THIS TUTORIAL IS NOT BEING UPDATED!
|Table of Contents||Getting Started||Info||Virus Scam||Website Closure||Download/Installation|
|Settings||Main Screen||Video Tab||Audio Tab||3D Tab||System Tab|
|Settings (Cont.)||Hotkey Tab||Author Tab||Size Tab||Control Tab|
Gregion is a free DirectX and OpenGL recorder for Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7. It is a 32-bit app, but it works on Vista/7 x64. I use it to record all my 3D games. This is a highly-detailed article on the program, its settings, and what settings I recommend (and use myself!) to record videos with it.
As I have said, it is a DirectX and OpenGL recorder. In the DirectX world, it will only record games that use DirectX 8 or later. DirectX is the technology that Windows uses for games, and starting with Windows Vista, the entire Window interface. Unfortunately, Gregion will not record the Windows desktop. If you are not sure what version of DirectX your game uses, consult its manual. A copy is usually located on the game’s disc.
On the OpenGL side of the world, the only OpenGL program I use is LEGO Digital Designer, and Gregion records that perfectly. It only records the building area, the brick selection panel and the brick tools (it’s the only OpenGL elements of the program), so if you need to record the menu bar or any dialog boxes, you will need to use something else, such as CamStudio.
I have received a few reports saying that their computer slapped a virus warning on Gregion. While I do not what type of virus Gregion was labeled as, I can assure you that Gregion is not a virus. I have used it for a long time now, and had many different Anti-Virus programs, and I have never received a virus from Gregion, nor have I received such a report. What is happening here is called a false positive. A false-positive is basically a mistaken identity. If an Anti-Virus program labels a perfectly safe piece of software as a virus, the Anti-Virus program has reported a false positive, a mistaken identity. This has happened many times to VLC, a perfectly safe video player (which I use all the time), and all the VLC devs can say is that the report is a false positive and move on. If you get a message saying that Gregion is a virus, just tell the program to ignore it and no to remind you about it again.
There is a well-known and respected website called VirusTotal which lets people submit programs and websites for virus scanning by many different Anti-Virus programs. As proof that Gregion is not a virus, I have submitted the Gregion installer to them via the download URL. Here is the result of the scan.
The VirusTotal scan gives one report of malware, but that is my download link and the download from my computer (see next section), and I’ve never gotten a virus from it. Again, it’s a false positive. It’s perfectly safe. 😉
Sometime after February 1st, 2012, the Gregion site and download link went offline. It seems the owner did not “pay the rent” for the website. Fortunately, I had a copy on a computer, and I have uploaded it to my Dropbox for safe keeping. There are other places to get it (Softpedia is one of those), but I cannot verify the safety of those sites. The download link below and the installer scan above both go to my Dropbox, and anytime you get it from me, it will be virus-free. 😉
Now that the important info is out of the way, we will start the tutorial! First, you have to download Gregion and install it. (Duh, did you think it came with Windows?) As I said earlier, the official site is gone. So you can pick it up on my Downloads Page.
(Click any picture to see a bigger version.)
The first line tell you where Gregion will save your videos. If you click the button on its left, a drop down menu will appear with two buttons: “Set Output Folder” and “Open Output Folder”. The first one opens up the Settings menu, which is explained in detail below. The second one does exactly what it says. I use it for quick access to my movies while I am recording, if I don’t have the folder open already.
The second line lets you choose what video format to record in. I talk about the formats below. I will come back to this later.
The 3rd through 7th lines are just quick details of some settings in the settings menu. Because of that, I will not be talking about these.
The bottom half of the main screen, or “controls”, has 8 buttons and a small “screen”. The “screen” just tells you what Gregion is doing right now. When it says “STOP”, it’s not recording, when it says “RECORD” in red text, it is recording.
The biggest button is the Record/Stop Record button. I know you know what this does. You can also start/stop recording via a hotkey, which is explained below. There is a small button to the top right of this button, which is the Pause button. This pauses a recording, which can also be done with a hotkey. I never use this.
The three buttons to the right of the small “screen” serve to open the Settings Menu, check for updates, and open the Help file for Gregion, in that order.
