Learn How to Record Video Games at VideoGameRecording.com

Thanks so much for visiting VideoGameRecording.com. I’m just an ordinary, casual gamer who has tried to learn a lot about how to record video games and put it together in a website so that other people can learn too. Take a few minutes to explore, maybe starting with one of the links below.

AVerMedia Game Capture HD II C285 Announced!

New AVerMedia C285 Game Capture HD II

AVerMedia Game Capture HD II

Riding on the tails of a fairly recent release of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable (LGP), AVerMedia has announced their new product, the Game Capture HD II. This is pretty interesting timing, considering the LGP is one of the more recent releases into the game capture card space, coming out in April of this year. It’s also interesting, since the Xbox One and PS4 are launching just a couple of months from now with their own, baked-in game DVR feature that will allow recording and live-streaming of gameplay. AVerMedia is betting that this feature won’t obsolete capture cards, but spur greater demand.

Core Features

  • Recording without a PC on either USB stick or 2.5″ HDD storage
  • Microphone in port for headset recording
  • Pause recording
  • Firmware for editing directly on your TV
  • LAN port for direct Internet upload
  • iPhone app for hardware status and remote control
  • Supports: Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 (PS4 support dependent on whether HDCP encryption is enforced; uncertain about ability to capture from older-gen consoles using component cables)

Cutting Out the PC

The AVerMedia Game Capture HD II does everything it’s older brother, the LGP does, but with a few upgrades and new features. Most capture cards require a direct connection to a PC, where the signal is siphoned off for recording by PC software. AVerMedia seems to like the idea of cutting out the PC. The LGP allowed recording directly onto a PC or straight onto an SD card. But the SD card capture was limited to 720p recording. The Game Capture HD II allows 1080p 30fps recording onto either a USB stick or 2.5″ HDD (not included).

Many gamers have found recording their commentary through their headsets to be a huge pain-point when capturing their gameplay. AVerMedia attempts to simplify the process by including a microphone-in jack right on the box. This presumably minimizes or eliminates syncing issues that some experience between the HDMI/component signal and separate microphone signal.

AVerMedia Game Capture HD II Ports

Editing and Sharing on the TV

AVerMedia has built some kind of front-end with editing tools directly into the box, which you can access straight on your TV. It’s still unclear how robust these editing capabilities will be, but it’s sure to include simple actions like trimming and watermarks. Though so far there doesn’t seem to be any recording buffer, like what’s available on the Elgato Game Capture HD, the Game Capture HD II does have a simple Pause feature. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, pressing the Record/Stop Recording button on a capture card really signifies the beginning and end of a video file. A Pause button means you can keep adding to the same video file, but cut out the extra time you spent away on the toilet.

To officially seal the PC fate in this game capture solution, there’s a LAN port right on the Game Capture HD II unit, allowing quick upload to YouTube. At this point it’s unclear it this is the ONLY place to upload your video and also if there are any streaming capabilities. I’m particularly eager to hear if they have built in Wi-Fi support.

GameMate iOS App

GameMate iOS App

This is a pretty unique and cool feature enhancement and one that I’m particularly excited about. The GameMate iOS app acts as a remote control for start/stop/pause of recording, screen capturing, and remaining recording time available based on hard drive space. On top of that, it provides video file management and remote posting of videos to YouTube and screenshots to Facebook. The app is currently available for download on the Apple App Store. While you can use it on iPad, it’s optimized for iPhone 5. AVerMedia has indicated that they are currently working on an Android version.

Release Date and Price

AVerMedia confirmed for me that the Game Capture HD II will be releasing in the US on September 24th. No clue yet on the price. I’m still really eager to get more information that will probably only come with the release. I’m particularly interested in seeing how robust the editing tools are.

UPDATE: I just found this short YouTube video that shows some of the editing capabilities. I don’t really understand what I’m seeing. Are they marking keyframes? But at least we can see what the UI looks like.

Final Thoughts

I’m super excited to try this sucker out. I’ve been planning on selling my current Hauppauge HD PVR 2 card and try out a new one. First up was the Elgato, but now I’m thinking I’ll be snatching up the AVerMedia Game Capture HD II first.

Clearly AVerMedia has taken the complete game capture solution to the next level. Even with the LGP, you had to stick your SD card into a PC for editing and upload. But the Game Capture HD II is really a standalone computer dedicated exclusively to recording video games. Can’t wait!

Check out the product page here: AVerMedia C285 Product Page

Hearthstone Beta Invitation

I’m In!

Hearthstone Beta

I’m pretty stoked, I got My Hearthstone Beta invitation on Thursday. If you haven’t heard about this game, it’s an online trading card (TCG) game put out by Blizzard based on the Warcraft franchise. I’ve only ever been invited a handful of betas, so I feel especial.

