The amazing PlayClaw video capture tool gives customers incredible power! PlayClaw has been designed to make full use of multi-core processors and hardware accelerated H.264 codecs, which ensures the outstanding quality of the output with a minimal impact on system performance.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (300 reviews) - 73% of the 300 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Sep 10, 2013

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Recent updates View all (26)

April 26

There is hotfix build 3573

This build fixes one problem with old Intel CPUs (like 2700 or older) - wrong timestamps on encoded frames if you use H.264 Intel QuickSync encoder.

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April 19

New build with several bug fixes

Build 3561 is released!

  • Fixed crash on capture stop on some systems
  • Fixed Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War render bug
  • Capture overlay: added warning "low hdd space" when free space on target disk is lower than 1gb
  • Twitch overlay: connection was moved to separate thread to avoid too long PlayClaw start.
  • Added "auto restart pre-recording after stop" option in Encoder options.
  • SysInfo overlay: added renderer type & frame size indicators
  • Fixed wrong system tray icon notification text
  • Fixed correct capture shutdown on game/playclaw exit

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About This Software

The amazing PlayClaw video capture tool gives customers incredible power!

PlayClaw has been designed to make full use of multi-core processors and hardware accelerated H.264 codecs, which ensures the outstanding quality of the output with a minimal impact on system performance. PlayClaw will record full HD videos of your gameplay with high frame rates with your audio commentary with minimal possible performance hit!

The other nifty feature is PlayClaw’s ability to render helpful overlays over game screen. PlayClaw will show you who's speaking in games using Teamspeak 3, leading to better teamwork. Check your GPU/CPU load and temperatures right in game with PlayClaw's overlays. Overlays are fully compatible with the latest versions of Windows and graphics engines.

At A Glance:
  • Capture game video with optional recording game audio
  • H.264 encoding with hardware acceleration (Intel QuickSync, NVidia Encoder, AMD VCE encoder)
  • Streaming to YouTube, Twitch and other RTMP services
  • Special capture desktop mode in Windows 7, 8/8.1 and 10
  • Adjustable video recording frame rate and size
  • Up to 16 audio sources
  • Unique pre-recording feature
  • Output in multiple formats (AVI, MP4)
  • Capture screenshots
  • Various overlays: voice overlays for Teamspeak 3, FPS, CPU/GPU statistics, timers, etc.
  • Webcam overlay support
  • Support for 3rd party overlays via plugins system.
  • Multithreaded compression code
  • Realtime audio preprocessing engine
  • Profile-based settings
  • Compatible with PunkBuster & Valve Anti Cheat

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 2-cores CPU with SSE support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel/AMD/NVidia graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 8.0
    • Additional Notes: Administrator rights to run software are mandatory.
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 8.1
    • Processor: Intel SandyBridge CPU or AMD APU A10-58xx or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVidia Geforce 6хх or AMD Radeon HD 77xx or better
    • DirectX: Version 8.0
    • Additional Notes: Administrator rights to run software are mandatory.
Helpful customer reviews
18 of 26 people (69%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
When I first got this it was working fine for recording Let's Plays with face cam. However, with each update, it seems to have gotten worse and worse for me & my set up of hard- & software.
It started with audio & video getting out of synch the longer the video recording was, like it started on the same mark and then got progressively more and more askew. So I started to split up my recordings, since I can paste them together in post production anyway.
Then it started to have every first recording of a session with the sound allright, but the frame of the game & cam freezed. So I started to either wait some minutes into the recording before I started actually playing & talking, or to do a "bugged" recording first, and followed up with a proper functional one.
Now it seems to have gone on to have *every single recording* start of with an even longer period of freezed frame, plus the sound gets so badly out of synch it can't be played at all with some players.

It has been some time since I tried out to record cam (new feature to be able to be recorded seperately at the time of writing this), audio & video in diffrent files, but the point is I shouldn't have to!

Also, when trying to record the laptop it hasn't worked as of yet for me. And when setting to record everything, it doesn't record anything & makes the game currently running lag exensively. And it has never been able to get lower res game to be recorded, say "Plants vs Zombies" or original "Doom", when other software has been able to record both low res and high res games.
With some games it clashes, so that the game won't start up if you have PlayClaw running (example "The Wolf Among Us"). A possible solution to that though is to start the game first, alt tab and then start up PlayClaw when the game is allready running. But this of course only works with games that allow alt tabbing.

I was looking forward to the added features, but at this point, I feel it's just getting worse and worse and I may resort back to not having face cam but just game footage but with another more stable software. I deeply wish the updates weren't required but rather released as DLC which you could individually untick in case they didn't work out for you.

