How Do You Capture Screens From a Game?

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the March, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Connie Lantz asks:

Have you ever captured anything from a VR game like Second Life (I use SnapZ) for editing into FCP 6? I’d love to hear what your best recommendations are!


I would assume the animation codec would be best for capture, or maybe Apple pro res? Is there a way to smooth out the choppy movement that is inherent in Second Life in post production?

Larry replies: Connie, yes, the animation codec, in FCP 6 and earlier, or ProRes, in FCP 7, are the best codecs to use. For screen capture, I use both Telestream ScreenFlow and Ambrosia Software SnapZ.

UPDATE — MARCH 23, 2009

Ben Balser writes:

I do films in Second Life. Mechinema I think the kids call it these days. But I found ScreenFlow to be faster and much nicer to work with than SnapzPro X (which I am a long time user and fan of). I always save those movie files as DVCPRO-HD, because nothing will give you better quality from your computer screen, and it’s a smaller file size than ProRes. Animation codec is really overkill for this type of work. It has no advantages, the quality is computer screen quality, and that’s it. It’s been a really fun workflow, and a really fun experience. There are tools in Second Life made for in-world movie making. I can set up a camera tracking path, speed, etc, and have my SL actors (we work with live voice for accuracy and speed, “action!”) start, well, “acting”, and the results are amazingly easy animations. Well, easy once you learn the in-world tools. I’ve been just learning the tools and experimenting. But I hope to find a short script and do a short film all animated inside Second Life. But I will stand by my statement that ScreenFlow and DVCPRO-HD are what I’ve found to be the easiest, quickest workflows that maintain as much quality as I can realistically get. It makes editing in FCP a lot faster, too, with less rendering and faster exports. Finally, what you get off the screen is what you get off the screen, there’s now way to smooth out the “lag” in SL in post. I would recommend tweaking the video settings inside your SL Viewer app preferences. But that’s a long topic for a forum somewhere.

Larry replies: Thanks, Ben.


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