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kaosfere

Flight recorder comparison video

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Posted (edited)

With an increasing number of utilities, both commercial and free, that claim to make up for the lack of a native replay mode in MSFS, I thought I'd put together a little comparison of how well they perform at their key function:  recording and replaying a flight.   I thought this might be helpful for folks who may be considering buying or downloading one.  Note that this isn't a review of their UI, or their full feature set, just how well they serve in this role. 

I already owned both FS Playground and Flight Control Replay, and for this test I also downloaded the free Flight Recorder from flightsim.to.   I loaded up the sim will all three running and recorded a very brief takeoff run, aileron roll, and landing in Grravel. I then played each replay back individually and recorded each one for a visual comparison.   I put them back to back in a quick little video, along with a shot of all three replays superimposed.

First here's the video, then cliff's notes below it for those who don't care to watch it.

To summarize the results, in my opinion Flight Control Replay did a terrible job of capturing control surface movements, even with the capture set to 60 "frame per seconds" in the UI, which is what the developer suggested for a good smooth video. They were very stuttery and didn't seem to use the full control range.  It also has an overall jerkier output.

FS Playground did fine overall -- the captured movement was fairly fluid and nothing stood out as obviously janky. This was using the default 40ms capture interval.

Flight Recorder also did fairly well in terms of video quality, although it did glitch a couple times during playback of the roll. However, it appeared to play back at a MUCH higher speed than the others.

About this last:   as you can see watching the videos, each utility seems to play back at a slightly different speed. I made another test (which I didn't bother recording because it would have been boring) where I did a single timed run down a 15000' runway, recorded the same way. I timed the live run in a C152, which came out to just under 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I then timed the replay from each recorder. FS Playground was pretty close to the real time. Flight Control Replay was also close but a little slower. But, just as in this video, Flight Recorder ended up being a good bit faster, finishing the run in under 2 minutes.   I'm not sure why this is, I'm going to raise an issue on github for it.

At any rate, in summary, if you don't mind spending money on a utility to do this, at this point I'd recommend FS Playground. Flight Recorder would be a good free alternative, although you might want to exercise caution if you care about replays at accurate speed -- playing them back at 75% of full speed in the UI might get you closer to reality.   Until it's capable of providing a smoother replay, I'd steer away from FCR.

Hope this helps some folks.  It's probably worth noting that I've used both FCR and FSP already, and what I've seen here confirms my existing opinions.   The poor performance from FCR is something I have seen before, as I commented in one of its threads.  It's definitely not a fluke, at least not on my system.

I welcome comments and criticism.

Edited by kaosfere
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Rob Jones, Lead DeveloperWorking Title Simulations

 

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Posted (edited)

Hmmm, haven't noticed a different replay speed using the Flight Recorder freeware. I performed a flight yesterday, a go-around at LFOH (Le Havre - France) with the CJ4 and Flight Recorder did the job very well. This is having a external camera following up the aircraft in spot view.

What I've noticed with Flight Recorder and the payware FCR is that if you place your drone camera on a fixed position on the landing runway, or close to it, the approach seems to be a bit at a higher speed compared to what you'd expect for an aircraft in short final.

Cheers, Ed

Edited by edpatino

Cheers, Ed

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10 minutes ago, edpatino said:

Hmmm, haven't noticed a different replay speed using the Flight Recorder freeware.

I honestly didn't either until I was lining up the video tracks in Resolve to get the composite shot and noticed that the FR one was a good bit shorter.    It's strange, and I wasn't convinced I hadn't done something wrong, which is why I did the Cessna drag race experiment.    That might be something to try yourself, see if your times represent reality or if they're accelerated when you put a stopwatch to them.

I'm at the latest version of all of these, but there's always the possibility of one of them not liking something about my system in particular.  😄

 


Rob Jones, Lead DeveloperWorking Title Simulations

 

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Thanks for your writeup and video!


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Thanks for the test. I've been wondering about these payware versions. I think, for me, the difference in speed on playback is not an issue. Also, the developer is very reactive. Now that it's been raised it on GitHub, I wouldn't be surprised to see it fixed quickly. As MS have committed to providing this functionality, and seeing that there is a good freeware option available, I can't really justify paying for one of the alternatives. 

I'm quite intrigued as to how the freeware version could finish earlier. If it is sending the correct speed to the simulator, I wonder how it was able to finish quicker. I guess if it's working from IAS, then wind could be a factor, but I'm sure there wouldn't have been that much, if any, difference in windspeed in your tests.

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Posted (edited)

I m developer of FlightControlReplay.

I want remember all that FlightControlReplay is a product that is in market since 2010 and is compatible with FSX P3D  ESP and MSFS. This is a results of years of fine tuning . The smoothness of his replay is a real thing .

