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 Post subject: Record Your Desktop with gtk-recordmydeskop
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 8:56 am
Posts: 2132
Class: Installation and usage
Difficulty: The software makes it very easy to record your desktop actions
Time: Under a couple of minutes to install, and it's quite easy to begin using right away
Desirability: Were you thinking of posting a Peppermint desktop video on Youtube? ;)

Sound

It is helpful to install pavucontrol, which is pulse audio's volume controller.

Image

This lets you select whether to input sound from your mic, or sound from the monitor of your computer's audio output, to gtk-recordmydesktop. It might be possible to do both at once via some shenanigans with arecord or audacity, but personally I'd begin by recording the sound from my computer first, then overdubbing. It might be necessary to also set mixer levels appropriately before beginning.

Installation

Use any method, including Software Manager, Synaptic, or the command line to install package

Code:
gtk-recordmydesktop


Usage

Launch the program from the Sound & Video menu where it appears as gtk-recordmydesktop.

Image

Above is the main GUI as you see it on Peppermint Ice. Note that on slower machines you may already notice a slight degradation in performance while it runs. It may be possible to tweak performance with the advanced options, as you can see opened on the right hand side. The visible artifacts are probably because my machine is quite old; newer hardware will probably produce better results. They do not seem to affect the actual recording; the screenshot there was taken with shutter.

Quality / Performance Settings

The first thing to pay attention to when tempted to play with the settings sliders is to reduce the quality setting on the assumption this will improve performance. In fact, for on-the-fly recording, the inverse is true. gtk-recordmydesktop has to work hard to convert the quality and size of its video output while recording at the same time. The real advantage is reducing the file size of the output, not improving performance during recording.

In the advanced tab there are options to change the number of frames per second the program records at. Setting this higher will undoubtedly consume more memory and make your output video larger, in exchange for a smoother video.

It is probably not recommended to encode on the fly, unless disk space is at a premium, and processing power plentiful. Most users will probably find the opposite holds true.

Quick subsampling might be a worthwhile option if performance really drops during recording; while full-shots at every frame need not be enabled unless the user is using a compositing manager, in which case it is enabled automatically.

Sound

The default sound values strike me as quite low. I would be inclined to increase the settings to at least two channels, and 48000MHz as frequency. It is possible, if the jack daemon has been installed, to record directly from the sound jack on your machine. However, this is not necessary to simply record voice (say, if you're narrating a tutorial).

Setting up the recording area and output file name

The preview screen on the very left is interactive; you can save quite a bit of disk space, bandwidth if the video is for upload, and overhead by drawing an area smaller than the entire desktop in that box. A preview of the area you select will appear on your actual desktop, for fine tuning, and will remain during recording to let you know exactly what your "viewport" is. It won't appear in the video itself, of course.

On the other hand, I had no luck getting the select window button to work. Please let us know if you have a better experience (peppermint dot howto AT gmail dot com).

By default, after encoding your video, gtk-recordmydesktop spits output to your home directory as out.ogv, and subsequent recordings as out-1.ogv, out-2.ogv and so on so as to avoid overwriting the first one. This behaviour can be overridden in the files tab of the advanced menu by checking the relevant checkbox.

The user might want to set a specific directory and name for the output file; and can do so by clicking on the 'Save As' button, before beginning the recording.

As far as I can tell, gtk-recordmydesktop will only output ogv format video. Of course, this may be converted later on, which may be the subject of a subsequent tutorial.

Ending the recording

To end your recording, one simply clicks on the appropriate taskbar icon on the panel. At this time, assuming that encoding wasn't performed on the fly, gtk-recordmydesktop will begin encoding and generating your video, ready for postprocessing or direct sharing. If you know that the recording wasn't up to scratch, you can cancel this process, but know that the video will not be recoverable if you should decide to.

Note that on my box, the encoding process takes an inordinately long time. Users with more modern hardware will no doubt have a much easier time.

That said I'm very happy with what gtk-recordmydesktop currently does for me. Happy desktop recording!

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