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Recording of Videos and Image Sequences in CamTool

The CamTool enables to capture and store videos or image sequences in three Recording modes:
  • Record video to file - for recording directly to the drive
  • Record loop - for recording to memory or to drive in defined cycle length
  • Time-lapse - for recording image sequences with low to extremely low frame rates directly to the drive

All recording modes use the same file formats for storing videos or image sequences to the drive.

Supported recording file formats

CamTool supports saving to some of the most commonly used video formats and also in sequence of individual frames.

Video formats that are supported with respective settings:
  • AVI file ( *.avi)
    • Codec - OpenH264 or Uncompressed video can be selected
    • Quality - from 1 to 10, where 10 is the best image quality
  • H.264 file ( *.h264)
    • Quality - from 1 to 10, where 10 is the best image quality

Note: We test the playback of recorded data using the CamTool and also with VLC. Other decoders might also work, however we do not guarantee the full functionality in all camera modes.

Image sequences that are supported with respective settings:
  • Numbered images sequence ( *.xiseq) - image sequence is saved in separate folder beside *.xiseq file, which is a reference to this sequence. Image sequence can be stored in following file formats: *.bmp, *.jpg, *.png, *.gif, *.fits, *.tif, *.dng
  • TIFF multipage ( *.tif)
    • Compression method - LZW, packbits or Uncompressed
    • enable/disable storing 16-bit data
    • enable/disable scale the color bit depth to a full 16-bit range

Record video to file

This mode allows to save video directly to the selected drive.
Shortcut for recording video to file is CTRL + R.

  • Pros
    • unlimited length of record
  • Cons
    • recording frame rate is limited by hardware (writing speed of used drive) and by software (compression of stored data)

Record Loop

This recording mode allows to measure writing speed for storing data and to store captured files to memory or to drive.
When loop record comes to an end of the loop size, the recording process continues to record from the beginning, erasing the oldest recorded data and replacing them with the new content.
This ensures that last N frames will be preserved after recording is stopped.
Shortcut for recording loop is CTRL + L.

Loop recording to memory

  • Pros
    • highest possible frame rate
    • unlimited duration of recording
  • Cons
    • limited number of recorded frames by size of free memory

Loop recording to drive

  • Pros
    • much longer recordings against loop recording to memory
    • unlimited duration of recording
  • Cons
    • frame rate limited by writing speed of drive

Size of the loop recording

Size of the loop recording determines how many recent frames will be stored. It can be set in frames or in seconds.
Maximum Loop size depends on image size and available memory or drive space.


Recording can be started with START button.

Recording can be stopped with STOP button. After stopping the recording process, all recorded frames are ready to be played in CamTool, or to be saved.

Saving of video or image sequence

For saving image sequence or video, press Save as button under main menu of CamTool.
Shortcut for "Saving as" is CTRL + S.

Record Time-lapse

This recording mode allows to specify interval between two consecutive frames which are to be stored to drive. Shortcut for recording time-lapse is CTRL + P.

Before Time-lapse is started, number of images to be acquired has to be set.
After acquisition reaches this image count, acquisition is stopped.

Timing of Time-lapse

Two timing modes are available:
  • Free run - frame rate is calculated with actual settings of camera
  • Interval - frame rate is forced - interval between two consecutive images is set. This interval has span from miliseconds to hours

Output from Time-lapse

Two options are available:
  • Movie - image sequence can be stored in any supported video format
  • Custom sequence - image sequence can be stored in any supported image format

All stored image sequences or video files can have appended time stamp with format YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS_SSS. It is possible to append Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) instead of local time.


Tips for the best performance

For achieving the best performance during recording meet the following recommendations.

General tips

  • use xiCOP to diagnose potential performance issues

System Bandwidth

For the fastest performance of recording videos, used system should have the highest possible bandwidth.
It can be influenced by:
  • type of used cable
  • slot, where cable is connected (USB cameras)
  • number of connected cameras to one USB controller (USB cameras)

Measuring loop record writing speed

Measuring loop record writing speed is started with Test speed button.

After pressing STOP button, pop-up with measured results is displayed.

These measured results with corresponding frame rates show approximate average writing speed to selected medium.
The actual writing speed might differ.


  • Recording speed is limited by settings of the camera:
    • exposure time
    • image format
    • image height (ROI)
    • bandwidth limit
    • device output bit depth
  • File format AVI is limited to size 511GB.