How to record and share gameplay clips on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch review
Ali Powell/Digital Trends
At the end of 2017, the Nintendo Switch was updated to version 4.0, which included the ability to record 30-second gameplay clips of certain games to share on social media. Previously, Switch users could only snap and share screenshots with the world, but now they can highlight the best (and funniest) gameplay moments playing Nintendo’s finest. At the time of the update’s release, only a small handful of Nintendo first-party games supported this feature, but now the list has expanded to dozens and dozens of games.

Supported games

According to the official Nintendo website, only a small selection of first-party games support video capture and sharing, but the feature worked with every game we tried. There is no official definitive list of supported titles, but most games seem to support the feature.

According to a report at Kotaku UK, the plan is to bring this feature to more games and eventually allow users to record longer clips. For now, though, fire up whichever one of the currently available games you want to record. (If you have a Switch, we imagine there’s a great chance you have at least one of them.)

Capturing gameplay

When you’re ready to record, press and hold the Switch’s capture button — it’s the square button with the indented circle, located under the directional pad on the left Joy-Con, or opposite the home button on the Switch Pro controller. Holding the button automatically records 30 seconds of gameplay. You do not need to hold the button for the full 30 seconds: A long press should be enough to get it going. A quick tap takes a screenshot, while a full press records video.

The console signals that it is recording a clip with a spinning icon, and a message that says Saving appears in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. When the video capture is complete, a new message with the play icon states that the clip has been successfully saved.

The Switch automatically records the last 30 seconds of gameplay, but if you just entered a game and want to record a clip, it will record any length up to 30 seconds.

Viewing your gameplay clip

After recording a clip, simply navigate to your album on the home screen.

Your clips are automatically clumped in with your screenshots, but you’ll notice the clips are denoted with “30s” in the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail. You can filter the library to only see your clips by pressing Y and clicking Videos only in the dropdown menu.

Opening the clip automatically plays it.

Editing a clip

Sometimes, not everything in that 30-second clip is noteworthy. If you want to cut it down, press A while viewing the clip. From there, you can move the bar frame by frame from the start of the clip, clipping away the portion of the video you don’t want. This will turn into the new start of the video. Press A and do the same from the end of the clip until you’re satisfied with where the clip finishes. Don’t worry; your original clip will still be saved even after you trim it down.

Taking a screenshot from your video

You can also grab screenshots from within the clip using the edit function. Press A at the spot in the clip you’d like to screenshot and press Save as Screenshot. This is a good way to retroactively secure a screenshot that you may have missed during the last 30 seconds of gameplay.

Sharing clips to social media

Maybe the most fun part of recording clips is sharing them with your friends. You can upload clips to Twitter and Facebook. Go to the clip, click A, and then click Post.

You can now post the clips on the Twitter and Facebook pages that you have linked to your account.

Recording with capture card

If you have problems with the Switch’s built-in recording system or find a game that doesn’t support it, you can look at other choices. The best method of storing and sharing your Nintendo Switch gameplay is using a capture card. A capture card is a third-party hardware system that you can use to film footage from your screen with whatever system you have. It also has a helpful capability of overriding time restrictions and even blocked gameplay recording. You can film as long as you want, provided you have adequate hard drive memory. Capture cards are, without a doubt, the most high-quality way to record gameplay.

Using a capture card is more complex than simply sharing from the Switch, but its extra features are well worth the extra effort. Our top pick is the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, but there are other choices as well.

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