For the readers information, I have OS Win 7 (64 bit), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card & CreAtive Fatal1ty headset.
Here's a video showcasing the sound synching issue: From 04:37 and onward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKNEdWQOhrM
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104 of 137 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
The marketplace for screen capture tools is starting to get quite crowded, but PlayClaw stands out as it strikes a great balance between ease of use and quality. The main competitors are Bandicam, Fraps, and Dxtory. PlayClaw beats Fraps as it is much less resources intensive, and produces higher quality ouput than Bandicam in most cases. Using PlayClaw usually results in nothing more than a 1 to 5 frame rate decrease and very few dropped frames during recording. Dxtory, coupled with the Lagarith codec produces slightly better results, and is even less resource intensive, but takes a bit more effort to set it up; in contrast the PlayClaw UI is very easy to navigate.

The main features are: Record in-game footage. Record the desktop. Buffer a period of footage (from 5 to 600seconds). Take screenshots. Configure input from multiple audio sources including mic. You can also stream to Twitch, YouTube and Customer Server (not tested yet)

Recording desktop / in-game and activating recording to capture the buffered footage never show any interuption or performance hit. I have tried streaming to a 10,000prm HDD, and also 5400. As with all capture tools the faster the hard drive the better, but footage was still OK on the slower drive. Being able to define the number of CPU threads the software utilises really helps performance. Other essential options are the ability to define frame rate for capture and set the resolution (although I would recommend recording native and then scaling during editing).

One thing I really like is the ability have PlayClaw write audio tracks in seperate files. This makes it a lot more convenient if editing audio as each each source (in-game or mic) gets it's own file. So no bother with extracting audio from the video file, or having all audio streams mixed.

Taking screenshots produces a nice overlay effect - it really lets you know a shot has been taken without being intrusive. Other overlays can be configured to show frame rate, recording duration, buffer, a clock and many other features. One of the most useful overlapys shows how large your recording is.

The main area where PlayClaw could improve is around the MJPEG codec. It appears they use their own custom codec and many have found it can be a pain finding editing software to support it. (Protip - If you have problems opening the files in your editor, try installing the free version of Bandicam - this will install / update the codecs - it certainly worked for Sony Movie Studio 12 and 13). It spoils what is otherwise a very easy to use application. It would be nice if they supported advanced options that allowed the user to install their own codecs. Edit: The developer has kindly clarified the MJPEG issue. But out of all the capture software I have tested over the years, PlayClaw is the only one that caused problems like this. So I am not changing my comment, as many people have found my 'pro tip' useful.

Overall PlayClaw is a great piece of software. I am using it exclusively to capture footage. It does a great job.

Edit: May 2015 - Slight changes to incorporate questions received below
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109 of 146 people (75%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
131.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2013
The first few days I used Playclaw everything worked fine, I was able to record for more than an hour in 1080p without much lag or frame drops... Then things started to get messy when I tried it on various games and started playing with the settings. The software gives error messages right from the start and it doesn't work with every game, while Fraps does.

Sure, Fraps has a higher impact on performance but overall you can record anything (including the desktop) without having to worry about the result. Playclaw is far from perfect as of now, so for the price (and the fact that the Steam license will not be updated anymore after X years, as read in the official forums) I don't think this software is worth it. I'd recommend Fraps for now if you have a configuration that can handle the CPU/GPU stress. Playclaw has its pros (webcam display, separating audio files for editing,... and much more!) but it's way too unstable/unpredictable.
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88 of 116 people (76%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2013
I have mixed feelings on this one. tl;dr I ended up buying Fraps to get my game captures.

About me: I make a lot of fragshow/machinima movies and have about 10 years experience. This program didn't work out so well for that purpose. I also did some research on YouTube for reviews prior to my purchase, but unfortunately my mileage varied quite a bit.

I found I had to alt tab a few times to get the overlays to appear - like it wouldn't select the open game for a while. Then, even when turning all overlays off in the settings, they still appeared in my recordings.. and yes, i had turned the overlay off from the active game prior to recording!

Another problem I had was that I had to close and reopen the program a lot, and relaunch my games so PlayClaw would show up, which caused steam to go "hold the phone! we're closing or opening something" all the time [black Steam box in middle of screen.] I'd also get "failed to launch app" as PlayClaw or its "hook" which displays/hooks into games would get frozen in the background. I'd have to restart my games, steam and eventually my PC to try to get things going.

Can't blame the dev for that though, as it appears to be how Steam handles licensing. However, I can blame the dev for this: I emailed explaining my issue, and asked for a license for the non-steam version (which is feature-same, does not have new features) and was refused saying to try the new beta.

I don't want to try new betas. I want to have working software delivered through Steam if thats how I purchase it. But if one of my core issues is that I'm having problems LAUNCHING the app, I should be given a key for the non steam version as I had requested.

I can see this argument.. if you buy a game on steam, and it has issues, would you get given a normal CD key for the game AS WELL? well, no. But this is a piece of software designed to run alongside games, and maybe Steam isn't built for that.

The program also always prompts for admin rights (Win 8.1 x64) which, if you're reopening it multiple times, becomes quite the annoyance. Also each time I quit the program it would display a variable error.

Then comes the quality. I found recording the same footage in Fraps vs in PlayClaw resulted in about a 60% smaller file in PlayClaw. Maybe this is good for some people, but it wasn't good for me as I wanted to retain as much quality as possible using this type of recording method.. meaning the reds got junked up a bit due to compression.

