How to easily capture gameplay for YouTube

(Pocket-lint) – If you’re looking to start a gaming channel on YouTube, you’re probably looking for the easiest way to capture footage you can share.

There are different ways to capture gameplay, some easier than others. We cover some of the ways we’ve used different software to capture, record and edit footage to help you do the same.

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Recording footage with Nvidia GeForce Experience

If you’re using a gaming PC with an Nvidia graphics card, chances are you’ll have Nvidia’s GeForce Experience installed. If you don’t, you really should because it’s great for a number of different things.

You can use GeForce Experience to optimize your games to run smoothly. You can use it to overclock your graphics card and get more FPS out of it. You can use it to take screenshots.

It’s also one of the easiest and most useful tools for capturing gameplay footage, streaming, and recording.

The first step is to download and install GeForce experience if you haven’t already. When it’s done, you can activate it whenever you want just by pressing ALT+Z. This brings up an overlay and from there you can do all sorts of things including taking screenshots easily and easily stream live gameplay footage to Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube.

We are focusing on recording gameplay here though.

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Instant repeat

Instant Replay is one of our favorite options for recording footage. This is a tool that basically records all the time, so you just need to click some buttons and it will save you some game time.

To use Instant Replay, you must first enable it from Settings:

  • Press ALT+Z
  • Then click on Instant Replay
  • Then click on “activate”
  • You can also do it by ALT+Shift+F10

Once done, it is activated and you can start playing your game. When you want, you can then press ALT + Z and click Instant Replay again and click save. While it’s easier to hit ALT+F10 each time you need to save the footage, it will store the last few minutes.


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By default, Instant Replay mode captures the last five minutes of footage from the time you pressed the buttons. This footage is recorded at game resolution, 60 frames per second and at a certain bitrate. You may want to capture at a specific resolution, higher bitrate, or for a shorter or longer period of time. You can easily adjust this in the settings and change it accordingly.

We like to capture three minutes of footage at 1440p typically because it’s short enough to be useful, not too long to take up a lot of space on your drive, and high enough quality to look good on YouTube.

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Recording footage with GeForce Experience

Besides recording a set duration with GeForce Experience, you can also just set it to record.

Like Instant Replay, recording here can be configured to capture at a specific resolution. The difference is that you hit record and the recording will start, but it won’t stop until you click to stop. The easiest way to do this is to press ALT+F9 to start recording and press again to stop it.

Obviously, this means that there are a lot more sequences and it will also take up a lot more space, but it is a very simple system and ideal for beginners.

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Steamlabs

There are a few different standalone tools you can use to capture footage and stream to the various game streaming platforms. There are XSplit, Open broadcast software (OBS), Medal and others.

We personally like streamlabs For several reasons. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced than GeForce Experience, Streamlabs is the tool for you. This not only lets you capture and save footage, stream it to YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, but much more.

Streamlabs offers multi-streaming, for example, so you can stream on multiple platforms at the same time. This also has overlays and widgets to make your gameplay footage and streaming content more engaging.

But even for recording purposes, it’s just plain handy.

We also really like how Streamlabs is linked to your personal YouTube account, so the settings are stored in the cloud and you can rely on the same settings even when installing it on different machines.

Record gameplay with Streamlabs

Recording gameplay with Streamlabs is quite simple. This video above explains most of the basic settings and how to configure Streamlabs to record footage that you can then use on YouTube.

The key is to configure your game as the source:

  • Click the plus icon at the bottom left to create a scene
  • Click the same plus icon in the “sources” box to add a source
  • Choose Game Capture and click add source
  • Double click on game capture to see specific settings
  • You can then choose “auto” or “capture a specific window” and then choose the specific game (while it’s running)
  • At the bottom right of the software, you will see two buttons next to the green “Go Live” button. These are REC and a rewind button
  • These are your record and instant playback buttons which work the same as GeForce Experience
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Basic registration with Streamlabs

Open Streamlabs settings and under output and you will find a section called “recording” where you can set where the recordings will be stored, you can change the quality and set the bitrate. Also make sure to adjust the video resolution in the corresponding section.

There is also a replay buffer tab where you can specify the duration of recordings in the replay buffer. It’s the same logic as Instant Replay.

It should be noted that you can also set hotkeys in the settings. So you can define key presses that you can use to start and stop recording, start streaming or start replay buffer and capture clips.

We find the best way to do this is to set the replay buffer to start before you start playing games. To do this, click the Streamlabs rewind button when starting the game you want to record. Then click that button again to capture the last minutes or seconds of gameplay (depending on how long you set the replay buffer timer).

Don’t neglect your audio

I hope you know the importance of good sound. Not just your game, but also yourself. We’ve already written about the best microphones for streaming, and you might want to record the best sound when playing. Other gear might help if you’re looking to stream at some point.

In Streamlabs and GeForce Experience, don’t forget to adjust your microphone and audio outputs in the settings so that your recordings have sound.

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Editing your recordings

There are various tools to edit your gameplay footage once you’ve captured it. You can just use the basic editing tools in YouTube Studioalthough these are not very advanced but they are simple to cut footage and add audio.

In the meantime, there are tools like DaVinci Resolution. It’s one of the most popular video editing tools, it’s also free, which is the best price, so what more could you ask for?

Written by Adrian Willings.

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