SCFH DSF with FMLE (Flash Media Live Encoder) to be one of the best streaming solutions, but for newbies it can be quite the task. Why? Well, because SCFH DSF's web site and installation instructions are in Japanese.
One of the most common streaming methods is VHScrCap + FMLE. It works well and is definitely a viable method. Though, VHScrCap has some issues with scaling. If you run a 720p or 1080p stream and want all the text on your desktop to be easily readable and perfectly crisp, you will see the flaws.
Let's dive straight into SCFH DSF...
- Download SCFH DSF and unpack it into its own directory.
- Close and fully exit any applications you have which can utilize video capture capabilities. I’m referring to things like Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. — basically anything that might be able to capture video from a device (think: webcam).
- If using a 32-bit OS: download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (x86) here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=9b2da534-3e03-4391-8a4d-074b9f2bc1bf
If using a 64-bit OS: download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (x64) here: http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=bd2a6171-e2d6-4230-b809-9a8d7548c1b6
- If using a 32-bit OS: go into the SCFH directory you unpacked the files in, and double-click the
install.batfile. (NOTE: To uninstall SCFH DSF, follow Step #2, and run
If using a 64-bit OS: go into the SCFH directory you unpacked the files in, and double-click the
install64.batfile. (NOTE: To uninstall SCFH DSF, follow Step #2, and run
- You’ll get a
cmd.exewindow and a pop-up dialog box that should say DllRegisterServer in
scfh64.axif you’re using a 64-bit OS). If not, something else is wrong and I can’t help past that point (I’ve never seen this step fail). Click OK to close both the dialog and the
- In the same directory there’s a program called
SCFH.exe. Make a shortcut to this somewhere for convenience, e.g. on your desktop. This is the main SCFH DSF control program. Once you run it (hold off on that for a moment), you should leave it open while capturing.
- Launch any of the capturing utilities you want, such as Windows Live Messenger or Firefox/Internet Explorer with Flash which can capture from a webcam, etc… Ustream.tv is a good example.
SCFH.exeor the shortcut you made. You’ll be given a window that says Select process. Pick the process name of the program which you wish to control SCFH in and click OK. For example, if you want to let someone watch your webcam (SCFH DSF that is, e.g. stream a copy of your desktop) in Windows Live Messenger, pick
msnmsgr.exe. If you’re using Ustream or something similar, pick your browser process instance. Unlike VHScrCap, the process instances here make a lot more sense, and there aren’t multiples of the same name to confuse you. If the process in question isn’t listed, you probably need to set up said program (or Flash) to note that you have a new capture device available — the device is literally called SCFH DSF.
- You’ll now be in the main SCFH DSF control program.
I’ll document the features the SCFH DSF control program that I’m familiar with or have a pretty good idea about. And whenever changing any of these features, be sure to click the Apply button!
- Drag here — used to select a portion of a window or a dialog/model by clicking the left mouse button + holding it down and “dragging” the selection window/border around. You’ll have to try it to understand what I mean. Note that the one beautiful thing about the Drag here feature is that once you select part of a window, you can move that window around and not have to re-adjust SCFH to tell it where the X/Y coordinates are.
- Area Selection — used to select a specific region of your desktop that you want to capture. Left click it once, and you’ll be shown a green translucent box that has the text Double-click to Apply in it. You can drag this box around and resize it (like you would a normal window), and when you’ve selected an area of your desktop you want to capture, double-left-click in the green translucent box.
- X/Y and Size input boxes — define what X/Y coordinate you want SCFH to capture (upper left corner) and what width/height. Any changes you make here should show up in the capture window of the program (Flash, Windows Live Messenger, etc.) in real-time. If there are common X/Y coordinates or sizes, you can click the Add button next to the respective item and they’re stored for future use. More on that at the end of this write-up.
- Show Mouse Cursor — defines whether or not SCFH DSF should capture your mouse cursor or not.
- Show Layered Window — allows you to capture things like Tooltips and other things that aren’t technically a window.
- Keep Aspect Ratio — should speak for itself. This option works significantly better than VHScrCap, in my opinion, and more reliably. This is quite possibly the main reason I stopped using VHScrCap given the described bug earlier in this post. It's a well documented bug and is seen in both VHScrCap *and* XSplit Broadcaster. Both are made by the same company.
- Enable Enlargement — only works when Keep Aspect Ratio is enabled. Say the program which is using SCFH DSF as a capture driver is capturing at 640×480, but the area/window you have selected to capture in SCFH DSF is only 200×160. When Enable Enlargement is disabled, what you’ll see in your program is the 200×160 capture region, centred, surrounded by a black box to fill in the remaining 440×320 pixels. When enabled, it would stretch the 200×160 contents to fit the size of the capture area.
- Over-Sampling — adds somewhat of a blur between two frames during animation/movement. Look up what oversampling means on Google, and some example sites/videos, and you’ll then understand it, or just play around with it.
- Thread Num — not entirely sure on this one, but based on how the program works, my guess is that it probably defines the number of threads SCFH DSF should use for internal operations. If you have multiple CPUs or a dual/quad core system, you might benefit from increasing this to 2 or 4. I myself have a quad core system and I’ve never had to adjust this; I always leave it at 1.
- Resize Method — allows you to pick how resizing functions and looks, and not just for Enable Enlargement but for any kind of resizing. They all look slightly different, and it’s especially noticeable on small resolution capture areas. I tend to use DirectDraw (1Pass) mostly because it’s incredibly fast and looks great. Note that you may want to adjust this if you’re capturing an area that has text. Try them all out, see which one looks best to you and to the person you’re streaming to. Keep in mind that most online streaming uses compression of some sort, so some of these resize methods might look better or worse once compressed by the streaming software.
- Capture: XXX fps — should be obvious. This defaults to 30fps, which is more than sufficient. I’m pretty sure it’s adjustable, I just can’t remember where…
- Performance — gives you an idea of how SCFH DSF is performing. The author chose a unit type of frames per second, which is a little odd but understandable given the role of the program. The value shown here is highly dependent upon 4 things: 1) CPU speed, 2) video card speed (since many DirectX functions are offloaded on to the GPU), 3) Resize Method selected, and 4) size of the capture region. For example, the performance is going to be much higher for a 200×200 window than it is for a 1920×1200 desktop that has to be resized/scaled down to fit into a 640×480 capture region. :)
Finally, SCFH DSF does not store any data in the registry — instead, it stores configurations per application (e.g.
msnmsgr.exe, etc.) in INI files in the directory where SCFH DSF is located. The files will be named things like SCFH.msnmsgr.exe.ini,
SCFH.firefox.exe.ini, and so on — you get the idea. The SCFH DSF capture driver itself does not use these, only the SCFH DSF control program, so be sure you exit the control program before deleting any of them.
This guide assumes you have some previous experience streaming. Along with SCFH DSF, you're going to need FMLE. If you need a guide on FMLE, I *highly* recommend Tim at Multiboxing.com's guide:
Just don't install VHScrCap. Anytime in the guide it refers to VHScrCap, just read it as SCFH DSF. If you have VHScrCap or XSplit installed prior to installing SCFH DSF and you experience problems with SCFH DSF, I'd recommend uninstalling them and reinstalling SCFH DSF. I've not had problems personally with having them both installed, but I've heard of people who have.
Good luck and enjoy streaming with SCFH DSF, one of the best streaming solutions available.
-Apoc / apoct
Thanks to Koitsu from koitsu.wordpress.com for his help and allowing me to reference parts of his guide.