Camtasia vs. FRAPS

As I expand my LP videos into new territory beyond simply running a 10-year-old Nintendo emulator, I’m discovering a weakness with the recording software I have access to. I’ve jiggered the scraps into working, but none of my options seem ideal.

I’ll start by spelling out what I want, I suppose. I want a big red button which, when I push it, records whatever window I point it at for however long I want. I also want this program to record audio from my stereo mix. (Ideally I’d like it to record the game audio and my mic input as separate tracks, which can be adjusted individually later, but one thing at a time here.)

Camtasia is fairly resource-intensive, especially when you try to record lossless video like I do. It inexplicably doesn’t record some programs properly, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s wrong with it. The program’s worst quality, though, is that it doesn’t record in real time. When you’re done with recording and you press the stop button, it chugs along rendering a proprietary video file. If this process is interrupted in any way, say by a sudden power flash or random software glitch, chances are good that all your work is flushed. I’ve lost 45-minute-long recordings this way.

Camtasia’s editor is absolutely perfect for my purposes, certainly better than anything else I’ve tried to use. So the good news is, if I can get some other recorder to spit out an .avi or something it’s easy to load it up and work with it.

On the other hand I have FRAPS, which records great lossless video but absolutely crap audio. When I try to record narration through this software it sounds like I’m at the other end of a tunnel. I’d usually go in and start finnicking with settings at this point, see if maybe something’s wrong, but FRAPS doesn’t have any settings. Your options are limited to “record sound” and “don’t record sound”. So while FRAPS is chugging away getting my image I have to use some other program to get my sound, then stitch the .avi and .mp3 together after the fact.

Not a fat hairy deal, sure, but slightly more complicated than “I want a big red button.”

I’ve tried a few other programs, here and there, over the past few months. None of them are even in the same ZIP code as Bigredbuttonsville, though. As things stand now it’s a matter of using the proper tool for the job at hand, be it the nice flashy program that might lose everything because it hiccuped, or the weird background one that can’t be configured and doesn’t know what audio is. Don’t worry, I’ll make do. Sometimes these things brighten up a bit once you’ve bitched about them.

4 comments to Camtasia vs. FRAPS

  • FSS

    I’m actually dabbling a little into what’s a good program to use for recording stuff too, but unfortunately I have no better suggestions for you. Using FRAPS and a different audio recording program isn’t that bad of a problem, though I can understand your frustration if you have to do it for every video.

    If you find this big red magical button, be sure to let us know!

  • I find FRAPS to be a lot more of a resource hog than Camtasia. Have you tried a program called CamStudio? It’s very light and easy to use, plus it’s free!

  • DragonShadow

    I second CamStudio. It also records a stereomix. I think this might be the big red button you’re looking for, but then again, I haven’t really used it too much.

  • Brickroad, I had the same problem with sound quality recently, and it all went away when I muted all recording sources except for the stereo mix.

    With line-in, and mic-in unmuted Fraps recorded in… I don’t know, 11 kHz, now with just the stereo-mix on it sounds pretty much spot on – 44 or 48 kHz.

    Hope this helps.

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