So I got a bit of a rude surprise yesterday, while I was sitting at home and doing some video recording tests on my Uber-Awesome gaming laptop. Specifically, I was trying to record video while playing certain retro gaming emulators and front-ends (Dolphin, PCSX2, ePSXe, and RetroArch), using my ol’ faithful video recording software, Plays.TV.
Yes, Plays.TV. Stop laughing, it works, where other software like Fraps have failed me in the past.
Unfortunately, now it was Plays.TV’s turn to fail me. You see, I restarted my laptop at one point, and I noticed that upon restart, Plays.TV updated to the most recent version. Okay, that’s nothing unusual really, so I thought nothing of it. That is, until I recorded some gameplay footage. When I played said footage back to review it, I found that suddenly I had a big, ugly Plays.TV watermark on my video!
The main reason I used Plays.TV, aside from just working most of the time, was that it doesn’t put a watermark on your videos. But now it does, apparently. I checked the settings, and the only option we are now given for the watermark is for where it appears in your video, it cannot be turned off.
So I then dropped by Plays.TV’s website, to see what was going on. Apparently, this is on purpose, and no, there will not be a way to remove the watermark. They consider it a feature we actually might want, as opposed to a complete nuisance!
Luckily I have a paid-for version of Fraps to fall back on. Earlier I said that Fraps has failed me in the past, but that isn’t really true. The problem is that my video editing software (Nero Vision… Yes, I know…) doesn’t like the video files Fraps creates. In the past this was just a codec issue, but now Nero simply won’t accept Fraps’ AVI files as anything but audio, regardless of the codec you use. Yes, Nero can eat all of the dicks, but it’s what I have to work with, and I really don’t have the budget to replace it with something better.
So, after cutting Plays.TV out of the equation, I set about testing Fraps to make sure it’ll still work for my needs, and it does. That left me trying to find a video editing suite. Of course Nero still doesn’t play well with Fraps, that’s fine. So I tried a few other options I had on-hand (Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, OpenShot, Movie Maker), and none of them could do what I needed them to do.
That left me hitting the internet, in search of a free or at least inexpensive option for video editing. Almost immediately, I came across my answer: HitFilm 4 Express. HitFilm is an excellent video editing suite, very reminiscent of Premiere, but 100% free for the Express version. You can buy add-ons that add functionality, or just drop a few hundred dollars on the full version if you want, but I haven’t found it necessary. The only thing HitFilm 4 Express doesn’t include that Nero Vision Platinum does, as far as I have found, is audio noise reduction. Actually, that’s the only audio editing tool Nero Vision Platinum includes, and HitFilm 4 Express has several other tools, just no audio noise reduction.
While I would have liked to have that function, I can live without it. Hell, if it’s really necessary, I can run the output video of HitFilm through Nero just to use the noise reduction tool therein, or just strip out the audio file and clean it up in Audacity, before exporting the final product.
Anyway, there will be some changes to the videos coming up, due to these software changes. Namely, some transitions will be slightly different, and sound quality should improve overall. You won’t see these changes until July, because I’m so far ahead on my work, though.