How to Take Your Own Screenshots
Screenshots. Sometimes they're all we have to go on for information about a hotly anticipated game. But our fascination with them doesn't stop after a game is released. Shots of a game in action represent badges of honor -- accomplishments that can create awe and envy. So many times, I've pulled off odd or incredible feats in a game with no way to share my experiences. I've often thought about taking my own screenshots, so I did some research. Preserve your own moments of glory by following these kinda-simple steps.
1. Hook it up and pass it along. Things will be considerably easier if you're attempting to capture on a computer. Tons of inexpensive or even free software applications, like Topaz Moment or My Screen Recorder, will record whatever's happening on your screen, including gameplay. Many will have built-in editing tools, too, so feel free to skip to Step 3.
Now, the process gets more complicated if you're taking video from a television hooked up to a console. You need to get the video signal from the television to your computer. The easiest way is the pass-through method. You'll need a digital video (DV) camcorder with analog inputs and a FireWire digital output. Many DV cameras use FireWire, so this shouldn't be a problem. Run audio-video cables from your TV into the camcorder and connect it to your computer via FireWire. Some products, like Pinnacle's Dazzle Video Creator Plus or Video Capture for Mac, come with both hardware and software. Very important: Be careful not to trip over anything.
2. Capture the frag. This stage requires an application that will do the actual video capturing. Apps like iMovie on the Mac and Movie Maker on Windows PCs will recognize when a DV camera is attached, and will give you the option to record. Play as you normally would, except with, y'know, less sucking.
3. Clip it good. Once you've got enough sufficiently face-melting footage edited into a clip that you like, it's time to pull out still images. Again, many video editing programs will have this function. Some, like Apple's QuickTime, will let you save those still pictures in a variety of different formats.
Keep in mind that, as a result of using analog video, the fruits of your labors may not necessarily be as sharp as the screenshots game publishers send to Web sites. But your screens will have something they can never capture. Heart, soul, determination and, yes, teabagging.
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