A guide to Fraps

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Fraps is a universal Windows application that can be used with games using DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology. In its current form Fraps performs many tasks and can best be described as:

Benchmarking Software - Show how many Frames Per Second (FPS) you are getting in a corner of your screen. Perform custom benchmarks and measure the frame rate between any two points. Save the statistics out to disk and use them for your own reviews and applications.

Screen Capture Software - Take a screenshot with the press of a key! There's no need to paste into a paint program every time you want a new shot. Your screen captures are automatically named and timestamped.

Realtime Video Capture Software - Have you ever wanted to record video while playing your favourite game? Come join the Machinima revolution! Throw away the VCR, forget about using a DV cam, game recording has never been this easy! Fraps can capture audio and video up to 2560x1600 with custom frame rates from 10 to 120 frames per second! (Taken from FRAPS website)

FRAPS comes in two flavours, paid and free. I will go through the paid version here, the free version is still excellent but does have a few limitations (max 30 second video, although you can still do multiple clips and join them, screenshots are only Bitmaps)

The General Screen


Everything here is pretty self explanatory, apart from Monitor Aero Desktop (DWM), checking this will enable fraps features on your desktop.

The FPS Screen


The Benchmarking Hotkey lets you to record to file your framerates over a set time and save the results to file, most people have no real need for this.

The Overlay Display Hotkey will switch on or off and move the on screen framerate display. Some people might find this annoying if they're not interested in their framerate, it can be disabled but it you plan on capturing video then I suggest you leave it on, it's also used to show when you're recording (it will turn red).

What the overlay looks like....


The Movies Screen


A word of warning. Recording with FRAPS creates very large video files and can have a huge in game performance hit. If you're struggling to get a decent framerate in a game then recording with FRAPS may turn that game into a slideshow. Those with little free hard drive space may soon find they have none.

Recording in game footage is simple. Start FRAPS, start the game, press your chosen record key to start recording, press it again to stop. Make sure you pick a key that isn't used for something else in game.

I'll go through the various settings....

  1. Folder to Save Movies in.
    Where you save can make a difference to performance. If possible try to use a separate physical drive for recording (not partition), avoid if possible recording to the same drive as the game.

  2. Video Capture Settings.
    This can also effect performance and will make a difference to the size of the video file. If you can use full screen then do so, half screen will improve performance and give you a smaller file but it's best to get as much detail as possible recorded before you edit your movie. The framerate setting will also have an impact on performance and file size. Don't set this higher than the framerate your getting in game while FRAPS is recording, no point in recording 60FPS video of a game running at 30FPS, it's a waste.

  3. Sound.
    Pretty self explanatory, if it works leave it alone. Recording commentary from a mic can be done here but it's far better to add that in editing.

  4. Other.
    Don't sync audio and video, will improve performance but can lead to sync issues.
    Hide mouse cursor in video, up to you what you do with this.
    Force lossless RGB capture, should give higher quality results at a further cost to performance, I don't bother with this.



Pretty much self explanatory. The free version only allows BMP capture, you can of course covert these with just about any image software. I prefer PNG, good quality and smaller than BMPs.


How to create screenshots using Fraps