[Windows] SmartPixel is a screen recorder and video editor in one

2013-08-22_234210Is there something you want to record on your screen, like a video, movie, TV, or what not? Then you need a screen recording program. dotTech has a review of best free screen recording program for Windows but if you aren’t happy with our selections, SmartPixel is another option. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

SmartPixel is a screen recording + basic video editor in one. It has two modules, SmartPixel Camera (screen recorder) and SmartPixel Producer (basic video editor).

Take note SmartPixel comes in two versions, Free and VIP. Free is $0 (free) and VIP costs $15.9 per six months for both Camera and Producer modules (you can purchase a subscription to only one of the modules, if you wish). There are no feature differences between Free and VIP except that Free places watermarks on outputs and can only record a video of up to ten minutes. VIP has no watermarks and has no time limit on videos.

Pros

  • Records anything and everything on your screen
  • Is able to record any sound you normally would hear from your speakers, and you have option of recording sound from your mic
  • Can record webcam
  • Can overly webcam while recording screen, meaning you can record screen and webcam at the same time
  • Has a basic video editor built-in that allows you to cut, add subtitles (your own subtitles, not load in subtitles from elsewhere), background music/sound (MP3, WMA, RM, OGG, FLAC, WAV), dubbing, effects (over 50 text, filter, scene, frame, and bubble effects), or speed up or slow down playback (0.4x to 10x)
  • 2013-08-23_004941Can adjust color of webcam recording (whiten, warm, exotic, fresh, violet, natural, rose, jelly, hi-bright, hi-contrast, saturated, sharp, and mono-color)
  • Supports FLV, AVI, MP4, and animated GIF output
  • Allows you to pick between 15 fps, 20 fps, and 30 fps recording
  • You can chose if you want to include mouse cursor in videos or not
  • Excellent on-screen help
  • Supports hotkey
  • Great interface and easy to use

Cons

  • Video recording control panel is recorded in videos
  • Wants to install directly into C:\SmartPixel instead of C:\Program Files\SmartPixel
  • Cannot highlight mouse cursor or clicks
  • Automatically kills videos less than 10 seconds in length; there is no option to disable this behavior
  • Limits you to a max video size of 960×720
  • For some odd reason, is a bit slow in opening Producer module
  • Ran into one bug
  • Using a subscription model for a video recorder (e.g. $15.9 for 6 months of VIP) is dumb

Discussion

2013-08-23_001803SmartPixel is a screen recording program. It allows you to record anything and everything that you see on your screen, and it has the ability to record your webcam too. In fact, it can even record your screen and webcam at the same time (webcam is overlayed your screen, in a corner). While recording your screen and/or webcam, SmartPixel has the ability to record audio — it will record anything you would normally hear from your speakers plus you have the option to making it record your own voice via your microphone. In other words, you can basically use SmartPixel to record online videos, movies, and TV shows, to create tutorials, etc.

Aside from screen recording, SmartPixel has a built-in video editor. This video editor is basic, so don’t expect it to allow you to be the next James Cameron. However, it does allow you to cut videos, add subtitles, add background music/sound, add dubbing (i.e. record from your mic), add effects, and speed up (up to 10x) or slow down (up to 0.4x) video playback.

When ready, you can output videos as FLV, AVI, MP4 (with profiles optimized for regular MP4, iPhone, and PSP), animated GIF, and WPC. AVI and MP4 have a maximum output resolution of 960×720 while FLV and WPC can be outputted “at original resolution”. However, as per my tests, if you go into SmartPixel video recording settings you will see it records at a maximum of 960×720, so FLV and WPC can be a max of 960×720, too. Animated GIF’s maximum resolution is 320×240.

I can understand limiting the resolution of animated GIFs, because larger animated GIFs can be very large in size. However, limiting the resolution of videos? That is essentially a deal-breaker for many people, ensuring you won’t be able to record high-resolution videos.

One thing I noticed off the bat with SmartPixel is its beautiful interface and excellent on-screen help. Not only did the developer put a lot of thought into creating an aesthetically pleasing interface, but they also had the foresight to provide users with directions as to what each button/object does. Excellent!

2013-08-23_001811That said, be careful while recording. If you record full screen or record an area that includes the video recording control panel (the small window that houses the recording controls), the video recording control panel is included in videos. The developer of SmartPixel apparently didn’t realize the importance of programming it so the video recording control panel is not captured.