It include Replay , InstantReplay , PLAY AS AI feature, Video Render feature, Joy and hardware compatibility, adjustment on FPS (you can record at 10 FPS per second and with FCR option FPS target you can achieve until 120 FPS with smooth replay) and soon will introduce a lot of new features that no one in the market has.

Ailerons and rudder smooth is fixed in the last build will go online soon .

For have a great smooth video please use Automatic mode or make test with your preferred FPS . As you can see around the web the results are wonderful.

see this tutorial 

 

 

thanks 

 

 

Edited by karijno
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Honestly I own FCR and I prefer the freeware Flight Recorder, it does the job pretty well and very simple. It does have some quirks but it works overall and never CTD on me comparing to FCR on my machine. And, I am an advocate for open source 😉

By the way, there is another new freeware tool here https://forums.flightsimulator.com/t/announcement-sky-dolly-flight-recorder-till213/370938 . Did anybody try it?


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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, omarsmak30 said:

Honestly I own FCR and I prefer the freeware Flight Recorder, it does the job pretty well and very simple. It does have some quirks but it works overall and never CTD on me comparing to FCR on my machine. And, I am an advocate for open source 😉

By the way, there is another new freeware tool here https://forums.flightsimulator.com/t/announcement-sky-dolly-flight-recorder-till213/370938 . Did anybody try it?

CTD are not FCR issue , but are MSFS issues on Simconnect FlightLoad API . If you use FCR option for load directly onthefly the recorded file you ll never get CTD. Anyway good luck with freeware 😉

Today will go out a complete VIDEO tutorial HOW YOU CAN OBTAIN THE BEST EXPERIENCE WITH FLIGHTCONTROLREPLAY . WIll contains advices and features roundup!

 

Edited by karijno

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I like FCR, but my problem is

a) It doesnt show your actual landing. Instead it shows you some sort of calculated landing. If you botch your landing and slam it into the ground, and maybe do a bounce, that will not be shown in the replay. It will show you did a supersmooth landing instead (at least with the a320). 
b) The UI is not intuitive. Ie, they added a function to start flying from your scrub position, but didn't add any new button to indicate how you would do that. I am left guessing that you press stop ONCE, then unpause the sim and continue. If you press stop TWICE you end the replay. These functions need separate buttons, and the developer said they would implement it "in next patch", but that has come and gone and I dont see an improvement to the UI. It is still the same as launch. 

Most of the time the developers are very responsive, and I like that. I do not regret getting the product, but I also think it should still be early access. 


Andreas Stangenes

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5 minutes ago, Andreas Stangenes said:

I like FCR, but my problem is

a) It doesnt show your actual landing. Instead it shows you some sort of calculated landing. If you botch your landing and slam it into the ground, and maybe do a bounce, that will not be shown in the replay. It will show you did a supersmooth landing instead (at least with the a320). 
b) The UI is not intuitive. Ie, they added a function to start flying from your scrub position, but didn't add any new button to indicate how you would do that. I am left guessing that you press stop ONCE, then unpause the sim and continue. If you press stop TWICE you end the replay. These functions need separate buttons, and the developer said they would implement it "in next patch", but that has come and gone and I dont see an improvement to the UI. It is still the same as launch. 

Most of the time the developers are very responsive, and I like that. I do not regret getting the product, but I also think it should still be early access. 

Hi!!

For a) , in the patch i think this issue is resolved , i tested bouncing on the runway and i see that . But anyway improvments will be made in next updates

b) UI revamp will be in the v5 😉 , that will be free for all customers as my policy is clear , buy once and you ll have lifetime updates (also major)

Thank you so much for your help and for help of all comunity ! FlightControlReplay grow up with the comunity feedback .... And i hope to bring a lot of "game changing feature" in the near future

 

Thanks

 

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Another very good feature of Free Flight Recorder that I realised by chance is; after you recorded a flight with B737(for example), you can play that saved replay with another aircraft,  A320NX (for example) , which is a very cool , as well.

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1 minute ago, kt069 said:

Another very good feature of Free Flight Recorder that I realised by chance is; after you recorded a flight with B737(for example), you can play that saved replay with another aircraft,  A320NX (for example) , which is a very cool , as well.

You can do the same thing with FlightControlReplay 

checking the fcr option “load replay without load initial situation” in that way you can load flight recorded and play with plane at your choice !

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The competition is hotting up. 😈

And I don't have to turn off the AI aircraft  🙂👍

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Beagle12 said:

The competition is hotting up. 😈

And I don't have to turn off the AI aircraft  🙂👍

if you want you can also create a flight formation and follow these with your user plane. Using also 2 instance of Flightcontrolreplay !  More on that in the tutorial video you can watch starting today 

Edited by karijno
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1 hour ago, karijno said:

If you use FCR option for load directly onthefly the recorded file you ll never get CTD

You mean by enabling the "load without the welcome screen thingy"? If yes, would it make sense to just remove it and keep it by default loading the reply with that welcome screen?


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