Easy Screen Recording on Mac

Screen recording window w/ red record buttonDespite the misnomer, Quicktime Player actually does a lot more than play videos. You can use it to make screen recordings, and it’s oh so easy! Here’s the method I recommend, which involves recording and saving your video using Quicktime, then compressing to an mp4 of reasonable file size using MPEG Streamclip.

Install this software to record from your computer OR reserve time to use the Digital Union recording studio, where we have all the software, hardware, and staff assistance to help you get the job done. Either way, here’s what you’ll need to do.

The resulting video can now be posted to YouTube, uploaded to Mediasite, or wherever you choose to stream or host it. My personal preference is to post on YouTube, for its amazing built-in captioning tool and seamless streaming and sharing functionality. I know a lot of us don’t think about captioning as part of our process, but it is a very important step, and a required one according to theĀ OSU accessibility policy. Here’s a recap of my process:

  1. Record using Quicktime
  2. Compress using MPEG Streamclip
  3. Upload to YouTube for captioning and sharing

This is my go-to method for recording Powerpoint/Keynote presentations, explaining work processes that involve a web component, and making software tutorials for my staff. I love it, and now you know how to do it too! Go forth and enlighten the world, with yo bad self.

*Windows users: I haven’t tried this, but looks like you can use CamStudio in place of Quicktime for screen recording.

9 thoughts on “Easy Screen Recording on Mac

  1. Queenie: I tried your suggestion on an iMac using OS-X 10.7.5 but I could not get sound when I did the screen recording. I was able to do audio separately with QuickTime but either with internal or external mics I could not get sound. Do you know if sound is part of the standard screen capture?

    • Sound recording is part of the capture. Here’s the official Apple documentation on the screen recording feature.

      Two places I would recommend you check to make sure you have the proper mic selected:

      1) Go into System Preferences > Sound > Input. If you’re using the mic on your computer, you should have the “built-in” option selected. Here, you can also tap your mic to make sure you see that it is registering sound.

      2) Your New Screen Recording window has a little white downward arrow toward the right side of the pane. Click that to make sure you have the proper mic selected.

      • Thank you, Queenie. I had checked the System Preferences but not the QuickTime Player itself. When I clicked on the downward arrow it showed No Mic selected; I had assumed QuickTime would use the default settings from the System Prefs, but it apparently did not. So after selecting the proper mic on QuickTime, it works as you indicated. Cheers.

  2. I’ve been making screen recordings in QuickTime and uploading them to YouTube for a couple of years now, for all of the reasons you describe — super easy to make very nice looking videos. But the tip on compressing the files hasn’t been part of my process. Thanks for this tip!

  3. My uploaded Quicktime screen capture videos look terrible on YouTube; they’re super blurry. I can’t figure out a way to change this. Any tips?

    • I don’t have enough information here to diagnose your issue. Stop by an Apple store, and they should be able to help you out. If you’re affiliated w/ OSU, you can get in person tech support from BuckeyeBar, located in Thompson Library and at Tech Hub.

  4. It’s quick and easy to screencast with QuickTime, but it doesn’t offer any advanced features such as highlight effects and multiple recording formats with more advanced solutions like Acethinker Screen Grabber does.

  5. For all versions of macOS up to Mojave, you can record your screen with QuickTime Player, but in newer versions of macOS (Mojave and Catalina), there’s a dedicated tool called Screenshot that lets you record your screen. Read More About macOS

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