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Author Topic: How To: Your First Let's Play  (Read 180147 times)
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« on: March 30, 2011, 02:17:17 AM »

In this tutorial I'll be walking you through the process of creating your very first Let's Play. This tutorial is not mandatory or set-in stone by any means, if you have your own way that you feels works better, or want to only put to use a few of these steps, that's A-ok. I also will not be delving into the software or usage of these items. For information on that, check Skorch's Guide HERE. The tutorial is organized into 3 sections for convenience.

Section 1: Equipment

1) Gather the required equipment

Things you will need:
a) A computer (If you're reading this, you have that base covered)
b) Screen or Game Capturing Hardware/Software.
c) Microphone
d) The game (of course -_-)

I'll go into detail on how to obtain these later.


2) Find out your PC specifications

This is important because video editing and rendering are mandatory. You should never, under any circumstances, upload raw footage. Editing and rendering video can be strenuous for your PC, thus it's important to know your computer specs. If you don't know how to check 'em, a quick google search will light the way. OR LOOK HERE
If you want to know if you're PC can run a video game, use THIS SITE

RAM is the resource your computer will use most when rendering video, I recommend at least 4GB, but you may be able to get by with less. Just expect slower performance.


3) Footage Capture & Commentary

a) You need something to capture the game footage with. For PC game capture, I recommend FRAPs ($37), or PlayClaw ($30). If you're looking to record retro or older PC games, I'd go with screen capturing software like Hypercam (FREE), or Camstudio (FREE).

For Console game capture, it depends on the console. HD consoles such as the Xbox360 and PS3 should be captured with either a Hauppauge HD PVR ($180) or a Blackmagic Intensity ($190). These will allow you to capture 720p high definition footage and higher.
SD Consoles like the Playstation 2, Gamecube, Dreamcast, or original Xbox, can be captured either through the above HD hardware, or via a number of capture cards and other devices. I recommend either the Dazzle ($50), or Gamebridge ($50). A simple rule of thumb, if you see a capture device that costs around $10, it's most likely worth $10. As in, the quality will be atrocious and your lp will suffer for it. Make sure before buying anything here, that it's the right product for you.

b) Microphones. I use stick mics, they give much clearer and overall better quality audio, However, they're harder to use because they require a Stand ($25) and pop-screen. You can simply use a sock for a pop-screen, and may be able to rig up a stand, but the latter is not recommended. For actual mics, I recommend a Rock Band Mic ($21). If you want convenience, headset mics are a good choice. While not as clear as stick mics, they can still give great quality. Some good choices are the Plantronics GameCon Headset ($30) and Fatal1ty Gaming Headset ($40).



Section 2: Choosing a game & recording

1) What game will you LP & how?

Action, first-person shooter, 3rd-person shooter, adventure, point & click, horror, platformer, rpg, text-based, rts, casual, simulation, sports, etc. So many game genres! You must decide what game you're going to LP. Make sure to edit out any grinding if you choose an RPG. It's generally ok to keep that footage in if you have commentary for it, but otherwise it's boring and no one wants to watch grinding.

A useful tip: LP games you know well. Blind LP's are rarely a good idea. Do a game you grew up on, or played a lot last summer. Show the viewers the secrets, the strategies, etc.


2) Setting up

You have everything you need to record, including the game you're going to lp, now you just need to set up!
Circumstances may vary, but you'll want to test out your mic, and recording software before the actual recording. Do a couple test recordings including some test commentary. The more tests you do now, the less likely things will go awry. I've done an hour of commentary only to realize I forgot to hit record on my mic. If anything similar happens to you, remember it's just part of the process and a simple mistake you will learn from. The best LPers are the ones who get back up after being knocked down. I personally use Audacity to capture my voice commentary, Vegas Pro 10 to edit and render (and insert subtitles if needed) my videos, and Fraps to capture gameplay for PC games, and a dazzle for PS2 gameplay.


3) Recording the game

a) You're all set up, great! Now you need the game footage. This part is self-explanatory. You playthrough the game, while recording it. I recommend you do this section in 30 minute bursts. Playing too long may make you rusty, lose focus, and/or you don't want to capture an hour of footage only to make a mistake a have to redo it all over again. By doing it in shorter bursts, you risk less. This will also make editing easier.


Section 3: editing & uploading

1) Editing

Like I said above, I use Vegas Pro to edit and render (we'll talk about rendering later), but it's ultimately up to you what you want to use. Pick something that you're comfortable with. There's Virtualdub (FREE), Windows Movie Maker (FREE), Sony Vegas Pro 10 ($600), Camtasia ($300), and some others, but those are the most prominent. Please note some video editing software I listed here also records video.


