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Settings for high quality and small filesize

You need 2 files:
CamStudio 2.7_r316
x264vfw Codec

Download and install.

The followings settings worked well for me (Windows 7, DualCore processor):

Video: x264vfw, Q100, key200, frame25, 40
x264vfw config: ultrafast, CRF23, Loglevel=none

Audio: 22kHz, mono, 16bit, PCM(change has no effects!), Interleave1000ms, no MCI!

Audio and Video Sync.: 500ms delay (otherwise time costly videocompression leads to timedelayed video!)

Because I get always PCM audio regardless which audio codec I choose, the only way to get smallest filesizes is to compress audio afterwards.
For later audio compression e.g. mp3 with Virtualdub make sure to use CBR (not ABR), otherwise audio is not in sync!
CBR is only available for samplingrates 32kHz or 44 kHz, so you have to convert from 22kHz to 44kHz afterwards (to 32kHz gives bad quality!) or choose 44kHz in Camstudio settings for recording beforehand (bigger filesize-> 2GB limit!)

A test recording of a 91 min webinar (with video) format 862x644 resulted in a size of 544 MB without audio compression, i.e. 5 hours recording without reaching the 2 GB limit should be possible. audio and video parts in the file had roundabout the same sizes.

I plan to make a test with 720p standard resolution 1280x720. I will post here the attained filesize.

I failed in trying to compare codecs x264 and Xvid regarding quality vs. filesize by now, because after choosing Xvid video codec (Jawor´s Xvid) camstudio doesn´t start recording but stops with error message "Wave in error: Das angegebene Gerätehandle ist ungültig. in Stop()".

Edit: Please make sure that both, region width and height, have even numbers! If not you´ll get errors while starting to record. To make sure this doesn´t happen use Region->Fixed Region instead of Window. It´s annoying to be forced to change windows size by one pixel if you need to record NOW.


  • edited November 2012
    After I got Xvid working under certain circumstances I made some comparisons x264 vs Xvid. Quite telling is the following:

    I used this Youtube video in 720p (2:18 min, 38Mb):!
    to make some screencasts (all 1280x720, 40fps):

    To have an idea how´s the size recording no motion video I made this one with x264vfw codec but w/o audio (1:00 min, 1.2Mb):

    Then this one with audio and x264vfw codec (2:20 min, 47Mb):

    Finally this one, same source but Xvid MPEG-4 codec (2:20 min, 53Mb):

    Obviously x264 is much smoother. Furthermore fast forward to 1:41 and after: See X264 run smoothly, Xvid jumps and blocks irregularly, quite unshowable.

    It seems to me, x264 clearly wins this head to head, at least on my dual core Win 7 machine. On quad core machines which may encode faster the difference may not be as obvious as on mine, but that´s not the point.

    Another conclusion that can be made after this test is:
    With settings as mentioned above, a screencast (1280x720 with x264) takes min. 1.2 mb (still movie) to max. 20 mb (complex HD movie) per minute of filespace.
  • edited November 2012
    According to the suggestions of Ken (bmoreken,
    I made another one in Xvid. I changed settings to Profile unrestricted, disable packed bitstream & b-VOPs, Quality preset real time, Target bitrate 8500 kbps (2:19, 45mb):

    In my opinion this one saves the honour for Xvid. But x264 still runs a bit smoother.
  • edited November 2012
    vopo and Ken,

    What kinds of times are you getting for maximum recording lengths (up to the 2-gigabyte file size limitation) with these settings?

    It seems you'd get quite a long recording with a webinar (mostly still) recording. 20mb per minute for a complex video would be quite long as well to reach 2-gb (um... 5 minutes being 100mb, 10 at 200mb, so... 100 minutes??? An hour and 40 minutes would be amazing!)

  • I did a test capture of a 640x480 streaming video, using WAY higher bitrate than I needed and hit the wall at 62 minutes. Testing lower bitrate levels is a matter of trial and error, and will take some time, but it’s safe to assume that one could push or exceed 2 hours at reasonable bitrate levels.

  • edited November 2012

    please take into account that I used 22 kHz mono audio PCM. 44 kHz stereo (without compression like mp3 or AAC) would quadruple the audio part if I'm not wrong.

