information directly from the game and write it out to a file. If using FRAPS, we strongly recommend setting the recording framerate to 30 FPS. Keeping a constant 30 FPS during the editing process in Camtasia will work, however, any higher framerates can result in a choppy video or performance issues when editing.

FRAPS.png

We still recommend recording at 1280x720 even when using a third-party tool. Some machines may be able to handle 1920x1080, but this amount of information will be a lot for Camtasia to process. This can also overkill the quality of the recording.

Another issue with FRAPS is they write to an extremely large, uncompressed file. Longer recordings can easily fill up an entire hard drive. Download Handbrake to convert videos to MP4. The MP4 file can then be imported into a Camtasia project and be edited.