Experimental Video Rendering - UPDATED 8.1.2011

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Experimental Video Rendering - UPDATED 8.1.2011

Postby noisy » 30 Dec 2010, 12:36

As announced some months ago I worked on an experimental video rendering feature for FS Recorder. I'm releasing it now as an incomplete alpha version (v2.15 alpha) to find out how it works on the different systems out there (on my own one so far it worked perfectly). If it works well, it will become part of FS Recorder 2.2.

As it is an experimental and incomplete alpha version, you won't find it on the downloads page and there is currently no description of the video rendering in the manual; see below for download links and how to use it.

Update 8.1.2011
Due to a bug the previous FS2004 version did not work correctly for most users (it only worked with the 9.0 version of FS2004, not with the 9.1 update), the modification of simulation rate did not work so that the resulting video had a wrong speed. An updated version 2.16 alpha is now available, which should fix this problem (thanks to Isra and Flusirainer for testing).

What is it and how does it work? - READ THIS!!!

The experimental video rendering feature can be used to create Windows Media Video (WMV) files from recorded flights. Note that this feature does not create videos by capturing the screen in real time like e.g. Fraps, GameCam, etc. Instead it manipulates FS so that it no longer runs as a real time simulation, but more like a video rendering application.

I'll try to explain that in more detail:

Normally FS measures the elapsed time between two frames and calculates aircraft movements etc. based on that time interval, so the simulation is running in real time regardless of the frame rate.

During video rendering FS Recorder overwrites this time interval measured by FS with a fixed value, corresponding to the desired video frame rate. This means that the simulation is now no longer running in real time, but slower or sometimes even faster (depending on system speed, graphics settings, video output settings, ...).
For every frame FS Recorder captures the FS main window and encodes it as Windows Media Video.

Using this approach the real frame rate at which FS is running does not matter for the resulting video (as FS "thinks" it is running at the video frame rate, while it actually isn't); e.g if your system is only fast enough to run FS at 10fps, you can still render a 50fps video - it just takes 5 times longer to render the video.
This means you can render perfectly smooth videos with higher resolutions, frame rates and graphics settings than you could do with real time capturing.

However, of course this approach also has it's downsides:
  • It is not suitable for making videos of live flights, as the simulation is not running in real time during rendering. Instead this feature is meant to be used during playback of a recorded flight with FS Recorder.
  • Capturing sound together with the rendered video is not (and never will be) possible; due to the simulation not running in real time the recorded sound's length/speed would not match the video. The only way to add the original sound to your video is to play the recorded flight again in real time after video rendering is finished, record it with a sound recorder, then manually cut and add it to the video with some video editor (I did that already, it means some extra work, but it works).


To render a video first start playback of the recorded flight (if you want to render it from the very beginning, pause FS and jump back). Then select Render Video from the FS Recorder menu and a dialog with video options opens:


Enter the output resolution for the video or select the FS Window Size option to render it with the current resolution of your FS window. If you enable the Resize FS Window to Video Size option, your FS window will be resized to the output resolution (if FS is in full-screen mode it will be switched to windowed mode); if you do not enable this option, frames are rescaled to the output resolution (results in lower quality).
Also enter the frame rate for the video.

Now you have to select a video codec. The list shows the Windows Media codecs installed on your system. I recommend to use Windows Media Video 9 or Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (on my system they were already installed, if you don't have them, try to update Windows Media Player or download the latest Windows Media encoder from the Microsoft website); do not use any of the Screen or Image codecs.

If you enable Constant Quality Variable Bitrate, you have to specify a quality setting (higher settings result in larger video files); otherwise you have to specify the video bitrate (in kilobits per second).

The Complexity setting determines encoder complexity. Higher values result in better quality, but also longer rendering times. I recommend to use the preselected setting.

Enabling Show Info after Rendering will show some information about the captured video after you stop rendering (e.g. length of captured scenes, can be useful for cutting).

The Hide Playback Display option allows to hide the playback text in the lower right corner (if enabled in the settings) during rendering.

After selecting OK you have to enter a file name for the video, then rendering starts.
Do not change the size of the FS main window during rendering or the rendering will be aborted!

While FS is paused no video is captured.
You can interrupt and continue rendering by selecting Pause/Continue Rendering from the FS Recorder menu.

To stop rendering press ESC, or select Stop Rendering from the FS Recorder menu. You can then watch the video with Windows Media Player or any other media player that can play WMV files.

Edit: Currently on some systems the frame time manipulation seems not to work correctly. There is an easy way to check if it does on your system: Turn on the frame rate display during rendering (2x Shift-Z), if it shows exactly and without variations the selected video frame rate, everything is fine; otherwise rendering doesn't work correctly, please report here with some information about your system.


Below you can download v2.16 alpha, which is based on v2.1 beta, but additionally includes the video rendering feature and also some fixes and improvements which will be in v2.1 beta 2.

I'm very interested in your feedback on how the video rendering works on your systems.

