Video editing bites

I recorded another timed Culling of Strat run for a video, using Fraps at full screen quality 30 FPS.

My hard drive did not eat it this time.

However… HOWEVER…

The damn thing was 43 gig in size.

Running length, 23 minutes. Almost two bloody gig a minute. And I don’t even record in-game audio, because I do a voiceover afterwards.


The single biggest obstacle to creating videos for you that I face is compression.

I’m using an open source program called VirtualDub that is very, very good. It sees what codecs you have installed on your system for video compression and includes those as options. It also lets you line up multiple AVI files in sequence, add an audio file and merge it all together.

My issue is I can’t find a compression codec to use that reduces the files size small enough to be realistic, and still look fairly clean.

I’ve got DivX installed, and I have used it in the past, but for some reason it will not work now. The codec, when selected, does not like the video file, and I have no idea why.

I’m trying different things, and right now I’m using a different codec that is reducing the 43 gig down to about 230 MB, which is some serious compression. My only concern is the picture isn’t as clean as I recall DivX being, and as I said… it’s still something like 250 MB in size, which is too big for YouTube hosting.

The video voiceover and recording is done, I just need to nail down the best compression to use.

I’m a neophyte to this stuff. Are there any experts out there that can help with suggestions or advice on this stage?

If so, I’d be much obliged.


Oh, and regardless, I’d expect to see a Bear video up later tonight at some point after I get home from work. It’s done, it just needs uploading somewhere that can handle it.

Edit: The YouTube video posted by Sythe proved to be the near perfect solution for all my concerns. The video explanation was excellent, the YouTube post itself contained links to all the files and sotfware he used during the tutorial, and for more information I was able to go straight to the written tutorial he developed the video from. Very solid for future videos.

Wait, why future videos?

I’ll freaking tell you why.

Because I made the mistake a long time ago of thinking that playing games on a widescreen monitor displayed at 1440 x 900 was an acceptable choice.

When I record, any recording uses the 1440 x 900 settings. And the core issue why my video compression keeps not working, is that the methods (DivX, H.264, etc) that are clean and modern (modern, HAH!) can’t handle that resolution.

They give me errors telling me that the width must be in multiples of 12, and fail.

The H.246 based compression run I did last night not only failed, but actually took Windows Explorer down and crashed my system just opening the folder the finished product was in… 4 times in a row.

Now, this is where I keep coming back to the fact that i clearly don’t know what the f(&*^ they’re talking about, because when I divide 1440 by 12, I get an even number, 120. That tells me that 1440 is a multiple of 12. And 900, divided by 12, is 75. Damn me, but that also looks like a whole number result, a multiple of 12.

So, second video run is full of fail.

I’m doing two things right now, and then I’m moving on with my life, having lost an entire week of free time in the evenings screwing with this video.

I made the movie using a crappy compression codec that had the virtue of, like, working. The resulting file size was almost 500 MB, though. I’m uploading that to FileFront, so at least I can have that available for people to download and watch if there is an interest. It is watchable, it’s just not up to my spoiled standards.

The other thing I’m doing is swapping out my beautiful, precious widescreen monitor for the standard I’ve got, and I’ll change my screen resolution settings, and try another video with the new settings and see if it works better.

For now, though, I’m moving forward with other stuff. Too much frustration from trying to do things that magically don’t work for me when other people don’t even mention ever having a problem on the internet make me too nutso.

11 thoughts on “Video editing bites

  1. A suggestion if I may, if you are not already doing so, try checking the box for use half screen resolution when you are recording with fraps, and see if that helps. It doesn’t need to be that hi res for the web, and the higher the res, the more massive the file will be. 1920×1200 gets me 10sec or so for 1gig. Needless to say I don’t do much recording.


  2. If you’re using a Mac, there should be a default in-game video recording option. Using this, I videoed a Heroic Beasts encounter (duration of just under 10 minutes), and the file size of that was 90.4mb (compressed with no editing). Quality is not too bad, but not excellent (especially on full screen). If you want to check out what the quality’s like, you can find the video here:

    I also choose to upload to Vimeo, just a personal preference over YouTube.

    Hopefully you can find something that works for you, good luck!
    .-= Boize´s last blog ..Moonkin How To: Heroic Northrend Beasts =-.


  3. I don’t know about length except it’s common for a tv show to be in three youtube episodes.

    I stopped worrying about compression since youtube does all the work when I upload. I see from some of the comments that something is useful for the HD option and I’d like to see/use that choice. Especially for WoW fights since everyone has so many spell effects it’s often hard to see what is going on.

    Good luck, BBBB!


