Bandicam, The FRAPS Killer?
I’ve been using FRAPS since 2007, where I was using it to benchmark the original Crysis on an unreleased Intel QX9770 system. It was and still is the standard program for running video card benchmarks and recording raw gameplay footage. However, FRAPS has a fatal flaw that has never been addressed and that is the lack of compression. A 1080P recording at 60 frames-per-second produces video at over 100 Megabytes per second — meaning a 45-second clip is 3.9 Gigabytes. I managed to fill up a 3 Terabyte hard drive while recording H1Z1 gameplay. This was the time to find a replacement program.
I no longer have my GTX 970, so nVidia Shadowplay is not available to me, so I found a program called Bandicam. Bandicam allows you to record gameplay and benchmark game just like FRAPS. However, unlike FRAPS, Bandicam does video compression. Not just any compression, but video hardware compression through a compatible video card.
There are options to record your video, a webcam, audio, and even separate audio channels for your gameplay and microphone. Bandicam gives you a number of options to adjust in their settings, so getting the right settings will depend on your storage limitations, video card, and resolution. There is also a desktop and window capturing feature built-in that functions very well if you need that feature.
I am currently using a Radeon HD 7950, which supports h.264 hardware encoding. So as an example, I would enable .mp4 video, H.264 encoding, and I generally set the quality between 70 and 80. Under the options, I have my audio set to record two separate audio channels – the game audio and the microphone audio – as two external files for editing purposes. This results in a video that is nearly indistinguishable from the original at a bit rate that is significantly more manageable – (approximately 3%) of the size of a FRAPS recording.
Since purchasing it earlier this year, I have managed to save 4 Terabytes of storage that would normally be reserved for the raw FRAPS video. Aside from a few corrupted video files from early access games crashing, the program works exceptionally well.
However, there are a couple of things I would like to see in future versions of the program.
- — Frame Limiter / Non Variable
- Currently, the program records at the frame rate the game is at. I would like the option to record in either variable or fixed frame rate.
- — Corruption
- As I mentioned earlier, I have had a few corrupted video files using Bandicam when the game crashed. They have a tool that files this, but currently you have to find it on their website. I think this should either be included or at least referenced right in the program. I would actually like the ability to stop recordings from the main screen without corrupted video files, but I’d settle for a quicker way to fix those files.
- — Hard drive sleeping
- If you are recording to a separate hard drive and that drive is spun down, the game you are playing will lock up when you press the record key. I would love for the program to make sure the drive is booted up prior to recording or save a cached version and not lock up the game.
- The final thing I would like to see is more of a wish, but I would love to see them expand their services to online streaming. OBS and other tools tend to drop your frame rate more than Bandicam. I would actually welcome a streaming tool that has all of the CUDA and Open CL support that Bandicam does. I think they could come up with a more efficient way to stream PC games online without using a dedicated capture device.
Final Score: 8.5/10
This is the program to record PC gameplay right now. I have not looked back at FRAPS since using it. If you are looking for a PC game capturing program, definitely give the trial a shot. You will be limited to 10-minutes of video and there will be a “Bandicam” logo hardcoded at the top, but it will give you the opportunity to test it out on your hardware.