News Article

Guide: How To Capture Video And Screenshots From Your 3DS

Posted by Damien McFerran

Turn your handheld into a multimedia star

As the next generation of home consoles looms over us, the topic of video sharing is becoming ever more important. Both the PS4 and Xbox One will offer the ability to record and upload your gaming performances so others can appraise them online, which will surely lead to an explosion of self-made clips on various video-sharing sites when those two systems eventually launch later this year.

You might assume that Nintendo's consoles are exempt from this party, but that isn't strictly the case. While it doesn't offer the ability to record from the system itself, the Wii U can be hooked up to a standard HD capture device, and the 3DS — which also lacks any kind of native video capture — can be modded in order to enable it.

Therein lies the catch; to actually grab the 3DS video signal, additional hardware and a pretty intrusive modification are needed. Too scared and inexperienced to even contemplate trying it ourselves, we entrusted our beloved Japanese console to The mod results in a larger handheld — rather like fitting an extended battery to the 3DS — but it's still a sleek and portable unit, with the only other visible difference being a Micro USB port next to the cartridge slot.

That's the hard part over and done with — actually capturing images and video from the 3DS is a walk in the park. The supplied USB cable connects the console to your computer, while the dedicated software displays both screens and boasts one-tap recording with little need for set up. The resultant files are dropped onto your desktop, ready to be uploaded wherever you see fit. The only thing to note is that although the board supports audio capture, the firmware doesn't currently have it enabled, so you'll need to grab the sound from the 3DS console's 3.5mm headphone socket for the time being. 3DS kindly provide a noise filter, but you'll also need to purchase a male-to-male 3.5mm audio lead so you can plug it into your PC. It sounds overly-complex, but it really isn't — the capture software splices the video and audio together perfectly.

The cost? The bespoke nature of this work means that it's certainly not cheap — 3DS sells pre-modded consoles for $430 including shipping, but will mod your existing system for as little as $255. It's a lot of cash, but the hardware involved is highly specialised (so much so that they're regularly sold out of both boards and consoles) and installation process requires a lot of work. In Nintendo Life's case, this was a no-brainer — having a capture-ready 3DS means we can do more exclusive video content. If you're a casual user then the price might be a barrier, but even so, those serious about producing original videos they can share online might find it's money well spent.


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User Comments (52)



Greenalink said:

Got one of these for a year and even used it for the speed running marathon : Awesome Games Done Quick 2013.

You should note that the Capture Add-on for the regular 3DS has a small sacrifice... you can't use the Circle Pad Pro (CPP), unless someone out there is good enough to make a custom CPP case.



Aerona said:

I'll keep this in mind if I decide to start up my Youtube channel again!



untokuoriainen said:

Interesting article but alredy owned 3ds and 3ds xl model. But hey maybe gateway support capture too in the future over wlan.

Hope so that option is realiable.



jpfan1989 said:

I am surprised you guys went for this one. Seeing as how you've been against modding in the past.



RupeeClock said:

This is something I would dearly enjoy, but it's pretty expensive and as an EU customer I'd have to send my 3DS off in the first place.



ejamer said:

Cool! Nice feature post. Even if this isn't something that normal gamers will care about enough to pay for, it's still very interesting.



Hunter-D said:

I really want to do this with a Japanese 3DS, but I need to buy that and get it modded. Expensive stuff.

Bring us some more great content, Nlife



Megumi said:

...Would rather wait until they find another way...don't want to have my 3DS permanently modded...



NintenU said:

This is pretty old news, the guy has also been sold out for months!
There's another company, but in Japan that also make them ...which are also available for 3DS XL, not just standard 3DS!



Rensch said:

It supposedly is really well done. As for me, I find it expensive for now. We'll see if Nintendo adds this feature to future game systems.



Volmun said:

Cool! a bit too expensive for me though maybe Nintendo will catch on and make a app in the E-Shop to record striate to your SD Card that'd be nice



Marakuto said:

I made a thread about this last year and want to eventually get one for myself. Sometimes I update it based on whatever is new.



DreaddJester said:

If only I had $430.00 laying around... I'd check in my sofa but probably be luck to find .43 cents there.... Would be very cool and fun to record 3DS gameplay though. Hopefully Nintendo will catch on with the next generation of handhelds.



SCAR said:

Hopefully Nintendo can get a video feed sent to the camera app during gameplay, at the very least. Then you can upload to Miiverse.

Maybe if they incorporate YouTube 3D, you'd be able to upload directly from you 3DS, including 3D video.



SanderEvers said:

@SCAR392 Nah, the 3DS isn't powerful enough to do that.

Nor is the PSV, PS3, XBOX 360 or the WIi U. Just the PS4 and XBOX ONE are actually capable of recording video during gameplay, as both the XBOX ONE as the PS4 have separate HD encoding chips.