I’d been looking forward to Hearthstone because I’m a long-time WoW player. Laugh all you want, I’ve been playing since early 2005, on and off. Several years ago, I worked for a game developer who was building a TCG computer game based on the Marvel comic universe. Let’s just say I got pretty good at it and as a result of playing it more than I was actually working, my contract got extended ;-) Anyway, I was excited about the Blizzard TCG coming to the computer.

Holy hell this game is SO FUN. And addicting. I’ve been up until all hours of the night the last few nights playing and while I haven’t gotten very far, I feel like I’m starting to get a real feel for it. I’m working on a video that I’ll post on YouTube that shows the opening tutorial and some of the basics of the practice sessions. I’m only now getting into the online dueling, but I’ll post some of that also.

I sure hope someone starts reading this blog sometime soon.

Picking a Capture Card for Xbox 360

Why You Need a Capture Card for Xbox 360

Hey everybody! I wanted to take some time to explain the process around game capture on Xbox 360 because I see a lot of questions about it on forums and blog articles everywhere. I think there’s a growing realization out there about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a couple of examples of what doesn’t work:

  • A camcorder. Ugh. Too shaky, auto-focus goes haywire, and audio is terrible.
  • An analog video capture device. These capture an analog signal at a max resolution of 480p and most are notorious for being poorly made.
  • An internal PC capture card. These actually can work OK, but can be very hard to use. There’s always a delay between Xbox controller input and what actually will appear on your PC monitor. In any game that requires a quick response, this will make the gaming experience pretty much horrifying.

If there’s a secret, low-cost, insider way of recording Xbox 360 gameplay with good quality, I haven’t found it. And I’ve looked. The reality is, there’s a LOT that can go into making a gaming video, whether it’s Let’s Play, machinima, or a short tutorial. As with so much in life, the quality of your final product will largely depend on how much time and money you’re willing to invest into it.

#1 – Start with a Decent PC

I know, I know… this is a post about capture cards. And yes, we’re talking about recording Xbox 360 gameplay. But you still need a decent PC along with it. Onto what are we recording this video? Your PC, of course, and there’s a significant amount of processing and disk-writing going on while recording. I have personal experience with recording on two vastly different systems (a quad-core CPU gaming rig versus a dual-core CPU netbook) using the same capture card and let’s just say that the video on my gaming rig was the only usable footage. Each capture card manufacturer has a set of recommended specifications for your PC, but in my experience, it’s better to push it up a little higher beyond their specs, especially if you’re recording at a high bit rate.

Also, think about the condition of your hard drive. If you’ve only got a hundred or so gigabytes of space available on a 5400rpm drive, that might not cut it. Video eats up a LOT of hard drive space very quickly. Consider a 7200rpm drive or perhaps even an SSD if you want to keep the recording lag on your PC to a minimum.

Don’t stress about needing a screaming-fast gaming system. You don’t. But if you buy a capture card and use it with an old, low-end PC, you might be frustrated by the results.

#2 – Pick a Respected, High-Definition (HD) External Gaming Capture Card

There are all kinds of capture devices out there, from little standard-definition adapters to PCI-e cards for your PC. But the real winners here are external capture cards using a “pass-through” method of game capture. All this means is that you’re playing your Xbox 360 on your HDTV like you always would, while the stream is being siphoned off to your PC, where it’s being recorded. There is no performance hit to your gaming — you won’t even notice it’s happening unless you look at your PC. This is critical, because when recording your gameplay, you want to be at your best — no lag and no distractions. Just hit record and play your heart out.

In my opinion, there are only about 4 top gaming capture cards available on the market today. They all have strengths and weaknesses and no matter which one you decide on, pick the one that sounds the best to YOU.

  • Elgato Game Capture HD: Well-respected, widely-used, with great software and a DVR feature that allows you to retroactively record your gameplay even if you forgot to press record.
  • Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus: Solid capture card from a company with a long history of video capture products.
  • AVerMedia – C875 Live Gamer Portable: A unique little device that is very portable and allows you to not only record onto PC, but also record directly to an SD card, though at a lower resolution.
  • Roxio Game Capture HD PRO: The least-expensive product with a mixed customer response (I personally have never tried the Roxio Game Capture HD).

There are other products out there, but for a variety of reasons, these really are going to be your best bet. Definitely check out the specifications and features for these cards, because while they’re very similar in their core purpose, each has unique pros and cons. Also, check out my capture card reviews for my thoughts and some sample video. I’m still working on getting my hands on all of them, but I’ll be updating that page regularly as I’m able to review them.

