A Day in the Life: CCP Calls for Footage

As you may have heard, NYC’s Museum of Modern Art is launching a new video games exhibit, and EVE has been selected for inclusion. For CCP’s part, they’ve decided that the best way to display EVE would be through a short (5 to 10 minute) film. The playerbase has been given a few days' notice to record as much footage as possible on Sunday, December 9th, which CCP has chosen to illustrate in a “day in the life (of EVE)” fashion. After clips have been uploaded to YouTube and submitted to CCP Archivist, the composition process will begin.

I’m not going to copy and paste a dev blog and call it a post, so let's discuss how to get started recording for folks who haven't attempted it before. It's actually easier than you might expect.

So: the basics. You should be capable of running EVE at a decent framerate - 50 at a minimum. You won't be recording at that FPS, but it's a reasonable indication of your PC's capabilities. Recording can be very taxing, especially on older rigs. Make sure you have plenty of hard drive space, too. Depending on how long you intend to film, I'm speaking of dozens, if not hundreds, of free gigabytes. The files you produce initially will be uncompressed and huge.

The actual mechanics of recording aren't that complicated. You'll download (and likely buy) a program to record for you, bind recording to a toggle hotkey, and roll it when you see fit. There are only two good options for recording EVE, and neither of them are free. If you’re willing to pay about $45 in Yen, I highly recommend Dxtory, a funny little program out of Japan. It’s likely the best generally-available program out there suitable for recording gaming footage. At the very least, it’s superior to FRAPS, although FRAPS is a little cheaper and reasonably serviceable. I rely on Dxtory - its default codecs and settings are solid, it's not as clunky as FRAPS, and the ability to record voice chat with a push-to-talk functionality is a must. Avoid CamStudio like the plague.

After you have the files, you'll need to encode them, reducing their size while maintaining quality. You won't get far trying to upload a 40 GB uncompressed AVI to YouTube. MeGUI and VirtualDub are good solutions to this problem. More traditional video editing suites (Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere) will allow you to edit your footage while also rendering it in the format of your preference. That sort of thing can get complicated, and in this case, it's CCP's job. Stick to uploading unedited (but encoded) footage.

Filming is worth doing, and not just for CCP’s sake. Honestly, it's lot of fun. It’s also very useful for self-improvement. Real-life fighter jockeys have access to gun camera footage for a reason! It’s only through recognizing our mistakes that we learn, and watching recordings of yourself in combat can help to diagnose a lot of bad habits. Can you count how many mistakes I make in this video? (You cannot.) 

A few tips:

  • Record at 30 FPS. Youtube will scale it down to this framerate anyway.
  • Of the encoders, MeGUI is particularly intuitive and fast. Highly recommended.
  • Try to record in one take. Editing together multiple files can be a pain without access to good software.
  • If you can't figure something out, search for a YouTube tutorial - there are a few bearable ones. If you still need help, send me a YouTube message.
  • For God’s sake, don’t play music over your video. You’ll just embarrass yourself.
AKA Alikchi. Traitor, hater, ganker, idiot. Follow me at @alikchialeika.