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GPU Screen Recorder

This is a screen recorder that has minimal impact on system performance by recording your monitor using the GPU only, similar to shadowplay on windows. This is the fastest screen recording tool for Linux.

This screen recorder can be used for recording your desktop offline, for live streaming and for nvidia shadowplay-like instant replay, where only the last few minutes are saved.

Supported video codecs:

  • H264 (default)
  • HEVC (Optionally with HDR)
  • AV1 (Optionally with HDR. Not currently supported on NVIDIA if you use GPU Screen Recorder flatpak)
  • VP8
  • VP9

Supported audio codecs:

  • Opus (default)
  • AAC

Note

This software works on x11 and wayland.

TEMPORARY ISSUES

  1. screen-direct capture has been temporary disabled as it causes issues with stuttering. This might be a nvfbc bug.
  2. Videos are in variable framerate format. Use MPV to play such videos, otherwise you might experience stuttering in the video if you are using a buggy video player. You can try saving the video into a .mkv file instead as some software may have better support for .mkv files (such as kdenlive). You can use the "-fm cfr" option to to use constant framerate mode.
  3. FLAC audio codec is disabled at the moment because of temporary issues.

AMD/Intel/Wayland root permission

When recording a window under AMD/Intel no special user permission is required, however when recording a monitor (or when using wayland) the program needs root permission (to access KMS).
This is safe in GPU Screen Recorder as the part that needs root access has been moved to its own small program that only does one thing.
For you as a user this only means that if you installed GPU Screen Recorder as a flatpak then a prompt asking for root password will show up when you start recording.
Note that this only applies to when recording a monitor. On Wayland you can use the -w portal option to record a monitor without root permission.

Performance

On a system with a i5 4690k CPU and a GTX 1080 GPU:
When recording Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild at 4k, fps drops from 30 to 7 when using OBS Studio + nvenc, however when using this screen recorder the fps remains at 30.
When recording GTA V at 4k on highest settings, fps drops from 60 to 23 when using obs-nvfbc + nvenc, however when using this screen recorder the fps only drops to 58.
GPU Screen Recorder also produces much smoother videos than OBS when GPU utilization is close to 100%, see comparison here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfj4sNVLLLg.
GPU Screen Recorder has much better performance than OBS Studio even with version 30.2 that does "zero-copy" recording and encoding, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdroRjibsDw.
It is recommended to save the video to a SSD because of the large file size, which a slow HDD might not be fast enough to handle. Using variable framerate mode (-fm vfr) which is the default is also recommended as this reduces encoding load. Ultra quality is also overkill most of the time, very high (the default) or lower quality is usually enough.

Note about optimal performance on NVIDIA

NVIDIA driver has a "feature" (read: bug) where it will downclock memory transfer rate when a program uses cuda (or nvenc, which uses cuda), such as GPU Screen Recorder. To work around this bug, GPU Screen Recorder can overclock your GPU memory transfer rate to it's normal optimal level.
To enable overclocking for optimal performance use the -oc option when running GPU Screen Recorder. You also need to have "Coolbits" NVIDIA X setting set to "12" to enable overclocking. You can automatically add this option if you run sudo nvidia-xconfig --cool-bits=12 and then reboot your computer.
Note that this only works when Xorg server is running as root, and using this option will only give you a performance boost if the game you are recording is bottlenecked by your GPU.
Note! use at your own risk!

VRR/G-SYNC

This should work fine on AMD/Intel X11 or Wayland. On Nvidia X11 G-SYNC only works with the -w screen-direct-force option, but because of bugs in the Nvidia driver this option is not always recommended. For example it can cause your computer to freeze when recording certain games.

Installation

If you are running an Arch Linux based distro, then you can find gpu screen recorder on aur under the name gpu-screen-recorder-git (yay -S gpu-screen-recorder-git).
If you are running another distro then you can run sudo ./install.sh, but you need to manually install the dependencies, as described below.
You can also install gpu screen recorder (the gtk gui version) from flathub, which is the easiest method to install GPU Screen Recorder on non-arch based distros.
The only official ways to install GPU Screen Recorder is either from source, AUR or flathub. If you install GPU Screen Recorder from somewhere else and have an issue then try installing it from one of the official sources before reporting it as an issue. If you install GPU Screen Recorder flatpak, which is the gtk gui version then you can still run GPU Screen Recorder command line by using the flatpak command option, for example flatpak run --command=gpu-screen-recorder com.dec05eba.gpu_screen_recorder -w screen -f 60 -o video.mp4. Note that if you want to record your monitor on AMD/Intel then you need to install the flatpak system-wide (like so: flatpak install flathub --system com.dec05eba.gpu_screen_recorder).