Changes in v2.16:
  • fixed FS2004 version
  • full-screen rendering is no longer supported as it does not work reliably; FS Recorder automatically switches to windowed mode and hides the title bar if necessary
  • added key shortcuts for rendering
  • added option to hide red FS text displays (brakes, frame rate, position, view mode, ...) and FSX menu bar during rendering (experimental, please check if it works)

Download FSX version
Download FS2004 version
Matthias Neusinger
Author of FS Recorder
Site Admin
Posts: 988
Joined: 16 Jun 2006, 17:33
Location: EDDN

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby lukefinch » 30 Dec 2010, 13:59

This is amazing! You are amazing! It works brilliantly.

I have just tested this on an AMD X4 955 3.6GHz PC With an ATI 5770HD GPU.

I made a quick takeoff video at Heathrow using payware scenery. Using fraps i got about 15fps and choppy video. Now i get superbly smooth, 30fps video!

I will upload the video to youtube soon to show you how well it works on my PC


Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby Flusirainer » 30 Dec 2010, 15:00

My first TEST Video


Video Rendering Setting

i5 4x3,2GHrz; XP 32bit; 3GB Memory; Radeon HD488 512 MB
Posts: 29
Joined: 17 Jan 2010, 14:30

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby charcham » 30 Dec 2010, 17:51

I tested your new FSRecorder2.15a today.
Very, very good. It works perfectly. I tested on the same replay to record with FRAPS, the frame rate dropped to 10 to 11 (on original flight=30) with your video rendering frame rate of 25 is excellent.
To bad we cannot also record sounds !
FSX with Windows 7.

Will use it often...
Thanks and congratulation, go on with your improvements....
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Dec 2010, 10:07

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby mjahn » 30 Dec 2010, 18:33

Thank you Matthias!

This promises to be a milestone.

Installed fine, first video saved, no hitches so far - FSX @ full screen resolution.

Flusirainer: Watched your video on YouTube just before it was blocked becasuse of the music....
Posts: 4
Joined: 05 Mar 2010, 08:51

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby Variometer » 30 Dec 2010, 20:06

Hi Matthias,

Thanks a lot for your great efforts you invested in your fantastic addon. Without fsrecorder, the world of fs/fsx wouldn't be the same; I guess, there is almost no flightsim video out there which didn't take advantage of your tool, and of course I used it from the very first beginning when I started to create my fsx videos which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Varioflight

I just started a few tests with your latest feature, the experimental video rendering function, and I'm very impressed, so I would like to give you some feedback. I only noticed one wired issue: I captured two short videos, One with 30fps and one with 60fps. Both were recorded with the correct frame rate. They were not so fluid as I expected, and so I examined the created file in Sony Vegas. My result: although the frame rates were correct, only each second frame differs from each other; that means, for one second I get 30 frames, but only 15 different ones. Hope that I could make clear what I meant, because English isn't my native language. If I can help to find the reason for this behaviour, please let me know.

Regards, Andreas

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby noisy » 30 Dec 2010, 20:50

Hi Andreas,

can you tell me which FSX version you use (SP1, SP2 or Acceleration), what target frame rate you have set in the FSX graphics settings, and all the video rendering settings you used? And can you try to turn on the FSX frame rate display (Shift-Z) during rendering and check what it shows?
Matthias Neusinger
Author of FS Recorder
Site Admin
Posts: 988
Joined: 16 Jun 2006, 17:33
Location: EDDN

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby lukefinch » 30 Dec 2010, 22:42

This is some seriously good stuff here. It works fantastic, i will never use fraps again!!!

If i were you, i would consider getting this trademarked, patented or copyrighted or something so no-one else can steal this genius idea!

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby curimedia » 30 Dec 2010, 23:49

OMG, great solution for my videos. This marks a "before" and "after" in my videos. Now we have a lot of posibilities and screening into a busy airports with Hight Settings.

Now I´m rendering in Sony Vegas my first FSrecorder "all" video

many thanks.

Re: Experimental Video Rendering - released

Postby Variometer » 31 Dec 2010, 10:40

noisy wrote:Hi Andreas,

can you tell me which FSX version you use (SP1, SP2 or Acceleration), what target frame rate you have set in the FSX graphics settings, and all the video rendering settings you used? And can you try to turn on the FSX frame rate display (Shift-Z) during rendering and check what it shows?

I'm using FSX Acceleration on a Windows-7 Professional 64Bit system. I just started another test to be sure that I can give you the exact values of the recording. My desktop and fsx are set to the native resolution of 1680*1050 with colour depth 32Bit. FSX was used in full screen mode, and I enabled the 'FS Window Size' checkbox in your tool to record the whole screen of FSX. Target frame rate in FSX and in your rendering dialog was set to 60fps. I selected the 'Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile' with a 'Quality' of 100 % and a 'Complexity' of 2. I recorded and rendered a flight with a duration of about 1 minute and 24 seconds, and during the whole time the displayed frame rate showed a value of a stable 60.0 fps. When I loaded the captured file into my Sony Vegas, I got exactly 5053 frames. Every second frame looks like it's predecessor and at some locations I even noticed sequences of 3 identical frames.

In the past I was already able to record full hd videos with 60fps by using certain settings of fsrecorder in combination with a special workflow in Sony Vegas, even with the highest FSX settings. The original file of my results can be downloaded at http://www.vimeo.com/15503394 if your have a Vimeo account and are logged in. But due to the laborious workflow it would be much easier if your rendering function would lead to the same results, so I'm very interested and prepared to help in finding the solution for my problem.

Cheers, Andreas


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