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I want a piece of Windows software that will constantly record what I'm doing on my desktop, discarding footage that's over [30] seconds old. Its recording would be a rolling one.

The idea is that I can somehow hit a button and see "what just happened".

I don't want to have to babysit it. That is, I don't want a piece of software designed for screencasting (which I'm not trying to do). My bias against that is based on my (maybe incorrect?) assumption that I'd regularly have to start/stop the recording throughout the day.

The idea is that this piece of software would consume fewer resources (than a screencast recorder) on my box, as it's only keeping a very limited amount of footage in memory (and low quality would even be acceptable), because it's discarding frames fairly quickly after they're captured.

Where can I find a piece of software with features like this?

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let us know your platform. On linux writing a script that does just that using ffmepg would be trivial. –  brice Feb 12 '10 at 15:59
    
I've edited the question to reflect that I need a Windows solution. –  lance Jan 13 '12 at 15:10
    
I'd love to have exactly this, anyone come up with a Windows solution? –  Kieran Feb 20 at 11:05
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4 Answers

Assuming you run some form of Windows and you don't actually need near real time recording then I think what you want is TimerSnapper.

http://www.timesnapper.com/

It takes screenshots of your desktop every few seconds and stores them. It's really intended for use to help developers keep track of what they worked on during the day. I believe it has a user configurable amount of time to keep the screenshots but I doubt it will go as low as 30 seconds. Better to have too much data than too little.

There's an older version that is free and there's a newer Professional version with a lot more features.

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OK, On linux, the following script will create three .avi files in /tmp/ that will keep the last few instants recorded.

#!/bin/bash
while true; do
    ffmpeg -f x11grab -s 1280x800 -r 60 -i :0.0 -f avi /tmp/rolling.avi &> /dev/null &
    disown
    PID=$!
    sleep 30; 
    kill -KILL $PID
    cp /tmp/rolling_1.avi /tmp/rolling_2.avi
    cp /tmp/rolling.avi /tmp/rolling_1.avi
    rm /tmp/rolling.avi 
done

Obviously, you'll have to replace the args of ffmpeg for your screen res, etc...

A shout out to b0fh and ~quack for helping me with some bash notification problems in this thread.

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this will record 30 secs then delete and start again. He wants 30 secs continuous (so only time he wants replay he always gets 30 seconds from when he pressed the button) –  tm1rbrt Feb 18 '10 at 11:48
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Some software designed for recording TV has this ability perhaps you can route the input from your screen capture software?

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The batch script:

echo off
:loop
ffmpeg -loglevel info -t 300 -f dshow -video_device_number 0 -i video="screen-capture-recorder" -vcodec libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p -s hd720 -preset ultrafast -vsync vfr -acodec libmp3lame -f mpegts - | ffmpeg -f mpegts -i - -c copy "current.mp4"
del old.mp4
mv current.mp4 old.mp4
goto loop
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