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By: Westane, Jeff Torres
Oct 11 2010 2:23am
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Let's Just Jump In, Shall We?

Yes, let's skip the pleasantries and get right down to the gritty! After I started uploading my own videos to Youtube, the number one question I get is "What the hell were you thinking on that turn!?". The second most most common question, is how I did I record my videos. Well, it did take me a while to get the procedure down, but now that I have it's like second nature. Today, I'll be sharing what I've learned with you!

The Hardware

Yes, hardware does matter to a point. I don't recommend doing this on a laptop, or a very old PC. For reference, here's what I'm currently using as an office heater:

  • eVGA P55 LE Motherboard - The P55 architecture is just a joy to work with, and I'm not interested in SLI given my fairly standard screen resolution.
  • Intel Core i5-750 - Now a days, it's quad-core or nothing for me. Though I highly recommend it for this line of work, you can get by with a dual-core.
  • A-DATA 4GB DDR3 1600 Memory - This is the first time I bought A-DATA RAM, but I can't speak highly enough of it.
  • Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Rev 2 - Aftermarket cooler to keep my cores cool
  • Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - Aftermarket thermal grease to keep my cores cooler. Handle with care.
  • eVGA GTX 460 - At the price range, I can't recommend anything else. The card's great, though driver support is currently wanting.
  • hec Zephyr 700W PSU - To keep everything running. This is my first purchase from hec, but so far so good. One year running with no issues.

Additionally for recording I now wield the Logitech G35 Headset. I may leave my wife and marry it.

I use my PC for heavier gaming and processing than MTGO, so naturally yours need not compare. My only real recommendations would be at least a dual core CPU, with a decent video card, and 4GB of RAM. As a side note, 4GB of memory will only show up with a 64-bit operating system. Equally important is having ample hard drive space, as raw, un-encoded video is quite large.

The Software

I've managed to get my software list down to a whopping three programs!

  • K-Lite Codec Pack - While many will do, I use K-Lite as my codec pack of choice. It gives me more encoding options, and is just nice to have around. Bonus points are earned when you combine any given codec pack with Media Player Classic!
  • FRAPS - The bread and butter of what I do. Lightweight video recording and fairly easy to use. It's the only piece of software that isn't free, but it's well worth its reasonable price tag.
  • VirtualDub - This is the encoding software. After you've recorded your media, you'll need to compress it before you can upload it.

Now that you have your weapons, let's learn how to use them! Fraps and K-lite are simple installs. You can leave all the basic settings. VirtualDub (Henceforth, VDub) doesn't have an install, and is simply a compressed folder.


Once you have Fraps loaded you'll immediately want to make your way over to the FPS tab and choose to hide the overlay. Otherwise you'll have an obnoxious framerate monitor running in all your videos.

Now the movies tab is where the magic happens, and there's a few settings you'll need to be aware of here. First you'll want choose a folder destination on a drive with plenty of hard drive space. To point, with my settings a 7 minute video takes up about 4GB of space.

For your video capture key you'll want something you wont accidentally press. There's no better way to ruin a recording than by either filling up your drive with idle footage, or just not recording at all. Since I tend not to type and record at the same time, I use the apostrophe key.

For your capture settings, it's safe to leave the framerate options at their default. Full-Size/Half-Size is basically the difference between uploading a movie in HD or not. As file size is significantly larger at full size, I opt to record at half size.

Now let's finish up with looking at the second column of options. The two sound check boxes are pretty self-explanatory. The first enables/disables recording sounds coming from your PC, like game sounds. The second enables/disables your mic. Of the three remaining check boxes I would only worry about whether or not you want your mouse cursor available during recording.

Not I'd like to take a second and actually talk about Fraps. Besides being very lightweight, the biggest highlight of the program is that it will only capture the active application. That means, when you're recording an MTGO match, you're NOT recording your taskbar, your quick alt-tabs to check your "e-mail", or opening folders to check your HDD space. This alone beats out any other program, at least for me.

 Encoding With VirtualDub

Okay, you've used Fraps to record your match. If you did it live it's probably, oh, 10 minutes long. You can't upload a 5 gig movie to the Youtubes, and you probably don't want something eating that much space on your PC either. Enter VDub! For this segment, I'm just going to run down a step-by-step guide.

When you first open VDub you'll be greeted with a blank screen. First thing you need to do is open your file! If your video is composed of multiple files, VDub is great for stringing them together. After you open your first file, go back and select Append AVI Segment... from the File list. You can do this as many times as necessary.

After your file's loaded, you'll need to change its compression. Either hit Ctrl+P or go to the Video menu, then Compression.

Depending on what all is installed on your PC you may see different options than me. I've found that ffdshow works the best, often getting your videos down to 25% of their original size, without losing quality. For you, it may take some experimenting to find what's right for your setup.

After your compression's set, simply go to File, and Save AVI.