Dependencies

GPU Screen Recorder uses meson build system so you need to install meson. There are additional dependencies depending on your graphics card:

AMD

libglvnd (which provides libgl and libegl)
mesa
ffmpeg (libavcodec, libavformat, libavutil, libswresample, libavfilter)
x11 (libx11, libxcomposite, libxrandr, libxfixes, libxdamage, libxi)
libpulse
vaapi (libva, libva-mesa-driver)
libdrm
libcap
wayland-client

Intel

libglvnd (which provides libgl and libegl)
mesa
ffmpeg (libavcodec, libavformat, libavutil, libswresample, libavfilter)
x11 (libx11, libxcomposite, libxrandr, libxfixes, libxdamage, libxi)
libpulse
vaapi (libva, intel-media-driver/libva-intel-driver)
libdrm
libcap
wayland-client

NVIDIA

libglvnd (which provides libgl and libegl)
ffmpeg (libavcodec, libavformat, libavutil, libswresample, libavfilter)
x11 (libx11, libxcomposite, libxrandr, libxfixes, libxdamage, libxi)
libpulse
cuda runtime (libcuda.so.1) (libnvidia-compute)
nvenc (libnvidia-encode)
libva
libdrm
libcap
wayland-client
nvfbc (libnvidia-fbc1, when recording the screen on x11)
xnvctrl (libxnvctrl0, when using the -oc option)

Optional dependencies when compiling with portal support (default option)

dbus
libpipewire (and libspa which is usually part of libpipewire)

How to use

Run gpu-screen-recorder --help to see all options and also examples.

Recording

Here is an example of how to record your monitor and the default audio output: gpu-screen-recorder -w screen -f 60 -a "$(pactl get-default-sink).monitor" -o ~/Videos/test_video.mp4. Yyou can stop and save the recording with Ctrl+C or by running killall -SIGINT gpu-screen-recorder. You can see a list of monitor names to record if you use an invalid monitor name, for example: gpu-screen-recorder -w invalid -f 60 -o video.mp4.

Streaming

Streaming works the same as recording, but the -o argument should be path to the live streaming service you want to use (including your live streaming key). Take a look at scripts/twitch-stream.sh to see an example of how to stream to twitch.

Replay mode

Run gpu-screen-recorder with the -c mp4 and -r option, for example: gpu-screen-recorder -w screen -f 60 -r 30 -c mp4 -o ~/Videos. Note that in this case, -o should point to a directory.
If -mf yes is set, replays are save in folders based on the date. The file path to the saved replay is output to stdout. All other output from GPU Screen Recorder are output to stderr. You can also use the -sc option to specify a script that should be run (asynchronously) when the video has been saved and the script will have access to the location of the saved file as its first argument. This can be used for example to show a notification when a replay has been saved, to rename the video with a title that matches the game played (see scripts/record-save-application-name.sh as an example on how to do this on X11) or to re-encode the video.
The replay buffer is stored in ram (as encoded video), so don't use a too large replay time and/or video quality unless you have enough ram to store it.

Controlling GPU Screen Recorder remotely

To save a video in replay mode, you need to send signal SIGUSR1 to gpu screen recorder. You can do this by running killall -SIGUSR1 gpu-screen-recorder.
To stop recording send SIGINT to gpu screen recorder. You can do this by running killall -SIGINT gpu-screen-recorder or pressing Ctrl-C in the terminal that runs gpu screen recorder. When recording a regular non-replay video this will also save the video.
To pause/unpause recording send SIGUSR2 to gpu screen recorder. You can do this by running killall -SIGUSR2 gpu-screen-recorder. This is only applicable and useful when recording (not streaming nor replay).\

Finding audio device name

You can find the default output audio device (headset, speakers (in other words, desktop audio)) with the command pactl get-default-sink. Add monitor to the end of that to use that as an audio input in gpu screen recorder.
You can find the default input audio device (microphone) with the command pactl get-default-source. This input should not have monitor added to the end when used in gpu screen recorder.
Example of recording both desktop audio and microphone: gpu-screen-recorder -w screen -f 60 -a "$(pactl get-default-sink).monitor" -a "$(pactl get-default-source)" -o ~/Videos/test_video.mp4.
A name (that is visible to pipewire) can be given to an audio input device by prefixing the audio input with <name>/, for example dummy/$(pactl get-default-sink).monitor.
Note that if you use multiple audio inputs then they are each recorded into separate audio tracks in the video file. If you want to merge multiple audio inputs into one audio track then separate the audio inputs by "|" in one -a argument, for example -a "$(pactl get-default-sink).monitor|$(pactl get-default-source)".

There is also a gui for the gpu screen recorder called gpu-screen-recorder-gtk.

Simple way to run replay without gui

Run the script scripts/start-replay.sh to start replay and then scripts/save-replay.sh to save a replay and scripts/stop-replay.sh to stop the replay. The videos are saved to $HOME/Videos. You can use these scripts to start replay at system startup if you add scripts/start-replay.sh to startup (this can be done differently depending on your desktop environment / window manager) and then go into hotkey settings on your system and choose a hotkey to run the script scripts/save-replay.sh. Modify scripts/start-replay.sh if you want to use other replay options.

