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Whether you’re an emerging Twitch broadcaster or simply a gamer who wants to share your epic gaming highlights with pals, recording your video gameplay is all the rage these days. But which recording software should you use if you’re just dipping your toes into capturing gaming videos?
There’s no shortage of free video recording tools out there vying for your attention, many with unique hooks or features. We played with five of the most popular freeware gameplay capture tools around—Open Broadcast Software Studio, Nvidia ShadowPlay, AMD ReLive, MSI Afterburner, and Plays.tv—to answer that question. Each serves a different purpose, such as recording and sharing highlight clips, broadcasting your gameplay to the world, or creating a complete archive of your favorite game. This guide will point you to the best recording software for your needs. (If you’re looking to start livestreaming specifically, be sure to check out. ) Let’s start with an overview of each of the five featured programs in no particular order, followed by a look at what sort of performance hit each program inflicts on games. If you don’t like any of the five tools we look at, we’ve also added two video capture alternatives—though one isn’t free. Plays.tv Of the five game recording programs we’re covering, is by far the easiest to use.
Plays.tv makes it really simple—and fun—to post short gaming clips online. But Plays.tv isn’t just a video capture tool; it’s hooked into a website that’s sort of like.
When you first boot up Plays.tv, the program features three options on the left hand rail: Explore, Feed, and Dashboard. Ian Paul/IDG The Plays.tv client’s Explore section. (Click any image in this article to enlarge it.) Explore features a collection of popular gameplay clips from the Plays.tv website. It shows six larger thumbnails for game clips, several of which rotate as a carousel.
Click on the video you want to watch to view it inside the desktop program. Each clip can also be shared to Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit. Ian Paul/IDG Plays.tv’s Feed section. Feed is a list of your uploads as well as those of the people you follow, interspersed with clips from games you’ve played and popular clips from Plays.tv. Ian Paul/IDG Plays.tv’s Dashboard section. Dashboard, meanwhile, is a beta feature that shows you stats about your most popular videos from the past month or less—there are options for viewing stats for the last two weeks, three days, and so on. As for the actual game recording features, when the app is running it starts recording your gaming sessions automatically.
By default, Plays.tv will record up to 10GB of gameplay at 720p resolution and 30 frames per second. If you’d like to tweak the maximum storage capacity, resolution, bitrate, recording framerate, or other technical aspects of the video, all those options can quickly be changed in the software’s settings. The settings also let you disable automatic recording of full gameplay sessions if you’d like, and allow you to enable configurable hotkey-based video capture instead. Ian Paul/TV Plays.tv clip creation. Once you’re done with your gaming session, Plays.tv pops up with your recorded gameplay and very simple tools for cutting down your video into a shareable 60-second or less clip. (If you’re playing League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Dota 2, or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the client will even automatically flag key moments like deaths, kills, and bomb plants.) Once that’s done, you add a title, a description, and upload it to Plays.tv with one click.
The URL for your new clip can be copied to your clipboard for easy sharing on email, instant messaging, or social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Nvidia ShadowPlay for PCs with GeForce graphics cards looks straightforward, but it’s got a few nice hidden features, including automatic game optimization and a highly regarded game recording application called ShadowPlay.
Ian Paul/IDG The Nvidia Share overlay. ShadowPlay requires a GeForce GPU. To start using ShadowPlay, click the triangle-looking “share” button in the upper-right corner of the GeForce Experience (GFE) window.
This will summon what Nvidia calls the Share UI. You can tweak each feature’s quality, audio, activation, and length of recording by clicking the feature you want to tweak and selecting Customize from the drop-down menu.
Ian Paul/IDG Nvidia Share’s broadcast settings. By default, ShadowPlay records up to five minutes of gameplay at any given time unless you turn on the manual recording feature, which captures your action until disabled. The Instant Replay feature saves the last five minutes of your gameplay if you press Alt + F10. That’s an important tool if you do something cool or want to record a, but didn’t hit the manual record button. If five minutes isn’t enough, Instant Replay can save up to your last 20 minutes of gameplay up to 1440p at 60 frames-per-second. Pdf To Xml. You can also configure ShadowPlay to stream your gameplay to Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook via the Broadcast feature.