The rest of the buttons serve the follow functions, respectively: “Open Gregion Converter”, Run “System Media Player”, and “Run System Image Viewer”. I never click these buttons, especially the “Open Gregion Converter” button.
I will now go into great detail explaining each tab in the Settings Menu.
There are 6 sub-tabs in this one. I will try to talk a little bit about each one.
1. The FPS (which stands for “Frames Per Second”) tab lets you choose the frame rate you want the video to record at. Frames are how fast each picture in the game is recorded. Video in the United States is set at 29.97 FPS, so you should record at 30 frames at all times. If you have a really powerful computer (like a gaming computer), you could turn this setting much higher. If your not sure what kind of computer you have, you could try changing this to 60 FPS, and do a test recording. If the resulting video comes out jerky, than your computer cannot record at that frame rate. Then you would set it back to 30 frames. I record on a good computer, but it is not good enough to record at 60 FPS, so I leave it at 30.
2. The “Gregion” tab has two settings: “Gregion High Quality Compression (Default)”, and “Gregion Lossless Compression”. These settings only apply if you record in the AVI format, in anything other than “Full Frames (Uncompressed)”. You can just leave it on it’s default, which is the first one.
3. The “AVI” tab lets you choose the settings to use for recording into the AVI format. The default is the “Xvid MPEG-4 Codec”, which is installed when you install Gregion. If you use this codec, you will only be able to watch your videos on that computer, unless you have Gregion installed the other computer you want to watch your videos on. In addition to that, I have yet to find a video editor or converter that fully supports the Xvid codec. Usually, the program will figure out the audio stream, but not the video stream. So, it will convert the audio, but not the video. I do not recommend using AVI, because these files come out really large, and that makes it harder to compress for uploading. But if you have a lot of hard drive space, and you demand the best quality recordings you can get, than by all means go ahead and recording into AVI. The “Full Frames (Uncompressed)” setting is the best video quality out there, because there is no compression whatsoever. What is on your screen is what the video looks like. Because of this, these can be (if not are) the biggest video files, in terms of data size. A 3 minute video on best game quality can easy pass 1.5 GBs.
4. The “WMV” tab lets you choose the settings to use for recording into the WMV format. The default setting is “Windows Media Video V8”, which is on each version of Windows that Gregion supports. This is an older version of the “Windows Media Video” codec, and it is not used much anymore. There are 3 areas that let you control other aspects of your recordings. The “Encoding Mode” lets you choose how to encode your videos. Just leave it on it’s default, which is “CBR (Constant Bit Rate)”. It works well for this job. There is an area called “Speed, Quality”, which controls just what it says. Again, the default works best for recording. There are three fields that let you choose change the Video Bitrate, Smoothness, and Key frame interval. They are grayed out if you have CBR enabled. And that’s just fine for this purpose.
5. The “RM” tab lets you change the settings for the RealMedia codec. Real Video uses RealVideo, a proprietary video codec developed by RealNetworks. Real Video is good for streaming video on the internet. In order to play RM files, you would have to have RealPlayer installed on your computer, or have a player that uses Ffmpeg, like VLC. I have never recorded into the RM format, mainly because of the need for RealPlayer or VLC. In addition to that, I’m not aware of many video editors that support RM files. Therefore, I will not discuss the settings on this tab.
6. The “MOV tab lets you choose the settings for recording into the MOV format. MOV is just a format container which supports many codecs, like H.264. It is similar to MP4, but MP4 has more support. MOV files are used in the Apple Inc. ecosystem. In order to play MOV files, you will need QuickTime. If you have an iPod or any iOS device though, you will already have QT on your computer. The most common formats are supported in Windows Media Player 12 (which ships with Windows 7 only), as well as VLC, but since .mov is just a container, there are a lot of formats that will only play in QuickTime. I have messed with these settings a little bit, and when I recorded into this format, the computer slowed down considerably, and my frame rate dropped from 20 FPS when not recording to 5 FPS when recording, in addition to horrible quality videos. Unless you use Apple Inc. products a lot, and have a powerful computer, I would not recommend recording into this format. So, just like RM, I will not be explaining these settings.
