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How to Record Streaming Video on Windows

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Authored by Dave Mallisk in Computer Software
Published on 11-15-2009

A streaming video file is a compressed video file that you can download from the internet, and then play on your PC. A PC cannot download and play an uncompressed video stream properly; it would use too many computer resources, and play the video unevenly. Media-playing software decompresses the streaming video, stores its data in a buffer, and then plays it. Therefore, streaming, decompressing, and buffering lets you play a video file (including its audio) evenly. For more information, see Encyclopedia Britannica: Streaming.

Most media-playing software lets you monitor its buffer. For example, while you play a YouTube video, a round indicator moves across the progress bar at the bottom of the window. As shown below, the red line to the left of the indicator represents video data already played. The pink line to the right of the indicator represents uncompressed video data currently in the buffer, ready to play. Even if you pause the video, the media-playing software continues to fill the buffer.

Video-capture software lets you record streaming video. Here are three video-capture programs that you can run on a Windows PC:

Using Debut Video Capture Software as an example, the following sections explain how to:

  1. Download and install Debut Video Capture Software.
  2. Record streaming video files.
  3. Burn your video files to a playable DVD.

Downloading and Installing Debut Video Capture Software

To download and install Debut Video Capture Software, do the following:

  1. Go to the Debut Video Capture Software website, and then click on the Download Free button to display the “Opening debutsetup.exe” window.
  2. Click on Save File button to download the file to your default download folder, such as MyDocuments/downloads, and display the “Downloads” window.
  3. Double-click on the debutsetup.exe file to display the “Open Executable File?” window.
  4. Click OK to display the Open File – “Security Warning” window.
  5. Click on the Run button to display the license agreement, select I agree with these terms, and then click on the Next button to start installing Debut Video Capture Software and display (if you have no capture devices) the “Debut Video Capture Software” window as shown below.

  6. Click on the Skip button to finish installing Debut Video Capture Software and display the “Microphone Connection and Record Volume” window.
  7. Make any necessary changes or adjustments, and then Click on the Finish button to start Debut Video Capture Software and display a window (containing cascading desktop images) similar to that shown below:

  8. Close the “Debut Video Capture Software” window.

Recording Streaming Video

This section explains how to start, and then stop, recording streaming video through Debut Video Capture Software.

Start Recording – To start recording streaming video, do the following:

  1. Double-click on your Debut Video Capture Software desktop icon to start Debut Video Capture Software and display its window.
  2. At the top of the window, select the Screen icon, and then, at the bottom of the window, set the “Record as” field to .wmv.
  3. Start a video stream (such as a YouTube video) that you wish to record, pause it, and then move its progress indicator to the point at which you wish to start recording (typically the beginning).
  4. On the “Debut Video Capture Software” window, click on the red, round “Record” button to start recording the video stream.
  5. On the video-stream window, restart (un-pause) the video stream, and then set the display to full screen.

Stop Recording – To stop recording streaming video, do the following:

  1. Close the application through which you have been streaming the video.
  2. At the bottom of the “Debut Video Capture Software” window, click on the black, square “Stop and Mark done” button.
  3. At the top of the window, click on the Recordings icon to display the “Find and play” window.
  4. To verify that you have recorded your video file correctly, double-click on it to play it.
  5. Close the “Debut Video Capture Software” window.
  6. Navigate to the My Documents/My Videos/Debut folder which contains your recorded video file.
  7. Rename the file as appropriate, and, optionally, move it to a different folder.

Burning Your Video Files to a Playable DVD

After you record streaming video files as explained above, you can use DVD-authoring software to burn your video files to a DVD that you can play on almost all computers and DVD players. For more information, see How to Burn Movie Files to a Playable DVD.

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