Monday, August 3, 2009

3D Machinima Part3: Recording

In my last post I wrote about the main 3 different 3D graphic drivers to get stereoscopic data displayed from a lot of games. Now, how do we record/grab them to video files to edit them into our Machinima movie later on? Of course the answer seems obvious: just use Fraps as usual to do that job. Unfortunaley that's were things get tough.
1. I could not test the Nvidia 3D vision setup, but according to Andrew Fear, Fraps might not work. He told me they have an inhouse solution to be able to grab the 2 different video stream to disc. At this this it's not an official solution/tool to be used by us right now. Hope Nvidia will offer a grabbing solution that works for their 3D driver.
2. For iZ3D even 3D display works great, Fraps was unable to record the anaglyphic or other video files. By checking their forum it was reported that maybe with MS-Vista and side-by-side video format may work. WinXP failed so far. Good news is, that they are working on a solution for video recording that either will work with Fraps or their own tool.
3. Right now the only solution that worked was DDD's Tridef Experience. I was able to Fraps their anaglypic and the interlaced video stream without any problems :)
Unfortunaly they offer no side-by-side or upper/lower video output which would be the best output options for later editing. With Anaglyphic encoding you loose some color, with interlaced encoding you loose half the resolution in height. Good news is, they plan to include side-by-side and upper/lower encoding in their next version of their driver.

That's it how far I got for easy real-time recording your game footage. I have to add that most of the games I tested worked with iZ3D and DDD for viewing, but there are exceptions. GTA4 does not start with Tridef (seems to be an XP Problem, Vista is reported to work) *sigh*, no 3D GTA4 machinima from me soon. And I yet have no idea why Second Life doesn't work with any of the above solutions, maybe it's not DirectX.
I plan to edit some of my recordings I've done for testing as soon as I've found a good working solution to distribte them.

Of course there is another way to get your 3D machinima footage recorded. If your game engine is ready for non-realtime rendering from a virtual camera, you have all you need. Just create a double camera setup to record left and right-eye streams seperatly. Maybe it's not that easy to get such a setup for your game engine, but I'm sure as soon as 3D machinima gets more popular the knowledge on these camera setups will be available sooner or later.
For some non-machinima 3D tools like Maya, Max, Blender this is already the case. I'm sure it would not be that difficult to implement a Stereoscopic 3D camera in MovieStorm or iClone, but I don't know if that has priority to them right now.
Next part will be on editing and finally distributing a 3D machinima.

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