I’ll say it right now: This post will probably be very outdated within a year, and especially several years from the day I’m writing this, so to all you people from the future, click this link-that-will-link-to-the-updated-version-of-this-article-in-the-future.
Quite recently, someone commented on the third episode of my StarMade series, asking what I used to record my videos. I enthusiastically began typing out an answer… a probably longer-than-necessary answer with lots of detail. While writing that comment, it occurred to me that I could make a blog post about it, and so for those of you wondering how I make my videos and how you can make your own YouTube gaming videos, here’s how I currently do it and what I would recommend if you’re going to do it.
The computer I use to record, edit, and upload my videos (as well as everything else since it’s my only computer) is a Samsung laptop from around 2013 which was running Windows 8 initially, though I have since upgraded it to Windows 10. It has about 500GB of hard drive space, 6GB of RAM, and an Intel i5-3210M CPU with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. It handles Minecraft fairly well, though it can get laggy when recording and running other programs in the background. I intend to buy a much more powerful laptop in the future when I can afford it, but for now my current laptop serves me pretty well. If you’re looking for a gaming computer I would not recommend buying anything over 3 years old, and a dual-core i5 and 6GB of RAM is about the minimum specs to have a comfortable gameplay-and-recording experience. For a very nice recording experience, I would recommend getting a computer with a recent i7 processor, a separate graphics card, and 8GB of RAM. I don’t have very much experience when it comes to the different computer manufacturers, but so far Samsung’s products seem to be some of the best.
I definitely don’t have the best of voice-recording devices, but right now I use a Logitech USB H540 headset (which costs about $30 on Amazon) for recording my voice in my videos. It has some annoying microphone problems, such as the volume level starting off quiet and then auto-adjusting and get louder as you continue to speak. I’m thinking about making a homemade noise filter for the mic to help fix some of the noise-popping, but at least it’s better than the headset I use to have, which was just utterly horrible. (Watch some of my earlier videos to see what I mean.) The speakers on the headset are pretty decent, though. If you’re going to make videos about playing games, ALWAYS record the game while wearing a headset/headphones, so the game’s sound won’t be picked up by your microphone, as that just sounds terrible. To record the game’s sound, use software on your computer like Fraps or the Windows 10 Xbox Game DVR to record it directly, instead of placing a mic next to your computer’s speakers, like some beginners do. It’s a simple, but extremely important rule for videogame-recording. In the future I want to buy a professional headset or separate microphone, thought at the moment I’m not sure which one I want, as I haven’t really done very much research on it yet. (If you know about any good ones, let me know in the comments!)
For storing my videos, I quickly ran out of space on my computer (HD videos eat up disk space!), so I’ve started storing them on an external hard drive. I would recommend recording to an external hard drive rather than the main drive on your computer, as it frees up the main hard drive so it can handle other things (like saving your game files and other background processes), and helps prevent lag. I would recommend an external drive with at least 100GB of space, as videos (especially uncompressed ones) just eat up tons of space, and you’re going to want to have enough space to last you for some time. I highly recommend keeping copies of your videos on an external hard drive, so you’re ready in the event that your YouTube channel gets hacked/taken-down and all your videos get deleted or something like that.
For recording games, I use the Windows 10 built-in Xbox Game DVR (which is free, assuming you are running Windows 10) to record my gameplay, or Fraps (which costs $37) if it doesn’t work with a particular game (such as StarMade). Both have the ability to record both the computer sound and my voice-audio at the same time, allowing me to not worry about recording both and then syncing them in editing. The Windows 10 Xbox Game DVR is built-in to the Windows 10 Xbox app, which, if I remember correctly, is pre-installed on new Windows 10 computers and newly-upgraded computers. (I would recommend going into the settings, turning on external microphone recording, and creating a custom keyboard shortcut for starting/stopping recording. I use Alt+R. (The default is Win+Alt+R.) It will record most things without a problem… in fact, you can even screen-record non-game things like your internet browser, for example. For some games though (such as StarMade), you may need to use Fraps instead as the Xbox Game DVR doesn’t seem to work with it, or at least not when you’re playing the game in fullscreen.
For editing, I use Cyberlink PowerDirector 14, which I got for a discounted price during their Thanksgiving/Black Friday sale last year. When I first started out I was using VSDC Free Video Editor, but the options on that program were pretty limited and it was rather buggy and sometimes frustrating to use. If you’re going to buy video-editing software I would recommend waiting until it goes on sale, especially holiday sales, as you can get the software for up to half-cost and sometimes get bonus free software (such as Cyberlink AudioDirector 6) in my case. When recording footage with Fraps, you’ll want to convert the .avi video files it produces to a smaller and more compressed format such as .mp4, using a program like Handbrake. If you set up the settings right, you can reduce the footage’s filesizes without losing hardly any quality.
I hope this article was helpful to anyone looking to start their own YouTube channel and record gameplay videos!