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How to Record a Video on Your Mac: 5 Best Ways

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Last updated: January 31, 2024

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TL;DR

To record a video on your Mac, you can use simple hotkeys and built-in apps like QuickTime Player, Photo Booth, and iMovie. You can also use third-party apps, like OBS Studio, Camtasia, and ScreenFlow if you want advanced recording features.

Key Points

  • Press Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + 5 to access the screenshot toolbar to record the entire screen or a selected portion.
  • Popular conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams have built-in recording features.
  • After recording on a Mac, use the built-in editor to trim videos. Press Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + 5 for settings like location, timer, and audio.

Ever thought about capturing your Mac screen like a pro? Whether you’re crafting a tutorial, seizing a fleeting moment, or showcasing your latest project, your Mac can help you capture it.

Discover the top methods to record a video on your Mac, each tailored to ensure crisp, high-quality results. No more sifting through endless apps or grappling with settings. Ready to elevate your recording game? Let’s roll!

How to Record a Video on Your Mac

Now that you know the “why” of recording videos on a Mac, it’s time to explore the “how.” Whether you’re seeking built-in solutions or third-party applications, the following section will guide you through the most efficient and user-friendly methods to record a video on your Mac. Let’s dive in.

1. With Hotkeys

One of the simplest and most direct methods to record a video on your Mac is by using hotkeys. These Mac keyboard shortcuts are not only quick but also eliminate the need for any external software.

Here’s how you can use hotkeys for video recording on Mac:

This method works on macOS Mojave or later.

  1. Press Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + 5 to bring up the screenshot toolbar.
macbook pro command shift 5
  1. This toolbar offers options for recording the entire screen or a selected portion.
  2. Click Record Entire Screen or Record Selected Portion and select the portion of the screen you’d like to record.
click record entire screen or record selected portion
  1. After making your choice, click the Record button to start.
click the record button on the screenshot toolbar
  1. Click the Stop button in the menu bar when you want to stop recording.
click the stop button in the menu bar
  1. To save the recording, right-click the recorded file in the bottom right corner of your screen and select Save to Desktop or Save to Documents.
right click the recorded video icon and choose a relevant action from the context menu

Using hotkeys is all about muscle memory. The more you use them, the more intuitive and efficient your recording process will become!

2. Using Photo Booth

Photo Booth is a pre-installed app on Mac that’s primarily known for taking selfies and applying fun effects. However, it’s also a handy tool for recording videos. While it might not offer the advanced features of dedicated screen recording software, it’s perfect for quick video captures using your Mac’s built-in camera.

Here’s how to use Photo Booth to record a video on your Mac:

  1. Navigate to your Applications folder and open Photo Booth.
double click the photo booth app to launch it
  1. Once inside, you’ll notice three icons next to the red capture button. Click the video mode icon to switch from photo to video.
click the video icon in photo booth
  1. With video mode activated, press the red button to start recording.
click the record button in photo booth
  1. Your Mac’s camera will capture everything in its view.
  2. To end the recording, click the red button again.
click the stop button to stop recording the video
  1. Your video will automatically be saved to the Photo Booth library, and you can also export it to your desired location.

3. Via QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player, Apple’s default multimedia player, is more than just a tool for watching videos. It comes with a straightforward and efficient screen recording feature, making it a go-to for many Mac users.

Here’s how to use QuickTime Player to record a video on your Mac:

  1. Launch QuickTime Player via the Launchpad.
open quicktime on your mac
  1. In the menu bar, click File and select New Screen Recording.
click file and select new screen recording
  1. The screenshot toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Before you start recording, you can opt to record the entire screen or drag to select a specific area.
click record entire screen or record selected portion
  1. If you wish to include audio, click the arrow next to the Options button and choose the appropriate microphone source.
click options and choose correct microphone source
  1. Once you’ve made your selections, click the Record button.
click the record button on the screenshot toolbar
  1. To stop the recording, click the Stop icon in the menu bar.
click the stop button in the menu bar
  1. After recording, QuickTime will automatically open the video. You can save, edit, or share it as needed.

4. Using iMovie

iMovie, Apple’s free video editing software, is renowned for its user-friendly interface and powerful editing tools. While primarily designed for video editing, it also allows you to record videos directly using the built-in camera.

Here’s how to use iMovie to record a video on your Mac:

  1. Open iMovie from the Launchpad.
open imovie on your mac
  1. Click Create New.
click create new in imovie
  1. Select Movie from the dropdown.
click create new and select movie
  1. In the workspace, click Import Media.
click import media in imovie
  1. Select FaceTime HD Camera in the left sidebar and click the red record button.
select facetime hd camera in the left sidebar and click the red record button
  1. iMovie will capture video using your Mac’s built-in camera.
  2. Click the record button again to stop. The recorded clip will appear in the media library, and you can drag it to the timeline for editing or exporting.

5. Via Third-Party Apps

While Mac’s built-in tools are efficient, sometimes you might need advanced features or a different user experience. This is where third-party apps come into play. These applications often offer enhanced functionalities like annotations, webcam overlay, and more.

Here are some of my top picks for video recording apps on Mac:

  1. OBS Studio: A free and open-source software, OBS Studio is perfect for screen recording and live streaming. With its customizable scenes and sources, you can capture multiple windows, add overlays, and even integrate with streaming platforms.
  2. Camtasia: A professional-grade software, Camtasia offers a comprehensive suite of tools for screen recording and video editing. Its drag-and-drop editor, annotations, and effects make it a favorite for many.
  3. ScreenFlow: Tailored for Mac users, ScreenFlow boasts a sleek interface and powerful features. It’s especially known for its high-quality recordings and intuitive editing tools.
  4. Snagit: Beyond just screen recording, Snagit offers tools for capturing screenshots, creating GIFs, and annotating recordings, making it versatile for various tasks.
  5. CleanShot X: CleanShot X is a modern screen-capturing tool for Mac that offers a clutter-free recording experience. With features like scrolling capture, annotation tools, and cloud storage integration, it’s a powerful yet streamlined choice for those who value efficiency and aesthetics.

