How do I record a video conference?
October 24, 2006 7:52 PM   Subscribe

My brother and I have an idea for a comedy piece that plays out over a video conference. How can we record both sides of our conference so we can later edit it together into a final product?

He is on a Mac; I am on Windows. Ideally we could establish a video chat connection, do our thing, and record the whole thing. Then, I would edit it all together. I need help both with the inter-platform conferencing, as well as the recording part. (Especially the recording part!) Any ideas?
posted by TonyRobots to Technology (4 answers total)
Or just use a regular camera and splice together as if in a video conference. You could use some establishing shots from time to time showing each of you in front of the computer. Use match cuts from time to time showing each looking at the screen, followed by the other participant in front of the camera. More professional, less DYI, which may or may not be a good thing depending on what you are looking for.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 PM on October 24, 2006

One or more of these?
posted by pompomtom at 8:37 PM on October 24, 2006

Do it with a single camera. Sit at your computer desk. Put the camera where your monitor should be. Look into the camera, with a keyboard and mouse in front of you. Record each side of the conversation separately.

Process the footage so that it meets your idea of internet video quality. You want to lower the apparent framerate, for sure. I don't remember the term for it (it's been years since my ill-fated attempt at film school), but it's like a sample and hold. You grab a frame of the 30fps DV (or whatever) video that you shot, call that frame A. Freeze-frame on frame A for, say, 3 frames. Then, grab frame A+3 and do the same thing. (This *isn't* simple framerate conversion, as you're replicating frames, not simply showing the video at a slower framerate. You're trying to lose information.)

Composite that footage into a static screencap of any ol' video conferencing software. This is remarkably easy, actually, for a static, square-shaped composite. You'll need one screencap for your brother, and another for yourself. If you don't want to track down any software at all, take a screencap and build the "frame" of the video conferencing software with Photoshop.

If you want animation, find a video screen capture program. Googling it got me dozens of results, in several price ranges (from free to expensive). It doesn't have to be good, it just has to output something your video editing software will handle. Animate opening some video conferencing software and hit the connect button (who cares if it works). While the thing is telling you that it's connecting, before any failure messages, cut to the composited footage as described above.

Cut the two shots together as appropriate. Or, you could do split screen.
posted by Netzapper at 8:46 PM on October 24, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the great responses so far! Let me clarify -- the piece will be semi-improvised, so we need to shoot it in real time. I am in NYC, he in Chicago, so we can't be in the same place at the same time. So ideally, we could simply record the stream from the web cams.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:54 AM on October 25, 2006

« Older Recommend me some touchy-feely scifi!   |   australian yell Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.