2) Writing a script

This is the most optional of all the steps in this guide. Believe it or not, many of the best LPers do post-commentary, as in, it's not live. They record the game footage, edit it, then add in the commentary. Putting the commentary as the last step save uploading, is a great idea I'd recommend to newbies and veterans alike. It allows you to write a script, or even just some notes as a reminder for yourself. This way, you never run out of things to say. You can edit your commentary, adding in or excluding any remarks you wish. The better control you have over your video during the editing, the better the final product. Personally, I simply use a notepad, then play my video while pausing it every 15 secs or so to add in commentary. For example, my notepad could look like this...

-0:00- welcome to God of War, I'm rizuhbull! You're beautiful host. God of War is a hack an slash game exclusive for the playstation 2 released in 2005. It's noteable for it's violence, gore, and awesomeness.

-0:30- The first level takes place...

-1:15- blah blah blah

So on and so forth. The XX:X symbolizes the time in the video for which I'd speak. The 0:00 being as soon as the video starts, I give an introduction. 1:15 meaning 1 minute and 15 seconds into the video I say this and that.

Now the times are just an approximate benchmark. You obviously don't have to say things at the exact que you give yourself, only if you want to. Like I said, I use this method as a sort of mini-script/note. It works well for me, but if you're better at improvisation, then try that. Find your niche, and what works for you.


3) Rendering

You should already have some form of rendering software, if not, check above^^^. Place your footage into your rendering software (if you haven't yet), and cut it up into sections, these sections will make up your "parts" when you go to upload. If you're using Vegas Pro, make a region(s), then use batch render. For Windows Movie maker, make one "part" at a time. Make sure to adjust your rendering settings for high quality. Meaning you're gonna want a high bit-rate, at least 29.97 fps, a progressive field order, and a resolution of at least 640x480.


4) Uploading

You're now ready to upload your let's play to a video hosting site. To add your videos to GameAnyone, you can upload your videos to Youtube, or upload them directly to GameAnyone using the uploader.


There you have it! You're very first Let's Play is now complete. With a little bit of luck, patience, and perseverance, you're on your way to becoming a celebrated LP'er!

I hope this tutorial helped you, and always feel free to ask me questions if you're stuck or confused.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 12:57:16 PM by Maceman » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 09:06:30 PM »

Just wanted to stop by and say that this is a great tutorial! Most beginners, will be pleased to see such an informative tutorial such as this one. I know I would've been happy to see this when I started up!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 10:53:11 PM by VSigma100 » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 09:33:41 PM »

Technically, you would be incorrect, VSigma. LPs can come in various formats such as just pictures with a lot of text, pictures with text and a bit of video, videos with text comments, and videos with commentary. The pictures and text comprise some of the first LPs ever. Also, some walkthroughs/playthroughs also sport commentary, so that doesn't necessarily mean LP either.

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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 10:42:24 PM »

I second Foxy's statement. Some people prefer not to do commentary when they record their walkthorughs, Razzlyn for example prefers to make her videos this way as does plenty of other people. Or some folks simply don't have a microphone or their mic met with an unfortunate mishap thus not allowing audio commentary to occur. Just because someone doesn't place commentary in their videos doesn't mean they aren't Let's Plays or as I tend to call them, Video Walkthroughs.
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 10:52:17 PM »

Really? I've just never really considered them Let's Plays unless they have commentary, but hey you learn something new everyday. I'll go and remove my earlier statement, sorry guys.
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 11:14:19 PM »

@Frozen, I originally talked about the various types of LP's in the tutorial but removed it because Gameanyone does Video Let's Plays and Walkthroughs. I wanted it to match the site and not confuse readers, you know?. I was actually thinking of asking if you guys ever thought about making a Forum for LP's.

@VSignma, Thanks for the kind words!
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 08:29:49 AM »

Quote
I was actually thinking of asking if you guys ever thought about making a Forum for LP's.

I'm a little bit confused on this one, Isn't that kinda what the Video Games forum is for here on the Gameanyone.com boards? Or were you talking about a different forum aside from Gameanyone in general.
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 09:36:14 AM »

I'm a little bit confused on this one, Isn't that kinda what the Video Games forum is for here on the Gameanyone.com boards? Or were you talking about a different forum aside from Gameanyone in general.
I meant one for Let's Plays, as in, I can make a thread for one of my lets plays and put in information, pictures, and other media that pertains to the LP. I love writing all that stuff out, so being confined to video only is a real hamper.
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 01:23:36 PM »

Ahhhhhhhhhh, Ok, I see what you're talking about now, you're looking for a forum that would allow someone to talk about their upcoming projects and what not. That does sound kinda cool but I thought there was already something sort of like that, hence why I asked what you meant earlier.
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 02:09:06 PM »

Ahhhhhhhhhh, Ok, I see what you're talking about now, you're looking for a forum that would allow someone to talk about their upcoming projects and what not. That does sound kinda cool but I thought there was already something sort of like that, hence why I asked what you meant earlier.
haha no. Nvm, it's not important anyway.
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