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  • [Review] Capture Video Screen Recordings of Your iDevice

    Display Recorder is an iOS classic that lets you capture video recordings of your screen.

    Did you ever want to show a friend a demonstration of something on your iPhone without having to explain it in words? Are you an application reviewer that finds it cumbersome to take numerous screenshots to explain a point? Then maybe this classic jailbreak application called Display Recorder by iOS developer and hacker Ryan Petrich is just what you've been looking for. Back in the days when I always wanted to share with my friends how to use Cydia, I would have killed for this kind of jailbreak application. It wasn't until recently that I actually heard about it though - and I bet some of you are in the same boat.

    Display Recorder has a lot of functions and settings. By default it captures video of your screen in '.avi' format. That can, and should be changed to the other option, "H.264/MOV" because iPhone doesn't support '.avi' format. With H.264, you have the option to save the screen recordings to your Camera Roll, view them from the iPhone, and transfer the video from your iPhone to your computer much easier. Since the iPhone doesn't support '.avi' format, if you choose to use it, not only will the file-size be extremely large, but the only way to get the video on your computer is to SSH into the iPhone. We know that SSH can be slow - so imagine trying to transfer a 500-900MB+ file through it. For this reason, we recommend using the H.264 option, because since it shows up in your Camera Roll, you can easily transfer it through USB connection using Image Capture, or Windows Explorer. The file size is also over 80% smaller than the '.avi' version. So not only can you do more with the H.264 option, but it's a smaller file size - yeah we think it's a better option. You can see from the image above the options available for an H.264 video; Deleting it, uploading it directly to YouTube (Display Recorder lets you integrate your YouTube account so that you can upload videos right from the application), play the video (H.264 only), and add it to the Camera Roll (H.264 only).

    Display Recorder is activated in one of two ways. One is that you can go into the application and tap the '+' button to start capturing a screen recording, or you can invoke an Activator action that does the same thing. When you do either of the two, a message will appear that looks like the one below, asking you if you want to start recording the display. You have the option to say Cancel or Record:



    After you tap on the Record button, Display Recorder will work in the background to capture your screen movements in video. It will also record your taps and swipes as you will see indicated by the white circle that appears. Below is a video example of the recording result of Display Recorder. It will show you through all of the settings of Display Recorder in the Settings application and also show you Display Recorder in Cydia:



    After you finish recording your video, you can either go back to the Display Recorder application and tap the, "Stop Recording" button that appears only when you're in mid-recording, or you can invoke your Activator action that you used to start recording the video in the first place. When you do either of the two, a popup like the one shown below will appear letting you know that your recording was completed:



    Once the recording has been completed, you can tap on the recording to bring up any of the four options in the first image of this review (assuming you recorded in H.264). If you recorded in '.avi' format, then that means all you will be able to do is either delete the recording or upload it to YouTube. That's the basic usage of the video recording, but now we're going to look at the settings more in depth.

    If you take a peek in the Settings application (which we showed you in the video above), you'll see a cell that's been made for Display Recorder. If you look inside you'll find a Users Guide, which tells you all about Display Recorder. You'll also find a framerate slider which can be adjusted to have more control over file size. The more frames in your video, the larger the file size will be. The less frames there are, the smaller it will be. The more frames you have, you'll find it will also be more fluid and have less lag in the end, however it will reduce device performance until you stop recording the video because it makes the CPU (central processing unit) do more at once. You'll also find a switch that lets you lock the framerate so that the iPhone can't change it mid-video for performance. Under that, you'll find a rotation option that lets you choose between portrait, upside down, landscape left, or landscape right. The developer recommends that you keep it on portrait for the best performance. You can always rotate the video on the computer to fit a landscape application orientation later on.

    Below that you'll find some more advanced options including the '.avi' or H.264 video format which we already discussed (go with H.264). You can also select your video quality to help have more control over your file size. You can pick low, medium, or high (medium selected by default). You can enable OpenGL capture which puts some more duty on the GPU (graphics processing unit) since you only use this option to record things like OpenGL-based games. If you disable this option, your performance will be a lot more fluid, but you won't be able to record OpenGL games until you enable it again. Under that is the option to record in grayscale. Below that is the option to scale your video to either full size or half size - but keep note that if you have OpenGL recording enabled then you cannot record in half size. Half size will help reduce the file size on retina display devices after the recording is finished.

