Rendering FRAPS AVI

Brad

Well-Known Member
First, I know this isn't really an editing forum, it is a FRAPS and very technical forum, so I chose here since I've already gotten great feedback personally, and read other threads that have helped me in the past.

So I've rendered quite a few FRAPS video files for YouTube in the past 2 months since I've made the switch, but recently I've been having an issue, specifically, text. Not all games I have a text issue with depending on the font size, type etc, but two games so far have been giving me trouble, Neverwinter Nights and Sims 3.

I encode using Adobe Premiere which is a completely awesome program, but I can't nail the damn text! It looks just fine and readable in the 19GB uncompressed file, and I assume I could import it, edit the parts i dont need / screwed up on, and render it in an AVI uncompressed, but that doesn't really solve the problem, especially since I upload to YouTube. With the advanced uploader I could (I think?) upload up to 10GB, but that would take forever. I know the issue is with encoding because I've tried various things with varying results. I generally export anything I record in H.264 (The compression to quality ratio is AMAZING compared to others), in an mp4 container. I render what ever resolution I shoot in, so in the case of Sims 3 for example, I record 1600x900 and render in 1600x900 at a 16:9 aspect ratio with 30FPS, shooting and rendering (I heard YouTube discards any FPS over 30 anyways?).

http://oi45.tinypic.com/14ms8o.jpg

With that explaining everything else, the part I've had varying degrees of success with is Field Order. On a "Level" of 4.2 or higher, it is greyed out. On 4.1 and lower, its not greyed out, but 4.1 barely supports 1600x900, and no 1080 resolution. 4.0 and lower wont even support 1600x900, only 1280x720 and lower. The lower the level, the less you can do with things, clearly it's adobe's technology getting more advanced from Premiere 1.5 to now for example. The Field Order I'm thinking is either stuck on Progressive all the time, or its not even working at all. When I can change this from Upper or Lower field the text becomes readable.... sort of. It seems to go back and forth. Upper makes the text readable for about 15-20 seconds, then not for 15-20 seconds, then readable again. Lower does the same thing, just alternating. I did try an AVI Uncompressed format but the file size for a very low amount of footage, (I had cut it down to 60 seconds so I could render faster for testing) was very large, over 9GB to be exact.

Also, recording / exporting in anything lower then 720p is not an option, and I have tried exporting this at 1280x720 and it doesn't make thing's anymore readable.

Any help?
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
Gonna test that right now, thank you.

Edit: Just tried this, 2-3 small tests and the text is still a tad unreadable. Max bit rate, image quality, Pixel aspect ratio is square pixels only cause "custom" 16:9 makes things to small, and everything else is an add 2.11 etc ratio. Two encoding passes, constant bitrate, 30 fps, 1600x900.
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
I have the CS5 Suite though... seems a bit wasteful just to try that. I can try, but using a WMV Container / Codec shouldn't really change from program to program, would it?


Edit: Windows Live Movie Maker says the file is corrupted. It plays fine in WMP, VLC, and opens up just fine in Premiere.

Edit 2: Few more variations using WMV in Premiere, nothing. This is honestly pissing me off. :p
I don't want to say im a perfectionist, but at least text in a game where its needed should be readable. The only time I was getting clear text was with Field Order. Using WMV changes the menu's around a bit, which is normal, but there is no Field Order or Upper, Lower and Progressive scan options anywhere using this. I'll take any solution as help, but unfortunately Windows Live Movie Maker wont even accept the FRAPS video.
 

raffriff

Moderator
Staff member
Site Contributor
Hey Brad, good post. Here are some suggestions.

1) Some resolution will be always be lost because of chroma subsampling.
This is most visible with highly saturated detail. You can't do anything about this...

original vs. subsampled from Wikipedia

RGB-SideBySide.png
Fraps RGB on vs. RGB off (RGB off = subsampled)

>in the case of Sims 3 for example, I record 1600x900 and render in 1600x900
YouTube will automatically resize this to fit inside a 1920x1080 window (and 1280x720, etc)
2) You should resize the video yourself with the highest quality possible. Basically use "Lanczos" mode if possible, "Bicubic" mode as a fallback. Premiere CS5 will export w/ Lanczos if using a CUDA capable GPU. Not sure if the difference would be worth it to use Avisynth LanczosResize or VirtualDub resize w/ mode="Lanczos." Long discussion of resize modes at the Avisynth wiki ->here.

3a) Second, add a moderate sharpness filter.
3b) Make the x264 encoding extra sharp: set "deblocking" to -2:-1 as shown here.

4) If possible, crop the edges and zoom in a bit to make the text larger.

>I heard YouTube discards any FPS over 30 anyways
Yes it converted my 60 fps test to 30. Not sure what happens at other upload frame rates.

Side note: the conversion quality was not bad, (it's not a difficult conversion, just discard every other frame) and since the file size was not too much larger than the same video uploaded at 30 fps, I've stopped nagging people about always converting before upload. Surprised the file wasn't twice as big? Me too. I guess this is due to the interframe compression. The main drawback of uploading at 60 fps was the longer encoding time.

>The lower the level, the less you can do with things
"Level" is for device compatibility: targeting an iPhone for example. Leave Level at "auto."

>Field Order I'm thinking is either stuck on Progressive all the time, or its not even working at all
yes, there is no Field order with progressive videos
5) Make sure your Project and all new Sequences are Progressive!
In Premiere, whenever you create a new Sequence you have to give it the correct parameters. I was telling every Sequence to expect lower frame interlaced video. Given this, of course, that's all it would output. When I told it to expect progressive video, it all works beautifully.
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the great reply. Gonna go through a few of these my self, minus re-shooting footage.

