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How To Make A RTCW Movie Guide

If you are looking for some specific cvars or quick answers jump to the end.


This guide will go in depth on how to make an .avi. Most of the information gos beyond the basics of how to make an .avi. Also, there are many different methods to creating an .avi. This is how I do it. I typically go for the highest possible quality I can. I suggest fully reading this how to and decide if you really want to go through with all of it before starting. You may find out you need to spend cash on some hardware to get a nice looking video created. You'll also learn it takes a lot of time to get a nice video going. So just read it all before diving in.

Getting Started and What You Will Need

Before you start with any of the converting you need to have a few things. The most basic and most essential is some demos. It's best if you use the auto demoing found in osp since it doesn't record all of your warmup and breaks down each round into a single demo. This makes it easier to find stuff later on when you go to convert. If all you have is 40mb demos then all I can say is good luck. It'll be pretty frustrating forwarding through the demos later on.

Now you need hard drive space, lots and lots of it. In the end you may need as much as 40gb of hard drive space. If you have a 40gb hard drive laying around slap it and just dedicate it to saving your clips. If you are stuck with just a single hard drive create a seperate partition on the hard drive for just the clips. Finally, if you got the cash invest in some raid.

You need a program to view .tga files too. You can use quicktime viewer aplication. Which you can get at You can also use irfanview. You can get it at There's other programs too but it doesn't really matter which just get one.

You are going to need some media editing software. There is some basic editing software you can use that is free. Quake Video Maker is probably the only one I can suggest using though. I suggest investing in some more advance programs like Sonic Foundry's Vegas Video ( This is what I use and what will be used in this guide. There's also Ulead Media Studio Pro ( The most popular though is Adobe Premiere ( I personally don't like it and find it to have a horrible layout/interface. Either way any of those programs will get the job done.

Let's talk about the codecs now. When you have your movie all ready to go and want to make the .avi you will need a video codec to compress your .avi. There's some default ones you get with windows but none of them really do a good job. DivX or XviD are your best bets. Lots of people download the free version of DivX without the spyware but it is not a good version of DivX. Get the full pro version. Get it at Buy it or put up with the spyware. If you don't want the hastle of DivX you can try XviD from here. You can also find different builds all over the place so just do a google if you want to find other builds. I will not show how to render with XviD in this guide. So if you choose to go with XviD you are on your own. It works similar to DivX though.

Alright so now you got all your stuff so on to the beginning.

Converting The Demos

Setting Up The Graphics

First off, use a high level graphics config. Vertex lighting and mapoverbrightbits are ugly. Here is a config with very nice graphics LINK. The config is basicly a default OSP config with high graphic settings. Modify it to your liking aka add your own binds and such. A few things you should do to keep your vid pretty.

1. Keep the resolution to 640x480. The higher the resolution the bigger the tgas will be in size when you convert. This eats up your hard drive and also makes your avi much bigger. Also lots of editing programs don't like to work well with anything bigger then 640x480.

2. The less stuff you have on screen the better your video will look. Remove the teamoverlay, console messages, compass, etc. The less stuff on screen means less stuff your codec will have to compress. Which creates a better looking video.

3. Do not use the anisoptric filtering option. It will make the compression job harder for the codec resulting in an uglier video most likely.

4. There is one thing you should do outside of your config to improve your graphics and that is turn up the antialiasing on your video card. Turn it up to 4x or 2x. This removes the dreaded "Jaggies".
Note: If you have a lower end video card you probably shouldn't use this as it will cause your fps to drop dramaticly.

Ok graphics all nice and pretty. On to the converting.

Play That Demo

To convert your demo over into an avi format you need to use the cl_avidemo command. Cl_avidemo will create the number of frames you want to create your video in. Example: You want to make a video that runs at 30 fps. You simply run cl_avidemo 30 then at the areas you want to use and cl_avidemo 0 to stop it. It will take 30 screenshots for every second (sort of, just go with that as it makes most sense). This is where you need your hard drive space. Each tga file will be 901kb at 640x480 resolution. That adds up to a lot and now you understand the reason for lots of hard drive space. Don't worry though because your video codec will compress your avi file down.

So why not batch convert all those tgas to jpeg? Simple, you will see a quality decrease. I personally think the decrease is to much but some find it to be a fair trade, your preference.

Now you know what cl_avidemo does so create some binds for cl_avidemo 30 (or whatever fps you are going to create you video in) and cl_avidemo 0. I like to watch a demo first and write down the times where the action I want to convert stops and ends. Then I go back and hit my cl_avidemo binds at the times I wrote down. Simple you say? Damn right it is. The screenshots will be in your screenshots folder, a whole lot of them will be. I take each clip and put them in thier own folders for better organization.

Alright you got your clips now onto the video editing software portion.

