This was a Quality Test I did back in July, with the x264 (H.264/AVC) codec - and I completely forgot to share it here for everyone to see, sorry about that. I wanted to be sure to share it now, while I'm thinking about it, because it shows the quality that can be maintained using x264, while keeping the file that is produced smaller in size than other codecs - something everyone wants, right?
Well, earlier this year, I posted a somewhat lengthy article talking about H.264/AVC in general, some concepts when using it (such as 'bitrate') and some suggested settings that can be used (and why). The article can be found here: http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013 ... using.html
But those settings focused more on Speed and how to make the x264vfw codec (used as an 'External Codec' in Bandicam) work with less lag and have smooth recording - creating a set of 'streamlined settings' that will make it work faster for you.
This time around, I shifted the focus slightly, moving the settings more towards Quality, while still trying to maintain good speed of recording (low performance hit). This newer article then, focusing more on how to maintain better Quality with those 'streamlined settings' of x264 (with screenshots and examples), can be found here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013 ... ng-2k.html
(I also discuss some of the settings and why you may or may not want to use them, when being concerned with the delicate balance of quality vs. speed)
"No more blocky/blurry gameplay videos!"™ **
**not really trademarked, but it's my new mantra since figuring out how to upload clearer videos to YT
See for yourself how good the H.264/AVC codec can look - with Bandicam!:
Battlefield 3 (Grand Bazaar), Planetside 2 (48+ Players Per Side in a BioLab territory, Night), Hitman: Absolution ('Run For Your Life, Shangri-La'), Grand Theft Auto 4 (Broker area, Night)
These games were selected because I felt they created a good 'obstacle course' for this codec Test, with light and dark areas, large panning/movement areas and hard edges to deal with, either from on-screen text or finely detailed textures [all Texture Filtering was turned Off in the Videocard Control Panel settings] (they were also all relatively demanding games, showing then, the low performance hit of this codec, with these settings)
H.264/AVC configured with the x264 Video For Windows Unofficial (Black Logo) interface
CRF18, NoPartitions, Fast P-Skip, 1 Reference Frame, Diamond ME, ME Range 4, Subpixel ME 1, GOP 1 (for editing with Vegas/Premiere), NoWeightedP-Frames, No B Frames, Deblocking Filter (Strength 1), Non-Interlaced, No CABAC, DCT Decimation, No Trellis, Deadzone (11,21), Flat Matrix, MaxBitrate 50000k (Buffer 5000k), Threads 4, all other settings left as Default/Off
Originally recorded @ 50000kbps, H.264/AVC format @ HD Resolution (1920x1080p)
Compressed @ 25000kbps for smaller upload to YouTube, WMV format @ 2k Resolution (2048x1152p), in attempt to keep detail/compensate for YT recompression
[The 'analog pause' effect wasn't added to accentuate any specific action going on at the time, it was more to showcase the detail maintained at that time/frame, when recording with the h.264/AVC codec]
At a max bitrate of 50000k (a high quality Blu-Ray movie bitrate), the original recorded output only takes up about 375MB per minute of recording. For an hour of gameplay, that's less than 25GB (including uncompressed audio (uncompressed to be more compatible with video editing apps and use less CPU resources while recording)). Maintaining good quality - although quality is relative, mind you - that is still about one-tenth the filesize of a FRAPS1 codec recording or a YUV or Lagarith codec recording. Chalk it all up to a powerful codec that has the ability to not only compress more where it can (without over-compression in dark/flat or low-motion areas), but also compensates for its' own compression via Deblocking and other built-in techniques (discussed in the main article at the blog).
What are the settings used?
If you are using the 'Official' (Red Logo) x264vfw interface for the h.264/AVC codec, the settings used are shown here:
If you are using the 'Unofficial' (Black Logo) x264vfw interface for the h.264/AVC codec, the settings used are shown here (next 3 images are the 3 tabs in the interface):
As I always say at the end of my articles, these settings are mere suggestions though, based on my own tests for myself (the performance hit and quality I am content to deal with) - I always suggest that you do your own testing and find settings that you prefer, so that you may enjoy your own recordings to their fullest.
For more information on the Test, with additional screenshots and examples, see the main article at the blog, here: http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/07/quality-test-h264avc-game-recording-2k.html
Have fun recording using x264 with Bandicam and See You In The Games!