Recording Game Play Videos

Wed 11 June 2014
By Bram

This is mainly a note to future self, and also others that need to record a video of game play under Ubuntu. First off, it is of no use to use non-standard resolutions when uploading to YouTube. I recorded some videos with a vertical resolution of 608 lines, which ended up as 480p encoded on YouTube. So it's best to use a window size of 1280x720 to get a quality YouTube video.

My tool of choice for recording a video under Ubuntu is the tool called 'RecordMyDesktop'. I thought I had a very fast (Haswell) CPU, but when using 'encode on the fly' the output video will be full of faults. (Typically frozen video, or image lagging behind the sounds.) So under the Advanced tab, it is essential to set the 'encode on the fly' to disabled. It turns out that my SSD drive is fast enough to store this raw 1280x720 stream, so that's fine. You do need to wait for encoding after you stop recording the video though. Also in the advanced settings make sure you don't have 'Record Window Decorations' set, and that the sound device is 'Pulse'.

There is an annoying bug in RecordMyDesktop that will save the video under the wrong file name. When you select 'Save As', and choose a file name, it will actually save the video under the previously used file name. And next time you save a recording, and pick another name, it will use the old name again.