In the past few years, content creation in flight simulation has exploded. The availability of free livestreaming through Twitch, YouTube, and other sites has allowed individual simmers to share their setups, flights, and experiences with the world, creating communities ranging from a few to thousands of viewers. We work with several content creators through our FSA Broadcast Partner program; you can see a list of them on our Flight Simulation Resources Guide.
Signing up for a Twitch or YouTube account is free and easy; the services are designed to make it simple for someone to get started. However, building an audience is another story! With so many people streaming their flying (online and offline) or controlling, it’s not as simple as just creating a Twitch account and seeing a few thousand people watching your stream the next day.
Learn From an Expert
Whether you’re planning to livestream or just create great videos, the quality of your content will be an important factor for your audiences.
The remainder of this article provides tips for building high quality, cinematic flight simulation videos that will impress your audience. The information provided is courtesy of NickFlightX, a prominent flight simulation content creator on Instagram and YouTube.
Let NickFlightX, a prominent flight simulation content creator, teach you how to capture cinematic shots in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Because of its stunning visuals and a camera system that works really well for content creation, Nick uses Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) to create great videos. The "Showcase" or "Drone" camera in MSFS allows you to decouple the camera from the airplane, meaning you can create cinematic shots where the camera view moves around the aircraft. In MSFS (plus FSX and P3D), X-FlightControlReplay offers an easy way to pause and review parts of a flight to get the landing just right!
When creating content, Nick uses the X56 HOTAS to both control the aircraft and control the movements of the camera. Microsoft Flight Simulator allows the user to assign a button to switch between controlling the aircraft and controlling the camera when they are in the Drone Camera. While he demonstrates the use of a gaming controller, he uses the X56 for the camera movements as it allows for more precise inputs with the bigger travel distance on the X56's joystick.
If you use Prepar3D, check out Chase Plane, one of the community’s favorite add-ons. X-Plane’s default camera is already fairly functional, but users often suggest X-Camera if you’re an X-Plane user looking for more camera functionality.
When he has the look he wants, Nick uses the free OBS Studio to record his screen. Open-source software that supports both recording and livestreaming, OBS Studio is a popular add-on in the simulation world. The software is fairly intuitive, with plenty of screen capture and audio recording options. It can also connect to livestreaming services like Twitch. If you plan to record audio, Voicemeeter is one application that allows you to separate any background audio you don’t want to record (like TeamSpeak or Discord) from ATC and aircraft sounds that you’ll want in your final product. Nvidia’s ShadowPlay is another option for in-game recording.
For editing and video production, Nick currently uses VEGAS Pro 17. In his words:
"VEGAS Pro takes some getting used to, but feels a lot more user friendly than other editors"
Video production software can get expensive quickly. For users wanting a free option, Nick recommends DaVinci Resolve. You can even use the built-in editors on your computer, although the amount you can do with those is limited.
Of course, content creation is about much more than just capturing good content and broadcasting it. If you’re looking to get started with content creation, check out our Flight Simulation Resources Guide. You’ll see a list of the streamers involved with Flight Simulation Association. Following their streams and watching their videos is a great place to get started.