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How do you record emulator footage?
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Not in the sense of "how should I do it", but literally, like a poll - how do you guys do it? There's a ton of ways to capture gameplay of your hack, and perhaps everyone has their own tricks and experiences to share.

Personally, I like to record the gameplay in the emulator first and output to a video file later, so there's less pressure on playing well when it comes to recording. Oddly enough, the best emulator for that seems to be... ZSNES? It's the only one I know that allows rewinds while recording, and it has a built-in video dumping feature that outputs a 256x224 AVI with good enough quality. That's pretty much what I've been using for years now.

It seems like there are better ways though - or at least more modern ones - if you care about things like image quality (crisp pixels edges when upscaled instead of blurriness), framerate (60fps would be cool) and resolution (maybe up to 4K if you're crazy enough). I've been experimenting with ways to get those since my standards are kind of rising, but so far I haven't found anything that works like the proverbial charm. (I guess this thread is in part about "how should I do it", after all.)

So yeah - what qualities do you look for in emulator videos, and how do you usually go about recording your own?


For creating GIFs i use snes9x: create a movie first (rewinding is disabled while recording, but savestate loading appears to work fine), then play it back while dumping to AVI. Then run the generated AVI through 2 passes of ffmpeg, first to determine optimal GIF palette and then to actually generate the GIF. I can share the conversion script i use for that if someone wants it. Note that 60fps GIFs just don't seem to work all that well (even viewing them is choppy for some reason), but 30fps ones work fine and look just as good to me.

For creating actual videos (which i haven't done), everything up to generating the AVI would be the same but then i'd just tell ffmpeg to scale the output up to, say, 720p using nearest-neighbour (aka the "crisp edges" upscaling method) (and of course do it in one pass, no need to generate palettes for mp4).

Dump to AVI seems to be missing in the linux port of snes9x, but wine works well enough for that (and the slowdown won't matter since i could just use the movie i created on linux).
To record videos I use OBS and just capture the emulator window. If I want a short GIF I use bizhawk's built-in GIF recorder, fast and easy to use.
Well, i have close to no experience with video recording or similar topics, but since i've already recorded a few videos, i guess i could share the method i use as well.
Note that i've only started to record videos and such recently (and in fact, both of the methods i use were suggestions i got here on SMWC)

For actual gameplay videos, i use Snes9x built-in AVI recording. I first record a movie, to have a smooth gameplay, and then play it back while recording the video.
After it is finished, i run the video through VirtualDub to upscale it, using nearest-neighbor, to a quality of 720p (i believe it's the same method as randomdude999 mentioned)

As for GIF recording, i use a program called Gifcam, which works literally like a camera you can put in front of other programs and use it to record GIFs.
I do have some problems with it sometimes, but i've never tried other methods.

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You can use programs like OBS for a full recording experience.

Personally I use Bandicam which is a high quality all purpose screen recording software. Through that you can create short videos and make gifs with them through gif maker on giphy.
I just use snes9x avi recording function, uncompressed native snes resolution. Then I use either virtuadub or sony vegas to upscale it to 720p at proper aspect ratio if I feel fancy, but these days I just run it through "webm for retards" (its legit, free program despise its name) program and upload the webm, less hassle, its quicker and I dont have to deal with youtube or 1tb gif's with no audio, 10x10 resolution with 4fps choppiness.

Sometimes I record inputs first and then record video, sometimes I dont feel like doing that to save time.


Depends on how much I record something. Smaller footages (up to five seconds, often shorter) are better off with a GIF, recorded with LICEcap (I have to use the 1x window size and need to align the recording area with the emulator screen, though), larger ones with SNES9x's AVI recorder.

Originally posted by JP32
"webm for retards" (its legit, free program despise its name)


Okay, my layout looks ugly.
I use OBS to record the emulator window, though if it's just a quick, short thing that doesn't need to be fancy or small, I might use SNES9X's built-in video recorder.
So interesting to hear you people's thoughts!

Seems like screen recorders are a popular choice. I actually have OBS, but on the computer I'm on right now it keeps running into "encoding overload" errors and ends up skipping frames. (probably because I have next to no GPU?)

Upscaling is also really helpful to have in mind. VirtualDub seems a bit picky with the formats it accepts, and in Vegas it's hard to get to work in the first place, but I tried using ffmpeg earlier today and that actually works really well.

And oh yeah, GIF recording! I do that quite a lot, and I'm using LICEcap which is really great. It's a little finnicky to set up because you have to drag the window to exactly the right spot, but once that's set up the recording is actually pretty painless.


I just use Bandicam. It records what's in the window really well + it records audio. Never had any issues with it either.
ScreenToGif, because I never feel like trying to get fancy with screen recording. I also never looked into the built-in screen recording features of emulators.
To record gameplay footage, I use Bandicam or Action! Unfortunately, I don't have Action anymore because of the lag. It had really good FPS like Bandicam.

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Snes9x high resolution avi recording, then increasing video quality with HD Video Converter Factory. Results are good.
For recording gameplay videos I first record a .smv movie, then play the .smv and dump to .avi while the .smv is being played. I then open Windows Movie Maker, load the saved .avi into it and save the video.

For recording short GIFs I first record an .avi with Snes9x's recorder, then I use ezGIF's video to GIF tool.

For recording longer GIFs (such as a title screen's demo movie) I use LICEcap.



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I use Bizhawk 2.3.1 to record a .bk2 movie file, then play it back and use the emulators built-in feature to dump to avi, encoding with Lagarith. Finally, I use ffmpeg or VirtualDub to resize to 400%.

Bizhawk supports rewinds while recoding a movie, but if you load a save state, then you can't rewind to rewind states made before that save state. (You can get those rewinds back if you load an even earlier save state in read-only mode and play back the movie.)

The built-in avi dumping feature captures the frames one-by-one, so I won't get any lag in the video and I can dump at 2.5 to 3.0x speed (Disable rewinds while dumping for speed). I use Lagarith as a lossless encoder to keep the avi file size manageable.

The resizing to 400% is necessary to get 720p60fps on Youtube (without resizing, you get a crappy unwatchable 144p video). Use nearest-neighbour resizing, which keeps the individual pixels and makes them 4x4 instead of 1x1, keeping the sharp pixel edges. Then encode as mp4 (x264+acc) to get a file that I can actually upload.

For gifs, I just dump the avi and then convert to gif using some online converter.
For straight gifs I use LICEcap cause it's very simple and I can't be bothered to do ten conversions to get an actual gif going. You just drag it over your emulator window, click record, do your stuff, stop recording and it's done. It's very convenient.
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