Record at constant fps with CanvasCaptureMediaStream even on slow computers

The MediaRecorder API is meant to record live-streams, doing edition is not what it was designed to do, and it doesn’t do it very well to be honest…

The MediaRecorder itself has no concept of frame-rate, this is normally defined by the MediaStreamTrack. However, the CanvasCaptureStreamTrack doesn’t really make it clear what its frame rate is.
We can pass a parameter to HTMLCanvas.captureStream(), but this only tells the max frames we want per seconds, it’s not really an fps parameter.
Also, even if we stop drawing on the canvas, the recorder will still continue to extend the duration of the recorded video in real time (I think that technically only a single long frame is recorded though in this case).

So… we gonna have to hack around…

One thing we can do with the MediaRecorder is to pause() and resume() it.
Then sounds quite easy to pause before doing the long drawing operation and to resume right after it’s been made? Yes… and not that easy either…
Once again, the frame-rate is dictated by the MediaStreamTrack, but this MediaStreamTrack can not be paused.
Well, actually there is one way to pause a special kind of MediaStreamTrack, and luckily I’m talking about CanvasCaptureMediaStreamTracks.
When we do call our capture-stream with a parameter of 0, we are basically having manual control over when new frames are added to the stream.
So here we can synchronize both our MediaRecorder adn our MediaStreamTrack to whatever frame-rate we want.

The basic workflow is

await the_long_drawing_task;
writeTheFrameToStream(); // track.requestFrame();
await wait( time_per_frame );

Doing so, the recorder is awaken only the time per frame we decided, and a single frame is passed to the MediaStream during this time, effectively mocking a constant FPS drawing for what the MediaRecorder is concerned.

But as always, hacks in this still experimental area come with a lot of browsers weirdness and the following demo actually only works in current Chrome…

For whatever reasons, Firefox will always generate files with twice the number of frames than what has been requested, and it will also occasionally prepend a long first frame…

Also to be noted, Chrome has a bug where it will update the canvas stream at drawing, even though we initiated this stream with a frameRequestRate of 0. So this means that if you start drawing before everything is ready, or if the drawing on your canvas itself takes a long time, then our recorder will record half-baked frames that we didn’t asked for.
To workaround this bug, we thus need to use a second canvas, used only for the streaming. All we’ll do on that canvas is to drawImage the source one, which will always be a fast enough operation. to not face that bug.

class FrameByFrameCanvasRecorder {
  constructor(source_canvas, FPS = 30) {
    this.FPS = FPS;
    this.source = source_canvas;
    const canvas = this.canvas = source_canvas.cloneNode();
    const ctx = this.drawingContext = canvas.getContext('2d');

    // we need to draw something on our canvas
    ctx.drawImage(source_canvas, 0, 0);
    const stream = = canvas.captureStream(0);
    const track = this.track = stream.getVideoTracks()[0];
    // Firefox still uses a non-standard CanvasCaptureMediaStream
    // instead of CanvasCaptureMediaStreamTrack
    if (!track.requestFrame) {
      track.requestFrame = () => stream.requestFrame();
    // prepare our MediaRecorder
    const rec = this.recorder = new MediaRecorder(stream);
    const chunks = this.chunks = [];
    rec.ondataavailable = (evt) => chunks.push(;
    // we need to be in 'paused' state
    waitForEvent(rec, 'start')
      .then((evt) => rec.pause());
    // expose a Promise for when it's done
    this._init = waitForEvent(rec, 'pause');

  async recordFrame() {

    await this._init; // we have to wait for the recorder to be paused
    const rec = this.recorder;
    const canvas = this.canvas;
    const source = this.source;
    const ctx = this.drawingContext;
    if (canvas.width !== source.width ||
      canvas.height !== source.height) {
      canvas.width = source.width;
      canvas.height = source.height;

    // start our timer now so whatever happens between is not taken in account
    const timer = wait(1000 / this.FPS);

    // wake up the recorder
    await waitForEvent(rec, 'resume');

    // draw the current state of source on our internal canvas (triggers requestFrame in Chrome)
    ctx.clearRect(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);
    ctx.drawImage(source, 0, 0);
    // force write the frame

    // wait until our frame-time elapsed
    await timer;

    // sleep recorder
    await waitForEvent(rec, 'pause');

  async export () {

    this.recorder.stop(); => track.stop());
    await waitForEvent(this.recorder, "stop");
    return new Blob(this.chunks);


// how to use:
(async() => {
  const FPS = 30;
  const duration = 5; // seconds

  let x = 0;
  let frame = 0;
  const ctx = canvas.getContext('2d');
  ctx.textAlign = 'right';
  draw(); // we must have drawn on our canvas context before creating the recorder

  const recorder = new FrameByFrameCanvasRecorder(canvas, FPS);

  // draw one frame at a time
  while (frame++ < FPS * duration) {
    await longDraw(); // do the long drawing
    await recorder.recordFrame(); // record at constant FPS
  // now all the frames have been drawn
  const recorded = await recorder.export(); // we can get our final video file
  vid.src = URL.createObjectURL(recorded);
  vid.onloadedmetadata = (evt) => vid.currentTime = 1e100; // workaround
  download(vid.src, 'movie.webm');

  // Fake long drawing operations that make real-time recording impossible
  function longDraw() {
    x = (x + 1) % canvas.width;
    draw(); // this triggers a bug in Chrome
    return wait(Math.random() * 300)

  function draw() {
    ctx.fillRect(0, 0, canvas.width, canvas.height);
    ctx.fillRect(x, 0, 50, 50);
    ctx.fillText(frame + "" + FPS * duration, 290, 140);
<canvas id="canvas"></canvas>
<video id="vid" controls></video>

  // Some helpers
  // Promise based timer
  function wait(ms) {
    return new Promise(res => setTimeout(res, ms));
  // implements a sub-optimal monkey-patch for requestPostAnimationFrame
  // see for details
  if (!window.requestPostAnimationFrame) {
    window.requestPostAnimationFrame = function monkey(fn) {
      const channel = new MessageChannel();
      channel.port2.onmessage = evt => fn(;
      requestAnimationFrame((t) => channel.port1.postMessage(t));
  // Promisifies EventTarget.addEventListener
  function waitForEvent(target, type) {
    return new Promise((res) => target.addEventListener(type, res, {
      once: true
  // creates a downloadable anchor from url
  function download(url, filename = "file.ext") {
    a = document.createElement('a');
    a.textContent = = filename;
    a.href = url;
    return a;

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