Similarly, I’m not sure why the developer thought it would be a good idea to not allow users to shoot videos of ten seconds or less. If you try to capture a video of ten seconds or less, SmartPixel will automatically delete the video. Apparently the idea here a video of ten seconds or less is a mistake but that doesn’t necessarily hold true in all situations. It is definitely possible that someone may want to shoot a video of ten seconds or less, and they cannot do that with SmartPixel.

Finally, I would like to point out one bug I ran into with SmartPixel. You see when you use the video recording control panel to record a video and finish recording a video, you are asked by SmartPixel if you want to now edit the video in the Producer module. For some reason, you are not prompted by this message sometimes. I’m not sure why this is, and it isn’t a major bug, but it is worth mentioning.

Conclusion and download link

I was presently impressed by SmartPixel. I was expecting it to be another pathetic attempt by a developer to make some quick bucks by producing a subpar video recording program. Instead, SmartPixel is an excellent video recorder with built-in video editing capabilities. However, I don’t recommend it… yet. The program is relatively new and still rough around the edge. For example, the video recording control panel is included in videos, if it is in your recording area (e.g. such as when you record full screen); plus limiting videos to a maximum resolution of 960×720 is a deal-breaker. I suggest keeping your eye on this one but, for now, use other screen recorders. See dotTech’s review of best free screen recording program for Windows to learn more about excellent free screen recorders.

Price: $15.9 for 6 months subscription

Version reviewed: 1.1

Supported OS: Windows 8/7/Vista/XP

Download size: 28 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/44

Is it portable? No

SmartPixel homepage

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15 comments

  1. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    [@Sys-Eng] Respectively, I 110% disagree with you. You would only be correct in the situation if there was some overlap between dotTech and SoS… if i were recommending SoS software in my reviews, then you could say I’m being unethical. However, I’m not. dotTech and SoS are two separate projects — one does not affect the other. A review on dotTech has no relation to what is being sold on SoS and what is being sold on SoS has no effect on reviews. For example, this review of SmartPixel has no effect on ALLCapture sales nor do you see me saying “dont get SmartPixel, get ALLCapture”.

    dotTech and SoS are two separate websites and they will stay that way. The only overlap is SoS deals are advertised here on dotTech, which has no relation to our reviews. The day you see dotTech recommending something we haven’t reviewed is the day you can call us unethical.

  2. Sys-Eng

    [@Ashraf]
    I suggest including it next time. It would only be unethical if you did not disclose that you sell a product or are paid to advertise a product. The argument can be made that critiquing programs without mentioning that you profit from competitive programs is unethical because there is a temptation to bash the ones being review to make the one you profit from appear more appealing. Including the programs you promote in the review keeps it all above the board and transparent. If you begin to really push the programs you sell, then it will become apparent to the readers.

    I sometimes recommend products that are competitors to products that I do sell. It is often because the one product is much more expensive. I understand that you need to make money to keep things going but yet I still trust your reviews more than most.

  3. MikeR

    Not wishing to fall out in any way with Mr Boss, but, but. . .

    “Aside from screen recording, SmartPixel has a built-in video editor. This video editor is basic, so don’t expect it to allow you to be the . . . next Prime Minister of Great Britain.”

    Did you mean James, perchance, rather than David?

    It’s just that the Cameron I’m thinking of isn’t someone I’d rely upon to even a crop a holiday snap, never mind video-edit his way into 10 Downing Street.

    Er, Titanically yours:

    MikeR

  4. stefan

    [@Ashraf] Thanks for being honest. I have to admit I was pretty sure that your idea behind S.O.S. was to offer only verified/tested and previously reviewed (on DotTech) software… I guess I assumed wrong.

    Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to indicate which of those offered programs have been reviewed by DotTech. I kinda miss your in-depth reviews trying to evaluate how good these programs are.

    Just a thought, I’m far from complaining. I like the idea behind SharewareOnSale and see it’s advantages compared to sites like GAOTD (for example the possibility of re-installation/reregistration of bought programs).

  5. stefan

    [@Sys-Eng] So, you’re saying that ALLCapture’s development was discontinued six years ago and the last available version is 3.0? On Balesio’s website it is the very same v.3.0 being offered at the moment as a current version.

  6. stefan

    Hi Ashraf, as someone already asked at SOS website yesterday, how does ALLCapture v.3 (still on sale on SOS I believe?) compare with Smart Pixel or other best free screen recording tools mentioned on this website in February? What’s ALLCapture’s highest frame rate / resolution available for screen capturing of any high quality (720 or 1080p) video files? Does the playback of such recording lag? From my experience with BBFlashback the quality of recorded videos was rather poor and suffered from lags when played. Is paid program like AllCapture any better?