Sharing Video for Presentations

There are several ways to share the video animations generated with VS Visualizer. In the current product versions (August 2015), all require the use of video capture software.

Capturing Video

The normal process for sharing a video from any program on your Windows computer is to run a video capture program that will record screen activity in a designated area. You typically press a designated key to start and stop the capture process. When the capture is stopped, you are prompted to save the video to a video file that can be played in Windows Media Player. The video file can also be inserted into Microsoft PowerPoint.

Windows 10 includes the XBox Game DVR which includes video capture. For Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, two low-cost tools have been used successfully and are recommended by Mechanical Simulation: FRAPS and Snagit. These three options are summarized in the table below. In addition to these tested and popular tools, others are available at low cost (less than $50) or free.

Software XBox Game DVR FRAPS Snagit
Company Microsoft Beepa Pty Ltd: TechSmith:
Description Tool for capturing DirectX or OpenGL video. (VS Visualizer uses OpenGL). Videos can also be trimmed from within the app Tool for capturing video game screens that make use of DirectX or OpenGL technology. (VS Visualizer uses OpenGL). General-purpose screen capture utility that captures a specified region, a window, or the whole screen. Supports some editing of the video.
Video File format MP4 AVI, using custom FRAPS codec MP4
  • Part of the standard Windows 10 installation
  • Portable output file will play on any modern computer
  • Basic editing utilities
  • Free with Windows 10
  • Very high performance (high frame rate, full quality images)
  • Low cost: $37 (PayPal)
  • Free version available (30-s limit, includes watermark)
  • Portable output file will play on any modern computer
  • Can handle any region of the screen
  • Editing options to clip and add marks and text
  • Low cost: $49 (credit card)
  • Only captures one OpenGL panel region
  • Only captures one OpenGL panel region
  • Must use PayPal to purchase
  • No editing options
  • FRAPS must be installed on computer to play AVI file. (Free version can be used.)
  • AVI file is very large compared with MP4
  • No free version (15-day free demo)
  • Frame rate and image quality are not as good as FRAPS

Sharing the Video

The video file can be played using Windows Media Player and other video playing tools. It can be posted to YouTube, Facebook, and other internet sites that allow users to post videos.

MP4 video files are supported on Windows 7 and newer, along with Mac OSX and mobile device OSs. The FRAPS AVI file requires that the FRAPS AVI codec be installed on the computer in order to play the file in Windows Media Player. (A codec is a computer program, typically a DLL, capable of encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal.)

If the file can be played with Windows Media Player, it can also be included in a PowerPoint file for presentation.

Video files are large. MP4 files range from several MB to 300 MB or more; AVI files may be 10 times bigger. Emailing a video file is not always possible. However, both MP4 and AVI files can easily be posted to YouTube. In these cases, the server (YouTube or Facebook) manages the streaming and size when viewing, including support for smart phones, tablets, slow computer connections, and high-speed high-definition setups.

Be aware that the ability of a computer to show an AVI file with Windows Media Player or PowerPoint depends on the existence of the proper codec on that computer. It is possible to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on one computer with video content that plays OK, and then be unable to show the video content on another computer that does not have the required codec file.



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