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Guide on How to use FRAPS for Recording Stereoscopic 3D Movies

December 8th, 2009 · 17 Comments · Other S3D Tech


If you remember I’ve written when FRAPS version 3.0 was first introduced that among one of the exciting new features was the ability to record in-game stereoscopic 3D movies. This news was a very exciting one, with me hoping to see a lot of Stereoscopic 3D movies recorded and shared between the users of 3D Vision and possibly other stereoscopic 3D setups. Unfortunately this did not seem to happen as already a month has passed since and still the stereoscopic 3D in-game videos are kind of lacking or maybe nobody is sharing them…

One of the possible reasons that these videos are not appearing anywhere could be that they need some additional processing afterwards and then they need to be uploaded somewhere for everyone to have access to them. But more of an issue seems to be the fact that recording movies using FRAPS has always been a heavy task for the PC, especially if you don’t have a top-end system with a fast multicore CPU and a high-end video card. And with the increase of the resolution and the need to record video with double width the things are even harder for the computers, because you still need to be able to play the game while you are recording it. But when we add to the equation all the latest games that are quite demanding, especially if you want to play them with a lot of detail, then things become even more of a problem than before, so I’ve prepared some tips that might be useful for you should you decide to record such movie.

When you start FRAPS and go to the Movies tab you need to setup the program at first in order to get the best possible performance and quality, while still retaining playable framerate. First off you should use a second hard drive for saving the movies and not your system one where you probably also have the game you are playing installed. The video codec that FRAPS uses does not compress the video data a lot in order not to take up too much of the system’s resources and this is resulting in a larger file size, thus needing more free space and faster transfer speed. This is why you better use a second hard drive to avoid possible degradation of game performance if the game needs to read some data off the hard drive or the operating system needs some data accessed in the background.

AS for the Video Capture Settings you should select to record in 25 frames per second. This framerate is enough to have a smooth movement in most games while at the same time not requiring that much of resources as you get the in-game framerate synced to the chosen recording FPS when you activate it by pressing F9 (the default key). You should also record in the Full-size resolution instead of Half-size as the second needs to resample each frame to half the resolution in real time while you are recording and sometimes the resulting quality might not be what you expect. So instead of plying at a resolution of 1680×1050 pixels and recording the video in Half-size resolution you better lower the resolution to 1280×720 pixels and record in Full-size. This way what you see while playing the game will be recorded in the video an you won’t have to rely on the resampling to bring good enough results. Also playing in lower resolution lessens the burden on the video card and the CPU, though that when recording the video at Half-size resolution there is also less load on the system resources too. Another issue for when using Half-size is that you cannot achieve 720p output as the half resolution of 1680×1050 is actually 840×525 pixels, but you should also have in mind that recording at 25 frames per second on 720p resolution is still not an easy task for every PC, so you might even have to go to lower resolutions.

Sound capture is an option that you might not activate if you won’t be needing it, but that is ore like a personal preference and it does not bring a serious issue in terms of performance drop. Still it is recommended to use a Stereo mode for recording and not Multichanel one as the second choice might result in not being able to reach at least 25 fps. Not to mention that if you do some editing afterwards and not just recompress the video you migh have some trouble with the multichanel audio and most likely a lot of the people you share the video after that will be able to hear the audio in all its glory.

Regarding the CPU versus GPU requirements when playing games in stereoscopic 3D mode and want to record the game play in a movie things are quite interesting. The thing is that FRAPS need a lot of CPU power in order to compress the video in real time with the requested framerate, but at the same time the game also needs CPU power when you play it. This is why the faster the processor the better and having more cores is a good thing too especially if you share some of the cores exclusively for usage by the game and others by FRAPS using the Task Manager’s Affinity settings for the respective processes. The game on the other hand requires a lot of GPU power especially if being played in higher resolution and with maximum details and even more if you activate Anti-Aliasing mode. Also don’t forget that playing games in stereoscopic 3D introduces some additional load on the GPU and the resulting framerate is usually about 30-40% lower than what you can achieve normally without stereoscopic 3D mode active. You probably will notice that if you have lets say 60 frames while playing the game normally in Stereoscopic 3D when you activate the recording the framerate might drop to lets say 20 frames per second. This is not a problem for the video card, but is happening because of the big CPU load. And when you are playing in stereoscopic 3D at a resolution of 1280×720 pixels and recording the video your CPU will have to compress and record frames with the size of 2560×720 pixels as you actually get a side by side recording of a frame for the left and for the right eye. This can bring down to their knees even the top model processors, so yet again I’m reminding you that laying in lower resolution is better than using the Half-size video recording option. But because of this there is something you can do when playing the game at 1280×720 instead of 1680×1050… you can easily put the detail level to the maximum and even enable some AA filtering without noticing any framerate drop when recording the video as this usually increases significantly the load only on the GPU, but not on the CPU.

