Over the last few years the popularity of gameplay videos has skyrocketed. In the US alone the number of viewers has more than doubled over the last four years, and its growth continues to accelerate with every passing year.
Considering how popular gameplay videos seem to be right now – it is understandable if you’re looking to record footage from video games to come up with some of your own. When you do however you may find that the results aren’t quite what you expected.
In fact if you were to load up several gameplay videos at random, you’ll notice there is a big difference in their quality. While some have great definition and look smooth and fluid, others may stutter and lag.
If you’re wondering why that is the case, the short answer is: Video quality and graphics quality – or both.
Importance of Video Quality
Just like any video, the video quality of gameplay videos is determined by several factors – the most notable of which are:
- Video resolution
Higher video resolutions are better as the videos they produce will be clearer and have greater definition. In gameplay videos the video resolution of the recording can only be as high as the display or in-game resolution.
- Frame rate
With more frames per second in the video it will look more smooth and fluid. The frame rate should at least be 30 frames per second, but many gameplay videos often try to record at 60 frames per second for truly high quality videos.
When the video is saved and encoded into a format, the bitrate is the amount of data that it uses. If the bitrate is too low video artifacts will start to appear. The bitrate will vary on a case by case basis, but as a guideline YouTube recommends a 12 Mbps bitrate for 1080p videos.
Granted there are a few other factors that may affect the video quality – but the ones listed above tend to play the biggest role. In gameplay videos however that is just half the picture, as the graphics quality has a role to play as well.
Graphics Quality vs. Performance
Every game has certain factors that determine the quality of its graphics, including the resolution, anti-aliasing, texture quality, shadow quality, anisotropic filtering, and much more. The frame rate of games typically varies, based on how fast your computer is able to process and display data from the game.
While using the highest possible graphics quality in your game may seem like a good thing – the question is whether or not your computer is able to support it. If it can’t then the frame rate will normally be low, and the game will appear choppy and sluggish with a lot of stuttering as movement takes place.
That is why even under normal circumstances you need to balance the graphics quality of games against the performance capabilities of your computer. When you’re recording, your computer’s resources will have additional constraints placed on them – and so you may have to balance the graphics quality accordingly.
To balance the graphics quality, you should check the game frame rate and make sure it is between 30 to 60 frames per second while you’re recording the video. If it is not you should lower the graphics settings until the frame rate is constantly within that range.
Admittedly lowering the graphics settings will reduce the quality of the in-game graphics, but ultimately your video will look much better as a result. The alternative is to find ways to increase your computer’s performance – so that you don’t need to reduce the graphics quality.
Free Up Resources or Upgrade
As far as increasing the performance of a computer goes you have two main options: Free up resources, or upgrade.
To free up resources you should try to close any other programs or processes that may be running on your computer. By doing so you’ll be able to ensure nothing else is competing with the game or the recorder for system resources. It may help to try using a software to record gameplay that is resource-friendly, such as Gecata by Movavi.
If that doesn’t cut it – you could look into upgrading your computer. Increasing the processing power, GPU, and RAM can all help as both the game and the recording use those resources. Another good upgrade is to install a Solid State Drive (SSD) as it has faster read and write speeds than a conventional hard disk drive.
By this point you should have a good idea exactly why some footage recorded from video games looks much better than others. As you can see there are several factors involved, and any one of them could be the reason.
On your part if you want to start recording better quality gameplay videos, start by ensuring the video recording parameters check out – and then see if the graphics settings can be tweaked. In most cases if you are able to balance the graphics quality with your computer’s performance you will notice a marked improvement in the quality of your gameplay videos.