How to Capture Footage For Your Videos

Whether you’re making helpful “How To” videos or entertaining pop culture videos, chances are you will want to use some outside footage. The best way to get footage to use for your videos (outside of what you shoot on camera) is to capture whatever footage you need. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

1. Get permission.

For the most part, if you’re making not-for-profit videos, or if your videos are informational or parodies, most content you use will be protected by fair use laws. That being said, with YouTube’s copyright claims system, a lot of users are being flagged for what should be protected by fair use.

In order to add an extra level of protection, be sure to get permission before using any captured content. The easiest way to get permission is to email the copyright holder and ask. More often than not, you will get permission to use their content.

2. Use onboard capture software to get videos of your computer screen.

Most computers come with some capability to capture still images and videos of what is on the screen. These are cheap, easy tools to utilize for capturing “How To” footage, especially if you are trying to show certain functions of a program or computer.

Once captured, be sure to back up the footage. From there it is easy to import the footage into whatever video editing software you use.

3. Capture cards are great for gamers.

Capture cards are standard fare for Let’s Players and game reviewers. These are generally more expensive items that capture footage by feeding the signal through an outside box before sending the signal back to a monitor.

There are many different options for capture cards, each with different functionalities and ease of use. Like always, be sure to back up whatever footage you capture.

4. Explore other software.

There are many options for capture software outside of the onboard programs. Some are free, and others aren’t. Most work best in conjunction with capture cards, as they act as a redundancy system incase part of the capture system fails. These redundancies allow for a greater peace of mind that the footage has indeed been captured.

Do your research and pick the best software for your needs.

Capturing outside footage is a great way to get extra content for your videos. Whether capturing part of a video game, a snippet of a movie, or software features from a computer, the extra content can breath new life into an already great project. Just be sure to always get permission first. After that, try out both the onboard software as well as some outside software until you find a program that is right for you. If all else fails, capture cards are never bad investments.

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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.

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