I use Screen codec for WMV which generates the smallest size with sharp clean screen capture. MP4 seems to create a bigger file size. Is there a way to optimize H.264 for screen captures (used for software demo)?
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The biggest reason why MSS2 (aka WMV screen) is suitable with small filesizes is it's natively a VFR (variable frame rate) recording. If you took an uncompressed CFR screen capture and tried to compress it as much as possible using any means during a second stage - VFR h264 would actually do better in terms of quality/filesize if you used a good h264 encoder like x264. The problem is many capture applications record CFR when using h264. Of course there is a lot of duplicate frames where nothing is happening when you do screen captures, tutorials , those sort of things - that's why VFR is useful for those types of scenarios.
But in general, you want to use high compression settings for h.264. This means larger GOP sizes, more consecutive b-frames, higher number of reference frames.
But the problem with recording VFR is it's difficult to edit and keep sync. VFR isn't meant to be edited. So ideally, you should record CFR, edit, then deliver in VFR for the optimum compression
Thanks for the advice, poisondeathray. What encoder would you recommend? There is less control for MP4 output with Camtasia, Storyline etc programs I use to generate tutorials. I probably should save the file in another format and compress it with a more capable encoder.
Without a doubt, x264 is the best h264 encoder , especially in the low bitrate ranges. If you're unfamiliar with the settings for the CLI encoder, a popular GUI is handbrake which can encode in VFR . So you could record and do your edits in camtasia (or other editor), export a lossless intermediate, then use handbrake for the final compression .
If you take a look around now , just about every tutorial site >99% - either free or paid tutorials that you can buy or subscribe to - uses some x264 derivative for their delivery. That may change in the future with HEVC and VP9, but right now, h264 is very compatible , playable on devices etc...which can't be said to be true for HEVC or VP9
Last edited by poisondeathray; 10th Aug 2014 at 15:32.