Feel free to share some tips that you might have, but I’ve missed mentioning above and of course you can post links to some of the stereoscopic 3D videos you’ve made with the help of FRAPS in the comments below…

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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 3d4dd // Dec 13, 2009 at 13:03

    First of all I want to thank You for Your usefull, actual and competent informations (not only about Fraps but within Your whole blog!)!
    Personally I use Fraps not (yet) for sharing videos with others but for myself as a replay-function for certain games. Games that offer a nice S3D experience but demand so much concentration on handling that I’m not able to enjoy the graphics with all of it’s details. For example Guitar Hero World Tour. The musicians provide a great stage show but playing the game I have to focus on the stream of notes I have to play. So I record the clips with Fraps and can enjoy the show in S3D when replaying it with the 3DVision Video Player :) There is only one problem: audio and video are not perfectly synchronized in some recordings (even with “Don’t sync audio and video” not marked). There is a delay of about 1 sec per minute.
    Fraps is also useful for making screenshots of action scenes in games. E.g. during a fight it is often impossible to press the screenshot hotkey at the right moment (without getting killed ;)). And if You pause a game there is often a disturbing pause menu that prevents You from taking a screenshot. But You can pause a recorded video at any time to take the “perfect screenshot”.
    S3D-recordings are also usefull to demonstrate S3D-effects to other people. Usually You have only one pair of 3DVision googles as they are quite expensive. But how to demonstrate S3D-gameplay to somebody who doesn’t have the skills to play the game himself? You need the googles for Yourself to play the game and the other can’t see S3D without googles. So simply record the gameplay and let the other one repaly it with the Video Player.

  • 2 3d4dd // Dec 13, 2009 at 21:24

    I just googled that goggles ist the correct spelling ;)

  • 3 Gent001 // Feb 17, 2010 at 01:12

    looks like Fraps 3.0/3.0.3/3.1/3.1.1 demo doesn’t really support resolutions bigger than 1680×1050 for Full-screen 3D Stereo video capture :(
    movies captured in-game at 1920×1080 or 1920×1200 end up at 1920×540 or 1920×600 (side by side half-size videos actually)
    proof: http://bayimg.com/lAKaoAaCI captured from the recorded movie, game running at 1920×1200

  • 4 Gent001 // Mar 7, 2010 at 05:29

    the new Fraps 3.1.2 demo doesn’t really support resolutions bigger than 1680×1050 for Full-screen 3D Stereo video capture either :(

  • 5 Gent001 // Mar 29, 2010 at 15:09

    the new Fraps 3.2.0 demo has the same issue with resolutions bigger than 1680×1050 for Full-screen 3D Stereo video capture, but the good news is that the Fraps devs found the bug and it will be fixed in version 3.2.2 :)

  • 6 Gent001 // Apr 4, 2010 at 00:38

    3.2.2 – 31st Mar 2010
    – Fixed trouble opening movies with VLC, Avidemux, AVI synth, Virtualdub and some other applications
    – Fixed problem capturing stereoscopic movies at 1920×1080 and 1920×1200
    – Fixed loop recordings sometimes becoming corrupted


  • 7 Steines Joe // Aug 29, 2010 at 18:23

    Hello if someone knows a program that can compress the 3D fotage I did I would be very happy if he contacts me under joe.steines@hotmail.com
    If I get the compression I´ll start a 3D youtube channel but not before caus I can’t upload an 2,07BG video that only dures 1 minute.
    Thanks for you help.

  • 8 Steines Joe // Aug 29, 2010 at 18:24

    Added my youtube channel as hp

  • 9 Bloody // Aug 29, 2010 at 19:28

    You can use VirtualDub or any other simple or more advanced video editor to prepare the video for youtube and not just recompressing it to a smaller file size. And then again there are literally thousands of programs that can allow you to convert the video from one format to another, for example the free MediaCoder that also has support for CUDA GPU-acceleration.

