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Windows Livestreaming & Recording Guide (Part 1: DXtory)

Discussion in 'Software' started by nchhabs, 22 May 2012.

  1. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Here's Part 1 of the guide I promised to the guys in the General Battlefield 3 thread on the gaming sub-forum. :rock: Feel free to respond with any additions, and let me know how you go!

    STARTING MATERIALS

    Things you’ll need if you want to stream, record and edit:

    • XSplit (http://www.xsplit.com/download/)
    • DXtory (http://dxtory.com/v2-download-en.html)
    • Lagarith’s Lossless Codec (http://lags.leetcode.net/codec.html)
    • Adobe Creative Cloud (https://creative.adobe.com/)

    XSplit: This is the first part of the streaming toolkit – it sends what happens on your screen to streaming servers hosted by sites like twitch.tv, Justin.tv, own3d.tv, etc. Although you can use Xsplit for recording and capturing gameplay, much higher performance can be achieved with DXtory in combination with XSplit.

    DXtory: This is a utility most commonly compared to FRAPS. However it’s much more extensible; you can choose which codec you want to record in, you can record and simultaneously output gameplay via DirectShow so XSplit can use DXtory as a ‘virtual camera’. You can also do a bunch of other things, but we’ll get into that in the body of the guide.

    Lagarith’s Lossless Codec: This is the ideal compression codec used for local recording with DXtory. It’s great for editing with in Premiere, and is lossless, so you don’t get crappy compression artifacts like you can with x264vfw etc.

    Adobe Creative Cloud: Premiere Pro is the best Windows editing suite for video you can get – the new pricing model is super-competitive, especially if you’re a student (30 USD monthly) and you can get a free trial period which lasts a month.

    I'm going to break this guide into two parts; the first will be local recording with DXtory, and the second part will be using DXtory as a virtual camera for XSplit. For the second part of the series, I'll be linking to and extending on Apoctv's excellent XSplit guide. But, first things first!

    PART 1: LOCAL RECORDING

    The first thing we’re going to cover is local recording, because it’s the easiest to set-up and will prime us for setting up DXtory with XSplit. DXtory is our program of choice for local recording because of its efficiency and lack of impact on gameplay. To unlock full functionality you have to pay for it, and it's around the same cost as FRAPS. A trial version is available from the website linked to above.

    Before we configure DXtory, it's important that we install the Lagarith Lossless Codec, which will be used to compress recorded footage. If you haven't already, download and install the codec from the above link. It's a super-simple process and all you need to do is follow the prompts and it's installed and ready to be configured within DXtory.

    Now that we've done that, open up DXtory without having any games open - this will allow us to set baseline options that will be the default for every game.

    Step-by-step

    1. Once you've opened DXtory there are only a few 'tabs' we need to go through and configure. In order, the first one is the tab that looks like a folder icon:

    [​IMG]

    This is pretty straightforward; you just need to set the destination drive and folder for where your game recordings will go. You want to choose a destination that is not on the same drive as the game you are running, for maximum performance. You ideally want a minimum write speed of 70 MB/sec. As you can see here, my Samsung Spinpoint F3 is doing great at 100 MB/sec, which is perfectly fine even for 1080p recording.

    Don't worry about the fact my folder is set to FRAPS - I had FRAPS installed earlier and I ended up using the same destination.

    2. The second tab we need to configure is the one that looks like a video camera. This allows us to choose the desired codec and configure its individual options. If you're using the Lagarith Lossless Codec (highly recommended) your config should look like the following:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Note that for local recording, we want "File Output" to be checked instead of "DirectShow" output (the latter is for streaming, and we'll use it if we want to livestream with XSplit). You can also choose the resolution of your recording and the FPS you record at. You can play at 1080p and record at 720 if you wish, at 24, 30, or 60fps etc. Just make sure your system is up to it! For most hardware I'd recommend recording at 720p30fps and playing at 1080p.

    To get the dialogue box to appear like it does in the second image above, you need to click the little pencil icon next to the drop-down box of codecs. We're using multi-threading assuming our CPU has multiple cores, if your CPU doesn't, you probably shouldn't stream! We're also using the YV12 colorspace, as it's less intensive to record then the RGB setting (or so I read, I haven't had the chance to run empirical tests differentiating the two, but the majority of streamers recommend YV12).

    3. The third tab we need to configure is the one that looks like a little headset - this is obviously our sound settings. One of DXtory's most coveted features is its ability to record the Windows stereo mix and microphone channels separately, but keep in mind you'll need to do extra editing later in Premiere to single out the bits of mic-speech that you want and those that you don't. If you don't want to do this extra work, don't worry about adding the microphone as a second channel (but as a result, your voice won't be recorded).

