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Old 10-15-2011, 05:10 AM
Cody Cody is a male Cody is offline
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Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

This thread will answer several of the more frequently asked questions regarding Let's Plays, will help you set up your recording equipment, and will provide some general tips for Let's Playing. You can also use this thread to ask any Let's Play-related questions not covered by the guides in this post.

1. What is a Let's Play?
A Let's Play (often shortened to LP) is a narrated playthrough of a game. LPs come in many shapes and sizes - some aim for 100% completion, while others simply complete the game and others still try interesting gimmicks (from completing The Legend of Zelda without ever collecting your sword to showing off your talent at playing through a game with only your feet). Most choose to do the playthrough in video form, but for certain types of game, such as long, slow strategy games, screenshot LPs are often preferred. In short, if you're playing through the game and providing your own unique commentary on top of that, you're doing a "Let's Play".

2. Which game should I do a Let's Play of?
The best LPs are generally from people who know and love the game that they are playing, and are passionate about the game. These LPs not only have the most interesting and natural commentary due to the LPer's excitement in wanting to share the game and share the experiences they had with it, but are also the most likely kind of LP to actually be finished.

In the LP community, it's generally frowned upon to LP a game on release, and the general rule is usually to wait about 3 months. This is for multiple reasons - firstly, without the guideline in place the release of a popular game leads to LPs of the same game from many of the people you're following all at once. I still remember when Portal 2 came out and I had to deal with about 10 of the channels I was subscribed to starting the same LP all on the same day. Setting a time period before being able to LP a game also gives the LPer time to play through it a few times first and determine whether or not they actually like it, which pretty much halves the abandoned LP rate singlehandedly.

As for whether an LP should be of a popular or unpopular game, both have their advantages and disadvantages. While a popular game is recognisable, if other people are doing the same LP you're splitting your viewer base with them, as not everyone is willing to follow two LPs of the same game, and you're also causing direct comparisons between the two LPers, which can pressure you. An unpopular game on the other hand has the advantage of little competition, but the disadvantage of, well, being unknown and thus less likely to initially bring people in. In the end though, what matters is the quality of your LP - if you're entertaining or informative enough, people will want to watch your LPs, whether you're LPing Ocarina of Time or your friend's homemade game Hipster Paradise 2, so the best bet is to just pick a game you love.

3. But how can I make a good Let's Play? I'm just not as good as _____!
First off, while of course it's a good sign that you're wanting to make your LPs better, trying to be exactly the same as another LPer can stunt your commentary and make it seem unnatural. For example, while I've seen some really great snarky/sarcastic LPs making fun of games, I've also seen many LPs that are clearly trying to be that kind of sarcastic LP but aren't really pulling it off because it's clear that rather than it being something that comes naturally to them it is something that they are "presenting", in the same way that you can tell that a bad actor sounds "scripted". The reason the original LPer's videos are entertaining in that way is because that's just their style - that's what comes naturally to them.

Just sit back and enjoy the game, making observations and jokes and giving background information about things as if you're sitting on the couch playing next to your friends and you really want to show them all about the game. If you listen to one of your videos and it's in the kind of voice you'd use to present a slideshow about the black plague to a class, rather than the more personal and relaxed kind of voice you'd use to talk to your friend with while playing a video game, then practise and get rid of that habit and it should help your LPs. If you're enthusiastic about the game, it will show and it will make other people enthusiastic too.

Probably the best advice I was ever given in regards to Let's Playing was "you don't need to be talking all the time". It made me realize that I was desperately trying to fill in every little gap between commentary and that it was noticable. The fact is that an LP isn't a radio show - it's fine to have a few seconds gap between commentary. You don't need to read out every line of dialogue (people can read for themselves and reading it out takes a lot longer than just letting them do that, which in text-heavy games could mean you're making the LP 30% longer than it needs to be) and it's fine to let cutscenes speak for themselves.

4. That sounds great, but also sounds like it needs a lot of setup. How do I actually create and record a Let's Play?
Basically, you need three basic things - a microphone/headset to record your voice, a capture device/screen recorder for recording the game, and an editing program to actually put together the video (or if it's a screenshot LP you basically just need a keyboard). Rather than go through everything myself, I will link to some helpful resources for the technical side of LPing.

This thread
is perhaps the greatest resource for LPing on the entire internet. It covers everything, from hardware to software to even which sites to host your video on. Go through the site and look through the options to find what's best for you.

LPer DarkMindedSith also has an easy to understand explanation of his recording methods here in this video.

If you have any questions that aren't answered by a) the resources here and in the linked threads or b) Google, feel free to post them here and we will answer them the best we can.
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Last Edited by Cody; 10-15-2011 at 10:00 AM. Reason:
2 people liked this post: Armillary, Coconut Water
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:36 AM
GrandPyromania GrandPyromania is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

I'm GrandPyromania, a fellow Let's Player on YouTube, and I approve this message.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:32 AM
MysteriousHat MysteriousHat is a male MysteriousHat is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Hi, I have a question.
I've been looking around a little but I can't find anything (I'm a very bad google-er, and really bad at anything technical) so I was wondering how you record the sounds from the game if you're playing on a computer. I have a MacBook. I noticed that you can record video on your screen with QuickTime-player, can it record the sounds too? If not, is there any software for mac that let's you do this?
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:37 AM
Cody Cody is a male Cody is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

You need a screen-recording program - the thread I linked to in the first post covers the good options under the "Video Recording" part of the "Software" section.
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Last Edited by Cody; 10-15-2011 at 09:37 AM. Reason:
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:39 AM
insaney insaney is a male Trinidad and Tobago insaney is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Ooh, a LET'S PLAY section. Interesting.

