May 12, 2010

Alternative To gtk-RecordMyDesktop in Ubuntu

I felt that I had to write this up being as how I spent the last few days racking my brain trying to find a way to record my Linux environment in Bauer-Puntu 10.04 using gtk-RecordMyDesktop. You see, that is my software of choice in Linux to record my desktop, but the problem is that on my Dell Latitude D420, the hardware can’t handle it and I end up getting a crap load of frames dropped. When you have a lot of dropped frames, it makes it look like the video is going really friggin’ fast!

I tried some other programs like Istanbul and XVidCap, but Istanbul hung up after I pressed record and wouldn’t stop, and XVidCap gave me the same results as gtk-RecordMyDesktop which was crazy fast video. The only thing I could do to make these programs not drop frames was to record only one window at a time, which wouldn’t do for what I needed in my Bauer-Power videos.

I did find an alternative to the above programs, and it was my old friend FFMPEG. FFMPEG is one of the most versatile video converters of all time! Well, it turns out it can record your mutha flippin’ desktop too!

ffmpeg There is a feature in FFMPEG called x11grab. I found on my Dell D420, the best settings were as follows:

ffmpeg -f x11grab -b 8000k -r 30 -s 1280x800 -i :0.0 -vcodec wmv2 -acodec wmav2 output.wmv

This creates a .wmv file which is nice if you want to do your video editing in Windows like I like to do. If you want to try it out on your system, make sure to change the 1280x800 part to match your screen’s resolution. If you find that these settings don’t work for you, play around with them until you get the recording you are looking for. Here is a sample of my desktop recorded with FFMPEG:

Also, if you don’t want to have to remember the command, save it to a .sh file, and make it executable. That is what I did, and I created a custom launcher on my desktop to launch it in the terminal.

Know of some better, more versatile desktop session recorders for Linux other than the ones I mentioned above? What do you like to use? Let me know in the comments!

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