How to Record Gameplay on PS4

You can even record, edit, and share what just happened

Recording gameplay used to be a complicated operation best left to the pros, but the PlayStation 4 includes everything you need to record, edit, and share your best gameplay moments right out of the box. This feature is available for free, so you don't need a PS Plus subscription to take advantage of it. Your PS4 even records short clips as you play, so you're covered if you forgot to hit record.

Saving a PS4 gameplay clip with a PS4 controller in the foreground.
Westend61 / Getty 

How Does Recording Gameplay Work on PS4?

Traditionally, recording gameplay has required either a capture card in a computer or a dedicated video capture hardware device. It was an expensive and complicated proposition that you don't have to worry about if you own a PS4.

Your PS4 has everything you need to record, edit, and share gameplay built right in, and it even has a few different options for recording. If you're interested in recording your PS4 gameplay, you have these two basic options:

  • Regular recording: You actively start recording and record a predetermined amount of video, at which point it stops. You can also choose to stop recording at any time. This is useful if you're trying to record a specific thing.
  • Retroactive recording: Your PS4 is constantly recording gameplay whenever you're in-game. At any time, you can choose to save the last 15 minutes of that gameplay. This is useful if something cool or weird happened and you weren't already recording.

How to Record a Gameplay Clip on PS4

If you're about to attempt something cool, or you want to illustrate something specific, then you can initiate a recording at any time. All you have to do is fire up the PS4 game of your choice, and double tap the Share button to get started. You can then let the system record for the default amount of time, or stop the recording when you're done to conserve space on your hard drive.

Here are the exact steps involved in recording a gameplay clip on PS4:

  1. Start playing the PS4 game of your choice.

    A screenshot of Call of Duty on PS4.
  2. When you want to start recording, quickly press the Share button (oval button to the left of the touchpad) on your controller two times in a row.

    Close up of the Share button on a PS4 controller.
     Jeremy Laukkonen
  3. Look for a small notice that contains a film icon next to a red recording icon to appear on the left side of your screen. That means you are successfully recording gameplay.

    A screenshot of the PS4 recording indicator.
  4. Continue playing, and your PS4 will record for 15 minutes unless you have set a different default recording period.

    PS4 gameplay while recording.
  5. If you want to stop recording prematurely, double tap the Share button on your controller again.

  6. Look for the small notice with the film icon and recording icon to appear again. That means you are no longer recording.

    A screenshot of the PS4 recording indicator.
  7. When you see the message Video clip saved, that means your PS4 has successfully saved your clip and it's ready to share or edit.

    A screenshot of the PS4 video clip saved message.

How to Record What Just Happened Retroactively on a PS4

There's no way to know when something cool or weird is going to happen when you're playing, so there's a good chance that you won't be recording at precisely the right moment. When that happens, you can take advantage of the PS4's retroactive recording feature.

Whenever you're playing a game on your PS4, the system is constantly recording your gameplay in the background. It records in clips that are 15 minutes long by default, and each clip is automatically overwritten as a new one starts in order to conserve storage space.

If you want to record something that just happened on your PS4, all you have to do is hit the share button and save the most recent 15 minute clip.

Here's how to retroactively save gameplay footage on PS4:

  1. If something cool just happened, and you weren't already recording, quickly tap the Share button on your PS4 controller.

    A screenshot of Call of Duty on PS4.
  2. Select Save Video Clip.

    A screenshot of the PS4 share menu.
  3. When you see the Video clip saved message, your clip has been successfully saved.

    A screenshot of the PS4 share menu showing an uploaded clip.
  4. You can now return to your game and watch your clip later, or immediately head to clip gallery to trim and share your gameplay.

How to Edit and Share Clips on PS4

Once you've recorded a clip on your PS4, you may want to share it. Sony gives you an option to upload your clips to a few different social media sites, like Twitter and YouTube, and you can also trim your clips down before uploading if you like.

Here's how to edit and share your PS4 gameplay clips:

  1. From the PS4 home screen, select Capture Gallery.

    A screenshot of the PS4 home screen.
  2. Select a specific game to view recorded clips, or All to view all of your clips.

    A screenshot of the PS4 capture gallery.
  3. Highlight the clip you want to edit or share, and press the Options button (oval button to the right of the touchpad).

    A screenshot of clips on a PS4.

    If you want to share an unedited clip, press the Share button here instead, and skip to step 11.

  4. From the options menu, select Trim to edit your clip.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip viewer options.
  5. By default, your clip is chopped into 10 second intervals. If you want longer or shorter intervals, highlight and select 10 Second Intervals.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip editor.
  6. Select the desired interval.

    A screenshot of PS4 clip interval lengths.

    Interval length effects your choices of where you can start and end your clip. When set at 10 seconds, you can start and stop your clip at 10 second intervals. That means your clip can start at 0:10, 0:20 and so on, and it can end at 0:20, 0:30 and so on. Longer lengths make it easier to navigate long clips, while short lengths allow you to fine tune your stop and start points.

  7. Highlight the frame where you want your clip to start, and select Start Here.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip editor.
  8. Highlight the frame where you want your clip to end, and select End Here.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip editor.
  9. Select OK.

    A screenshot of an edited clip on PS4 ready to save.
  10. Select Save as New Video Clip to preserve your original footage in case you want it later.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip saving options.
  11. Select your newly generated clip, and press the Share button if you want to share it online.

    A screenshot of PS4 clips.
  12. Select OK.

    A screenshot of the PS4 clip upload message.
  13. Select YouTube or Twitter to upload your video.

    A screenshot of sharing a PS4 clip.
  14. Your video will upload.

    A screenshot of the PS4 wait screen.

    If you haven't yet linked your Twitter or YouTube account, you will be prompted to do so.

How to Change the Default Recording Length on PS4

By default, your PS4 records video clips that are 15 minutes long. If you double tap the share button to start recording, the system will automatically stop and save your clip after 15 minutes have passed. Similarly, the system automatically saves the most recent 15 minutes of your gameplay automatically in case you want to save a clip retroactively.

If you're running out of space on your PS4 drive, you can set the default clip time to a shorter interval down to a minimum of five minutes. Alternately, you can set the default time to a maximum of 60 minutes if you want massive clips and don't want to miss anything. That takes a lot of hard drive space, but it is an option if you want it.

Here's how to change the default recording length on your PS4:

  1. From the main PS4 menu, navigate to Settings.

    A screenshot of the PS4 home screen.
  2. Select Sharing and Broadcasts.

    A screenshot of PS4 settings.
  3. Select Video Clip Settings.

    A screenshot of PS4 Sharing and Broadcast settingss.
  4. Select Length of Video Clip.

    A screenshot of PS4 Video Clip Settings.
  5. Select the desired length, from 30 seconds to 60 minutes.

    A screenshot of PS4 video clip length options.
  6. Newly recorded clips will now be of your chosen length.

    A screenshot of PS4 video clip settings.