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Can anyone recommend a good screen capture utility for Windows 10?

Posted on 2016-10-10
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I have a Dell Mobile Precision model M4700 which I connect to dual 24-inch HD monitors by way of the DVI ports in the port aggregator (i.e., the docking station). On occasion, I extend the Windows desktop onto my 60-inch television by way of a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. Once the desktop has been extended to the television, I can drag content to that screen where I can view it at 2 1/2 times the size! Lately, I have been using the extended desktop to display a computer game on the large television. I'd like to be able to record my gaming sessions in real time. Ideally, I'm looking for an application that can record those sessions while I'm running them on the wireless display. Since I'm running Windows 10, the Game Bar is included. I also have Corel's ScreenCap and what appears to be the same product from PinnacleSys. I believe those companies are one and the same. Additionally, I've looked at OBS Studio.

When I invoke the Windows 10 Game Bar using the Windows-G combination, the bar opens for a few seconds while awaiting my response. This is particularly frustrating, because I have a handicap which prevents me from responding in a timely manner. It's a real crapshoot. When I use Corel's screen capture to record the session, it reports the resolution at 1366 by 768 – despite the fact that the television reports the resolution at a full 1920 by 1080. And OBS Studio doesn't "see" my wireless display. Apparently, neither does VLC! I've even downloaded and installed Nvidia's GeForce Experience. Unfortunately, my Nvidia Quadro K1000 adapter is not compatible.

One of the most frustrating aspects of these applications is how easily they are "distracted." If I inadvertently click in one of the other screens, the game screen closes! The same thing seems to happen when a notification pops up on the primary display. Fixing the former is easy, as for the latter…

I'm open to suggestions anyone might have about products I haven't tried, or better ways to use the products I have. I'm not averse to paying for screen capture software, as long as it meets my requirements and is reliable.
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Question by:babyb00mer
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41837747
I have not used in it your environment, but I use SnagIt (TechSmith). Excellent product. I can capture 99% of things. I cannot capture a pop-up that disappears when I move my mouse. I do not know anything that will do that.

I have SnagIt screen shots littering the EE landscape here.
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41837766
I apologize, but I believe my question was misleading. I'm actually looking for video capture software. From what I can tell, TechSmith's Snagit is for capturing screenshots – not video.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41837768
I also have Camtasia which is excellent video capture software. It is also from TechSmith and very good. Video Capture is (by nature) more expensive than screen capture. Try it.
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Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 125 total points
ID: 41837789
I use a tool called Screencast-O-Matic to do screen recordings:
https://screencast-o-matic.com

They have a Free version, but it is limited to 15-minute recordings and it puts a watermark in the lower left corner. The Pro version allows unlimited recording length and does not put in the watermark. The Pro version is very reasonably priced at $15 for one year, and even better at $29 for three years — just $9.67 per year (that's what I bought). I've done more than 25 five-minute video Micro Tutorials here at EE with Screencast-O-Matic. The first three were with the Free version — here's one:
Cloning a Hard Drive with Casper

I then switched to the Pro version and have done all since the first three with the Pro version. The reason I upgraded to Pro was not the 15-minute limit, since EE video Micro Tutorials are just five minutes, but because of the watermark, which was blocking some stuff in the tutorial. Here's the first video I did with the Pro version:
Make Windows 8 Look Like Earlier Versions of Windows with Classic Shell

Here's the most recent published video that I did with the Pro version:
Xpdf - PDFfonts - Command Line Utility to List Fonts Used in a PDF File

Although I don't use the feature in EE videos, Screencast-O-Matic has editing tools. Some of my EE videos were done in W10, but I'm not sure which ones. This is a good possibility, but maybe not (could have been on W7 remotely):
Make Windows 10 Look Like Earlier Versions of Windows with Classic Shell

In any case, it definitely works in W10. Here are some other products besides Screencast-O-Matic, but you'll have to check which ones support W10:

(1) I've used the free version of WisdomSoft's AutoScreenRecorder:
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/products/autoscreenrecorder_free.htm

It works very well, but the free version doesn't record audio. For that you'll need the Pro (paid) version, which is $49.95. Here's a comparison matrix of the Free vs. Pro versions:
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/asr/asr_compare.htm

(2) CamStudio is free, open source software at SourceForge:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/

