If you wound the clocks back to when services like Twitch were starting along side the birth of the “Let’s Play" trend on YouTube, you’d have found me scratching my head wondering why people like watching other people play video games so much instead of just playing them themselves. But, I admit, there’s something that’s really fun about watching professional streams, particularly impressive speed runs, and other amazing feats of gaming. Additionally, I love r/GamesTheMovie, a subreddit where people post entire video game plot lines clipped together as movies you can just watch. The one they put together for Halo, for instance, is great.
Anyway, it turns out it is incredibly easy to record your own gameplay videos with iOS devices. If you’re into jailbreaking, grab Screen Recorder, and you’re good to go. Similarly, many games now come bundled with Everyplay or Kamcord which record your gameplay automatically. Otherwise, there’s two other solutions which are just as simple.
Capture AirPlay Video with Reflector
It turns out that AirPlay mirroring is a lot more magical than you may have initially realized. Any modern iOS device supports it, and it’s perfect for capturing gameplay video. Using a PC and/or Mac and Reflector. A license for it will set you back $12.99, but it’s well worth it if you’re interested in making videos. Using Reflector is stupidly easy as well, as literally all you need to do is have it running on a computer that’s on the same network as the iOS device you want to capture video from.
If you’re running iOS 6, you get to the AirPlay mirroring functionality by double tapping your home button and swiping to the left until you see the AirPlay icon. For iPads, it’s a single swipe, for the iPhone and iPod touch it’s two swipes. On iOS 7, just swipe up to bring up Control Center and you’ll see the AirPlay icon just above the Camera and Calculator icons.
Hit the AirPlay button mentioned above on your device, then select the video output source that is labeled as your computer. Make sure the “Mirroring" toggle is flipped, and you should be good to go. Now, if you’re on a Mac running Lion or a PC running a recent version of Windows, Reflector will be able to record right inside of the program. Just hit “Start Recording" and you’re good to go.
If you’re running something older than 10.8, you can take the somewhat convoluted step of using a screen recording program like Screeny [$14.99] to then capture the video being mirrored. (Alternatively, you could just upgrade to Mountain Lion for an extra $5.). And for folks out there running older versions of Windows, things get a bit more complicated in the software solution arena. You’ll need to take the additional step of running Reflector full screen, then using Fraps to record your screen. Fraps output files can be a little large, so unless you’re on a fast internet connection you’re better off importing these files into Windows Movie Maker or any other video editor you have to export as a compressed video file before uploading.
Hardware Capture Devices
In my opinion, if you’re serious about making videos, there’s just no solution better than Elgato’s Game Capture HD. It’ll set you back $149.99 on Amazon, and you’ll also need a way to get HDMI video to it from your iOS device. If you have a newer iOS device, you’ll need the $49.99 Lightning Digital AV Adapter, or if you’ve got an older device you need the $39.99 30-pin Digital AV Adapter. Both should be in plentiful supply at your local Apple Store.
Once you’ve got all the hardware, you’ll want to use the included USB cable to go from your PC or Mac to the Game Capture HD, then use the included HDMI cable to go from the Game Capture HD to your Digital AV Adapter of choice, which you finally plug in to your iOS device. From there, everything is surprisingly automatic and you really don’t need to do anything other than launch the Game Capture HD software and hit record.
The Game Capture HD software itself is actually really great as it’ll allow you to make basic edits, export your video to numerous different services, or even live stream to YouTube or Twitch with live commentary if that’s your cup of tea.
…Then Post it On Our Forums!
The whole not-so-secret point of this guide is to get more people posting their video content in our forums, as we’ve got a massive audience of gamers here that all love gameplay videos of cool new iOS games… And as much as we love doing TA Plays videos, we can’t hit ’em all. YouTube is the video host of choice for iOS stuff, as it seamlessly works with just about everything. Once you’ve got your videos on YouTube, you’ll need to pull out the video ID from the URL. For instance, a typical YouTube URL looks like this:
Everything after “?v=" in the URL, as bolded above, is the video ID. Once you’ve got that, embedding that same video on our forums is as easy as either making a new thread for a game that doesn’t have a thread or responding to an existing thread using the [hdyoutube] BBcode. For the above URL, we take the video ID, and wrap it in [hdyoutube] tags, like this:
…And from there, you’re done, our forums will automagically embed your video for the world to see.
Anyway, these are just the two ways that we use to record video around here. If you’ve found a method that works better, post a little mini guide in the comments!