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ZeitgeistReview On July - 11 - 2010

I’ve now posted three videos describing how I capture my video game-play footage, yet those three videos receive a HUGE amount of questions every single day, so rather than continually answering the same questions over and over, I’ll go ahead and describe everything you need to know about capturing video game footage. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them at the bottom of this article.



What You Need:
Hauppauge HD PVR – $199 (Hardware Specs, Software Specs)

Alternatives – BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle – allows HDMI Capture, both $199



Creating high quality videos of video game-play is a lot more complicated than simply recording and uploading your videos to YouTube. If you want to do it right and make it look good, you need to know a few things about video editing and video file formats. I’ll take you through the process that I use (MAC, not PC), for my video game-play footage and try to answer most of the questions I receive.

First, if you’ve watched my video titled Hauppauge HD PVR in Action you’ll find everything you need to know to hook the unit up properly. With the unit hooked up correctly and your video game running, plug the USB cable from the HD PVR to your computer or laptop and open EyeTV (or HDPVRCapture). If you are using Windows, you will use the Total Media Extreme software that came with the HD PVR. Click the red record button on the EyeTv User Interface to begin recording. Note that if you are not a partner with YouTube, you have a 10 minute 59 second upload limit on your video length, so you need to keep this in mind as you record, so that you record in 10 minute blocks or are prepared to edit and splice out the footage that you want to upload. Once you are finished recording, click the red button again. After you’ve recorded several clips, you’ll see them listed in the EyeTv User Interface. Highlight all of the videos you want to use, right click, choose Export and select a folder for the video clips to be exported to. This will convert the videos from the proprietary hardware encoded file format to a MP4 file.

Now, we don’t want to edit compressed video, and the MP4 files we just exported are heavily compressed by the HD PVR, so we want to convert them to a file format more easily recognized and utilized by video editors. If you are using Windows, you’ll want to use the Arcsoft Media Converter to convert the video to an AVI file format, and if you are using a Mac, you’ll want to run MpegStreamClip (with Quicktime Pro installed) and convert your video to a HD Quicktime file format. You can watch this video to see how to go about doing this.

Once our videos are converted to a proper file format for editing, open up your video editor and begin editing:

Note that if you plan to upload this video gameplay to YouTube, you’ll want to export your files from your video editor as an MP4 again. This will compress the video, slightly degrading its quality, but also significantly reducing the file size, making it much more manageable for upload. If you are using the Hauppauge HD PVR, it’s likely that you are recording in either 720p or 1080i, and as such, you need to export your file from your video editor with these file dimensions:

Please read the FAQ section for any questions not answered in this article and leave any questions or comments below.

Hardware Specs:

  • H.264 AVCHD Video Encoder
  • AC-3 Audio Encoding
  • Bitrate: 1 to 13.5 Mbits/sec
  • Format: 1080i, 720p, 480p
  • NTSC and PAL Support

System Requirements:

  • Processor (Minimum): Dual Core 2.0Ghz or Faster!
  • Graphics Card with 256mb Memory or greater
  • Sound Card
  • No RAM Requirement but the more the better!




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  • Do I need an HD TV to use with the HD PVR? Technically no, but what is the point of buying an HD Video Capture Device if you aren’t even playing the game in HD anyway? If you don’t have an HD TV, then there is no reason for you to be reading this tutorial in the first place. Look into a Dazzle.
  • Can you answer any questions with my Dazzle? No, I have not used one for quite some time.
  • What is that black box in your hook-up diagram in your video? That is my receiver that all of my devices first run through. This allows me to provide surround sound for my games. It is not required. If you do not have a receiver, simply connect the HD PVR directly to your TV instead.
  • Why don’t I see the HDV Video Export options in MpegStreamClip like you do in your video? You need to install QuickTime Pro.
  • Why do I need QuickTime Pro? QuickTime Pro makes these export options available in many software applications including Final Cut Pro, iMovie and MpegStreamClip.
  • Can I use HDMI? No, the HD PVR does not support HDMI. If you want to use HDMI, you need to look into a BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle
  • Do I need EyeTV? If you are using a Mac, then yes, you need either EyeTv or HDPVRCapture. This is the software that allows you to actually record to your Mac.
  • I’m recording but the audio is out of sync. This could be a variety of issues. You should contact Hauppauge..
  • I’m recording but it’s low quality. This could be a variety of issues. You should contact Hauppauge..
  • Why don’t I want to edit with MP4? MP4 files are heavily compressed and video editors don’t like compression. If you want to work seamlessly with your video, you need an uncompressed file format.
  • Can I record with the standard Red/White/Yellow cables? Yes, you can record with component (Red Green Blue), composite (Red White Yellow) and S-Video.
  • Can you play your game in HD while recording? Yes, you have to. Whatever format you record in is what is passed through to the TV.
  • Can I use this to make my PC a console monitor? No. There is a short one or one and a half second delay from the HD PVR to your PC. This lag does not exist on its route to the TV, only to the computer. As such, you would not be able to effectively use your computer as a monitor for your console.
  • Most videos on YouTube state that the HD PVR does not work with the Mac. What gives? That obviously is not true, as I’ve clearly shown in this article and my videos. Those who state otherwise are wrong.
  • My videos look like crap after I export them from my editor. How do you have such higher quality videos? Try exporting with a higher bit rate.
  • What do you use to capture your PC game-play footage? I use FRAPS.
  • I use FRAPS, how do I combine the videos? Take your video recordings and string them together with a video editor, or with the AVG Video Converter

Have any other questions? Leave them below, I’ll be sure to update the FAQ.


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5 Responses

  1. I’m on a Mac and I’m wondering if and why Quicktime Pro is required? Because I’m running Snow Leopard and there is no option to upgrade to pro…

  2. It’s not. I found out the render settings I use come from Final Cut Pro/Express, not Quicktime Pro.

  3. Avatar of cola2011 cola2011 says:

    MPEG Converter for Mac is the best .MPG Converter Mac OS software to convert various video formats including MPEG4, iPod Touch MPEG4, iPod Nano MPEG4, iPhone Video MPEG4, iPhone Video H.264, Apple TV MPEG4, M4v-MPEG4 and so on. MPEG Converter for Mac can convert popular video formats to be played ony portable devices like iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, Zune, PSP, Video capable MP4 players, etc.

  4. Avatar of leeauteprep leeauteprep says:

    another way to record game videos is ezvid – a screen recorder and a video editor for youtube at the same time :D — loving it so far. and what i like is that it shares to youtube instantly without any conversion of file needed. it’s just so that easy to use.

  1. [...] it is that runs the Zeitgeist Game Review wrote a really great article on how he records video games for his reviews. And his videos are awesome (looking. That’s [...]

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