How To Record HD PS3 Gameplay
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Ever wanted to know how to record HD PS3 gameplay? What about the epic match you just played of Uncharted 2?
Ever needed to prove your skill at Super Street Fighter IV to your friends in Uganda?
Well, with a small investment and some patience you can hook your PS3 up to a PC and record PS3 gameplay for posterity. This how-to details one method of flooding YouTube with proof of your gaming greatness.
- Personal Computer with powerful a CPU and lots of hard drive space
- A HD Video Capture card
- A sound card (for sound recording)
- Video Game Console (PS3)
- Video and audio cables
Time to Setup: 30 minutes
Table of Contents
- Step 1: Preparations
- Step 2: Connecting your Console
- Step 3: Capturing Video & Audio
- Step 4: Editing Your Footage
- Step 5: Sharing The Results
Recording HD PS3 gameplay requires some investment in hardware and software. There are numerous ways to do it and lots of different hardware or software choices. This how to is not an endorsement of any one product or method. The Ps3 uses High Definition Copy Protection (HDCP) on its HDMI signal to protect the content from recording. Not all HD recording devices can decode HDCP so it may be necessary to use analog (composite) inputs to bypass the protections and record your gameplay footage.
Before you can record HD PS3 gameplay footage of your console game you need a PC equipped with a method of ingesting and encoding the raw audio and video signals. There are a lot of USB solutions for component and composite video that are pretty affordable. If you want to capture HDMI video however it gets expensive quickly and copy protection rears its head. This video capture card however seems to offer a reasonable solution to the HDMI or analog capture need.
If you’re not interested in adding internal hardware, consider the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212, this is an external loopback that works on laptops or PCs through a USB 2.0 connection. Blackmagic is another provider of internal and external solutions that come highly recommended for recording PS3 gameplay. Those lucky enough to already have USB 3.0 hardware might be interested in Black Magic’s Intensity Shuttle.
Capturing high definition (720p or 1080i) can be accomplished by analog or digital means, but digital signals offer the highest fidelity and require the most horsepower and storage space. If you’re planning to do a lot of video capture be aware that recording PS3 gameplay eats hard drive space and requires fast hard drives to really keep up with the frame per second rendering. Two fast hard drives configured in a RAID 0 configuration can help immensely.
Aside from hardware you’ll want to be sure you have the right video codec installed (I prefer DivX or Xvid for space reasons but H.264 and MPeg2 work fine too) and a video editing suite to meet your needs. Luckily, Microsoft includes Windows Movie Maker in recent versions of its operating system for free and many capture solutions include editing software. Mac users, well you have iMovie handy too.
Step 2: Connecting your Console
How you connect your console really depends on the way you choose to record PS3 gameplay. All three consoles offer the ability to output video using analog methods but digital/HDMI is much more crisp with the appropriate cables. Consult the instructions for your capture solution to ensure you have everything properly connected.
When using a HDMI solution you will simply connect the HDMI cable out from the console into the card. Whether you use analog or digital video you also need to connect the audio output from your console if you indend to save sound from your PS3 gameplay session. Even though HDMI provides an audio feed most capture solutions do not record audio and video at the same time. You should connect your console sound up to the input on your computer’s sound card instead.
Step 3: Capturing Video & Audio
Once you have the necessary connections between the console and the PC, you will need to open the capture software you intend to use and make sure that the input devices are properly selected.
Recording PS3 gameplay audio and video is more than simply pushing record in the software and playing a game. Properly configuring your capture software will ensure you get the best video and that it stays in synch with the recorded audio. Most recording software will allow you to change the encoding type and if you do not plan on editing the video later you can choose a codec like Divx which is highly compressed and efficient.
If you intend to edit your software, it is best to choose a lossless or uncompressed video type like AVI for the initial recording of PS3 gameplay. AVI files are large but they maintain their quality well and are not subject to a lot of video artifacts like other compressed codecs. For audio I recommend using AC3 for a compressed capture or Wav for raw/to be edited sound.
Step 4: Editing Your Footage
Once you have your raw recorded PS3 gameplay, you might want to edit or enhance it. Most video editing suites, even free ones like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker allow users to edit video on a timeline and insert titles and transitions. Be sure you cut out any preparatory footage and trim the video down to make it more effective. For help editing using Windows Movie Maker you can click here.
The process of timeline editing and enhancement can move quickly but you’ll want:
- High speed hard drives
- Lots of computing power to actually do the final rendering of your videos.
Video editing and conversion is more taxing than running Crysis on the highest settings and not every gaming system is manly enought to handle the job. Make sure you are only running absolutely necessary programs and processes when editing.
It’s a good idea to edit only after a clean boot of your system so nothing is lingering in your computer’s RAM. Windows often forgets to reclaim RAM space over time.
Step 5: Sharing The Results
You’ve finally finished recording your HD PS3 gameplay masterpiece.. now what?
Well, there are a number of game-centric websites where you can share your recorded HD PS3 gameplay movies on the Internet. The most popular is YouTube, but maybe we’re biased here at FileFront because we think this site might be the perfect place for you to host and share your HD PS3 gameplay video content.