1. How do you record footage from TF2?
I use quite a lot different methods, but for high quality stuff I use the built in source recorder of TF2. Sometimes manually, but mostly with the Lawena TF2 Recording Tool. It’s very easy and comes with a good graphics config. For longer stuff like 30 minute match coverage, I use Fraps or Dxtory.
2. How do you get thirdperson and different camera angles?
By typing “thirdperson” in the TF2 console (make sure sv_cheats is set to 1). Then you can change the camera angle with commands starting with “cam_ideal”, type that in the console and you should see a list of commands popping up. Try those out, and you’ll see what each of them does.
But thirdperson will still leave the camera to be connected to the player. If you want seperate camera angles, use a STV demo, or for moving cameras try smoothing the demo. My own tutorial for that below.
3. At what resolution do you record and make a video?
At 1920×1080, that’s quite standard (Full HD) and looks good. For the best quality try to record at 1920×1080 (or more), but you simply can’t record at a higher resolution than the resolution of your monitor. If you have a lower resoultion monitor, find out what your highest possible resolution at the video aspect ratio of 16:9 is and use that. Here’s a aspect ratio calculator if you need it.
4. What software do you use?
It depends on what I’m doing, for the basic video editing (cutting, syncing with sound/music) I use Adobe Premiere (Sony Vegas in the past). For special effects, titles, animation, motion graphics and sometimes transitions I use Adobe After Effects.
5. What codecs do you use? / In what order do you do everything until you get the final version of the video?
I record it using the source recorder, to TGA sequences. After I’m done recording, I start VirtualDub, and compile them to a .avi file with the Lagarith Lossless Codec.
Then I start editing, and render it always uncompressed (no codec). When I have the final edited video, I got a .avi of a huge file size. Then I compress it to h264 mp4 with Adobe Media Encoder. If you don’t have Media Encoder, I recommend this tool at about 8000 bitrate.
6. How many FPS (frames per second) do you use to record, and render?
Really depends on what I’m making. If it’s something long which of the editing and quality doesn’t matter too much (full length matches), I record at 30 or 60 FPS. The more FPS, the longer it takes to record and render and the more space it takes on your hard disk. For quality videos, I used to record at 300 FPS. The higher the FPS, the smoother the video will look eventually (and the slower a slow-motion can get). Right now, I’ve stepped it up a little thanks to WindPower. He developed a tool called SrcDemo². This tool catches the frames before they are written to disk, and blends them together to create motion blur at the same time you’re recording. This saves some time, and a lot of hard disk space. I’m currently using this tool at blend rate 20 and 30 (depending on the project), final video FPS 30 or 60 (60 for slow-motion shots). It calculates the FPS that you need to record itself. For blend rate 20 to final 30 FPS, you need to record 600 FPS (host_framerate 600) in TF2.
I render everything to 30 FPS for YouTube, and sometimes 60 FPS for download.
8. How do you get names or logos on your weapons? / How to make a weapon skin?
It’s actually pretty easy. Just follow this (or if you prefer a video tutorial, this) tutorial. Or google another tutorial which you like, there are tons of them. You have to remind though, these skins only work on sv_pure 0 servers. Most servers are 1 or 2, so you could say they only work when playing local or when playing a demo.
9. How did you get those realistic looking effects (flames, healing beam, explosion …)?
You can enable them in the PldX recording tool v1.03, or if you want them separately, click here.
10. I want to make a video but don’t know how to start.. What do you recommend?
Best in my opinion is to just… do it. Just start doing some of the basics, and try to improve and add something every time. Practice makes perfect!
Link me your video, and I’ll try to give you some feedback!