In a interesting twist from my usual video posts, I think it’s time to tell you guys how I go around making videos for my YouTube Channel, and by extension, how you guys can, too!
For a Show with no budget, I have to say, I try my hardest to create my episodes. Even if you don’t have a capture card, you can definitely make a few videos; all you need is just some creativity, and a few tools.
As methodologies vary from person to person, this is more of a tip sheet, but can be followed like a guide for a very generalized how-to for video creation.
What I use:
- For Consoles, if you Don’t have a Capture Card or a console that can record natively: A smartphone (Anything that records 1080p Video should do)
- Regardless of if you use Face-Cam or not, Whether it’s for Console or PC, Have a second camera or a microphone with you to record commentary.
- A Computer (When I started, I used a 2011 Dell Inspiron Laptop with 4GB of RAM and a first-gen Intel i3 Processor. If I’m willing to be that patient, any computer can work wonders if it’s decent enough)
- For PC games, and live streams in General: Software designed for those tasks. I used Blueberry Flashback Express to record games on my old PC. It’s not a full solution, as certain games won’t record properly, but the alternative, and more recommended option, Open Broadcast Software (which allows Recordings and live streams) won’t work with older hardware.
- Video Editing Software (Movie maker isn’t recommended. For Windows, I used to use the Demo Version of VideoPad Video Editor [avoid, as it tries to bundle crap with it], before I moved to ShotCut for more professional results. Use ShotCut if you want a painless way to implement Face-Cam.)
- An Audio Cable (Optional, More suited for Consoles like The Wii U and the 3DO [Consoles that can output audio to headphones]. You’ll also need a computer equipped with an microphone jack and audio editing/recording software to take full advantage of this)
It’s best to begin with PC games, to test the limits of your Computer’s powers and to get a sense of how long a video will take to process. If you do decide to jump into console games, just be aware that it can potentially take more time to setup and get going. Also, don’t expect to fire off a video in one day. That’s just unrealistic for your first time.
So first thing, we have to get all of our recording done. I’ll give you some tips for recording here, but since Recording methods vary widely depending on your computer, software, the target game, and even from person to person, I’ll leave it up to you to decide how to record.
For PC games
- Balance out Game performance with video quality: Unless you have more than enough power to record and play your game at full tilt, the highest settings, You’ll need to sacrifice either the game’s graphical quality, the recorded video’s quality, or both. Experiment with different settings before you commit to recording.
- Just because settings work best with one game, does not mean it work well with other games. The balance between Performance and quality isn’t “one size fits all”, especially if your computer isn’t up to snuff. Again, toy with the settings to find out what settings work with what games.
- If your recorder or encoder asks for a video codec, I would suggest using the x264 Codec. If you don’t have it, you can get it here.
- Check your Game’s and Computer’s audio levels. You don’t want to burst your eardrums, but you need the game to be audible enough to be recorded clearly without sounding distorted.
- Close any other programs that are running, and avoid opening any programs you don’t need unless necessary until you finish recording.
For Console games
- Make sure that the game, your controller, and anything else you need is in good working order.
- If you don’t have a capture card, try your hardest to get your camera into a static position right in front of your Television. Pile some seat cushions and boxes if you have to. (In fact, That’s what I do: No kidding!)
- If using an audio cable, Balance the audio out before you commit to a recording. You need it loud, but clear. If your audio begins to distort at points, you’ve set your volume up too high.
- If not using a Capture Card or an audio cable, balance the audio coming from your TV. Because you only get one chance to balance out the TV’s sound now, adjust it so you can be heard over the Television, but not so much that you drown out the game’s audio.
Regardless of what you record
- If you’re going to be playing multiplayer, get permission from each person who’s going to be playing. Let them know that you’re recording their reactions and will be making that into a video. If you don’t, those people can have the video pulled down [if they don’t like what they see]. If you’re unsure, stick to single-player games.
- If using “Face-Cam”, Place your camera in a static position pointed towards your face. Try your best to sync up your Face-Cam with the Game action on-screen: Use hand Gestures or more obvious noises [like pressing buttons, or just shouting “NOW!”] as you begin recording your game footage.
- Be natural: Especially during live-streams. Don’t be a motor mouth – I learned that the hard way. Just let the commentary come as it pleases.
- Get personal matters out of the way beforehand: Go to the bathroom, get a bite to eat, and relax before you settle down to record. Adding on to that last point, avoid recording under emotional stress, as this can affect the quality of your commentary.
- BE YOURSELF! While being a caricature does work for people like PewDiePie, it only works if you strike a very, Very delicate balance between annoyance and Funny. You’ll be surprised about how good your commentary can be if you just act natural!
After you record and retrieve all of your footage, it’s time to get editing! Again, because people have different software, goals and objectives, these will be more directed to tips than anything else.
- Make your footage look as good as possible. While this does start right from recording, the real optimization comes in with editing. Crop down and White Balance your video if you’re using Camera footage.
- Use the volume controls on your editor to balance out your commentary audio/face-cam with your gameplay audio/footage. Have your commentary loud enough to be clear, but not too loud that the game’s audio is drowned out.
- Trim the fat – Remove boring parts from your episode. Consider removing filler (such as unfunny jokes, stalling, and plain-old quiet moments) as well. This can be hard to do, but is important. Some video upload services limit your video time, and even if you do, you may not need more than 10-15 minutes for your video, tops [I know, look who’s talking…].
- If using Face-cam, don’t have your face take up 1/4 of the screen. Make it large enough to be visible, but no larger. People are there to watch you play, the Facial reactions are just a bonus.
- When exporting your finished video, save the video project, just in case, and then export it as an MP4 or AVI file. These files are the most commonly accepted files by Video Streaming Services.
That’s all for my quick tip sheet. At some point, I may come back and get more detailed about my process, but for now, this should give you guys an idea of what goes into every episode.