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 Videogame Recording

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PostSubject: Videogame Recording   Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:16 pm

Hey guys, I've been watching a few let's plays recently and it got me wondering just how one goes about recording games in the first place. Since we have a few recorders here on the site, I figured I may as well start a thread on the subject, not only so I could learn something about it, but maybe so the recorders could share methods and whatnot.

Anywhoo, having said that, how does one go about recording, anyway?? What kind of equipment do you guys use, how do you hook your computer up to your console? And how about voice recording and editing? I have experience with film editing and the like, but assuming I did want to give this a try, where would I even start?!

I hope I can get a good and productive little topic going...I really do think it would be cool to try my hand at making some FTW videos.

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PostSubject: Re: Videogame Recording   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:30 am

GAME CAPTURE CARDS

There's several methods of recording video.

First, for those with absolutely no money at all, there's the EasyCap, which I currently use. Costs maybe $15 and allows you to capture either composite or S-Video signals. It won't give you HD video and it's not a high-quality piece of equipment, but it gets the job done. A more expensive form of the same sort of capture device is the Dazzle Capture Card by Pinnacle.

If you want the option of HD video and/or you've got some more scratch, the two baseline consumer products are the Happauge HD PVR and the Blackmagic Design Intensity. Both allow for composite, S-Video and component video, and the Intensity also allows for HDMI.

I don't know about how either of them perform (I do want to get the Intensity when I have the money, though), but I do know a few things that would apply to this anyway.

Component video will allow for up to 1080i video, which means any video you get that you'll upload will have to be 720p; NEVER EVER EVER use interlaced video. So the HDPVR only allows up to 720p, while the Intensity can do 1080p; however this doesn't make it a clear-cut case.

For one thing, the PS3 can't be captured over HDMI due to Sony's video protection; it has to be over component, limiting it to 720p that way. Additionally, the Intensity can't get 1080p video at 60fps; but even this isn't important, since anything uploaded to YouTube (which you will be doing unless you have your own web hosting) is automatically processed, which does three important things:

1) It reduces the video down to 30fps if it's above it.

2) It scales the video down to the nearest resolution standard it can. This means that if your video is 1079 pixels high, it will downscale it to 720.

3) In general, it just makes the video look worse than you originally uploaded.

Of course, that's more important when you actually get to editing the video; and in terms of which of the two to get, almost none of the points I've made have actually stuck; they've all been cancelled out by something.

In short, to the best of my knowledge, besides how the video is actually brought in by the device, there is basically no functional difference between the two. You'll be using component no matter what, you'll only need to go up to 720p and you won't need to capture at anything above 30fps.

Pick whichever you want/is cheapest/whatever, as far as I know; I think the PVR is the preferred device among LPers, though, but I'm not totally sure.

There are a couple of other video options that I don't know anything about off the top of my head, too. The Elgato Game Capture, Roxio Game Capture and probably a bunch of others; as far as I know, though, only the Intesnity and the PVR have options for both SD and HD video, for whatever that's worth to you.
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PostSubject: Re: Videogame Recording   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:53 am

RECORDING AND EDITING

Recording the video shouldn't be a problem: Open whatever program is supposed to work with it and go.

When it comes to audio, first let me explain what not to do. What you should NOT do is what I did for almost all of my videos: record the commentary and the game audio in a single track. When I recorded my videos, I'd open the program I was going to record with, set the audio source that was going to be taken from to my microphone and let the mic pick up both my voice and the TV speakers. DON'T DO THIS!

Unless you're okay with piracy, you've got several thousand dollars for Adobe products or you have a Mac and can make GarageBand work for you properly, you'll want to download a little program called Audacity. This will let you record audio and export it, nice and easy (though the interface is a little cluttered).

There's two different ways to record commentary, live and in post. We'll start with live.

Since the EasyCap can do this (or at least the program I use for it can), I'm going to assume the more expensive options can as well: Mute your TV and plug your headphones into your computer. You should be able to listen to the game audio (and there shouldn't be lag, I don't think) on the computer, recording the game audio as you capture and your commentary in Audacity.

If you do this, you'll need to set a "sync point" in your commentary, so that you can align it with the video properly when you edit. To do this, just get something on screen that you can control and say out loud when you're doing this. Something like being at a file select menu and announcing "One, two, three, two, one," as you change the selected file will work. You can now sync the commentary to the video.

Then there's post commentary.

No need to set a sync point and you don't need to wear headphones or anything; you can just start capturing and play the game as normal. As a slight side note, if you're planning on post commentary, it's likely for a Let's Play; if this is the case, you might want to keep that in mind as you're playing the game, in case there's things in the game you want to deliberately slow down for or stop to look at; sometimes playing normally will be too fast for people.

Once you've recorded the video and edited it how you see fit, open Audacity and record your commentary (you may or may not want to write a script to cut out "ums" and "uhs"), then bring it into the video editing software and set up some audio ducking so that the game audio doesn't eclipse the commentary when you are speaking and that it's not impossible to hear when you aren't speaking, and you're done.

I'll leave actual video editing software for another post, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: Videogame Recording   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:56 am

Reserved.
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PostSubject: Re: Videogame Recording   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:56 am

Reserved.
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PostSubject: Re: Videogame Recording   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:57 am

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