It allows recording all screen and audio activity, creating industry-standard AVI video files. It also has a built-in streaming Flash producer to convert the AVIs into SWFs. If you have any problems with it, take a look at the Issues section at its own website:
http://camstudio.org/

(3) FFVideo is also free, open source software at SourceForge:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffvideo/

It allows recording from screen, audio, webcam, microphone, and other devices. It uses the [ffmpeg] screen-capture-recorder as its recording engine:
https://github.com/rdp/screen-capture-recorder-to-video-windows-free

[ffmpeg] provides for a number of output formats, including MP4. It is also free, open source and available at SourceForge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/screencapturer/files

(4) Atomi Systems' ActivePresenter comes in Free, Standard, and Professional Editions:
http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/

Even the Free edition can capture an application, specified screen area, or full screen (both manually and automatically). The Free edition supports audio recording and audio/video editing. It has no time limit and creates no watermark. Here's a comparison table of the three editions:
http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/features-comparison/

Unlike AutoScreenRecorder and Screencast-O-Matic, where the non-free edition is reasonably priced, the non-free editions of ActivePresenter are expensive – $299 for Standard and $399 for Professional.

(5) TechSmith is best known for its excellent Snagit product, but they also have two products in the video recording space — the basic, low-end Jing (free) and the robust, high-end Camtasia (expensive at $299):
http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

I haven't used either TechSmith product, but have heard good things about both, and am simply passing them along for your consideration.

(6) VLC is best known as an extraordinary (free!) media player:
http://www.videolan.org/

What is much less known about it is that it has desktop recording capability. This article explains how:
https://www.vlchelp.com/how-to-record-desktop

(7) Problem Steps Recorder is free, built into Windows:
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/patricka/2010/01/04/using-the-secret-windows-7-problem-steps-recorder-to-create-step-by-step-screenshot-documents/

However, I don't think there's any control over what part of the screen it records. I could be wrong about that, but in my attempts to use it, it always recorded the entire screen — in fact, multiple displays, which I have. I don't know exactly what you are looking for, but in my case, I had two large monitors in an extended desktop configuration (three now), and Problem Steps Recorder recorded everything on both of them, which I usually did not want. I'm typically interested in just one program (window) being recorded and both AutoScreenRecorder Free and Screencast-O-Matic Free can do that. It all comes down to which product meets your exact requirements.

As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned in this post and no financial interest in them whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
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David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 41837792
I use Camtasia for all screen captures. Being a laptop you can't install a dedicated capture card. The physical screen size is irrelevant here.. only the resolution is important i.e. 1080p (1920x1080).  You might want to consider open broadcaster Open Broadcaster Howto

Youtube Live Tested Encoders https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2907883?hl=en
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Expert Comment

by:viki2000
ID: 41837869
With Win 8.1 64bit I have tried with success Fraps, even it is said to work up to Win7. You should try the free version with your Win10. Then for full version you have to buy a license. It is small and easy to work with. The video output is good quality. Just try it.
http://www.fraps.com/download.php
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by:McKnife
ID: 41837953
Another free one is the webex player and recorder: https://www.webex.com/play-webex-recording.html Click on https://welcome.webex.com/client/wbxclient/atrecply.msi

Not sure if it fits your needs since it has not many tuning options.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 41838109
For gaming there's the built-in (no need for 3rd party downloads) xbox video recording software.

https://support.xbox.com/en-AU/xbox-on-windows/social/record-game-clips-game-dvr-windows-10

This is not just xbox games either, you can use this software to screen record anything you like. Why download something?
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by:McKnife
ID: 41838113
"Why download something?" - because the xbox thing needs a microsoft account. Apart from that it might be great, I heard about it.
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by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 41838129
Yeah I was being facetious :P sorry...
But yes, I've found it very useful having looked at a few for simple screen recording
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41840647
I'm giving OBS another look. My previously noted complaint about that application might have been premature! Patience is not one of my virtues. :-)
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41841185
In the OBS application under Settings> Stream, there is a field for "Stream key." Can anyone tell me what that is?
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41841197
Sorry...have used many screen recording products, but not that one.
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41841207
Nevermind, I figured it out.
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 125 total points
ID: 41841796
babyb00mer with windows 10 you have to test a few since the AERO is nolonger used  and the directX version is 12
a lot of the bought capture tools to capture games live  etc dont work now.
Fraps doesn't work anymore and they still haven't fixed it.
I could nolonger capture my gameplay real time with Fraps.
The same with OBS Studio. It has a ton of problems as well if you didn't have it in windows 7 prior.
If you get stuck checkout youtbe
HOW TO USE OBS 2016 for WINDOWS 10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxPUdSwAh34
However as mentioned
Windows 10 includes a built-in tool for recording videos of PC games
How to Record PC Gameplay With Windows 10’s Game DVR and Game Bar
http://www.howtogeek.com/219947/how-to-record-pc-gameplay-with-windows-10%E2%80%99s-game-dvr-and-game-bar/
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41844255
Quite the dilemma…

