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Problems with video codecs

edited June 2011 in General Discussion
I’m totally new to Cam Studio, so please bear with my complete lack of knowledge.

I installed 2.6 on my old XP computer (which does not actually have the resource to capture much of anything) for a try. When I checked what codecs were available, I noticed there were few, and none that I really wanted to use (huffyuv, etc.). I have the K-Lite full package installed, so I thought there should be more available. I then uninstalled the K-Lite codecs and checked the Cam Studios choices and was surprised that there was no change. I then re-installed the K-Lite package, using their software to install and register, and once again, there was no change in the choice of codecs in Cam Studios.

The next thing I tried was downloading and installing on our newer Vista computer, which also has the K-Lite full package installed. This time there were even fewer codecs available in CS, and the only one which would save a file was the default video compressor, which produced a 2 GB file from 6 minutes of capture, and would not play on any player on that computer. G Spot says it has “no header”.

So, what am I doing wrong? I suspect there’s something I just don’t get here, but I haven’t a clue at this point.

Any help greatly appreciated.


  • bmoreken,

    First, be alerted to the fact that K-Lite has several "flavors". The "Basic" and "Standard" do not have any of the VFW compressor codecs, only the decompressor ones. They also lack ones like LAME. So, you'll need either the "Full" or the "Mega". Avoid the temptation to install every codec in there - that has proven to be a mistake for many people! Just install the ones you will actually use.

    On another note, see this blog post at my site: http://screencasttutorial.org/53/jawors-xvid-my-newest-codec-of-choice-for-games-webinars-or-tutorials-453

    I am clearly an Xvid fan now, and this codec will appear on any version of CamStudio that you may have installed. Keep in mind that the region must be a multiple of 2 for height and width. SOME combinations of OS and CS version have exhibited a bug where you had to subtract 1 from your intended fixed region measurements. 1280X720 must be entered as 1279X719 in those cases. A pixel is added making it right. This is only needed if you see the error message "CamStudio could not record the AVI file using the current compressor. Use default compressor?" I think this might be only happening on XP right now... it is not happening on my Win7 machine as I write this.

    Another good region size for slower machines is 856X480, and that will create a 480p video for YouTube.

    In Audio, only use "Record from Microphone" and check "Use MCI to Record" to keep sound in sync. See the other articles at my site to see what's up with that.

  • edited June 2011
    Also see http://camstudio.org/forum/discussion/658/req-recommended-settings-for-recording-for-90-min.

    It has lots of helpful stuff, especially for XP and slower computers.

  • Here's an update on my progress (or lack thereof) since I first posted.

    On the faster Vista machine: First it took me quite a while to figure out that huffyYUV
    was on a sub-menu of ffdshow. It may be obvious when one is aware of that, but not
    so much otherwise. I did a test capture using huffYUV and found that it produced a 1
    GB file for less than 60 seconds of 480 capture. Obviously useless, so I assume I'm
    doing something wrong. I know it's lossless, but ... Secondly, I downloaded the
    Jawor xvid and gave that a try. Did a 6 minute test and came up with a decently small
    file, but the motion was so jumpy as to be unusable. Repeated the capture 5 times,
    using capture/play settings ranging from 10/100 to 100/10 and there was no
    improvement. That was most disappointing, and I do hope it's because I'm doing
    something wrong, and that it's not the best that can be done. Will a drastic increase
    in the number of key frames help here? Once again, the computer cannot find any
    other usable codecs from the K-Lite ""full"" install, although they are all there on the
    older XP computer. If there's a registry key problem, the K-Lite install gave no
    indication of it.
  • (continued)

    On the older XP machine: I knew it was too slow to really use - it can't even properly
    process streaming video without Camstudios running, but I thought it would be an
    interesting test to check the processes. It can't record sound, either from the mic or
    speakers. Yes, the stereo mix is enabled and checked. I read through the posts
    concerning this problem, and noticed that some posting are not able to solve this
    problem using any of the fixes, so I suspect this is an issue with a deeper cause which is not easily solved.

    Anyway, I'll look at the material you've posted the links to. Hopefully, I can find some
    combination of things that might work.

  • bmoreken,

    I hope you can find some way of getting this to work, I think that smaller capture regions are going to give you the most improvement.

  • Progress report: After trying every proposed solution to the audio problem I could find, and a few more, I finally gave up on the notion of recording sound on the XP machine with 2.6. I thought I’d give 2.0 a try, and was surprised that it worked perfectly from the speakers on the first attempt. In fact, it works no matter how the “stereo mix” is set. Additionally, 2.0 found the missing video codecs that 2.6 can’t see.

    On the Vista machine 2.0 seems to have no “errors creating file” type messages, but it still can’t “see” any of the codecs from the K-Lite package. Re-installed the “mega” pack with no change to what 2.0 can find, which is very limiting to the process..... Still trying.
  • bmroreken,

    You are using Record from Microphone? And can only get Stereo Mix? Well, in that case, you at least do have Stereo Mix properly selected in the Recording controls, I guess!
  • Otherwise, if you used "Record from Speakers", you are very lucky to have it work. Only a handful of computer/driver configurations work nowadays with that selection.
  • No, 2.0 will record audio on both the XP and Vista machines from the speakers ONLY. No luck at all from the mic on either.

    2.6 will record from the Vista machine from the speakers ONLY and will not record audio from the XP computer at all, and I’ve tried everything I know to try.

    The major obstacle now is getting either 2.0 or 2.6 to find the video codecs on the Vista. They find everything on the XP, but very few on the Vista, even though both computers have the same codecs installed and other programs can find and use them while CamStudios can’t (on the Vista).

  • bmoreken,

    Have you unmuted the mic in the playback sliders on the XP machine? Are you even showing the mic in your playback sliders? You may need to make it visible there first.

    This may apply to the Vista installation also, but I do not have Vista to even check into it.

  • Re the XP; yes the mic is showing and un-muted. Believe me, I’ve gone long beyond such minor tweaks with no success.

    Re the Vista machine; both 2.0 and 2.6 worked perfectly from the speakers (stereo mix “ON”) the first time, so I haven’t spent much time messing with the mic, because there doesn’t seem a need to do so.

    The codecs issue remains a baffling one. If you can’t “see” the desired codecs, you can’t use the program, and there’s no getting around that. Both 2.0 and 2.6 see the same small selection of video codecs on the Vista, even though it has the same K-Lite mega pack installed as the XP does, and both versions can find a much longer list of codecs there. Vista issue??

  • edited June 2011
    No, it is a codec issue with all versions of 2.6b. See http://screencasttutorial.org/camstudioversions.html for an example of missing codecs after a K-lite installation in 2.0 and across three builds of CamStudio.

    The good thing is that this forced me to try Xvid, which has become a favorite codec of mine now for everything. Well, of course, part of that is that it is available in all versions! See http://screencasttutorial.org/53/jawors-xvid-my-newest-codec-of-choice-for-games-webinars-or-tutorials-453

    This must be something to do with how codecs are registered, but we are frankly all puzzled on this end still... eventually this puzzle will sort itself out!

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