Let’s Get (Meta) Physical!
How-To Create Let’s Play videos for YouTube
A Let’s Play is a video of a gamer playing a video game, typically with a small screen of the gamer’s face in the corner.
Pretty meta, huh?
Yes, people love watching people play video games!
Fact: The number one YouTuber makes millions of dollars off ads and sponsors each year by being funny on Let’s Play videos.
If you love playing video games and want to share that passion with others, here is how to make your own Let’s Play video.
1. Figure Out Your End-Game BEFORE The Start of Your Game
- Do you want to make a Let’s Play because: A) you love video games; b) you want money; c) you want fans and subscribers to your videos to branch off to other kinds of videos; or d) all of the above?
- You can’t predict if you’ll make money, and that’s a short-term motivator anyway, so playing to amuse your viewers is probably the best reason.
2. Equip Yourself With Gear That Has The Best Stats
- To make a professional and successful Let’s Play, unfortunately, you need the best equipment, which means it can be quite expensive.
- You need: a computer for recording; a console for gaming, be it the pc or a gaming console like a Xbox One ($399-$499); a video game ($30-$59.99); a Game Capture card ($100-$160); a headset ($30-$100); a microphone ($50-$200). If you don’t have any of this equipment, buying it all can total anywhere from around $600 – $1,500, depending on the quality of the devices you are buying and which ones you need.
- Computers: To make videos that don’t have choppy video or audio, you need a high-quality computer. If you want the best of the best, buy a Razer Blade laptop, but these cost over $2,000; other gaming computers cost around $1,000. You basically need a computer that has a good processor, like an i6 or an i7 (so your computer doesn’t use a lot of CPU when it’s capturing your gameplay—typically you want the computer to be using less than sixty percent of CPU when it’s recording your game).
- Consoles: The more consoles you own, the more video games you can play.
- Video Games: The more video games you own, the more videos you can make. But play only the ones you are the best at and passionate about. If you are good at shooters, play shooters. If you are good at side-scrolling games, then play those.
- Game Capture Card: This is the device that records the actual gameplay on the screen. Highly recommended: Elgato – Game Capture HD 60 (cost and available here)
- Headset: This is the device that will allow you to hear high-quality gameplay. Try the universal gaming headset (works on all platforms) Turtle Beach Ear Force PX22 Universal Stereo Gaming Headset. (cost and available here)
- Microphone: This is the device that can either record bad-quality voice or high-quality voice. This may be the most important piece of equipment apart from the computer, because a big part of Let’s Play videos is the gamer narrating, talking, making jokes, and being silly in general. You want the best quality voice recorded when you’re doing all that. One I recommend is the Blue Microphone – Spark Cardioid Condenser. (cost and available here)
3. Get Yourself Some Good Software
- You will need certain software that will allow you to make the best videos possible.
- For recording software, XSplit Gamecaster or XSplit Broadcaster are the best, and they also allow the gamer to place his or her face on screen (which is an important aspect of Let’s Play videos). They also can immediately stream the videos to sites like YouTube and Twitch, along with sharing them to social media. Both are packaged together and cost $14.95 for the first three months. (Check it out here).
- Audacity allows the gamer to manipulate sound. What the gamer will need to decide is if he or she is doing live commentary, which requires quick wit and thinking to continually talk while playing a game. If you want to do post-commentary, Audacity can help with that.(Get it here)
- MovieMaker will allow you to edit any part of the video you like. If there is a boring part, feel free to edit it out! (Get MovieMaker here)
4. Get Down To It
- At the very start of the first video, say hello and your name, along with your online or gamer name if you’d like. Say what game you are playing.
- When you make additional parts of each video, you can give a quick summary of what happened in previous videos if you’d like. Briefly say your name and what you are doing in the video.
- Be funny. Be silly. Make jokes. Laugh at your mistakes. Share tips. Fabricate your own story for the game. Have fun, because that means your audience is having fun as well.
5. You Got 99 problems But a Let’s Play Ain’t One… Maybe (#FirstWorldProblems)
- You will encounter problems as you try to perfect your Let’s Play set up, but this How-To should have eliminated most of them, if not all.
- Possible problems can include: having low-quality equipment that doesn’t produce the best Let’s Plays; you having too many wires all over the place; your microphone not capturing all the sound; your video and audio becoming choppy’ you drawing a blank on how to entertain because you are trying too hard, and other unforeseen problems. Have Advil nearby.
6. Keep It Going
- Be consistent. When introducing your YouTube channel, tell your audience if you will be making videos each day or only on certain days and times.
- Along with posting YouTube videos, use Twitch, a place where viewers can watch your game in real-time. Interact with your audience through voice and text chat.
- If you are on YouTube, respond to comments, but ignore any stupid or mean ones, which is something all YouTubers must learn to do.
- Establish your brand by showing who you are or placing a logo or animation at the start of the video.
- Most of all, have fun, and remember that you are connecting to hundreds if not thousands of people with your videos!