Automatically Recording Manual Test Results


To avoid "no repro" issues or make dynamic bugs come alive — RECORD THEM.

Microsoft provides the easy to use, free tool, Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, to record your screen and audio commentary/narration. (Think usability lab for cheap!). You can download and install it in about 5 minutes

     http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/encoder/default.mspx

Note : Requires ‘Genuine Windows Advantage’ and installation from an Admin group account.

It is easy to setup a session to “capture screen”. You can do it silently, but I think audio recording of a microphone adds immensely to the recoding. Most laptops come with built in microphones. Desktop machines invariably have a microphone input on their audio card. For desktop machines you should acquire a simple microphone. Using your microphone as default audio device lets you narrate your recording as you go along.

Once Encoder is installed and a microphone present, you should experiment a little to determine what fidelity level works for you. For my Toshiba Portege M200, I concluded that recording at the “medium” fidelity level worked best. When I recorded at the “high” fidelity level on the M200, the experience was much worse and the recording far jerkier. If you have a high power, multi-cpu, desktop machine then maybe record with high fidelity.

Remember the Encoder is recording video, not computer screens. Lower screen resolutions will provide cleaner, better video.

I recommend setting resolution to something low like 768 x 1024.

It takes less than 1MB/Minute at medium. So a 4 hour non-stop test session would be < ¼ GB. 

Directions

Typically capture specific browser window (unless multiple windows needed to demo problem. Check "Capture audio from the default audio device" if you have a microphone. I like flash border to remind me (but it can get annoying).

  1. Choose a filename for your recording session.
  2. Medium (for low power, low res machine) or high (for high power, high res machine)
  3. Throw in a title and author — YOU!
  4. I usually click "begin capturing screens when I click Finish". Alternative do the "start encoding" on the main Encoder window.

Finish

  1. Click on Media Encoder in the bar on the bottom
  2. Clock stop encoding (Picture 2 below)
  3. I usually don’t bother saving sessions, but you might.
  4. Use Movie Maker to edit into clips as needed (Start button All programs Accessories Windows Movie Maker)

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About testmuse

Software Test Architect in distributed computing.
This entry was posted in software testing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Automatically Recording Manual Test Results

  1. Anutthara says:

     
    Of course, you know about it, Keith; but for your blog readers: try MTR :  http://blogs.msdn.com/anutthara/archive/2007/08/09/what-s-new-in-rosario-for-vstt-manual-test-runner.aspx – We’ve got the windows media encoder integrated into the runner with auto bug filing thrown in.
    Devs can never "no repro" a bug ever again. 😀

  2. NICK says:

    I don’t really agree with the statement that you’ll NEVER get a bug resolved "no repro".. sometimes bugs just wont repro. if it won’t repro, what good is a video of it reproing, you still dont get to see the same behavior when you follow the same steps….
     
    other than that, the videos are definitely a good idea.

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