In some cases for shooting, especially older games, I've had to use 1280x960 and YouTube really can't make that 1280x720, though they do add black bars to the side. Is there anything they do with 4:3 or 5:4 aspect ratio videos? I know there is technically two player sizes, but do they alter those resolutions too? I wouldn't think so personally as I can still pick "720p" on a video I've uploaded in 4:3.

Edit: I never thought my original Sequence Presets could be wrong, but it seems that they're all set to Lower Field First. Gonna change this to progressive and see ow that goes.
 

raffriff

Moderator
Staff member
Site Contributor
>I know there is technically two player sizes
Pretty sure YT is all 16:9. Could be wrong!

I think YT scales to the next standard size, (1080, 720, 480, ...) always scaling down, never up. I could be wrong about that! Did you download your converted 1280x960 video to check the actual size?
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
JESUS CHRIST! It takes someone else pointing out the obvious for someone to go back to a simple solution, and I find myself seeing it was the simple solution after I've tried most complicated ones.

Changed my initial Sequence setting, nothing else and everything is perfectly readable AND some other artifacting / blurriness has been fixed as well. Also, I find this VERY shocking. Downloaded my YouTube video using a YT video downloader and chose the "720 HD" option. YouTube offers the video in 720p quality selection but MediaInfo is telling me that the video is 960x720. The game in question is Neverwinter Nights. I can put it in to 1280x720 or 1600x600 similarly, but it looks odd a bit in 16:9 as its a game from 1999-2000. And to compensate for the resolution, they auto-added black bars.

As far as the YouTube sizes are concerned.


I meant this Here. Bottom right, two boxes. I could almost swear the first was for the more 4:3 resolution and the second was more for 16:9, could be wrong.

Also if you want more detailed shots of the settings I used for the video to finally come out in better quality for what ever reason here are the screenshots for that.

Sequence Preset Editor:


My Render / Export Settings:
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the help guys and the tad bit of extra knowledge. If anyone needs help with Adobe Premiere, i'd be happy to answer.
 

raffriff

Moderator
Staff member
Site Contributor
I'd like to add clarify some minor points, and add some new test results:

Raff > Pretty sure YT is all 16:9. Could be wrong!
Brad > I meant this Here. Bottom right, two boxes. I could almost swear the first was for the more 4:3 resolution and the second was more for 16:9, could be wrong.
Those boxes only set the player window size. Black bars are added to any video not 16:9 aspect ratio. It is nothing to worry too much about in my opinion.


Raff > I think YT scales to the next standard size, (1080, 720, 480, ...) always scaling down, never up.
Confirmed. To upload a "1080" video, it seems source width must be at least 1920, OR height must be at least 1080; and to upload a "720" video, source width must be at least 1280, OR height must be at least 720. Here are my test results:
Source --- YouTube - Result (as downloaded)​
1366x768 .. 720 .... 1276x720 (shrink to next smaller standard size)
608x1088 . 1080 ..... 604x1080 ("tall" aspect ratio; height > 1080)
592x1072 .. 720 ..... 398x720 ("tall" again; height < 1080 yields 720 final video)
1360x512 .. 720 .... 1280x482 ("wide" aspect ratio; width > 1280)
The scaling quality looked OK, so again, nothing to worry too much about.

Brad > I heard YouTube discards any FPS over 30 anyways
Not exactly. Did some testing. Here is what I get:
Source - Result (as downloaded)​
30fps .. 30fps
60fps .. 30fps (1/2 source rate)
25fps .. 25fps
50fps .. 25fps (1/2 source rate)
Dividing the source framerate by 2 is a good thing. A conversion from say, 50fps to 30fps would have either framerate judder or motion blurring.
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
Didn't know you couldn't just lower the FPS like that, by say 20 in this case. Also figured they wouldn't bump up an FPS and anything below 24 starts looking odd.
 

raffriff

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Staff member
Site Contributor
>Didn't know you couldn't just lower the FPS like that, by say 20 in this case
Yeah, framerate conversion is usually done by deleting or duplicating frames, which looks "stuttery" if the two framerates aren't an even multiple of each other.

A slightly better conversion is done by blending, to "fake" the in-between frames, which looks blurry to me.

The best available (not perfect) conversion uses motion compensation. It can be done with Avisynth and MVTools, with difficulty. Sometime I will post about it, if anyone's interested. Meanwhile, search YouTube for MVTools2.
EDIT - this method can look "strange" sometimes, so it's not recommended either. If anyone is interested, please ask and I will discuss a partial workaround.
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
I do know that most FPS and resolutions need to be multiples of a lower number. Like 22FPS is preferable over 21 FPS and if you want better results with Reso 1280x720 is preferable over say 1366x882.
 

raffriff

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Staff member
Site Contributor
Framerate: not really, what about 29.97 fps - (US television) :p More exactly defined as 30000/1001 (29.97002997002997...) Video framerates are specified as a ratio of two numbers for high precision.

Resolution: supposedly should be a multiple of ("mod") 8 or 16 for best codec performance (8 for H.264, 16 for XViD, I think). I usually do this, if not using a standard resolution: set rough size by eye; divide width by 8; if not a whole number, use 8 x the nearest whole number. Repeat for height.

Trying to cite my facts about the "mod" thing, I find it may not be true (doom9.org) with H.264 (the codec creates invisible "padding" out to whatever mod resolution it needs, so the user doesn't need to worry about it)
 

Brad

Well-Known Member
All I knew about it being even multiples of something is that the PC handles it "better" what ever that may be.

Thanks for the extra info though!
 
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