  • The video links from above are now downloadable again!
  • With the new CamStudio 2.7 one can set key frames above 200. Does it make a difference if I "Set Key Frames Every" 200 frames or 800 frames?
    I again used the 720p video from above to make some x264 recordings.
    I found no remarkable differences neither in quality nor in filesize, so I stay with 200 frames.
  • I think I’ve finally given up on trying to figure out the I frame business entirely. With 2.0, if you set the key frames at 200 (using x264) what you get is H.264/AVI with I frames set at around 588. That works fine, except one obviously can’t append files without re-encoding. I always do that, with GOP set at 6, so I have a lot of precision in where I make cuts. I would think that, unless a video really has frame flutter problems, one can’t improve on the quality by forcing a different frequency on what x264 seems to want to do.

    Maybe there’s someone who has had a different experience?

  • edited May 2013
    Made an addition regarding new Camstudio version 2.7 and region size in first post.
  • Re your edit, it could be more than annoying if one has 3 computers and is using the program a lot and has to remember which one needs to be corrected and which one doesn’t Perhaps a “post-it” stuck to each monitor is in order.

    Having said that, this may be the only setting to ever be concerned with, assuming one has decided on a specific encoder and settings within Cam itself, which are at least acceptable for any reasonable use of the program. If you’re still using 25/40, you’re pretty much stuck with x264, but that’s what you like anyway, so you’re always “good to go” without doing anything except to insure that your region is correct.

  • As per vopo's inclusion stating, "Please make sure that both, region width and height, have even numbers! If not you´ll get errors while starting to record. To make sure this doesn´t happen use Region->Fixed Region instead of Window. It´s annoying to be forced to change windows size by one pixel if you need to record NOW. "

    For ensuring windows are sized correctly, I use the Sizer program by brianapps

    There is a beta for Win 7 64-bit, but the 3.34 version works for me for most situations just fine, though sometimes I have to right-click a few times on the top border of the window to get the menu to appear.

    Here's a couple videos I did on using it.

    Installing and using Sizer -

    Saving Sizer setups -

  • Here’s a sample clip of the same video we’ve been using as a test, done with a different codec entirely. This one uses MPEG 2 (H.263) with Cam set at 5/60, which seems to be the best that MPEG 2 can handle. The final product was run through into an MPG container with the frame rate re-sampled to 30. Note that I made no attempt to reduce the filesize, but that could no doubt be cut down by around 40% if one wanted to do so. Here’s the file:

    Have a look and judge for yourself how this compares to some of the others we’ve discussed here.

  • Nice one! Runs very smooth, better than mine from above. But to compare directly seems to be a bit unfair: You used a smaller video size (1024x768), different frame rate settings in Camstudio and resampled to 30 fps afterwards. And of course, a different Computer with different recording speed.

    So, for the sake of finding the best quality with acceptable filesize, I might use Mpeg2 to record another 2 clips. One with the exact same parameters from above and one with optimized parameters for the different compressor (which codec did you use btw?)
  • The codec is ffdshow MPEG 2. (The only one I have outside of video editors). Quantization type is h.263. My first attempt was with Cam set at 5/60 with key frames set at 200. Note that Cam’s key frames settings have no constructive effect on the codec’s I frame placement.

    The finished AVI was processed into an MPG container with the input frame rate set at 200 and the FPS set at 30. I’ve since tried other settings and actually gotten a smoother result, and I’ll upload the best I can get when I figure out what that is. I don’t want to post a lot of vids that are just slightly better, and I believe that there is much improvement that can be made.

    The capture is made at 1024 x 768, but since it is being re-processed, it can be upscaled to any desired size, given the fact that MPEG DVD has so much resource to work with.

    Also note that an MPEG/AVI won’t play on most media players - it’s just a intermediate medium. The best “point and shoot” format still seems to be x264 at 25/40.

  • MPEG2 Encoding is not part of ffdshow any more so I pass on the promised clips. Sorry for that.
  • I’ll look for another reliable1-2 encoder. Actually, I started looking through that bunch of codecs after trying the MJPEG, which produces a nice video, that unfortunately falls apart in the video editor. Perhaps there are better options.

  • .... which brings up the next question of exactly why MJPEG doesn’t seem to work with Cam. It should work; in fact it should work very well It relies almost entirely on intra frame compression, which eliminates any key frames issues and should otherwise simplify the process. Problem I’ve run into is that one winds up with black spaces (not black frames) at odd intervals along the way. In analyzing the progression of frames, I’ve found that there is no such problem with MJPEGs produced with other hardware or software, and that this issue seems to be specific with Cam’s output. Perhaps others might give it a try.

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