A video game screencast is nothing more than recording your video game session. You record the actual video game as you are playing it, making it into a custom movie of sorts. The reasons for recording a video game are numerous.
If you’re training for a competition, watching your game playback will allow you to see mistakes you make, as well as routes you may have missed. Or, you can post it online as a game walkthrough for others to use as a reference for your own game time – you can even use it to prove that you beat a score or found a game secret.
Promoting your video game content online is a great way to monetize your hobby.
No matter the reason for recording your video game play, the process can be simple or difficult. The difficulty will mostly depend on the platform you’re playing on, the TV or monitor used, and the equipment you have. To record your video game sessions, follow the simple steps below.
How to get started in recording your gameplay
- Screen Capture device
- Computer or Game console
Step 1: The first step is to pick the platform you’ll play the game on.
If you’re a PC gamer, recording your sessions will be incredibly simple. If you’re using a gaming console, however, it will be a little more expensive and time consuming. Even more so if you intend to make this into a regular thing. One option is to try a video game rental scheme such as Gamefly or the soon-to-released rental program from Gamestop. If you have the money to spend, then go ahead and just buy the games.
Most video game content producers prefer to cover several gaming consoles as viewers want to see games on different platforms. Again, this route becomes very expensive if you intend to buy every game. Imagine buying FIFA for both XBox and Playstation. It could get expensive very easily. Hence, I recommend renting your games.
The great thing about trying these rental schemes is they will eventually release streaming options. This allows for even greater flexibility. You don’t have to wait for the games to arrive via the U.S. Post office or UPS. You can just downloard straight to your computer or gaming console.
Great debate for any gamer: PC or console (which one?!)
Indeed, the PC offers the highest quality in terms of FPS and graphics. For some games, it is quite cumbersome to use a keyboard for controls. However, many games now allow for joystick or gamepad use so you can always use those. In my experience, PCs are great for the big pro games (only because they use PCs so you don’t have a choice). These games include Starcraft, Leagues of Legend and CSGO. These hardcore gamers spend as much money on their computer setup as they do with their sports cars (from all the money they earn from tournaments).
PCs are all about gaming hardware: the monitor, the fancy mouse, the sound and egonomics. So be prepared to pay up for quality stuff if you want to be a pro gamer.
PCs are also great for many role playing and strategy games. These games include the Civilization games and Europa Universalis. Because these games have a complex control system, it’s much easier to use the hot buttons on a keyboard rather than cycling through options with your gamepad on XBox or Playstation. So if you’re into the RPG and strategy games, I’d stick with the PC.
Consoles are great for their exclusive content and for sports games. It’s very difficult to play NBA 2K on a computer with your keyboard. Take a look at the advanced techniques for today’s FIFA. Those bicycle kicks and spinning dribble moves are almost impossible to do on a keyboard. They are much easier to pull off with a gamepad.
Also, the community is not as active as the console community. Most games are sold on consoles so if you’re looking to find like-minded gamers to show off your NBA 2K or FIFA skills – you’re better off using a console.
Finally, there is the price issue. PCs are expensive and a decent rig can cost your about $2k easy. However, consoles come out of the box and range from $150-400. So decide what type of games you like, and what you’re willing to spend. Then make a decision based on that.
Step 2: Get the screen capture device.
For PC Gamers: All you need is a digital screen capture utility. Camtasia offers a nice commercial option – if you’re looking for free software, there’s Cam Studio and Free Screen Recorder. I recommend the second, as the video comes out looking better.
Install the software and choose a video quality setting. Check the box next to ‘Record Audio’. Select the monitor and start up the game. Do a quick test to see if the video quality is where you want it. When it’s been tweaked to perfection, simply hit RECORD and start playing.
Here’s a video tutorial on how to setup Camtasia for video game capture:
For Console Gamers: This is a little more tricky. The odds are you’re going to need to purchase a video capture device from an electronics store. There are a few options that you may have, however, so try these first:
Do you have a nearby computer or laptop with a video capture card? If so, you can use this and record the video directly to your hard drive using standard software.
If your computer lacks a capture card, then do you have a digital camera or camcorder with AV in. There are many models that allow you to hook the camcorder up to a TV with RCA cables and record the video. Check your owners manual to see if your’s can do this.
If neither of these options work for you, you need to do one of two things: by a cheap camcorder that records signals or buy a video capture device. If you don’t have a home computer, do the first. If you have a home computer, do the second.
If you have a computer:
Head over to your nearest electronics store and pick up a tv video capture device. The best one seems to be produced by ADS Tech and is called DVD Xpress. You simply need the cheapest one available. Here is a good guide on what are the cheapest (free!) ways to get video game capture device. The have a lot of options to choose from which include the following:
- Nvidia ShadowPlay
- AMD Relive
- OBS Studio
- MSI Afterburner
There are other expensive alternatives that Youtubes seem to like, such as the Roxio Game Capture and the Elgato Game capture – both retailing around $150 bucks. They’re great and reliable – just be wary of the sticker price.
Here’s video tutorial of using an Elgato video capture device for your console gaming:
If you don’t have a computer:
You need to buy a cheap flash-based camcorder that has an AV in recording feature. An example of this is the Aiptek A-HD and Aiptek MPVR – DXG and Vivitar both have models that can do this. Sometimes Walmart carries off-brands that are cheap but will record the video signal. Unless you want to use the camcorder feature also, just buy the cheapest camcorder you can find with this feature.
Once you have it, hook the RCA cables up to your TV out and plug the other end into the AV port on the camcorder. Choose AV IN and press the record button. The video will be recorded and stored on the flash card in the camcorder.