Ok, so you just KNOW your guild is gonna down that impossible boss tonight, and you want to make it a moment that will live on forever. How do you do that exactly? Make a raid video!
It may seem intimidating at first, but it's a lot easier than it looks, and I'll show you how! If you can follow step-by-step directions, you too can create videos that are almost as good as TankSpot. (Everyone loves TankSpot.)
Phase 1: Optimize your UI
The number one flaw of most novice raid videos is that the UI is cluttered. Many videos are so clogged up by the person's UI that it's difficult to see the fight!
The idea is to have as much free space on the screen as possible while still showing you the information you absolutely need to have (since you still need to raid while recording). Try to avoid having too many warnings/timers/bars centered on the screen unless you absolutely can't raid without them. If you can't avoid it, try altering the display settings so that they have an out-of-the-way appearance. Disable anything that you can do without, and also try zooming your camera out a bit so that there's a better view of the entire raid area.
This is bad. Very bad.
Let's discuss why this is a bad UI to record videos in.
1) Party frames are showing. Unless you really need them, they take up too much screen space and can be disabled.
2) The character is zoomed in way more than is necessary, blocking view of important raid happenings.
3) Addons are encroaching on the center of the screen, and are larger than necessary. These should be repositioned and resized. Also consider installing bar or chat addons such as Bartender4, PitBull, Xperl or Chatter to customize the screen more to your liking.
4) The default action bars are distracting and take up screen space. This character isn't a clicker, so it's not necessary to have these bars visible.
This is much better.
Let's discuss why this is better.
1) Timers, raid warnings, etc are out of the way enough to not impede vision, but in view enough for the player to still utilize them.
2) The UI has been cleaned up by UI mods. Most action bars have been hidden.
3) The necessary addons have been scaled down in size, and their appearance changed to be less obtrusive.
4) The character is zoomed out much further, giving a better view of the raid.
5) Buffs are consolidated and scrolling battle text is in use, giving more free screen space.
Good news: Your screen is now prepared! Get ready to install some helpful programs and start recording!
Phase 2: Record the Video!
You will first need a program that actually does the recording. If your video card is fancy enough, it may have these capabilities built in, but it's safe to assume this is not the case. You want a program that can record cleanly and without affecting your framerate, since not only will it affect your raid performance, but the final recording will rely on having a smooth framerate.
My personal recommendation is Fraps because of its ability to record very high quality video at minimal framerate impact. You can download a free trial, but the free trial only allows for 30 seconds of recording at a time. Buying the software entitles you to download it over and over again, on as many computers as you want, and get unlimited updates indefinitely.
The rest of this section will assume that you are using Fraps. If you have chosen another program, follow the program's user guide to record video.
This is the settings pane for video in Fraps.
The General tab will be what you see when you launch Fraps. It contains settings for whether you want to start it minimized (in other words, to not be bothered by this screen at launch), where the framerate is displayed, and things of that nature. Once you're done changing settings on the General tab, click Movies and you'll have the movie-specific options (displayed above).
If you minimize this box, you'll see the Fraps icon in your system tray (the area at the bottom right of your screen with the clock). From here, you can either right-click the icon and select Settings or double-click the icon to reopen the settings menu. To exit Fraps entirely, either right-click on the icon and select Exit Fraps or, when the Settings menu is open, simply hit the red X at the top right.
When the program is running, and you're in WoW, you will see a yellow number rapidly fluctuating at one corner of your screen. This is your framerate and the yellow color indicates you're not recording anything. Now when you press your keybind (for me, F9 as you can see) the numbers will turn red as Fraps starts to record. Simply hit your chosen keybind again to stop recording.
Fraps will automatically store your video in the location noted above. If the file gets to be over 4 GB in size, it will automatically split into a new file. We'll cover how to get around this later.
Phase 3: Editing, Adding Music, and Saving
Now comes the fun part. You will need a program that can take video, edit it, compress it, and add things like subtitling and audio. VirtualDub is by far my favorite program for this task, and best of all, it is 100% free!
VirtualDub doesn't "install" like a normal program; that is, it doesn't have an install.exe and you don't uninstall it from your Control Panel like any other program. When you download VirtualDub, you are downloading a ZIP file containing the actual executable and some supporting files. Create and name a new folder (you should probably name it VirtualDub to make it easy to remember). Extract the entire contents of the ZIP file directly to that folder. When you open the folder, you'll see VirtualDub.exe and some supporting files. VirtualDub.exe is the actual program; this is what you'll want to open.
If you right-click on the VirtualDub.exe icon after perfoming the above steps, you can select Send To>Desktop (create shortcut) to create a handy icon directly on your desktop.
This is where things are going to get a bit technical. Once you've installed VirtualDub you're going to want a codec (compressor/decompressor) for video that still keeps a clear image. Some codecs are "lossy", meaning that there is a significant loss of the original video data when you use it. Codecs that are lossy can make your final video appear choppy, blocky, grainy, or otherwise visually unappealing. Obviously we don't want that, so download Xvid. It's a) non-lossy, and b) free. Here is the 64-bit version; thanks to Apurocko for pointing this out and providing the link!
