There's nothing quite like seeing a once-in-a-lifetime moment in a video game and realising it's too late to go back and get a video of it. It's over and gone, lost forever. Womp, womp.
Both the PS4 and the Xbox One promised to help gamers avoid that scenario by including hardware that's constantly recording a set amount of gameplay, allowing your console can work like a gameplay DVR. Both consoles have achieved that goal, making it possible to save and share video clips even if you didn't remember to hit "record" until after the magic moment passed.
That said, I've been playing a lot of games on the PS4 lately and have become aware of just how finicky the recording controls are. The instructions aren't entirely clear...
...and if you hit the wrong button, and you'll lose your cached clip forever. So, it pays to be sure.
While I realise that many PS4 owners out there probably figured all this out a long time ago, I still thought it might be useful to share a quick guide on how to capture video on the PS4. Mostly, I want to share it because I was a little bit murky on how it all worked up until surprisingly recently, and I'm betting I'm not the only one.
Here's how you do it:
1. Tweak your share settings to your liking.
When you enter the Share menu you'll have the choice to go into Share Settings/View Guide by hitting the Options button. Do that, and decide what you want the share button to do while you're playing a game. I prefer Easy Screenshots, but your mileage may vary. Regardless, you'll wind up with three commands: Go to share menu, take screenshot, or set a start point for a video clip.
You'll also want to adjust how long your video clips can be, which you can do in a parallel menu. I set mine to 5 minutes because I'm generally capturing short sequences and don't want to have to hunt through 15 minutes videos to find what I'm looking for.
2. To get a video of something that already happened, just go straight to the share menu.
This is the most useful option, and the one Sony has done the poorest job of explaining. Say something awesome just happened in the game you're playing. You want to save it forever, but you didn't hit "record" before it happened. How do you do get at that video file without losing it forever? Simple: Just hit whatever button will take you directly to the share menu.
Once you're there, you'll be able to press square to "Save Video Clip," and whatever happened within the timeframe you've specified in step 1 will be saved on your hard drive.
3. To start a fresh recording, just start a recording.
Duh, right? If you double-tap the Share button you'll start a new recording. But here's an important thing to keep in mind: Double-tapping the share button also loses whatever DVR-like recording you had running. So, be sure you know which command you're giving. Speaking of that...
4. To save a recording you started, you still have to go to the share menu.
This one's also tricky, and easy to screw up. (It's the reason most of us have wound up with more than a few 2-second video clips cluttering our PS4 hard drives.) If you want to save a recording that you started using the double-tap, do not double-tap again. That will start a new recording and delete the one you had going. Instead, go into the Share menu and hit square again for "Save Video Clip." Instead of automatically saving the last however many minutes, it will save your clip from when you first double-tapped.
5. You can take screenshots without getting in the way of your videos.
A nice little thing you don't have to worry about: Not only can you snag PS4 screenshots at any time, if you want to screenshot something while also recording, the little "screenshot!" graphic won't appear in your video.
5. That's pretty much it.
Once you get your head around the ins and outs, PS4 video capture works well, especially now that it's so easy to copy your videos and screenshots to a USB drive. But, given that one wrong button press can cost you an once-in-a-lifetime video, I figured it would be worthwhile to lay it out as clearly as possible.
Hope this is helpful! And if you have any other tips for recording on a PS4, I hope you'll share them below.