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How to Make Chess Videos

 

Welcome! For a couple of months now, I have been posting free chess videos on YouTube. It has been a rewarding process and I am thankful that it has provided plenty of traffic to this website. Many people have asked me about how to make chess videos, so today I want to go through a short tutorial about it. Of course, these techniques can be applied in the making of videos that aren't to do with chess.

Screen-recording software

The most convenient way to record a chess video is obviously not to use a video recorder but to "record" your screen. It is not complicated at all. When researching screen recording software in preparation for my YouTube videos, I came across the open-source freeware screen recorder CamStudio. I have used this free software for months now without a single hitch. The interface is pretty self-explanatory. You'll want to record a particular region of your screen so go to Region --> Region (this option sounds a little strange, but it's just how the interface is). Next, if you want to accompany it with audio (through a microphone), go to Options --> Record audio from microphone. It is very easy from here - just hit the red record button to start recording and the blue stop button to stop recording (after which you are prompted to name and save your file). There is even the added option of turning your video into a .swf (flash) file for your website. Here is the direct download link for the CamStudio installation.

Chess interfaces

Of course, you'll need a chess interface to record. For most of my videos, I use the commercial software Deep Junior to edit my analysis (as it supports strong UCI engines) and then the free ChessBase Light to open the analysis and record the video. I like using ChessBase Light as it has very high quality chess sets. If you don't want to pay for something like Deep Junior or Rybka, you can use the freeware Fritz 5.32 (compatible with Windows XP and Vista, although I'm not sure about Windows 7). If you use the Fritz/ChessBase family of products, note that you can create arrows by holding down the ALT key followed by right-clicking and dragging an arrow.

Other times, I record my blitz games directly from my online chess interface ("BlitzIn" of the Internet Chess Club). Of course, this costs me basically nothing since I would have played chess on the internet regardless if I was making videos.

Audio

Most viewers would prefer it if you commentate (using a microphone) in your videos. Be wary that there is often a difference in quality between expensive microphones and cheaper models. If it is too much of a hassle or you cannot afford a microphone, you can add subtitles on YouTube directly or you can just add in music in the background (this can also be done directly in YouTube).

Decrease the size of AVI files NEW

Recently, I have found a highly obscure way to decrease the size of your AVI CamStudio files (I have only tested this on files that include both audio and video). Windows Movie Maker is free software that comes automatically with Microsoft Windows (Vista or earlier). For some reason, Windows 7 has this weird "Windows Live Movie Maker", which has different functionality to Windows Movie Maker, although it is possible to copy the Windows Movie Maker program folder from Vista and paste it to the program directory of Windows 7.

Import your AVI file into Windows Movie Maker, then click and drag it onto the "Video" section down the bottom of the screen. Now, click on "Publish Movie" near the top centre. Windows Movie Maker will automatically convert the AVI file into WMV and it will compress it a huge amount. For one of my recent videos, it compressed a 6-minute 93.8 MB AVI file into a 7.83 MB WMV file! The WMV file can be uploaded to YouTube just as easily as AVI. The compressed file includes practically identical audio, but the picture quality is lowered slightly. Nevertheless, it is extremely handy if you have low bandwidth and want to upload a video.

You can also use Windows Movie Maker to split long files if they are too long for the 10-minute maximum length that YouTube allows.

Conclusion

As far as my knowledge goes, this is all you need to know. Good luck on your video endeavours. On a final note, I would like to thank the programmers of the free software releases mentioned in this article. Nothing could be accomplished without your great work!

To purchase products, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.

For chess opening training and repertoire maintenance, I highly recommend the software I use, Chess Openings Wizard. This software was approved by Grandmaster Peter Svidler (FIDE rating 2744 as of January 2010) many years ago.

 

Posted by Webmaster on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

 

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