It’s no small secret that more and more people are dipping their toes into content creation on Twitch, Youtube, and even going to other, newer platforms to try and make their mark. While many think their first step needs to be buying a capture card, microphone, streaming PC, or video editing software, if you own a PS4 or Xbox One, you already have more tools than you think. Today, we’re going to take a look at the tools available for PS4 content creation.
The Basic Equipment
To start out, let’s set some guidelines. The original inspiration for this overview was to see what I could do with the PS4 and nothing else. Sure, a better mic would help and sometimes, a webcam is really nice, and better software is always good, but these are things that shouldn’t entirely stop you from making content. So, I’m going to use exactly what came with my PS4 and only free things after that. This includes the earpiece mic the PS4 was packaged with and only free software available on the PS4. I will assume you have PSN Plus as well as you probably play games online a bunch, though that shouldn’t be a factor.
Getting Started with the PS4 App
The first part is streaming. If you have a PS4 and you’ve thought “I want to be one of those Twitchers. That’s what they’re called, right?!”, this part is easy. The Share button has broadcasting built in and linked to Twitch, Youtube, Ustream, and Daily Motion. If you have more specific streaming needs than that and maybe fancy Hitbox or Beam more, you are out of luck, unfortunately. If you want any more info, you can read up more on it here. That post is aimed at Twitch but the process is the same for every service.
If you’re a brand new streamer, this is really great. I feel like too many people are willing to jump into streaming but are too willing to get a capture card and get a bunch of extra stuff not knowing if they’ll even like it. If you have a PS4, you already have all the tools to get started. A nice little boost you can get comes from being grouped with PS4 streams both on Twitch and on the PS4 itself. People looking for streams on PS4 could find you on Twitch, the Live From Playstation app, as well as the featured section on the game itself.
PS4 App Limitations
If you continue to stream from the PS4, you will notice that the lack of built in tools is somewhat limiting. For instance, the lack of any kind of follow or host notification built in is somewhat disappointing and I don’t know if any kind of update is anywhere in the near future. In addition, the default appearance for chat on the PS4 interface isn’t the best, specifically the fact that it breaks up words to fit a certain amount of characters.
Let’s get on to other forms of PS4 content creation. One feature that’s great about modern consoles is that they’re built around sharing. If at any point you’re playing a game and something cool happens, you can just hit the “Share” button and create a video clip which will save anywhere between the last minute and 15 minutes depending on your preference. Right from the Capture Gallery, you can trim it and then instantly post it to Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube. Because you can include your microphone audio into the video clips, this can be enough for some people but if you want to do just a tiny bit more with your video clips, you’re in luck.
If you’re wanting to edit and enhance the videos you capture, the PS4 has a video editing app, SHAREfactory. It may not look it but SHAREfactory is pretty fully featured. You can select a bunch of video clips on your PS4 and throw them into an editing timeline to chop up. You can edit through clips and add both music and voice over, you can have text and image overlays. They recently updated SHAREfactory to also support multiple clips in a single shot as well as chroma key options if you happen to have an extra special setup. SHAREfactory also happens to have pre-made game-oriented themes and many of them happen to be free so you can have specific visual style to your Rocket League highlights with a Rocket League intro and Rocket League-themed transitions between scenes. Some of these themes are also setup to do top 5 style lists so if you want to make a highlight reel of your best Rocket League shots, some themes are already setup for you.
But why would I show you when you can just see more for yourself, and maybe hear me repeat some of this stuff maybe…
SHAREfactory isn’t perfect. SHAREfactory is a linear editor so layering and splicing clips together happens in relation to other clips. If you have no video editing experience, this might not be a big deal to you. Personally, going from Premiere to something like this is always weird. Also, while I really like the idea of themes in SHAREfactory, many look cheesy or just bad.
What kind of content really thrives here? I think anything that requires editing could be made here. You could cut a review in SHAREfactory if you wanted, it’s well suited for doing top X lists as some themes can default to that, gameplay commentaries could still be a thing if you want to talk over a match of Call of Duty or something. All these things could work very well if you put some time into learning SHAREfactory. Interestingly, I don’t think let’s plays or extended playthroughs work well going through SHAREfactory. Sony recently updated SHAREfactory to allow you to export 60 minute videos but even if your let’s play videos aren’t that long, your recordings are limited to 15 minutes from the time you hit the “Share” button. That isn’t the most ideal situation. Everyone’s process is different but I definitely would want to record an entire play session which could be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and then cut it down if I needed to. I’m not saying you couldn’t make something like this work, it’s just not the greatest thing ever.
While I didn’t comment much about the hardware or software requirements, if you have a PS4 everything mentioned in this guide can be done for free. If you’re willing to put in some work and you put your mind to it, you can make quite a bit with just your PS4 and nothing else. You don’t necessarily need a streaming computer and capture card and the Adobe suite to make a professional looking package. If you really wanted to start making things, you can absolutely go for it.