    Under those more advanced settings you'll find some more easy ones. Did you notice that there was a white circle following all of the taps and swipes in the video above? That is what these settings pertain to. You can enable or disable that option completely, or select what size the circle is; small, medium, or large (medium by default). There is also a setting to show the circle all of the time, even when you're not recording a video on your iPhone. You'll also see a Web Server switch which lets you enable the ability to browse your iPhone's screen in live view through your computer's Web Browser application. Under that is a setting cell for Activation methods were you can select your Activator action to invoke the application. Last but not least, you'll find a place where you can sign into YouTube so that you can upload videos directly to YouTube from the iPhone in the Display Recorder application (works best of Wi-Fi).

    We thought that Display Recorder was such a useful application that we're actually going to give it extra credit. It's very useful, and you can send these videos to friends via text message or iMessage to show them what you're doing. It's handy for giving directions or for recording yourself playing fun games on iOS. Using it couldn't be easier either. I recommend this application to everyone with a jailbroken iDevice. It is compatible with iOS 4 and iOS 5 and it places an icon on your home screen as well as the settings in the Settings application. A big thanks to Ryan for making such a useful application for the jailbreak community!

    Name: Display Recorder
    Price: $4.99
    Repo: BigBoss
    Version: 1.2.5
    Developer: Ryan Petrich
    Editor's Rating: | 6/5

    What are your thoughts about the classic Display Recorder? Share in the comments.

    Sources: Ryan Petrich
    This article was originally published in forum thread: [Review] Capture Video Screen Recordings of Your iDevice started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. KraXik's Avatar
      KraXik -
      I wonder how much affiliate payments Anthony gets from these? Probably less that the 8% on that tape.
    1. zma's Avatar
      zma -
      Quote Originally Posted by KraXik View Post
      I wonder how much affiliate payments Anthony gets from these? Probably less that the 8% on that tape.
      min. 10% I guess
    1. trek-life's Avatar
      trek-life -
      Pretty awesome app! Thank you Anthony for posting these these JB tweaks & apps with thorough explanations. I know a few of them have been around for a while, but its good for some of us to get a solid description before we buy them.

      Buying now...
    1. The6uest's Avatar
      The6uest -
      A 6/5 review? It must be pretty dang good then! How about a giveaway?
    1. mmaboi21's Avatar
      mmaboi21 -
      I can see this being very useful for devs/themers demonstrating their product. Hands on is always best

      Not sure what I'd use it for though.
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      Ha, MMi doesn't get paid from posting links to products. Never have!
    1. KraXik's Avatar
      KraXik -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Matthews View Post
      Ha, MMi doesn't get paid from posting links to products. Never have!
      Hmm. Then explain this - http://modmyi.com/showthread.php?t=793620. (page 3)
    1. 3lmastro's Avatar
      3lmastro -
      Yeah to bad there's not a jailbreak for the 4S. Damn near wanna sell it & go back to the 4!!!
    1. c1ockwerk's Avatar
      c1ockwerk -
      great idea but for a 2 min video at 480mb? any way to get the file size down and im in
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by c1ockwerk View Post
      great idea but for a 2 min video at 480mb? any way to get the file size down and im in
      A two minute video using the H.264 setting is only 17MB.
    1. titoget's Avatar
      titoget -
      Does anybody know how to record video while on a lockscreen on i4 on 5.0.1? Like the video recorder on iPhone 2g
    1. Answer1o1's Avatar
      Answer1o1 -
      Why do I only get 2 options? Delete video and upload to YouTube.
    1. Scotty Manley Silberhorn's Avatar
      Scotty Manley Silberhorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Answer1o1 View Post
      Why do I only get 2 options? Delete video and upload to YouTube.
      You've gotta change it to h.256 in general settings. Had the same reaction.

      Also, the developer so make options to send it in a text message/imessage or email. That would really help out with eliminating a couple of steps.