How To Produce Videogame Videos For YouTube

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While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have video sharing features that let you easily upload video to the 'net, they can't really replace high quality, well edited, well-produced videos that people record and upload themselves. If anything, they have just flooded social networks with lots of terrible footage and utter garbage that no one will actually want to watch. If you are interested in producing real videogame-related content on YouTube, we have some tips.

When we say videogame content on YouTube, we're talking about things like Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue Season 1 (Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5) or Achievement Hunter videos, or Game Grumps, or Two Best Friends Play, just to name a few. Producing your own videos just like these actually isn't all that hard, as long as you have the right hardware.

Capture Devices

The first thing you'll need (other than the obvious game console / games / broadband internet for uploads / etc.) is some sort of video capture device. There are lots to choose from these days with the most popular being the Hauppage HDPVR 2 Gaming Edition, Hauppauge HDPVR Rocket, AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable, AVerMedia AVerCapture HD, Elgato Game Capture HD60, and Roxio Game Capture HD Pro.  They all have different features, such as some being able to record component or composite in addition to HDMI or having a PC-free mode.

 The recording quality, particularly for producing YouTube videos, is fairly even among them.

We rank the best gaming video capture devices right here.

All of these devices can record your Xbox 360 gameplay footage in 1080P just fine. High performance does come with a cost, however, and a decent capture unit can run you anywhere from $100 for the Roxio on up to $160+ for the Hauppage HDPVR2 or Elgato.

These devices are leagues better than the Adaptec GameBridge we reviewed years ago and are, honestly, worth the cash if you really want to make good quality videos.

It has to be noted that recording PlayStation 3 gameplay isn't as easy as recording the Xbox 360 because the PS3 has blocks that prevent you from recording via HDMI. You can, however, use component cables to still record your PS3 in high definition. Also worth noting is that recording anything that is sub-hd (such as a SNES, N64, Genesis, etc.) doesn't really work very well on these devices and you will be better off with a device meant to record lower-res composite or s-video signals. The Wii, despite only being 480P, works fine. And the Wii U, of course, is HD so it works just like the Xbox 360 as far as recording goes.

Check out our full guide on the Basics of Capturing Gaming Videos for YouTube.

Editing

Once you have a capture device, you'll need a decent enough PC to actually record and edit the video. Video editing and processing, particularly for HD video, requires a fair bit of hardware muscle. Nothing top end or anything, but a cheap-o PC is definitely going to struggle. It also has to be said that video processing and encoding and uploading, again especially with large-size HD videos, can also take a long time.

Patience is key.

We can't offer much help on editing the video, but there are lots and lots of different video editing software out there. Your capture device will most likely come with some sort of simple editor, or you could use Microsoft Movie Maker that is already installed on just about every Windows PC (and, honestly, it isn't too bad), but as you get more experience you might want to move up to more advanced programs with more features like Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere, which you'll have to pay for.

Adding Audio

Adding commentary to your video requires a microphone of some sort. A popular choice among podcasters and many video producers on YouTube is the Blue Snowball microphone for around $60.

Or you can step up in quality and go for the Blue Yeti at around $130.  Any microphone will do, of course, but generally, you'll get better quality with a higher-end microphone. And then, of course, you'll probably want to also edit your audio, which requires a program like Audacity, which is free, that will let you encode it in the format of your choice and easily edit it. Then you just have to combine your recorded video and audio files in your video editor (make sure to sync up the audio).

Our full Beginner's Guide to Recording Commentary for Gaming Videos has more details.

Copyright Issues

In the past. copyright issues were a huge minefield when it came to making gaming YouTube videos, but things have changed here in 2015.  Many game companies have issued blanket statements allowing gamers to create videos and even monetize them with little to no restrictions.  There are still some things you have to be careful about, however, such as using music.  We cover everything you need to know about copyright, content ID, fair use, and more regarding this issue in our full Guide to Copyright and Monetization of Gaming Videos article.

Bottom Line

Whether your goal is to try to make money or you just want to share your gaming skills with the world, making game videos on YouTube can be a lot of fun. The whole process can take a long time - editing, encoding, uploading can take hours just for a 10-minute video - but even then it is hard to say it isn't enjoyable. You get to see your raw work come together into a finished and (hopefully) entertaining project, which is immensely satisfying.

See more tips and tricks for gaming YouTubers here.