Starting Your First Let’s Play: Microphones and Capturing Devices

In-game footage of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

In-game footage of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Have you ever watched a YouTube video with horrible video and sound? I have and it’s distracting. When a beginning “Let’s Play” gamer questions why their channel’s view counts is low, I find often their sound or video quality is terrible. The importance of appeasing the viewer’s sight and sound is easily overlooked. Although purchasing cheaper devices is an option, you can receive a boost in production quality by spending a little extra.

Microphones

Have you ever recorded a concert on your cell phone in hopes of sharing your experience with your friends? I have a feeling that the live experience didn’t sound muffled. I find that recording Let’s Plays similar to this experience. I wish to share my passion for gaming to other people. Allowing the viewer to listen to the clarity in your voice draws them into your experience and gives them the illusion of being a part of your show. This is the difference between a $30 and $60 microphone. I use and recommend Blue Microphone’s Snowball (http://bluemic.com/snowball/) and Yeti (http://bluemic.com/yeti/). What microphones do you use?

Left: Blue Snowball / Right: Blue Yeti Photo taken from http://www.trishussey.com/which-blue-mic-to-get-yeti-or-snowball/

Left: Blue Snowball / Right: Blue Yeti
Photo taken from http://www.trishussey.com/which-blue-mic-to-get-yeti-or-snowball/

Capturing Devices

The bread and butter of recording game play. To clarify, most consumer capturing devices do not record game play. They are an ambassador between your computer and gaming console. A console connects to your capture device and your capture device streams to both your TV and computer. Your computer’s software records the game play. High definition (HD) video files are massive and will utilize all your computer’s resources in creating them. A capturing device absorbs those resource heavy files and converts them into manageable files. In summary, you can record and surf the internet at the same time without your computer crashing.

If you’re serious about creating LPs, I recommend getting a capturing device that records in HD. Although viewers may not want to watch HD, they have the option to lower the quality. I use a Hauppauge HD-PVR (http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html) since consoles only supported component cables when I started LPs. Due to the new generation of consoles only having high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) ports, I recommend getting a capture card that supports that connection.

There are many recommendations for capture cards online and I think they are all great. It comes down to personal choice. Here is a link to Amazon.com’s top 100 capture cards. (http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Electronics-Internal-Video-Capture-Cards/zgbs/electronics/284824/ref=zg_tr_tab_t_bs)

Experienced Let’s Players, what capture card do you use?

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