What Should I Use?

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    • #86178

      Hi, I apologize for being a complete newbie, and sort of crashing your forums, but I have almost no idea how to begin learning what I need to. So apologies if this thread is in the wrong forum, or if I’m on entirely the wrong site, but it seemed like a good first place to at least start looking for answers.

      Let me start with the project: I am working on a sort of literary criticism-style examination of a video game, and decided that it would be best to accompany this critique with gameplay footage to better discuss and illustrate my points. Of course, I’d like this footage to be archive-worthy, so I’d like to ask your collective advice on what programs, formats, containers, codecs, and so on would best suit my needs, since I tried figuring it out on my own, but clearly trying to make heads or tells of whether I should use one codec or another would take me months of research, let alone what sorts of containers and programs can be used with them (or even whether I’m approaching this from entirely the wrong angle, and should be considering containers or programs first, although I doubt it).

      I intend to upload the gameplay videos in about 50-60 minute long segments. Quality is a bit higher concern for me than file size, but the game is Final Fantasy IX – a PlayStation game released in 2000 with great-for-the-time graphics, albeit still limited to 480i. Although, I’d probably like to record and edit the footage at 576p or 720p to reduce loss. Sound quality is important, too, but I don’t need it to be perfect. As long as it isn’t noticeably degraded, I’m happy.

      As far as editing the videos are concerned, I plan mostly to only need to trim off the beginning and end of the videos a bit, where I’m fiddling around with starting/ending the record. So a program that can do that easily, cleanly, and – ideally – with relative ease of choosing the exact frame to cut at. There won’t be any commentary or other audio added to the footage beyond the game’s own audio, and I intend to play/record each part on its own, rather than, say, play a lot/all of the game before cutting it up and reassembling the parts into the final videos, so I should only need to edit one video file at a time, but it would probably be a good idea to have something that could handle that relatively easily, in case I do need to.

      I’m currently running Windows 10 on an otherwise factory-standard Lenovo Ideapad Z710 that I’ll be using to record the game footage, and ideally to edit it, although if a clearly superior program only runs on Linux or something, I gave an Ubuntu computer to my mother last year that I could probably use. At the moment, I’m using Open Broadcaster Software to record the footage, but it has very limited options for what sorts of files it can export to, so I may need to keep looking. As best as I understand them, its video encoder options are x264, Quick Sync, and Nvidia NVENC (with a few settings like CBR, and max bitrate), its audio codecs are AAC and MP3 (also with a couple settings like bitrate and format), and it can save either FLV or MP4 file types. I do not know which of any of these options I should use, but what I have stumbled across seems to suggest x264, AAC, and FLV (only FLV I actually understood the reasoning for – namely that if the record crashes, the footage isn’t entirely lost, although since I don’t want to have to piece together multiple video files, that seems to be a non-issue). Oh, lastly, I have virtual no budget to spend on software, so I need to rely on open source and freeware. I have been considering FRAPS’ $37 price tag, though, so I suppose I could spare about $40 or so, but really I’m only even considering FRAPS due to it being the only program I knew of before looking into these.

    • #212662

      “I am working on a sort of literary criticism-style examination of a video game, and decided that it would be best to accompany this critique with gameplay footage to better discuss and illustrate my points.”

      How about telling us a bit more about your project. What is a “literary criticism-style” examination? How will your critique relate to the game footage: will you do a voice over and combine the critique and gaming into a single video? Or will you be doing your analysis live — for example, at a conference — as the game footage plays on-screen in the background? Could the segments of the game footage be part of a PowerPoint presentation?

      I wouldn’t get hung up in codecs, encoding and other technical concerns until you have a very concrete idea of how your critique will be presented. Let the content drive the technical demands.

    • #212696

      Well, originally, my plan was to do the critique in blog posts that linked to and were linked to on the video which I was going to post on YouTube. The video itself was going to just have the gameplay and the game’s own audio, unaltered except for minimal trimming of unnecessary bits. However, rewatching the record made me realize how dull this plan was so instead, I’m debating between two main ideas.

      First, I’ve decided to write a post about each story arc, character, or theme that I want to talk about (rather than talking about each thing as it comes up in the game), and only using clips from the game that relate to the specific topic. This will necessitate more extensive editing than my original intention, but still just trimming, adding, and moving around clips – likely accompanied by the original audio without alteration.

      What I’m deciding between is the precise way that I’ll implement the video portion into the blog post. Either I’ll just have one single video accompanying each post, or I’ll have shorter clips embedded throughout the article as I address them more directly. I probably can’t say which one I’ll do until I’ve finished… storyboarding, for lack of a better word.

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