Importing The Clips

Every video editing software has a different method of doing this. One thing that's the same though about each program is that they all have a help file. READ IT. It will tell you the specific way to do what I'm about to tell you. Alright, some where in your editing software there is an import media, etc. option. What you want to do is import the clips in an image sequence. Importing in a sequence tells the editing software the images are suppose to flow together. Make sure that when you import the image sequence you import it at the fps you did your cl_avidemo in. In most cases the highest you can go is 29.97fps. Don't worry about the .03 of fps difference. It'll play fine. In short, import your clips as a sequence in your editing software. Now slap it on to the timeline and edit away. I'm not going to go into how to add effects and transitions. It's up to you to learn the video editing software you chose.

There's another thing that you should do inside your editing software. Make sure every option for interlacing is set to progressive. This eliminates the scanlines you'll see in your video.

So you've got your video all setup and ready to render. On to the last portion!

Rendering Time

First off, rendering sucks. It takes a very long time. You'll do it more then once I assure you. Alright so now some where in your video editing software there is a rendering option. Go to it. This is where you choose the codecs (video and audio) you want to render in. Choose DivX or XviD if thats what you chose. Open up your divx options. You'll see this screen.
Note: This is what you'll see with the full pro version of DivX. You may see less if you are using the free version.

What we are going to do is a multipass rendering job. So select Multipass, 1st Pass in the Variable bitrate mode area as shown below.

Then go to the encoding bitrate. This is a very important area to think about. The more you give to the bitrate the larger the file will be but the quality will increase. There is no perfect bitrate setting to use. In this example 3500 is used. This will create a pretty nice looking video but the file size will be on the heavy side. Toy around with this setting to find the perfect balance between quality of the movie and file size.

Next choose the Write MV file option, as shown below. You want this on. This helps with the quality of the video in the end.

The prompt with erros and warnings option is entirely up to you. The quick config cli is for advance using and I won't go into how to use it.

Ok hop on over to the general parameters tab. You will want the general parameters area to look like this.

Do not enable crop or enable resize. Leave off psychovisual enhancements and pre processing source. They most likely will not help with quality or file size of the video and just add time to your rendering jobs. Don't mess with the keyframe as it's already at it's best setting. Put the performance/quality to slowest. Source interlace should be put to encode as progressive and do not check the deinterlace box. We are watching this on a computer we don't want silly scanlines.

The manage settings tab lets you save your settings and lets you keep your different settings all nice and tidy.

Now go to the Profiles tab. You want to turn off bidirectional encoding if you are using a higher bitrate (I say 2000 and above count as higher bitrates). In this case we are so make sure the box is unchecked as shown below.

Alright now click ok and exit out of the DivX options.
NOTE: Remember all of your DivX settings or save them. You will need to use the exact same settings again later on. Go and choose your audio codec and then start your rendering job. The time it takes depends on the length of the movie and the options you chose in the DivX options. Chances are though it will take a long long long time.

Ok rendering job is done. If you want you can go see the file size of the video. If you try to play the video it will most likely be all black with just the audio. This is suppose to happen. You have to do the 2nd pass to get a final .avi. So go back to the rendering setup and open your DivX options again. You need to have the same settings as you did the first time except with two changes. Change your variable bitrate mode to Multipass, nth pass as shown below.

After you change the variable bitrate mode to nth pass. The bitrate modulation option should become ungreyed for use. Slide this option to the far left so it's the high setting and it reads -0.25 in the box at the right.

Finally make sure the update log file and read mv file are checked.

Make sure the settings are the same as they were the first time under the general parameters tab and profiles tab.

Hit ok. Go select your audio codec stuff and render.

Once that 2nd render is done you are finally finished...sort of. You're avi should be fully playable with video and audio. If it's not well you got to troubleshoot then. The problem maybe with your editing software or your DivX options. Have fun figuring it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I stop the console messages from appearing on screen?

A. con_notifytime 0 will stop the console messages from appearing on screen

Q. How do I remove the stopwatch icon in the hud?

A. You can't. There is no known cvar to remove it. The only option is to use cg_draw2d which removes EVERYTHING 2d on the screen.

Q. How do import my clips into my editing software?

A. Read the damn help file of your editing software.

Q. How big should my movie be?

A. Depends on the length of your video and bitrate you use in your codec for compression. Rule of thumb is try to aim under 200mb for the final video. If your video is beyond a good 8 minutes or so this won't be easily achieved.

Q. What audio codec should I use?

A. mp3 and ogg are the most popular.

Q. Why doesn't my video look as good as that one?

A. Read through the graphics portion of this guide. It will tell you why probably.

Q. Will you make a video for me gearbolt?

A. Maybe. If you don't have demos that are very short with a name like PanzerShotAtBeggining.dm_60 you will need to make a small .txt file telling me what times the good stuff happens in what demo. I will not dig through 40mb demos searching for action. Also, I just might not have the time to dedicate to making a video for you. Simply put, make it so I don't have to dig through demos searching for action. Also remember I have a life (sometimes) and may not have the time to making one for you. I do not put anything personal between me and the person who wants a video made by me. In other words, I do not care who you are. It all comes down to the two factors I've listed, demos and time I have to dedicate.
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