Getting it all Together
Now that you've done that, open your newly-recorded video in VirtualDub. You'll notice that VirtualDub shows you two panes of the same image: on the left is the input video, which will be the original footage. On the right will be your output video, or your final product. You can use the two panes to compare your changes between the original footage and the final product. I personally prefer to switch the input and output panes so that the output is on the left. You can do this by going to View, and then Swap Input/Output Panes.
Chances are your video was too big for one file and got automatically split into multiple files. To put them all together in VirtualDub, use the File>Append AVI Segment option, and select the next file in the sequence. (Note: if you have multiple segments to join you will have to repeat this process for each clip portion to be added; you can't select multiple clips in this menu.) You can use the slider bar at the bottom to review your newly-appended file and ensure you didn't insert the same clip twice. You can also play the video directly in VirtualDub if you prefer.
Deleting: VirtualDub uses the Home and End keys to mark the beginning or end of a segment. To select a portion of the video, when you reach the frame where you want to start at hit Home and you'll see an arrow appear at that spot. Move to the end of the section you want to select and hit End. You'll see that the section is now selected. You can hit Delete to remove the section, or use the Edit menu to make other changes. You would use this if you accidentally recorded too much at the beginning or end. You can also simply use the Delete key to delete the particular frame you're viewing (in case you didn't delete quite enough, or only need to remove a few frames).
Brightness/Contrast: You can access these settings by going to the Video>Filters menu. You'll see a blank list; click Add and you'll now see a list of filters installed with VirtualDub. Click Brightness/Contrast and then OK. This will bring up another window with two sliders and a preview button. Adjust the sliders to your liking, utilize 'Show preview' liberally, and click OK, and then OK again to get back to your main VirtualDub screen.
Size: This is only necessary if you want to make your finished video smaller than your source. You can choose whether to make it a specific pixel-by-pixel size (Absolute), or to be a percentage of the current video's size (Relative). This is also found under Video>Filters. Click Add, then Resize, and then OK, and then you will get a window with your resize parameters. Again, utilize 'Show preview' liberally.
Once you have the video looking how you want, then we can save it. VirtualDub's one flaw is how it handles audio; if you deleted any part of the video, the audio will also be clipped by that much. For now, we will go to the Audio menu and select No Audio. This will save on file size because it won't be writing a "blank" audio track.
If you opted not to delete any part of your video, you can add the audio in at this point by going to the Audio menu and selecting Audio from Other File instead of No Audio, then selecting your desired audio file. You can then ignore the subsection about adding audio which is conveniently located a few paragraphs down.
Go to Video>Compression and you'll now see a list of several different codecs. Choosing a codec has an impact both on the visual quality and the file size, so choose wisely. If Xvid was installed properly you should see it on this list. Highlight it, and click OK. The video, when saved, will now save with Xvid compression.
Let's save it! Go to File>Save as AVI and give it a name. Because we didn't add audio (and what raid video would be complete without some good music?), try to give it a file name that denotes this, like AwesomeRaidNoSound.avi. When you click OK you will see it start to render. VirtualDub will show you the frames being processed in the background with a status window in front.
Once rendering is complete, close VirtualDub entirely to wipe the previously used settings.
Once the file is saved, if you want to add audio you will have to reopen the file. Reopen VirtualDub, then go to File>Open and select your AwesomeRaidNoSound.avi. Now go back into the Audio menu, and instead of No Audio, use Audio from Other File. When you select that, it will bring up a menu that lets you browse to the file. Select the file you want and click OK. Now, play the video and make sure the audio and video blend well together, and that they both end at about the same time. If they don't, select another song or edit the current one in an audio program (which is outside the scope of this guide).
Re-select your video compression by going to Video>Compression and selecting Xvid, then save it again. Name it something different from the original file, like AwesomeRaid.avi or AwesomeRaidWithSound.avi. Wait for it to render (again).
Phase 4: Profit!
Now that you've done all that work, go upload your new file to wherever you see fit. Possible options include:
* YouTube. You can upload it in high definition, which is a plus, but they are sensitive about what music you have on your video due to copyright reasons. If the music you selected violates copyright, they will mute the existing audio, but give you a large selection of tracks to replace it with via a feature called AudioSwap. Videos can be up to 2 GB in size and up to 15 minutes in length.
* 4shared.com. This is a free file sharing website rated 93 by PC World Magazine (which means that it's both safe and really awesome to use). You're allotted 10 GB of free space which should be more than enough for a video or two.
* YouSendIt. This is another file sharing site. This one is a Better Business Bureau accredited business, and it emails anyone you specify a link directly to the file. Each file you send this way is allowed to be 2 GB in size. This is a paid service, but it has a free 14-day trial option that you could use.
If you choose to look for a different file sharing website, be very careful. Not all file sharing websites are legitimate, and some may contain viruses or malware. Surf with caution!
Once you've uploaded it, share it! Put it in your Vent comment to share with friends, put it on your guild's website. Be proud, and welcome to the world of creating raid videos!