There are a lot of different options when it comes to recording I think the easiest way is to use fraps allthough it is possible to do it with xsplit that program is generaly used for streaming. Personally I used to use sony vegas cause it was rather simple but after having worked with the adobe package I would say after effects/premiere is really great if you ever want to do more effects and do more advanced things (never quite got the hang of that in vegas). For the rendering there are a ton of guides out there and if you end up using sony vegas you could use this tutorial for rendering http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNoMbtUypuA
Fraps for recording
Sony vegas : Easy to use, use this for the raw editing (Cutting out boring parts, etc)
Adobe after effect : Use this to add little touches like nice transitions, captions, effects, etc. Google Video Copilot for tutorials.
Recording videos is pretty fun actually. And it doesnt take that much time to produce something decent. And if you really like it, you can do really crazy stuff with after effect.
I use FRPS which will record just about every game I've tried it on, it will also record youtube videos (which is dumb cos you can download them using free addon's) and even netflix. The files are very large. On average 3 mins is about 1GB (I'm guestimating).
then once you recorded all the FRAPS videos, I use TMPGEnc 3.0 Xpress which allows you to select multiple files (avi format) and then convert them into mpeg format. The size goes from 1gb to about 120mb.
The only bad part is they don't sell TMPGEnc 3.0 Xpress anymore. You'll have to get one of these 3 TMPGEnc MovieStyle ,
I bought FRAPS a few years ago and never regretted it. It does Screen shots like a dream and is full screen. So I usually do lots of screenshots as a diary of my adventures. For Bioware games, the recording is really nice. I record a whole bunch, put them all into TMPGEnc and let it run over night. In the morning I delete the original files and viola I have videos for posterity.