Software Impression – NVIDIA ShadowPlay – Free(ish) Gaming Capture Software

*Disclaimer, this is NOT some kind of plug for NVIDIA, let’s make sure that’s clear, this and any other product or service I blog about is based on my personal experience with it as a user / consumer*

When I first decided I wanted to do Let’s Plays, I was stumped over what I wanted to use to capture my game footage…I wanted to find something that:

  1. Had little affect to no on the performance of the game itself.
  2. Is able to capture at 60 fps.
  3. Didn’t require external hardware.
  4. Was inexpensive…FREE!

I can be a tough customer sometimes, I admit this!

I looked at Fraps, Bandicam, as well as a few others…I watched many reviews on YouTube, and even tried a few demo versions …however they all either didn’t work the way I wanted them to, or had a price tag that’s higher than my current budget for this (which is zero dollars and zero cents).

I was about to put my potential Let’s Play venture on a temporary hold. However, when he built my PC, my buddy Sean ended up putting an EVGA NVIDIA GTX 750 Super Clocked GPU in “The Rig” (I’m still working on a good name for it…I’ve dubbed my 1TB HDD Tamriel, and my SSD Whiterun thus far) and was randomly clicking around on my NVIDIA GeForce Experience…when I saw something up in the right hand corner…it was a button that said “ShadowPlay”

Capture

I felt like Jack Skellington when he stumbled into Christmas Land…I found myself asking “What’s this?…What’s THIS?!…”

I decided to give it a try…after all, it pretty much came with the graphics card (free-ish)

Capture

My experience thus far has been quite satisfactory. Aside from a split second pause when I initiate the manual recording, there’s no noticeable hit to my game performance…The graphics card encodes and compresses the footage as it’s captured and is conveniently saved to where ever I deem fit.

I can also tell it to record just in game audio, or in game audio plus my microphone input.

One minor annoyance was when I would manually record on Windows 7, the video file could only be so large (about 20 minutes or 3.3 GB)…it would continue recording, but I would end up with 2 separate files, and there would more often than not be a small gap in the audio.  I’ve recently upgraded to Windows 10, so this should no longer be an issue.

It would also be nice to be able to change the volume of the mic input and game audio separately after recording..there were times where the game audio over powered my commentary, or vice versa…however I just do a few test captures to make sure the levels are right prior to recording, so it’s not like there ins’t a solution for that.

It also supports live streaming for Twitch! I am yet to try this feature…

If you have an NVIDIA GTX 600 or above, give it a shot, it’s free..and does what it’s meant to do, quite well might I add. It’s still in beta, so I would imagine more cool stuff will be added as time goes on.

I’m not discrediting any of these other programs in any way, shape or form! They all did what they were meant to do quite well, and I may very well end up using something elese, or even go with a hardware solution in the future. However, for my needs right now, ShadowPlay is the winner.

What’s your favorite method of recording or streaming? Is it a hardware or software solution?

Check out some of my gaming footage captured using ShadowPlay on my YouTube Channel

Shoot me a message…let’s have a chat! – n3rotheh3ro@gmail.com

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