Now you can go make a sandwich, grab a drink. For me the encoding process takes about 5-10 minutes, though your miles may vary. Once it's done, congratulate yourself for completing the entire recording process!


For uploading your videos, I encourage people to just use Youtube. Yes, there's some problems and yes there's some restrictions but at the end of the day it's just the best option. To get started you'll obviously need a Youtube account, which you can then link to your Google account, which by now everyone should have. After your account is set up, it's an easy process. Simply click Upload at the top of the Youtube page, and go from there. The only thing I want to touch on is your embed settings.

The red box is the ideal size for a video. It fills up the article page just about perfectly. Naturally there will be times you'll want something smaller, like when using tables, but I like a nice large video. Additionally, you'll see a box that says "Use iframe embed code.". I highly recommend you use it, as it nearly cuts the embed code in half!


At this point, you should be done!If you have any questions please feel free to ask them here and I'll do my best to answer.

Until next time!

-Jeff Torres


Very informative and by Paul Leicht at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 04:29
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Very informative and useful...this should be tacked up somewhere on this site for reference!

Hey Westane, Great by Xaoslegend at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 05:33
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Hey Westane,

Great article.

I'm sure plenty of people will find this really useful for getting into video publishing. I may take a closer look next time I'm set to make new videos to see if I can improve mine a bit since they're pretty cave-man atm.

Maybe I'll put a link to this in the Heirloom link hub to encourage players of the format to get more proactive and make some of their own related media on it.


Bookmarking the article. LE by Lord Erman at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 06:35
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Bookmarking the article.


I read puremtgo at work by speks at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 09:42
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I read puremtgo at work everyday and play mtgo every night.
From my perspective, I don't like videos because it is blocked at work, so it takes away from my precious evening gaming time to watch them so i never watch them. I like plain text the best because I can read those at work without risking getting in trouble, pictures are hit or miss and videos definitely do not work for me.

Anytime there is videos, that is less content for me to read and enjoy, I hope I'm not the only one in this boat here...because I really enjoy many of the articles on this site! This is a plea to all the writers on this site, please keep your articles plain text!

This is a reply to both you by Westane at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 13:08
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This is a reply to both you and ArchGenius. I love videos as a way to fill all the visual gaps that a written article, no matter how well written, will leave. I don't see them as a substitute for good writing, however. Videos are an excellent supplement to an article, but should not be treated as the article itself.

I think telling authors to stick purely to plain text is extreme, as we shouldn't be forced to limit the form of content we put into our articles. However, the read-from-work demographic is something that should always be considered, as I'm part if it as well.

I realize that my articles have started to lean into movie-over-meat territory, and it's a trend I intend to rectify. That said, I'll never stop putting video references into my articles.

This is a very nice article, by ArchGenius at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 11:14
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This is a very nice article, and if I ever get around to making an article with a video, I will problem use this article as a reference.

However, videos are a double-edged sword. You can't skim videos very easily and it's hard to keep an audience's attention for 5-7 minutes with a video if all you're doing is playing a match. After all there is a lot of interesting video content out there as well as Magic Online in-game replays of just about every kind of match you could possibly want to watch.

Videos are best at replaying a particularly memorable match or as a tutorial of something that is somewhat tricky to explain with text and pictures.

Videos should have at least a vaguely scripted dialogue unless you are naturally very good at being spontaneously entertaining. This is not something that comes naturally. I know I'm much sound much better when I've thought about what I want to say ahead of time.

Videos are NOT a good way to cut down on the work it takes to make an article by just recording a match and what you were going to talk about in an article anyway.

What I'm basically trying to say is that good content takes time and effort whether or not it's in a video or not.

Excellent reference, thanks by Rerepete at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 12:45
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Excellent reference, thanks for making it.

Great help! Is there an by J_G_L at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 12:51
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Great help!
Is there an alternative to FRAPS, but for free?
Looking forward to your next article.

There's various pieces of by Westane at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 13:02
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There's various pieces of trial software you can hunt for, but you'll be forever plagued by poor resolutions and ugly watermarks.

I remember trying CamStudio by Thisismich at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 13:18
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I remember trying CamStudio before my old PC died on me. I had to play with the settings a little bit before using it efficiently but IIRC I ended up with OK results.
If only I could remember the correct settings...

What? No videos describing by lenney at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 12:52
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What? No videos describing how to do videos? You really coulda had a 2 for 1 there. I think that's a misplay. :P

Nah, I thought about it by Westane at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 13:01
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Nah, I thought about it though XD. I decided against it for the sake of shock value. Also there comes a couple issues when you try to record the encoding process, and FRAPS hides itself automagically.

lol. Yeah, I was just jerkin by lenney at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 13:15
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lol. Yeah, I was just jerkin your chain.

Nice by Lythand at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 15:28
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Awesome article. Always wondered how to make a video, now I know. Bookmarked for future use.

Brilliant! by Splendid Belt at Mon, 10/11/2010 - 20:07
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Excellent walkthrough, will be really useful. Good idea for an article too.