Why should I encode my videos?


Staff member
A very common topic on this forum is how badly fraps videos play in everyone's media player of choice. Most of the time this isn't due to the game lagging, or a bug in fraps. The simple fact is that fraps footage is incredibly 'raw' in format, and as such there is way more data in it than what is found in most video files you play on your computer.

Take for example this screenshot of my fraps folder:


What you see above is the top file being the original fraps file, and then the files below all being that same original file after it has been encoded using various programs.

So, this gives us another question: Why are fraps files so big?

Looking inside the original fraps file gives us this information:

Complete name                    : F:\Terraria 2012-01-21 20-34-22-21.avi
Format                          : AVI
Format/Info                      : Audio Video Interleave
File size                        : 3.95 GiB
Duration                        : 1mn 52s
Overall bit rate                : 301 Mbps

ID                              : 0
Format                          : Fraps
Codec ID                        : FPS1
Duration                        : 1mn 52s
Bit rate                        : 300 Mbps
Width                            : 1 920 pixels
Height                          : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio            : 16:9
Frame rate                      : 30.000 fps
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)              : 4.821
Stream size                      : 3.93 GiB (99%)

ID                              : 1
Format                          : PCM
Format settings, Endianness      : Little
Format settings, Sign            : Signed
Codec ID                        : 1
Duration                        : 1mn 52s
Bit rate mode                    : Constant
Bit rate                        : 1 536 Kbps
Channel(s)                      : 2 channels
Sampling rate                    : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth                        : 16 bits
Stream size                      : 20.6 MiB (1%)
Interleave, duration            : 996 ms (29.88 video frames)
Look at the bitrate. We are looking at a video with a bitrate of 300 megabits a second. Bluray movies cap out at around 55 megabits a second. Are you starting to see the problem here? This fraps file is streaming so much information every second that the media player you loaded it into is crumbling under the amount of data it is receiving.

Look above at the image again. There are 5 files in the screenshot. That same video once encoded in Adobe Premiere (on a very high quality setting) ends up with a bitrate of around 12.5 megabits a second. If we go even further down the list and look at the .mkv file encoded in staxrip, the bitrate is down to under 3 megabits a second without a major drop in quality. It is still perfectly fine to watch. Any modern video player will be able to handle the 4 encoded files without a stutter for the most part.

The only major downside to encoding footage is how long it can take, as well as getting the settings right to make a video maintain its quality. A fast processor is incredibly helpful for encoding fraps footage. Hopefully the other posts in this forum can point you in the right direction in regards to picking out the right encoding/editing suite for your needs. This post was mainly made to show how important it is to encode your footage.rawfrapsvsencoded.png
Last edited:
could you explain what exactly the megabits a second means though? i mean if you dont see a major drop from 300 to 3, im sure you dont see any difference in 12.5 so why does fraps even record in such high mb/s?


Staff member
Site Contributor
Fraps files are lightly compressed because there is no time to do more without losing quality. You can't compress 300 MB down to 3 in real time AND play your game at the same time!

I wish Fraps would have an option for MJPEG like most of the others do - MJPEG doesn't look great, but you can turn the quality down to make a very small (and ugly) file compared to Fraps, if that's what you need.


Well-Known Member
Site Contributor
What software did you use to extract that information from your video file, if I may ask? When I try to find this information in VirtualDub it gives me the number in Kb/s, while I would find it much more convenient to know the exact number in Mb/s. It could help me determine the average amount of data being written to the disk while recording, and based on that I could determine whether using Lossless RGB Capture mode would be worth it or not.


Well-Known Member
Site Contributor
Ah, cheers, that's beautiful!

I didn't actually think of your script when I was trying to do the math the first time, but that paired with the equation you provided will do just fine. Thank you very much!


Staff member
Yes, it was mediainfo. I tried to keep moving around in the above videos to keep the bitrate as "peaked" as possible, but obviously there are instances where it will spike higher or bottom out much lower.
i actually just minutes ago wrote them politely asking if they ever plan to integrate or allowing use of x264 realtime with their software (and that i was willing to pay a small upgrade fee)! hadn't even seen this thread yet! (site was open to a thread while i was helping a friend with capture/encoding tips)

also, MPC-HC (a sourceforge project/fork) has MediaInfo built into it, so it's just a Shift-F10 away.


Thalmor Wizard

Staff member
Site Contributor
There's another solution that I've found that could explain why I don't have the issues with playback on my PC.

Tools -> Options -> Performance -> Check box for "Drop frames to keep audio and videos synchronized"

This will ensure WMP is able to play back the videos without looking horrible, and still show any problems with the recording itself :)