  4. Where to start…..generally a format like h.264 is used for final compression, but you edit either uncompressed, or in an intermediate format that retains quality while allowing file size reduction appropriate to making the video editable (depending on your system constraints). Many editing programs can output h.264 but won’t ‘edit’ using it as a format. Compression formats generally come in two flavors: lossy and lossless – with lossy formats you throw away information from the source material to reduce file size (Divx, h.264, others), with lossless formats the data is converted or abstracted to allow the file size to be reduced, but it is then decompressed at runtime so you don’t lose quality from compressing. You generally want to avoid using a lossy compression format for the source material you are editing, and use only use a lossy format like h.264 as your final output. In oyur case it sounds like your source material was captured in a raw format without any or much compression – which is great for quality, but may make the files unusable to you and your equipment setup. Since I know you already did this timed run once, and blew the first recording and this is now your second run, doing a third and being more careful about the codec/format options in FRAPS may not be a good solution : ). I haven’t used fraps, but I’ll assume there are quality/codec options there that could have solved this problem if selected prior to recording. Now you need to find an appropriate intermediate format to compress into to fit your system constraints.

    Are you on a PC or a Mac? Do you know what codec was used on the original fraps capture? Essentially you want to look at the what codec the source material was captured in, and if you can edit it directly (ie. you have the hard-drive space, etc) edit it first, then compress your final output down to what you need for youtube or whatever. If you can’t deal with the files as is in editing, then try to re-encode the video in a lossless format that your editing application can handle as an editing format (depends on your editing software solution and what codecs your system has installed), then use h.264 for final output (or divx or others – trial and error is the best way to optimize as different compression works better/worse based on the source material your are compressing – it’s not a one size fits all solution). How you do this and what options are most easily available to use depends on what system your using, what editing application your using, what the original format you recorded in was, what options for conversion between formats you have, etc, so a bit more information about those things would help me provide a better answer, but since that info isn’t here I’m trying to give you the conceptual gist in the hope you can find your way : )

    Generally though, outing your video through giant compression prior to editing is a really bad idea and as you suspect will lead to a bad quality final product. Sorry if this is just going to confuse you more…but it isn’t a simple topic ; ) Good Luck! If you post more info in the comments (system, editing software, codecs you have, etc) I’ll try to check back and see if I can provide a more informed answer.


  5. EEEK do not use microsoft movie maker that thing is a piece of JUNK!!!! Crashes on me all the time, occasionally the audio and video get out of sync. I prefer pinnacle studio that has automatic conversion of any 10min clip to youtube quality and upload it to youtube. That and the first 1080i movie that I ran through microsoft movie maker the quality of what came out was appalling. Since I use pinnacle studio to edit HD cam Corder movies. Since I think this movie was around 90mb when I uploaded it to youtube.

    Edit by BBB – I deleted the video link, simply because it was home movies of your children, nothing bad whatsoever, but I get verycautious about having your family on a publc website that gets high traffic like this one. It was a well shot video and smooth quality editing, just didn’t want that out there if you didn’t realize how many folks might see it. Thanks for posting!


  6. Sythe is right – h.264 is the way to go. I would suggest taking a 10-15 second clip of your raw video and encoding it to h.264 various times with different settings until find a setup that works for you. Alternatively, use an “out of the box” solution by just copying the settings straight from a tutorial. Good luck!


  7. Quite a long time ago I used to do wedding videos on the side. I used Ulead Systems Video Studio and Media Studio Pro. The had some really nice compression stuff going on there that allowed me to compress gigs and gigs of video down to something that would fit on a DVD. Before I was using DVDs, I was using VCDs, basically a video burned on to a burnable CD. Compressing several hours of footage down to 720 megs of space is pretty impressive, and possible. And I was using a very high quality camera that shot digital video, so the files were huge like yours. And they were pretty high quality for the time. I believe they compressed them down to mpegs, but I am not certain. This was like 8-10 years ago.

    There were more fancy options of course, but the price was very nice. I remember at the time my biggest problem was I was running Windows 98 and it wouldn’t handle files that big very well. That’s when I made the jump to Windows 2000. Yeah man, good times.

    Also, while I always had fun helping people get the best wedding video they could get for a much more reasonable price then “pros” were charging, I realized why the pros charged so much and gave so little. Because Video Editing BITES. It bites HARD.


  8. I’ve run into this same problem myself. I spent a good couple weeks searching for a solution but wasn’t able to come up with anything. Hopefully someone’s got a solution out there they can share.


  9. I’m pretty sure that file size isn’t an issue with YouTube – rather its the 10 minute limit you are going to hit.

    The codec you want is h.264 as this allows YouTube to create normal and HD versions (not just the HQ version).

    The following vid goes through all the steps – FRAPS, codecs, VirtualDub etc.

    I don’t think this is the video I used when learning about this stuff (for example I only use one pass, don’t worry about jobs etc.) but then again I’ve only created a few videos for Guild feedback on raid wipes 😉


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