Like this mod, but then built in

It would be easier though if you can get your hands on a developers 3DS that actually has some kind of video-out.



GustavoMaciel said:

It's been MONTHS since I've been seeing these screenshots from the Mega Drive classics, I'm so curious to see them in 3D it's frustrating!!



WinterWarm said:

Wish I had one. I had the perfecf FE:A moment a while ago. I sliced Roy's back after a Luna attack ( Brave Sword ) and BAM! Sparks flew, Roy's hands were thrown upwards! It was glorious. It was straight down attack from Lon'qu.



FJOJR said:

At this point I want screenshot support for all video gamea. Smash Bros. Brawl really spoiled me. Now if the Wii U could just give us HD screens.



IsawYoshi said:

I hope Nintendo's next gen console and handheld will have built in capture cards for sharing video on Miiverse and Youtube.



HawkeyeWii said:

@Greenalink Really? Were you at AGDQ? If so that is pretty awesome! Also, do you stream on Twitch and or SRL? I do on a pretty regular basis.



SCAR said:

That's not true. Xbox 360 was able to record some gameplay videos and upload them straight to their respective sites. That's why I think such a feature will be implemented via Miiverse eventually, at least for Wii U.

There are other ways to do things as well. All they would have to do is allow the actual game software to record. It would be on a software level, not hardware. Similar to Animal Crossing's pic capture ability.

It would record a file that isn't immediately accessed by a sharing feature. The game itself would record, then you can access the file later in the camera app.

That the difference between alot of game record content. The Xbox One and PS4 will allow it's built in software to access files by multitasking. You can't open the Camera App on the 3DS while other software is running, that's why it would access the recording after you close which ever software and open the Camera Ap BY ITSELF(no multitasking) to access the files.



ramstrong said:

So far I've been piggy-backing two 3DS to capture my screen shots. Quality isn't the best and only one screen at a time, but so far I haven't had a complain on that front. So, definitely good enough.



SCAR said:

Trust me, this stuff is possible without such a huge attachment. Miiverse is Nintendo's common sharing and communication area. The videos are being recorded at 240/480p in 3D. Granted, you'd probably only be able to save 10 minutes of video.

There would need to be software included within every game to record, so that the system isn't multitasking with multiple software to capture video. The file will be the same regardless of WHERE you record it.

Mario Kart TV already proves this is possible on Wii U, and would take smart programming to run on 3DS.



uhhhhhhhh said:

I wish Nintendo would just release something like this already!!! I want to play my 3DS on my TV!!! There are such amazing games!!!

Anyone remember the Gameboy player attachment for SNES?????



dereq said:

Recording video on your system is the most useless, overrated feature I can think of.



SCAR said:

I totally agree. Not to say I would deny such a feature if it became available on any of Nintendo's systems. I know for sure that Wii U can do this via Miiverse. It just hasn't been implemented.

The same could technically be true for 3DS. I don't really believe that such a piece of hardware in the article is exactly necessary as long as software is programmed to such a thing within itself. Obviously, what I'm talikng about doesn't exist, but I'm not ruling out the possibility.

Not to mention Nintendo has created game paks such as the Play-yan(GBA, Japan only) or Internet Browser pak for the DS. You can't rule out anything if there is an actual demand for such a product.



HappyHappyist said:

that black bottom is beautiful. i'd buy this just for the bottom, as long as it came with the micro usb slot. i can already imagine all the stuff i could do with that.



Tasuki said:

@uhhhhhh: It was called the Super Gameboy and I remember quite well cause I had one until I sold it to my friend so he could play Pokemon Blue. (He didnt have a Gameboy).



Marioman64 said:

how about someone just makes a thing you can put on the sd card to run background software that sends the audio and video through your wifi to your 3ds? maybe?



IKAY said:

It's a nice to have for normal gamers. I'd kill for one. A video capture app for the 3DS is nonsense... Screenshots whenever you want it (like the vita has) would be way better. Maybe if you hold down the home button for a sec.



SanderEvers said:

@IKAY Actually screenshots do work (like half) open a game, pause it and then open the game note tab. You'll see a screenshot of the game screens.

But no option to save.



Spooky said:

It's a shame you have to invalidate your consoles warranty to do this but great for youtubers etc. Good article!



smashbrolink said:

Nintendo could make a killing if they created a cheap, official app for this precise purpose...



Sionyn said:

nothing bespoke about it, the 3ds gpu sends video out as vga it do sent take from LVDS connecting the screen to motherboard. the device uses a altera CPLD for decoding and usb signalling.

its a kit from that cost less $50 that costs $10 to manufacture in volume and what a huge mark those shysters are reselling them for.



rayquaza_master said:

Mind you, nintendo doesn't really want a whole load of people posting lets plays on youtube as they are now claiming revenew from any adverts on nintendo lets plays.

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