How To Record HD Xbox 360 Gameplay

Ever wanted to know how to record HD Xbox 360 gameplay? What about your next epic Slayer match in HALO?

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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 Xbox 360 up to a PC and record HD Xbox 360 gameplay for posterity. This how to details one method of flooding YouTube with proof of your gaming greatness.

Difficulty: Intermediate

  • 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 (Xbox 360)
  • Video and audio cables

Time to Setup: 30 minutes

Table of Contents

Official Disclaimer:
Recording HD Xbox 360 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 Xbox 360 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.

Step 1: Preparations

Before you can record HD Xbox 360 gameplay footage 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 record HDMI video however, it gets expensive quickly and copy protection rears its head. This video capture card offers a reasonable solution for HDMI or analog recording.

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 video or HD Xbox 360 gameplay.

Recording HD Xbox 360 gameplay (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 recording be aware that HD gameplay video 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 recording 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 capture the gameplay. All three consoles offer the ability to output video using analog methods with the appropriate cables. Consult the instructions for your recording 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 gaming session. Even though HDMI provides an audio feed most recording 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 recording software you intend to use and make sure that the input devices are properly selected.

Recording HD Xbox 360 gameplay audio and video is more than simply pushing record in the software and playing a game. Properly configuring your recording software will ensure you get the best video and that it stays in synch with the recorded audio. Most capture 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. 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 HD Xbox 360 gameplay recorded 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 recorded HD Xbox 360 gameplay 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 enough to handle the job. Make sure you are only running absolutely necessary programs and processes when editing.

It’s also a good idea to edit HD Xbox 360 gameplay video only after a clean bootup so nothing is lingering in your computer’s RAM. Windows often forgets to reclaim RAM space over time after programs are launched.

Step 5: Sharing The Results
You’ve finally finished your masterpiece.. now what?

Well there are a number of game-centric websites for you to share your completed HD Xbox 360 gameplay movies on the Internet. The most popular is YouTube.  Maybe we’re biased here at FileFront because we think this site might be the perfect place for you to host and share your video content.

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1 Comment on How To Record HD Xbox 360 Gameplay


On August 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm


I record hd gameply from my 360 using a hava or that’s what it used to be called, it seems there now called “Monsoon” Titanium HD