– A computer
– Internet connection
– Storage space to save recordings
– Screen capture software
– Browser that supports Hubs
Hubs by Mozilla; the future of remote collaboration.
Accessible from a web browser and on a range of devices, Hubs allows users to meet in a virtual space and share ideas, images and files. The global pandemic is keeping us distant socially but Hubs is helping us to bridge that gap!
We’re often asked how to record your time inside of Hubs, either for a personal record or to share with others. Here I will share what has worked for me to capture usable footage from inside of a Hubs environment.
Firstly, like traditional videography, you’re going to need the appropriate hardware and software.
I have a need to capture footage at the highest manageable resolution and frames per second so I use a high powered desktop PC with a good graphics card and 32Gb of RAM. When I’m wearing my editor’s hat, I like to have the freedom to make precise cuts and the ability to zoom in on a particular part of the frame and still maintain image quality. However, my needs for quality are probably higher than most people looking to capture film inside of Hubs and an average laptop is generally going to be perfectly fine to get decent shot quality.
A strong internet connection is going to be essential to ensure the avatar animations and videos in-world function smoothly on your screen. Also, a good amount of bandwidth is required if you plan on live streaming video content out of your Hubs space to platforms such as Zoom or Twitch.
This may be especially relevant during the pandemic lockdown, with increased usage/burden on home internet.
Next up is storage to record your video. I use a 5TB external hard drive as my main storage device to ensure I never run out of space. A ten minute video that is 1280×720 and 30fps is roughly about 1Gb of data so it can add up pretty quickly!
One last piece of hardware I use but is not essential is a good gaming mouse. This offers better tracking and response time, allowing for more accurate cursor control and ultimately smoother camera movement inside of Hubs.
Another benefit I gain is customizability. Adjusting tracking sensitivity and adding macro commands to the additional buttons has greatly improved my experience recording inside of Hubs.
Now that we have the hardware, let’s talk about software.
So now that we’re up to speed with the hardware and software, it’s time to set up for recording.
As I mentioned earlier, I set up my software to get the best results possible from my hardware. The settings you choose will be dependent on your hardware and may take some experimentation to perfect. I tend to run my settings at 1920×1080 and 60fps. It’s good practice to run with commonly used resolution scales and frames per second to make editing, exporting and sharing as painless as possible. 1280×720 @ 30fps is a common and respectable setting.
OBS (Open Broadcast Software) is open source and also free! This application allows video recording and live streaming and is a popular choice for capturing and sharing your streams. This is a great piece of software and allows you full control over both your incoming and outgoing video streams.
My need for the highest available capture has led me to use Nvidia’s Geforce experience software. This is an application that complements my Geforce GTX graphics card and gives me the ability to optimize my settings.
These frame sizes have a 16:9 aspect ratio which is a widely used scale.
Audio is pretty straightforward: 44.1kHz is a good enough sample rate to get a usable recording. The main things to note are the spatial audio properties from avatars speaking and objects with audio attached inside of Hubs. Finding a position that allows for clean and balanced sound is important. It can also be handy to turn off sound effects from the preferences menu. That way if it’s a chat-heavy environment, the bubble sounds don’t interrupt the speaker in the recording. Another option to isolate the speaker’s audio is to have the camera avatar mute everyone else manually before recording.
Before I hit record there are a few other things I like to set up. One is maximizing my window in the browser settings (Not surprisingly I use Firefox..) and another is choosing which user interface graphics are showing. Personally, I prefer to disable all my U.I. so all that is showing is the scene inside of Hubs. I do this by using the tilde (~) (hot) key or hitting camera mode in the options menu and then selecting hide all in the bottom right corner of the screen. The second option here is only available to people who have been promoted to room moderator so be sure to check that before you begin!
Additionally, there is an option under the misc tab to turn Avatars’ name tags on or off which can be helpful depending on your needs. It’s a good rule of thumb to get the permission (or at least notify) those who will be in the space that you will be recording so they can adjust their own settings or name tag accordingly, but if it’s not practicable to get individuals‘ permission, you may want to consider turning name tags off, just in case.
Once you get to this point it pretty closely resembles the role of a traditional camera operator. You’ll need to consider close-ups, wide shots, scenes and avatars, while maintaining a balanced audio feed.
Depending on the scene creator’s settings, you may have the option to fly in Hubs. This can open up some options for more creative or cinematic camera work. Another possibility is to have multiple computers recording different angles, enabling the editor to switch between perspectives.
And that’s a basic introduction on how to record inside of Hubs from a computer! Stay tuned for how to set up recording your Hubs experience from inside of virtual reality.