How to capture 1080p video from Microsoft LifeCam Studio

This is my first post of my new HowTo series. I've recently purchased the Microsoft LifeCam Studio with a 1080p sensor. Unfortunately Microsoft only delivers it with a crappy software which allows video recordings at maximum 720p with 15fps. I also think that the wmv compression decrease the captured video too. Thumbs DOWN! They mention you could capture 1080p video with third-party software but need at least a quadcore with 3Ghz! I've a Q9950 with 2,83Ghz and this CPU is in my opinion a fast CPU and it barely works. I've tried captureing 1080p with Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas Pro. In Adobe Premiere I didn't found any functionality to capture a webcam. And Sony Vegas Pro crashed everytime I was captureing some stuff from the webcam. I was frustrated... until I found a tutorial of how to capture 1080p with VirtualDub!

First of all: download VirtualDub from But NEVER EVER think about downloading the 64bit version! I've tried so many things with the 64bit version and it didn't worked as expected. The max framerate at 1080p was limited to lousy 5fps. And also the 720p video didn't looked as expected. After some hours of trying almost everything out, I was willing to open the help file and maybe find something why on earth I was limited to 5fps with my CPU. Accidentally I found in the helpfile a article named "AMD64 Version". With a chapter "Differences between the x86 and AMD64 versions" and the very first sentence: Not all functionality has been ported to 64-bit

Oh dammit! I immediatly downloaded the 32bit version and everything was working as expected. Now enough foreplay. Let's go and capture some 1080p video!

  1. Needless to say to open VirtualDub first
  2. Go to File -> Capture AVI
  3. Device -> Select your LifeCam
  4. Select Video -> Preview

    I'm not a VirtualDub expert and I don't know whats the exact difference between "Overlay" and "Preview". But with the default "Overlay" selected, the video preview sucks and is dead slow. When only selecting "Preview" it runs smooth.
  5. Video -> Capture Pin
    Unfortunately this Screen is in German on my System. But I think you'll get it.

    First of all change the Color Space / Compression (Farbspektrum/-komprimierung) to YUY2. Then change the Output Size (Ausgabegröße) to 1080p. Almost done. Now change the Frame Rate (Einzelbildrate) to the highest available number with a click on the down arrow. As far as I know, the available frame rates are limited by the CPU. Click on OK to apply the changes.
  6. Next: Video -> Filter
    This screen shot is again in German - sorry! But you'll see the main webcam options which are also available in LifeCam Software. So you could select Autofocus, the truecolor option, etc.

    There is only one thing I didn't like here: you didn't see a preview of the changes. So everytime you change a parameter, you have to click on "OK", see the video preview with the new settings and when you want to change something, you have to change it again without a preview.
  7. Almost done. Select File -> Set Capture File and select where you want to save the file.
  8. Capture -> Capture Video :-)

You could stop the recording with Capture -> Stop capture or simply press ESC on your keyboard.

Be sure to have enough free disk space available and a good disk performance. About 10 seconds of uncompressed 1080p video takes 500-600MB!


Some final tips

  • I prefer using 720p with 30fps just because of the frame rate
  • Turn off the preview while you capture the video. The preview will slow down the performance drastically while captureing

Comments (1) -

4/30/2011 10:10:24 AM #

Thanks man, it's really help.

Pingbacks and trackbacks (1)+

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

About the author

Something about the author

Month List