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

Part of the fun of recording clips is sharing them for your friends to see. You can currently share clips to both Twitter and Facebook. Within the clip, press A, then click Post.

From there you can choose to share to the Twitter or Facebook page linked to your account.

Recording with capture card

If you run into issues using the Switch’s built-in recording features or come across a game that doesn’t support it, you might want to consider other options. Right now, using a capture card for recording is the best way to store and share your gameplay with Nintendo Switch. This is a third-party piece of hardware that allows you to record footage from your screen, with whichever system you’re using. It’s also handy because it can override time restrictions or even blocked gameplay recording. You can record as long as you’d like, so long as you have enough hard drive space. If you’re serious about recording your gameplay, using a capture card is absolutely the way to go.

Although using a capture card is more in-depth than just sharing from the Switch, the practical features you get with it are usually worth the extra hassle and initial investment.  We recommend the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, but there is a slew of other choices, too.

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