I have my own Let's Play thing. Except with subtitles and not with voice And it's not stellar quality.

Can I put it here?
Last Edited by insaney; 10-15-2011 at 09:39 AM. Reason:
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:41 AM
Cody Cody is a male Cody is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

LPs where your commentary is in subtitles are still LPs, so sure. :3 Just maybe put a little [Subtitled] tag in your thread title.

If you're making a thread, I'd suggest you follow this basic template.
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Last Edited by Cody; 10-15-2011 at 09:42 AM. Reason:
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:43 AM
insaney insaney is a male Trinidad and Tobago insaney is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Oh, also, one more question. The game has profanity and such (Bayonetta). Not allowed? If so, I'll probably just wait to do an Okami run before putting anything here.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:46 AM
Cody Cody is a male Cody is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

If the game is going to have profanity in it, be sure to add a little warning to the thread title as well as putting warnings next to the episodes with questionable content themselves.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:51 AM
Sabbo Australia Sabbo is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

You seem to have a big focus on video-based Let's Plays; what advice do you (or anyone) have for ones which are only text and imagery?
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:57 AM
Cody Cody is a male Cody is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabbo View Post
You seem to have a big focus on video-based Let's Plays; what advice do you (or anyone) have for ones which are only text and imagery?
To be honest I don't have as much advice for them because I'm not very familiar with running such an LP myself, but as for technical advice, that aforementioned LP Resource thread I keep linking to also covers image capture, image formats, easy screenshotting, and good places for image hosting.
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Last Edited by Cody; 10-15-2011 at 09:58 AM. Reason:
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:10 AM
GooeyKablooie GooeyKablooie is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Just throwing this out there, but when my friend and I recorded "Let's Play"-esque videos of Minecraft or other games we played, I think having us both do it in the same room was a tremendous advantage. Neither of us would have been interesting at all on our own, but being together added a lot of energy to it and conversation that wouldn't have happened otherwise (like when we start facetiously arguing back-and-forth and making fun of one another). Unfortunately we decided to stop doing those because they took too much time to throw together and nobody was watching them (couldn't put them on YouTube at the time because it was before they removed the length limit).

I hardly watch any Let's Plays but I think they would be more of a hit if two people with great chemistry were to do them.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:34 AM
JetForceGemini360 JetForceGemini360 is a male United States JetForceGemini360 is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysteriousHat View Post
Hi, I have a question.
I've been looking around a little but I can't find anything (I'm a very bad google-er, and really bad at anything technical) so I was wondering how you record the sounds from the game if you're playing on a computer. I have a MacBook. I noticed that you can record video on your screen with QuickTime-player, can it record the sounds too? If not, is there any software for mac that let's you do this?
I run a Macbook as well. The best program I've found Snapz Pro X. It's only 10 American Dollars, and is very, very easy to use. It gives out the best video and sound quality that you're computer can handle. It really is almost perfect.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:13 AM
insaney insaney is a male Trinidad and Tobago insaney is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabbo View Post
You seem to have a big focus on video-based Let's Plays; what advice do you (or anyone) have for ones which are only text and imagery?
You remember my Resident Evil 4 thread in Farore? What I did was set the capture to take place every two seconds, so it always managed to catch something in the midst of action. Yeah, it gathers up a lot of useless images, but you'll get the gems and needed images you'll need to make a solid post.

And you're a writer, so after each picture you can add your own story/opinions/sarcasm
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:19 AM
MysteriousHat MysteriousHat is a male MysteriousHat is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetForceGemini360 View Post
I run a Macbook as well. The best program I've found Snapz Pro X. It's only 10 American Dollars, and is very, very easy to use. It gives out the best video and sound quality that you're computer can handle. It really is almost perfect.
Sadly, I can't even afford that right now.

And I looked at the FAQ that you linked Cody, none of them (at least the free ones) seems to work on mac :/
  #15 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 10-15-2011, 11:24 AM
JetForceGemini360 JetForceGemini360 is a male United States JetForceGemini360 is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysteriousHat View Post
Sadly, I can't even afford that right now.

And I looked at the FAQ that you linked Cody, none of them (at least the free ones) seems to work on mac :/
If you're really eager to get something out, then it does have a free 30 day trial I believe. That's really all I can offer at the moment.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:50 PM
Sabbo Australia Sabbo is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by insaney View Post
You remember my Resident Evil 4 thread in Farore? What I did was set the capture to take place every two seconds, so it always managed to catch something in the midst of action. Yeah, it gathers up a lot of useless images, but you'll get the gems and needed images you'll need to make a solid post.

And you're a writer, so after each picture you can add your own story/opinions/sarcasm
Ah, I like. What did you use to do that?
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:28 PM
insaney insaney is a male Trinidad and Tobago insaney is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabbo View Post
Ah, I like. What did you use to do that?
FRAPS, actually, since it was a PC game.

If you want console, I think Capture cards come with software that allow you to take screenshots.
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:13 PM
The Tott Within Finland The Tott Within is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

Yes, Tott/Chocobotamer approves of this forum area as well and will be visiting it frequently. Here's to hoping we see lots of aspiring LPers!
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:57 AM
Coconut Water United States Coconut Water is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

I can easily see this place becoming the place I visit the most on ZU. ^_^
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:38 AM
Wrath of Pong Wrath of Pong is a male United States Wrath of Pong is offline
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Re: Let's Play FAQ / Tech Support: "How do I LP?"

I'd like to start a LP. I was wondering if you guys think that the standard microphone that's built into a Macbook Pro monitor is good enough to do LP's, or should I get something better?

Also, what is the best way to record audio. Can fraps do that? Should I record audio in a second program like Audacity?
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