Ideally, I'd like to have an application with the reliability, power and versatility of Open Broadcaster…

OBS.png
… and the user-friendly and simple interface of Screencast-O-Matic.

screencast-o-matic.png
Among the applications I tried, OBS has the most features. Also, it seems to be the least intrusive – that is, it demonstrates the most economic use of resources. I have used it to capture several minutes of video while streaming and recording. I found the performance acceptable.

When I started this quest, I had no interest in streaming. However, that has changed. While it's not a feature I'm likely to use as often as recording, it would still be nice to have. Now that my interest has been piqued, I'm going to have to find out everything there is to know about streaming. Toward that end, I have opened a twitch.tv account. But I digress…

In the end I'll probably wind up using both OBS and Screencast-O-Matic. I'll use the former when I want to stream, and the latter when I simply want to record. On the other hand, if performance becomes an issue, I'm likely to favor OBS even when I'm only recording. Regardless, I'm tempted to pay for a Screencast-O-Matic license. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as though the ability to stream is something I'd gain by purchasing the license.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 41844284
Did you try the Xbox recorder I mentioned here: https:#a41838109
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Author Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41844326
Did you try the Xbox recorder I mentioned here: https:#a41838109

As I mentioned in my opening statement, I found aspects of the Windows Game DVR that, given a particular disability of mine, make it challenging for me. However, that assessment was based on some assumptions I was making about the application's behavior. Specifically, when the DVR bar disappeared, I assumed that the application had terminated. I've discovered that, although the bar is no longer visible, it's still running in the background. Consequently, when I use the WINDOWS-LOGO-KEY+ALT+R, I can still start and stop the recorder. Had I given more time to testing, I guess I would've figured that out. As I said before, patience is not one of my virtues. Can I assume that the WINDOWS-LOGO-KEY+G will terminate the recorder, or is there some other key combination I need to use for that? When I'm not using it, I really don't want it hanging around in the background using up resources.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 41844463
I went back to windows 7 for this reason and now have my Fraps back greenshot  Camatasi studio and other multimedia tools that rely on directx the Aero and Internet explorer. , but I have 2 systems one with W10 x64 prof  one with 7 x64 prof. and a Aten  DVI KVMP switch.
Windows 10 I feel is designed for mobile devices Ipads not desktops.
The multimedia factor is too dodgy.
Windows 7 will be around for the life of this PC.
I tested  Windows 10 Game DVR and also found it too unreliable I too have little patience after having used my simple capture tools.
You can rollback and then upgrade later using the media creation tool USB as the system that had widows 10 will always be activated.
Another thing with windows 10 update some features nolonger work with the Xbox or they cannot be guaranteed with the new build.
You can call up the Game bar by hitting the Windows logo key + G. However, you can’t call it up anywhere.  for example, you wouldn’t see it on the bare desktop,
 File explorer, or Notepad. Try it out in anything else—such as a modern UI app or the Steam dashboard—and it should work. In other words, this feature appears to be limited to apps and won’t work for system level activities.
Game DVR only runs when you activate it, and has no performance impact on your games.
The how to here on Microsost includes the keybpard shorctuts
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17188/windows-10-record-clips-of-pc-games
and here
https://majornelson.com/2016/10/14/tips-on-windows-10-and-game-dvr-optimization/
Good Luck with it
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by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 41844566
Thanks Merete
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Author Closing Comment

by:babyb00mer
ID: 41847696
I want to thank all of the experts who participated in this discussion. I tried a number of their suggestions, but always wound up coming back to Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 41848431
You're welcome. And thanks to you for the closing comment — always good to know what tools work for folks. Regards, Joe
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