There are 5 sub-tabs in this tab. 4 are the audio settings for each Video format, and the other one deals with System Audio settings.
1. The “Device” tab lets you choose what sounds you want to record, either Computer sounds or your Microphone, if you have one. Since computer’s vary so much, I cannot explain this tab much. It would be best to leave it at it’s default, which is “System Playback Device”. Click the “Microphone” button to record your microphone, and the all sounds button to record, well, all sounds. You will just have to have your Mic set up properly for this to work. Just search YouTube for something like “Record both Stereo Mix and Microphone in Windows x” (Replace x with the version of Windows you are using.) I’m sure you will find something. 😉
2. The “AVI” tab lets you choose the audio settings for that video format. The default in MP3, just leave it that way.
3. The “WMV” tab does the same thing. Again, leave the “Encoding Mode” area on CBR, and change the “Audio Format” area to “PCM, 44100 Hz, 16bit, Stereo” by clicking the Configure button. This will give you the best audio settings.
4 & 5. Like I said in the Video section, I don’t really like these formats, so I will not explain the RM and MOV sections.
(This is optional, as most games have a Screenshot function built in. Consult the game’s manual if your not sure if it does or not. If it doesn’t, than change these settings.)
You have a choice of three formats: BMP, JPG, & PNG.
BMP files a good quailty, but make a big file size. LEGO Racers for PC saves it’s screenshots in BMP. BMP files are a standard, so if you choose this format, you should be able to view them on most computers.
JPG files are good quality also, but are smaller than BMP and PNG. Most (if not all) Websites support uploading of JPG files, but the same is not true for BMP. JPG files are supported on most all computers. JPG files are good for screenshots if you need the picture size (KB, MB) to be small enough for uploading somewhere.
PNG files have the best quality of the three formats, and therefore, have the biggest size of the three. PNG files can be uploaded most anywhere, and all newer (Win XP and up, Mac OSX and Linux) computers can view them, either with their native photo viewer, or with a third-party program.
My advise: Use the game’s built-in screenshot function, if it has one. Else, use PNG. They have the best quality of the three choices, and can be uploaded to virtually any photo hosting site.
It doesn’t matter which format you choose, when you use Gregion’s screenshot function, the game will pause for a few seconds while it takes the picture. This pause is longer with PNG files than JPG files. (I have not tested BMP files.) Screenshots that are taken with the game’s function goes much faster that Gregion, so that I why I say use the game’s function, if possible. If you are playing a face-paced game, like a racing game, and you hit Gregion’s button, it will take the picture, but it might cost you the race. In those cases, use the video recording if you computer can handle it, and pull the video into a video editor and take a picture of the scene from there. 😉
1. In the “File Name” tab, select where you want to save your recordings/screenshots. You can also choose how you want the file name to be formatted. I like the second option in the “Format” boxes.
2. Under the “Control FPS” tab, select “Capture (Limit FPS when recording)” This is very important.
If you have Gregion set to “Play”, theoretically the game will run smoother when you record, because it draws the frames on the screen faster than it records them. But it does not work. The frame rate counter will report that the game is running faster than the recording, but the game will pause a lot, and if you are playing a racing game or some other fast-paced game, this could cause you to lose. On top of that, the recording will not come out as smooth as it played. For me, this is very frustrating, and if you have recorded a one-of-a-kind video (like a amazing car wreak), you will not be able to duplicate it. Then you might be stuck with a choppy video that you will not want to show off, no matter how good it is.
3. The “OSD” (which stands for “On Screen Display”) tab lets you pick where you want the frame rate counter. This is completely up to you. Ideally, you want the Frame Rate Counter in a place where there is no UI, so it does not cover up anything. There is also a “Margin” area. This works in conjunction with the “OSD Position” area. There, you can move the counter by any number of pixels, up to 100 on both the X and Y axis. You can usually leave this alone, unless there is no corner that is empty. If that is the case, you can use this to move the counter to a place that is empty.
