I remember seeing a lot of cool Counter Strike videos back in the day. How do you go about recording your gameplay (any game) into an easy to edit format? Do you need special software? How much does it cost?
Fraps is the most popular tool for recording in game videos.
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TAKSI (open source; Windows only)
Despite the webpage claims the latest stable release has been done in 2006, the project does not seem completely abandoned. Development version 0.7.7.9 has been released in July 2010.
Chris S probably gave what will become the most popular and accepted answer. Still, I think wegame.com (Windows only) should get a mention. It allows you to record nearly any game with their client and upload it to their site. It's also free. Unfotunately, I don't think you can do much in terms of editing the video.
Xfire is free, and in some ways it is better for recording games than other tools.
You can set a hotkey to quickly start recording the game that is currently active window. You are shown a small status bar inside the game with current length of the video and disk space it takes (the bar isn't shown in the video.)
Xfire can't do general screen recording, it is only for games. It records games in both fullscreen and windowed modes.
Result video is a high quality .avi file with resolution the same as the game window's client size, or half-size (depends on what you choose).
The bad thing about Xfire is that it not only does video records... Well, see for yourself at their website
For Windows only.
Dxtory (Windows only) is worth a mention as well.
It's 3,600 JPY (~US$40), but there is a free demo.
Its main selling point is that it uses multiple hard drives for its operation, therefore avoiding the main bottleneck of video capture, which is recording speed*.
(*) I've tested this using 4 HDDs (all different), and the performance hit is noticeably lower than other similar software.
I made some tutorial back then when I was beginning recording my gameplay for my YouTube channel
While Fraps is the best solution for recording 3D-accelerated games and applications (and that includes 2D games that use your 3D videocard), it can't record your desktop or your browser.
For general-purpose desktop recording, I recommend CamStudio, which is free and open source. It can be used to record things that Fraps usually can't (for instance, in-browser games and some simple 2D games that don't use DirectX), as well as general game-related videos (e.g. tutorials, or a game launcher screen).
For simple video editing and conversion (for instance, before uploading to YouTube), I recommend VirtualDub, which is also free and open source.
VLC Media Player (open source, windows, linux & os x)
Launch the game of your choosing in windowed fullscreen mode.
Start up VLC.
On the "Media" menu select "Convert / Save..." (CTRL-R)
The "Open Media" dialog will appear, select the "Capture Device" tab
Change the capture mode to "Desktop".
Adjust the desired frame rate for capture, I set it to 30.00 f/s.
Click on the "Convert /Save" button.
The "Convert" dialog will appear.
Click the "Browse" button to find place to save the video and give it a name.
I use "capture.asf" as a filename
Select the profile you want to use. I have found that "Video WMV + WMA (ASF)" give the best results for me.
Press the "Start" button.
Activate the game and play for a bit, VLC will make a recording, when you want to stop recording activate VLC and press the stop button, then close it down.
The ASF format I use produces very large files, for a 2560 x 1600 display it takes about 1GB for 3 minutes of video. You can experiement with different encodings if you like but I had problems with the others so decided to use ASF, I imagine I can convert it to something smaller later.