I guess I'll close in saying that PlayClaw seems to have some cool features which I'll try to use eventually since I paid for it but it has some problems - which all software does. What wasn't cool for me was the developer refusing to let me use a non-steam version of the program I had bought a license for.

If we buy on Steam, we shouldn't have to manually install things. In my opinion If we opt to do that, we should be granted the privilege.
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93 of 126 people (74%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 13, 2014
Faulty's scorecard :-

1) Essential purchase
2) Recommended purchase
3) Recommended purchase during a sale
4) Not recommended unless heavily discounted
5) Not even recommended for Steam game collectors

A good robust piece of recording software well worth investing in


I purchased this on a whim during the autumn sale but was heading out that evening so I didn't bother installing it thinking I would get to that when I got home or possibly do it over the weekend. What I did was promptly forget about it (I had a lot of work pressures on the mind not being helped by the fact I was also prepping and studying for exams). I also have a bad habit of never remembering what I purchase during Steam sales because I seem to go into a frenzied, rabid mode where all logic and reason get left behind at the start of the sale only to be picked up again as the sale door slams shut and boots me back to reality. To be honest, I have lost count the amount of times I have gotten as giddy as a schoolboy for a game I already own of which I had no idea I already owned.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=349050351
I am not what you would call an expert at this sort of stuff and quite frankly I don't aim to be so FRAPS, when introduced to me, did everything and more I could expect from software of this nature. PlayClaw 5 has made me aware that I could have been expecting a bit more - but just a bit since we are not talking Great Expectations here.

I initially had teething problems with FRAPS playing and recording on the same drive. There where some significant hits to game performance even on beefy i7 systems but that all changed when I purchased my latest gaming laptop (MSI GT70 i7-3630 with 16 RAM, 256GB SSD and 750Gb internal drive). Having FRAPS installed on the SSD and writing to the internal drive solved all my issues. I decided to install PlayClaw 5 in exactly the same manner as I did want these insanely large video files clogging up my SDD which would have had a hard time anyway of keeping more than two videos of 30 mins of gameplay before running out of space.

So for the relative newcomer to game recording how does PlayClaw 5 stack up against FRAPS, its similarly priced cousin? I have yet to try out Dxtory - which is significantly cheaper than both - but PlayClaw 5 comes with a host of options not available to FRAPS users. You can select a codec (granted you can only choose between fast, MJEPG, H.264 Intel Quicksync and the Nvidia codec if you have an Nvidia card like I do) but as mentioned above to a novice user of software of this nature I am really fine with this. Where FRAPS can be quite resource intensive, PlayClaw 5 is very much lighter on the system. FRAPS also has an annoying habit of loosing frames even though you are recording at 30fps but your systems experiences a drop in fps that is still well above the threshold limit. An example would be recording a game video at 30fps with the game running at 60fps occasionally dropping to 50/55 or lower which in turn would still show up in your recordings. Not so with PlayClaw 5 as long as your game doesn't drop below the threshold set in the options menu as this will immediately drop the recording to 15fps but anything higher will not appear which I really like. PlayClaw 5 also outputs smaller video files depending on what codec you use and I found that using the Nvidia Codec (with a few tweaks here and there in the Playclaw options menu) resulted in the qualty recordings at decent sizes for posting. I also found it useful that you can specify in the options how much of the CPU you want to use for recording.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=349050884
PlayClaw 5 also has an overlay that can show a host of options to you (set in the overlay tab of the software). I found displaying the GPU temperature and usage as well as the systems CPU core temperature and usage to the screen in a non-intrusive way to be very useful. You can also display information such as write speed to drive and file size of recording (if you want to keep track of the video sizes you are recording). It will also record your webcam (displayed in the corner) should you set this in the overlay as well as Teamspeak, if so required. PlayClaw 5 can apparently record up to 16 different audio devices but I could not really test this one out. It seemed to record the game sounds and my microphone perfectly so I was a happy camper. You are also even given the option to record audio in a separate audio file. PlayClaw 5 also comes with a screenshot capturing tool which you can set to take snapshots at intervals you set or when you press the desired key pressing. Nothing new here and what I would have expected. A recent update to PlayClaw5 also added streaming games to twitch in the options menu if you prefer to stream your games (which seems to be all the rage at the moment).

The only downside I can see if you do this professionally is that the software does not allow you to select your own codec for recording that isn't already listed but neither did FRAPS (well not to my knowledge but maybe I missed something). Comparing recording quality I would have to say that PlayClaw 5 seems to have the edge but only slightly but It's not massively noticeable anyway.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=349051309
If you are looking for game recording software and don't already own FRAPS (or even if you do and still want to see what PlayClaw 5 has to offer) I can highly recommend you pick up this software. Try and catch it when it goes on a sale (I got it for $12 dollars during the Spring/Autumn sale) or better yet if you can't really wait - head on over to the developers website http://www.playclaw.com/ and purchase your Steam key there for $34 instead of the $49 its going for on the Steam Storefront.

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