Video Screen Capture Options


Creation of moving imagery is aided greatly by some good old fashioned screen sampling.

UPDATE : The Syphon app (mentioned below) routes video losslessly between video software using the graphics card, and now the Syphon recorder can record the output of these apps. Send feedback, flowers to Vade and Bangnoise.

Free screen capture options:
PC – Camstudio /, Mac – Capture me. And Vade’s free screen capture tool (mac) allows you to ‘capture your entire desktop, or a portion of it, to an image and further process it within Quartz Composer or supported host applications. This can be used to sample other application’s windows as a source input for post processing, texture mapping on to models, etc’. Which means in practice, VJs can use it to grab screen content (eg games, DVDs, web, cams, other software output – whatever you can see on the screen ), and then process this feed in VDMX however they like.

More Broadcasty Tailored Options
Snapz Pro (mac:$69) and Screenflow (mac$99) offer simultaneous camera, microphone and audio capture as well as screencast options such as highlighting the mouse, key commands or certain windows.GrabberRaster (mac) allows sampling of any portion of the Mac screen for use as input for Quartz Composer, or as virtual camera input for QuickTime Pro, Skype, CamCamX or other QuickTime-compatible webcam software. $99 bundled with a bunch of other cam FX.

Sampling VDMX with Syphon and BoinxTV

Boinx TV is a custom video application for live mixing and recording of presentations / tutorials / news stories etc. Syphon (mac) not only samples the screen – but allows real-time sharing of full frame rate video or stills, with other applications. Future versions of Syphon are likely to have built in recording options. For now though, combining Syphon with Boinx, Berlin’s @fALk_g and Leon von Tippelskirch, one of the Boinx developers, came up with an effective way for recording VDMX – and it works in HD!

This could be a great workflow breakthrough for people creating motion graphics or doing compositing or visual effects. Being able to easily improvise with VJ software and midi controllers will never replace some of the detailed micro-level animation and editing done in dedicated editing and compositing software, but it should make it much easier and more fun to create certain kinds of clips for layering / visual effects / remixing and re-use etc. And who knows what kinds of new workflows (playflows?) and processes might follow from there..

Instructions via @fALk_g:

– Install Syphon and Quartz Syphon Plugins (free), and BoinxTV Home Edition ($49) ( see Boinx review)
– Activate Syphon Output in VDMX (beta 8 via
– Load custom quartz project into BOINX, that can tap into the Syphon source. (download file 82k)
– Hit record. The custom project records with the Apple Intermediate codec (for best balance of quality and performance), but can be adjusted within settings. For best quality and framerate, Falk recommends playing clips from one drive and recording to a separate drive.

Bonus speed gain: Because Syphon is feeding video to Boinx, you can deactivate VDMX Output and use the Boinx 2nd monitor output to view your VDMX mixing – it actually seems to improve performance / frame rate.

The above instructions and file worked fine for me, but I haven’t really tested how far it can be pushed (eg lots of layers and CPU heavy FX in VDMX, while recording HD to a drive). Fun times ahead.

And finally on the screen capture front – a shout out to – an incredible collection of unusual moments captured by Google Street View, photographing every road in the world – For The Surrealist Win!

Autobot Roulette:


  1. DJ K-Tel says:

    Awesome, I’ve so be wondering if there was a plug-in/software to be able to grab and re-route my video signal like you can in the audio world with stuff like Re-Wire.

    Any idea if it works with Modul8?

    I have tons of content created in modul8 and also love it’s
    easy of use for on the fly creation vs. VDMX. But I’m loving
    VDMX for it’s customizeable workflow and mainly for it’s MIDI BPM
    sync which I’m using to sync videos to Ableton Live.

    I would love to be able to re-route the Output from Modul8 into
    VDMX and add VDMX over top.




  2. DJ K-Tel says:

    thanks for the quick response.
    I’ll let you know what i find out.

    Gonna use the recording feature 1st.

    PS your link to Boinx review in the “Instructions by Falk” doesn’t work.
    But the link at the top of your page does.

    thank you again!

  3. j-p says:

    Thanks for spotting that error – links fixed now – & pasted below. Pretty interesting opportunities with that software too.

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