    Update: Dom kindly passed on some useful information regarding the latest version of DXtory. It has the ability to only record the mic channel when you push a certain key - however, it won't accept modifier keys such as 'Alt' on their own. To set up the DXtory push to talk recording functionality, you need to set a keyboard shortcut under the tab that looks like a keyboard. After doing this, you need to go to the headset tab, select the number that corresponds with your microphone (usually 2) and check the box that says "Use Push-to-talk hotkey".


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Keep in mind everyone's audio hardware is going to be a bit different, so choose the option that represents your sound source! Make sure you test this is working also, otherwise you might be surprised when you come to edit the footage.

    4. The last tab we want to edit is the one that looks like a CPU. Options in this tab are system-specific. If you have SLI or Crossfire, or a CPU with multiple cores and hyperthreading, you can set options here to make the most out of your hardware.

    [​IMG]

    To be safe, I don't count hyper-threading cores as true cores, so on my i7-2600k I've chosen to go with four processing threads. As I've got two cards in SLI, I've enabled the multi-gpu fix as well. Don't enable these unless you've got the corresponding hardware!

    CONCLUSION TO PART 1

    That's it for Part 1 - you're now ready to record; just have DXtory running and press F12 (assuming you keep the default hotkey) to start recording to disk.

    I'll be working on the second part of the guide this evening! :)
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2012
  2. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    Great Guide, just checked through my setup and was already quite similar. Changed bits to match your settings. Great guide from a great guy!!
     
  3. Telltale Boy

    Telltale Boy Designated CPC Jetwhore

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    Awesome, cheers Draca. Enjoy the rep. :)

    Fairly similar to what I had already as well but I've now changed it from RGB to YV12 and set the threads to 2; I was probably being optimistic with hyper-threading on my i3 530.

    I'll see if I can record at full resolution now, I doubt it though. I'm stuck with 480p at the moment.
     
  4. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Last edited: 31 May 2012
  5. Jester_612

    Jester_612 "Jammy..."

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    Now I want to see the fruits, the sweet luscious fruits for comparison
     
  6. Zeameth

    Zeameth New Member

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    cheers draca
     
  7. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    Quite like DXtory greater control over recording video and audio, nice simple encoding software built in to go fro. Raw to Avi. And no frame rate drop when regarding. Will be testing it some more as my game crashed last night during an extended regarding session. Noticed that i don't like recording at 30fps makes my game feel a little jerky. So going to increase my frame record rate and see how things go.
     
  8. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    If it feels a little jerky at 30fps it's most likely an HDD write bottleneck. Increasing the FPS will most likely make it worse; you might want to try recording at 25 fps and see if that helps; alternatively you could reduce the resolution of the recorded video.

    If DXtory is crashing it's likely 2 things - old video card drivers, or dxtory needs to be updated (if you can, make sure you acquire it legitimately as the 'unofficial' versions can be unstable as a result).
     
  9. Fantus

    Fantus Nothing to see here...

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    Very nice guide, will definitely have a play with this :thumb:
    One question though; any idea how much Data is being written (mb/s)? I'd ideally want to have the data write to my server and my network may be the limiting factor in that.
     
  10. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    It depends on the resolution - 1080p30fps is quite large though - about 1.6 gigabytes per minute, even with Lagarith's Lossless Codec. That works out to about 28 megs a second of sustained write. I know that a lot of 7200 rpm USB 3.0 external HDDs can handle it, but I've never tested network write performance. Most of the larger youtubers recommend a minimum of 70 mb/sec for HDDs.
     
    Fantus likes this.
  11. Fantus

    Fantus Nothing to see here...

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    I have a RAID0 I can write it to instead then, I'll offload after that. Thanks for the info :)
     
  12. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    No worries :). Updated the guide with DXtory's new push-to-talk functionality when recording audio - thanks to Dom for pointing this out.
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2012
  13. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    :) My pleasure Draca!! More testing to be done with Bf3 tonight!
     
  14. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Part 2 added, couple posts down from the OP.
     
  15. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    Great guide as ever. Linked to your word press added to mine. Good work yet again bro!
     
  16. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Cheers bud - if I can figure out how to link to other pages with my theme I'll try and get your blog linked as well :rock:
     
  17. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    :) Took some figuring out. Setup the individual links in the Links menu set the Category to Links only not Blogroll , then in Appearance/Widgets add the Links Widget and they appear as links on your blog page. The title of the links being what is seen. :rock:
     
  18. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Update: The latest version of DXtory allows you to use a single modifier as a PTT (push-to-talk) recording hotkey, thereby allowing keys such as ALT/SHIFT/CTRL to be utilised in concert with your mumble hotkey set-up.
     
  19. MrDomRocks

    MrDomRocks Well-Known Member

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    Sweet, once I am back at home I will definately update the version I have no more nasty clicky noises from my mic when recording. Saves me having to edit the audio too.
     
  20. nchhabs

    nchhabs www.twitch.tv/dracaXL

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    Make sure you get the 2.0.116 version, the .115 update had a hotkey bug which was patched very quickly by the dev, which caused a bright green border to appear around the recording window. :thumb:
     

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