Expensive. But worth it.
Sharing personal video gaming is huge right now. Gamers stream on Twitch, share walkthroughs, post guides to tricky sections, and make episodes of every moment of certain games–all for thousands upon thousands of viewers. A lot of people want to record their gaming, but getting started can seem overwhelming. But fear not. I got you.
This is the first in a series of articles about recording and streaming gameplay from a variety of consoles. I will add links to other installments as they’re posted.
Disclaimer: I do all of this on an iMac, but this information should still be true for PC’s.
Main Equipment Used:
- New 3DS XL Video Capture Kit $550
- Camtasia (for recording & editing) $199
- AT2020 Microphone $85
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface $125
3DS Capture Card:
The first step to recording HD video of 3DS games is getting a console with a capture card installed in it. I got mine from 3dsvideocapture.com. Specifically, I purchased a New 3DS XL Video Capture Kit. You can also send this company your own 3DS and have them install the capture card instead of buying a brand new one from them. They solder the capture card to the board inside the 3DS and also add a micro USB port. Consequently, you need a micro USB cord to connect the 3DS to your computer.
When you receive your 3DS, they give you a URL from which to download their viewer software. This program displays your 3DS screens on your computer, when it’s connected by the micro USB cord. There are a few view options to play with but no detailed customization.
You can see me unboxing my 3DS capture card and testing the viewer software in this video!
Side note: 3dsvideocapture normally has a discount code on their front page. There are other sellers of 3DS capture cards, but 3dsvideocapture is by far the most popular and trusted seller.
Screen Recording Software:
The capture card only lets you view the 3DS screens on your computer. You’ll need a screen recording software to actually make videos. I use Camtasia to do this. Camtasia allows you to record your whole screen or just part of it. You can also edit your videos here after recording them. The editing options aren’t as detailed as software like Final Cut, but it does everything I need it to!
Both the top and bottom 3DS screens record onto the same file. To split them and put them in separate places on my layout, I just copy and paste the video file and crop one to the top screen and one to the bottom screen and put them on my background!
Side note: Camtasia gives discounts to students, teachers, and government employees! There are other screen recording and editing softwares, but I highly recommend Camtasia.
In addition to recording my 3DS screens, I also record game audio and my own commentary while playing. To do both at the same time, you need to have an audio interface with at least two audio inputs. I use the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which plugs into my computer with a standard USB cord. To record the game audio, I use an aux cord with a 1/4″ adapter on the audio interface end. To record my voice commentary, I use an Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Microphone, connected by an XLR cable.
You will need to connect headphones to the audio interface if you want to hear what’s going on in your game. Another 1/4″ adapter is needed in order to plug in regular headphones.
The pricings of a few items were different when I purchased them, but if you bought all the equipment you needed today (everything listed, plus miscellaneous cords and accessories), it would run you about $980. Yeah, that’s a big chunk of change, but that doesn’t include discounts a lot of people will be able to use. Some people, including myself, start out with lower quality products and upgrade as they save up the money. I would highly recommend saving up and buying nice equipment before you start recording and posting. It will save you from looking back on your earlier videos and cringing at the terrible audio and video quality.
Has this encouraged or deterred you from starting your 3DS gameplay videos? Hopefully the former. I’ll be happy to answer any questions in the comments!
Stay tuned for learning about streaming and recording from other major consoles.