  • 10 Frillen // Jul 5, 2011 at 16:56

    Thank you for a nice guide on how to record stereoscopic movies with Fraps!
    I’ve got a high-end computer with Nvidia 3D vision + latest drivers and Samsung 2233rz monitor.
    Games runs in stereoscopic like a dream in all possible resolutions, but unfortunately Fraps 3.4.5(demo version) won’t record anything unless I select the highest resolution 1680×1050!
    This kinda beats my purpose of creating 3D videos for sharing using this wonderful guide :(
    Furthermore Fraps do not update their online help files to their new versions, making the program confusing to setup!

    I was going to buy this, but random program terminations and functions not working, makes Fraps seem like an amateur with a price tag that doesn’t justify for what you get – Not good in my book!!

  • 11 Jozsef Fulop // Sep 10, 2011 at 14:56

    Hi, I have the NVidia 3D glasses, really good in 3D games & 3D movies. So I try to made a FRAPS recorded video from my favourite game in 3D. I think I did, but how can I payback properly ??? If I just use a standard video player, like GOM player, the NVidia glasses doesn`t sense this, so I can`t use, & than I just can playback 2 different vid in the same time, both, but I can`t watch in stereoscopic 3D. Also I tried, used a stereoscopic 3D media player ( simple just Stereoscopic player the name of this media player software ) to blayback my FRAPS recorded videos, but doesn`t work properly as well… maybe I used wrong settings in the Stereoscopic software or it`s not compatible with the FRAPS recorded 3D ??? I must to use other software to playback my FRAPS recorded 3D ingame videos ? Any useful advice please to playback my FRAPS recorded 3D videos ?

  • 12 Jozsef Fulop // Sep 10, 2011 at 15:04

    ..LOL, I did finally ! :D I can playback my FRAPS rec 3D vids with my 3D ready Power DVD-version. But not working properly as well, not too bad, but maybe I must to find the right settings…

  • 13 Jozsef Fulop // Sep 10, 2011 at 15:11

    ..OK, well Im done. :D I just used the NV control panel & I reduced the 3D depth to 70% & now my FRAPS rec 3D vids enjoyable on the 3D ready Power DVD. ^^ ;-)

    I must to convert only now my FRAPS rec vids, `casue too large at the moment. :-)

  • 14 tzp // Dec 12, 2011 at 06:16

    Just a quick question : has anybody tried fraps stereo capture on any of the games below?

    Witcher2/Mafia 2/Batman AA – i get shuttering/tearing/lag in one of the views or alternante lagging … no matter what resolution/specs so stereo capture pretty much unusable

    Trine/Trine2 does not caputre both views but only one eye stretched over the entire frame …

    I have been searching on google alot about these issues but found no solution so far … and also tried whatever came to mind … different video drivers/ versions of fraps … even did a clean install of windows but no success .

    It seems most of the games i am having troubles with are DX9 based ( same with Resident evil 5 .. caputre worked great in dx110 but same issues in dx9 )

    Its driving me mad now .

    My setup is
    win7 64
    gtx295/8G ram/cpu Q6600@3600

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • 15 Blake Cullen // Mar 29, 2012 at 06:04

    Thanks for this insight. I actually use fraps as my screen capture software to record gameplay videos and this article right here added my knowledge. Thanks man!!

    But since I want to upload my recorded gameplay videos, I always partner fraps with Ezvid. Ezvid is a video editing/video maker freeware program for Windows. So after I record my gameplay with fraps, I then import it to Ezvid to do more tweaking of my videos and I can directly upload it to YouTube with Ezvid. These two software are just so great. You can also get Ezvid at http://ezvid.com


  • 16 lolencio // Feb 22, 2013 at 01:01

    I have a tip for recording without lag with GTA: SA when w/recording you get over 60 FPS

    I got heavy lag (around 15 FPS) when recording CJ driving trough Los Santos at 1680 x 1050 maximum graphics, no antialiasing

    I fixed this by opening Windows task manager, clicking show all process and changing the priority of gta_sa.exe to high and changing the priority of fraps.exe and fraps64.dat to above normal; I have 4 CPU cores and changed affinity of gta_sa.exe to CPU 0 and 1, the affinity of fraps.exe and fraps64.exe to CPU 2 and 3.

    Finally I changed the record speed to 25 FPS in FRAPS. With this you will not have to lower the graphics ;)

    NOTE: with those settings the sound is kinda bad w/recording but when you start to record the sound become normal, wtf

  • 17 ymike // Sep 1, 2016 at 00:41

    Fraps is out dated now, it has no update for 3 years at least.

    For recording heavy games, you can now use D3DGear fast game recording and streaming software. It puts the smallest load to PC while recording and produce amazing results.

    You can try D3DGear from http://www.d3dgear.com

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