Run replay on system startup

If you installed GPU Screen Recorder from AUR or from source and you are running a distro that uses systemd then you will have a systemd service installed that can be started with systemctl enable --now --user gpu-screen-recorder. This systemd service runs GPU Screen Recorder on system startup.
It's configured with $HOME/.config/gpu-screen-recorder.env (create it if it doesn't exist). You can look at extra/gpu-screen-recorder.env to see an example. You can see which variables that you can use in the gpu-screen-recorder.env file by looking at the extra/gpu-screen-recorder.service file. Note that all of the variables are optional, you only have to set the ones that are you interested in. You can use the scripts/save-replay.sh script to save a replay and by default the systemd service saves videos in $HOME/Videos.
If you are using a NVIDIA GPU then it's recommended to set PreserveVideoMemoryAllocations=1 as mentioned in the section below.

Issues

NVIDIA

Nvidia drivers have an issue where CUDA breaks if CUDA is running when suspend/hibernation happens, and it remains broken until you reload the nvidia driver. To fix this, either disable suspend or tell the NVIDIA driver to preserve video memory on suspend/hibernate by using the NVreg_PreserveVideoMemoryAllocations=1 option. You can run sudo extra/install_preserve_video_memory.sh to automatically add that option to your system.

Examples

Look at the scripts directory for script examples. For example if you want to automatically save a recording/replay into a folder with the same name as the game you are recording.

Reporting bugs

Issues are reported on this Github page: https://github.com/dec05eba/gpu-screen-recorder-issues/issues

Contributing patches

See https://git.dec05eba.com/?p=about

Demo

Click here to watch a demo video on youtube

FAQ

It tells me that my AMD/Intel GPU is not supported or that my GPU doesn't support h264/hevc, but that's not true!

Some linux distros (such as manjaro and fedora) disable hardware accelerated h264/hevc on AMD/Intel because of "patent license issues". If you are using an arch-based distro then you can install mesa-git instead of mesa and if you are using another distro then you may have to switch to a better distro. On fedora based distros you can follow this: Hardware Accelerated Codec.
If you installed GPU Screen Recorder flatpak then you can try installing mesa-extra freedesktop runtime by running this command: flatpak install --system org.freedesktop.Platform.GL.default//23.08-extra

I have an old nvidia GPU that supports nvenc but I get a cuda error when trying to record

Newer ffmpeg versions don't support older nvidia cards. Try installing GPU Screen Recorder flatpak from flathub instead. It comes with an older ffmpeg version which might work for your GPU.

I get a black screen/glitches while live streaming

It seems like ffmpeg earlier than version 6.1 has some type of bug. Install ffmpeg 6.1 and then reinstall GPU Screen Recorder to fix this issue. The flatpak version of GPU Screen Recorder comes with ffmpeg 6.1 so no extra steps are needed.

I can't play the video in my browser directly or in discord

Browsers and discord don't support hevc video codec at the moment. Choose h264 video codec instead with the -k h264 option. Note that websites such as youtube support hevc so there is no need to choose h264 video codec if you intend to upload the video to youtube or if you want to play the video locally or if you intend to edit the video with a video editor. Hevc allows for better video quality (especially at lower file sizes) so hevc (or av1) is recommended for source videos.

I get a black bar/distorted colors on the right/bottom in the video

This is mostly an issue on AMD. For av1 it's a hardware issue, see: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/mesa/mesa/-/issues/9185. For hevc it's a software issue in the AMD driver that hasn't been fixed yet. This issue happens at certain video resolutions. If you get this issue then a workaround is to record with h264 video codec instead (using the -k h264 option).

The video is glitched (looks like checkerboard pattern) or black

This is an issue on some intel integrated gpus on wayland caused by power saving option. Right now the only way to fix this is to either record on X11 (maybe only with window capture option) or to record with the -w portal option (usually only available on Wayland). The video can also be black when using software such as prime-run. This is not supported.

The video doesn't display or has a green/yellow overlay

This can happen if your video player is missing the H264/HEVC video codecs. Either install the codecs or use mpv.

I get stutter in the video

Try recording to an SSD and make sure it's not using NTFS file system. Also record in variable framerate format.

Donations

If you want to donate you can donate via bitcoin or monero.

  • Bitcoin: bc1qqvuqnwrdyppf707ge27fqz2n9y9gu7lf5ypyuf
  • Monero: 4An9kp2qW1C9Gah7ewv4JzcNFQ5TAX7ineGCqXWK6vQnhsGGcRpNgcn8r9EC3tMcgY7vqCKs3nSRXhejMHBaGvFdN2egYet

TODO

  • Dynamically change bitrate/resolution to match desired fps. This would be helpful when streaming for example, where the encode output speed also depends on upload speed to the streaming service.
  • Implement opengl injection to capture texture. This fixes VRR without having to use NvFBC direct capture.
  • Always use direct capture with NvFBC once the capture issue in mpv fullscreen has been resolved (maybe detect if direct capture fails in nvfbc and switch to non-direct recording. NvFBC says if direct capture fails).