#3 – Figure How You Want to Record, Edit, and Publish Your Videos

Once you’ve answered the whole best capture card for Xbox 360 question, the next part, while not essential, can take your videos to the next level. All of the gaming capture cards listed above come with their own software application for recording, light editing, and publishing. Some of them are pretty good, some of them are pretty bad. But they all are designed for the basic purpose of recording (or streaming) your Xbox 360 gameplay.

There are some game capture alternatives that are worth checking out. These aren’t primarily video recorders or editors, strictly-speaking, but are more focused on live-streaming to sites like TwitchTV and Ustream. But still, they have the ability to record onto your PC and come with some really cool features, like allowing webcam-overlay, picture-in-picture recording while you’re playing. I honestly haven’t tried any of these yet, but I’m super excited about them.

  • XSplit: Paid service, free trial available.
  • FFSPLIT: Free service.
  • Open Broadcaster Software: Open-source service.

As for editing, I use Windows Movie Maker and that’s all I’ve had experience with so far. I’m thinking about trying Blender, but otherwise I’m having a hard time finding a free or low-cost, decent video-editing application, at least until VideoLAN Movie Creator comes out. Everything I’ve tried is horrible. Do you have any recommendations?

#4 – Make Some Amazing Gaming Videos

I really hope this has been helpful. I’m still in the learning stages about video game capture and still have a long way to go. If you have any advice or other thoughts about recording from Xbox 360, I want to hear from you. Leave a comment or use the Contact link above. Or if you want to show off your videos, send me links, whether you found this post helpful for not.

Check out some of these other articles on VideoGameRecording.com:

Learning About Game Capture

What I’m Up To

I’m still in the process of finishing up my Hauppauge HD PVR 2 review and I’m learning a lot, not just about the game capture device itself, but game recording in general. I’ve finished up stitching together game footage and my next step is recording the voiceover. With nearly 7 minutes of footage, I’m more than a little nervous that I won’t have enough narration to fill the whole video.

Game Capture and Editing Tools I’m Using

With all this new video editing I’m doing, I feel severely limited by my tools. Here’s the list:

  • Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus – I didn’t skimp on this tool, as this is one of the premier game capture devices to record gameplay from Xbox and PS3. My problem is that I don’t have an Xbox. I really like PS3, but the fact that HDCP encryption prevents me from connecting via HDMI is proving to be a real problem. First, it’s a pain to connect the HD PVR 2 every single time, and unless I want to limit even my Blu-ray watching to 1080i, I have to switch the connections every time. I’m also noticing that recording quality isn’t that great. Lots of artifacts. I need to mess around with the settings in the Hauppauge Capture app to see if I can improve things. It might just be the limitation of the component-cable connection.
  • Microsoft Movie Maker – This is probably my worst tool. But it’s free. I’ve spent hours looking around for a decent, free video editor and I just can’t find one. Can’t wait until the VideoLAN Movie Creator open-source project publishes a stable beta build. Until then, I’d love it if anyone has any suggestions. Movie Maker is OK and it has a few good tools, but it’s very linear, if I understand that term correctly, and limited. Maybe at some point I’ll convince myself that I need to buy an editor.
  • Audacity - I’m so grateful for this tool. It does everything I could ever want, and more, and it’s completely free. For voiceovers, I really can’t ask for a better recording application. I’ve used it before to record audio books and it’s almost always worked flawlessly.

Xbox One and PS4 Updates

I know we’re all still watching the next-gen console horizon and waiting for more news. At the moment, I’ve put together a page dedicated to the game DVR capabilities of the Xbox One and PS4:

Game DVR on Xbox One and PS4

My main questions so far are:

Will I be able to transfer them off the console and onto my PC so I can edit them more?

Will PS4 still support HDCP, and if so, then how will they support external game capture cards without a component-out port?

Will the new game DVR capabilities shrink the market for external game capture cards, or will they expand it?

Games I’m Playing

I’ve also been playing a lot more games lately (less WoW), even though I have so little time. I’ve tried out The Last of Us and have really enjoyed the story and animation. PC is still my platform of choice, so I’m less familiar with the PS3 game controller. So in other words, I suck.

I’ve also played a bit of Bioshock Infinite. God, I LOVE the atmosphere so far. I actually rented this from Redbox for my PS3. I’m enjoying it so much that I have to get it for PC. Hopefully that’ll happen soon. I’ve played the original Bioshock quite a bit, but skipped the sequel. This new one looks way amazing, though I admittedly haven’t reached any combat yet. What’s up with that? I played like 90 minutes and still haven’t fought anything. Even so, I love it.

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