(This tab only appears if Gregion is running on Windows Vista or 7. If you are running Windows 2000 or XP, you will not see this tab.)
1. The “Administrator” tab lets you choose if you want to run Gregion in that mode or not. Select the option that will work best for you. Just remember that, if you want to record a game that runs as Administrator, Gregion will also have to run as Administrator in order to record it.
2. The “Windows Aero” tab lets you choose whether to keep Aero on while Gregion is open or not. If you are recording on a laptop, or on a computer that is under-powered, it would be a good idea to keep Aero off. I record on a good computer though, so I leave it on. I will say that the first time you load Gregion, it will turn Aero off. That is just it default behavior, and you can turn it back on by clicking the “Turn On” button. 😉
1. Change these to your will. Just select the box you want to change, and press the key on your keyboard. Honestly, I have no idea what the “Down FPS” and the “Up FPS” fields do, or what they are for. I have never messed with them. Unless you know what they do, you can just leave them alone.
2. Also on this tab are fields which allow you to play sounds when certain actions occur. Just check which sounds you want to play. If you want different sound than the default to play, just click the “….” button and browse to where the sound is. It just has to be a WAV file. If it is not, download Audacity and convert the audio to WAV. If you can’t figure it out, just search on how to do it. I’m sure you’ll find something. 😉
1. In the “Logo” tab, you can basically put a watermark on the raw video. You can do this if you want, but if you are going to use your recording in a movie, you don’t want a watermark slapped on the raw video. It might be hard to remove it during editing. If you are going to upload a single video, and not edit it, than you can put a watermark on it if you want to. I’m not going to explain this tab. I’m sure you can figure it out, plus it would make this tutorial a lot larger than it already is. 😛
2. The “Date Time” seems to be a watermark too, but instead of a logo, you can put the date and time on the video. Again, I’m not going to explain this one.
3. The “Copyright” tab is just a place to put video information, like a title for the video, on the raw file. If you are going to edit the video, there is no need to put anything in this area. Plus, you would need to change it every time you recorded a video. I’m positive you can figure this out.
1. Select “Original Size” in the “Video Size” area. This is the most important step of all. If you do not change this settings here, you videos will not be full size (Translation: they will be smaller than you recorded it.). This is not the default setting, so you will need to change this right after you install Gregion. There are other options here, but I’m sure that you want your recordings to be the best quality as possible. So, I’m not even going to explain them.
There are two settings here: “Include Mouse Cursor” and ” Limit time of capture”. These settings are straight forward. Just check the first box if you want your mouse cursor in the video, and un-check if you don’t. Check the second box if you want to limit how long the recording can last. You then can specify the limit of recording, up to 180 minutes.
Now that the program has been explained, I will recommend what video/audio settings to use when recording. (P.S. I use these same settings. Also, these are the same pictures as above. But to save you from hunting through this page to find them, I will re-post them.;))
WMV works well because it produces good quality video in a small file size. Plus, all Windows computers these days can play them, so there is no need to install a codec pack in order to play them.
1. In the WMV sub-tab in the Video tab in the Settings, look for a drop-down menu labeled “Video Codec”. Select “Windows Media Video 9” from the list.
Since you are using WMV, you will have to use WMA audio for your videos.
Again, in the Settings menu, go to the Audio tab and select the WMV sub-tab. Look for the drop-down menu labeled “Audio Format”. Click the “Configure” button to its right. In the resulting box, select “PCM, 44100Hz, 16bit, Stereo” , and click OK.
For Windows 2000/XP users, the box is a little more complicated.
The only selection in the “Format” menu is “PCM”, so we will use PCM. 😛
In the “Attributes” drop-down menu, there are a lot of options. Just scroll all the way down and PCM, 44100Hz, 16bit, Stereo 192kb/sec”. This is the same thing that we selected above.
And there you have it! This has been my “Recording With Gregion For Dummies!” tutorial. If you enjoyed it, by all means share the link to this page with your friends!
I have worked very hard on this tutorial. Please do not steal this tutorial and claim you wrote it. That is called plagiarism and is not nice. If you wish to share this, please give out the link to this page.