To use any third-party app, you’ll need to download and install it from the respective website or the Mac App Store.

Once installed, each app will have its unique set of instructions for recording, but most follow a similar pattern of selecting the recording area, choosing audio sources, and starting/stopping the recording.

How to Record a Video Call on Mac

Recording a video call on a Mac can be crucial for various reasons, such as keeping records of meetings, revisiting important discussions, or creating content.

Most popular video conferencing apps have built-in recording features:

  1. Zoom: During a meeting, click the Record button at the bottom. Once the meeting ends, Zoom will convert the recording and save it to a specified folder.
  2. Skype: Click More options (three dots) during a call and select Start Recording. Skype will save the recording in the chat for 30 days, and you can download it within that period.
  3. Microsoft Teams: Click More actions (three dots) during a meeting and select Start recording. The recording will be saved in Microsoft Stream.

Besides the built-in options, you can use QuickTime Player and third-party apps to record video calls on your Mac.

Always inform all participants before recording a video call. In many regions, it’s illegal to record someone without their knowledge or consent.

How to Edit and Change the Settings of the Recorded Video on Mac

Once you’ve completed a screen recording on your Mac, a thumbnail preview will momentarily pop up at the screen’s bottom right. If you don’t want to edit, you can dismiss this thumbnail by swiping it to the right or let it be and your recording will be saved on your Mac by default.

video preview thumbnail

However, if you want to modify the video, clicking this thumbnail before it disappears will launch Apple’s built-in editor for screen recordings.

apple built in editor for screen recordings

This editor lets you trim and adjust your video.

drag the trimming bar to trim the video

If you want to reposition the video on your Mac, drag the thumbnail to any folder on your desktop or in the Finder. You can also move this thumbnail to the Bin or attach it directly to an email via the Mail app.

For more options, right-click the thumbnail. This lets you select a different save location, delete the video, or open it with a preferred application.

right click the recorded video icon and choose a relevant action from the context menu

By pressing Shift ⇧ + Command ⌘ + 5, you can access the settings menu for screen recording. Here’s a breakdown of the available options:

click options and choose correct microphone source
  • Location: Under Save to, decide where your recordings will be saved by default. You even have the option to save directly to the clipboard, making it easy to paste into messages or documents later.
  • Timer: Set a delay of 5 or 10 seconds before the recording starts after hitting the Record button.
  • Audio: Record external audio using your Mac’s built-in microphone. If you have an external device, adjust the default settings by navigating to System Settings > Sound > Input.
  • Thumbnail Preview: Decide if you want a floating thumbnail to appear post-recording.
  • Selection Settings: If you want to retain your current settings for subsequent recordings, select Remember Last Selection.
  • Mouse Visibility: To highlight mouse clicks in your recording, toggle on Show Mouse Pointer.

By familiarizing yourself with these settings and features, you can optimize your screen recording experience on a Mac.

Why Record a Video on Your Mac?

Recording a video on a Mac offers several advantages and serves various purposes. Some common reasons for recording videos on Mac are as follows:

  1. 🎓 Tutorials and Demonstrations: Mac’s crisp display and robust software ecosystem make it ideal for creating educational content. Whether you’re teaching software usage or giving a presentation, recording it allows for easy sharing and replay.
  2. 📸 Digital Memories: Capture personal moments or events, turning them into digital memories that can be revisited anytime.
  3. 🎥 Content Creation: For vloggers, animators, and digital creators, Mac provides powerful tools for video recording, ensuring high-quality content for platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and more.
  4. 💼 Professional Communication: Record meetings, webinars, or interviews, ensuring that no detail is missed and content can be reviewed later.
  5. 💻 Software Development and Testing: Developers can record app functionalities or software demonstrations for testing, feedback, or promotional purposes.
  6. 🎮 Gaming: With the rise of gaming on Mac, recording gameplay sessions for reviews, strategies, or sharing on platforms like Twitch becomes essential.
  7. 📚 Educational Purposes: Teachers and students can record lectures or lessons, facilitating asynchronous learning and revision.
  8. 🔧 Troubleshooting: If you’re facing an issue with software or an application, recording the problem can help technicians or support teams understand and resolve it faster.

Record Videos on Your Mac in No Time

Recording videos on your Mac has never been more accessible, thanks to a range of built-in tools and third-party apps. From quick hotkey commands to sophisticated software, there’s a method to suit every user.

Here are some more tips to enhance your video recording experience on Mac:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do Macs allow screen recording?

    Yes, Macs allow screen recording with built-in tools like QuickTime Player. Additionally, macOS provides a screenshot toolbar (Shift ⇧ + Command ⌘ + 5) for easy screen captures and recordings. You can also explore third-party apps for more advanced recording features.

  2. Can I screen record on a Mac with sound?

    Yes, you can screen record on a Mac with sound. Using QuickTime Player or macOS’s built-in screen recording feature, you can capture internal and external audio. Ensure your audio settings are correctly configured before recording to capture the desired sound seamlessly.

  3. How do I record my Mac screen with a keyboard?

    To record your Mac screen with a keyboard, press Shift ⇧ + Command ⌘ + 5. This shortcut opens the screen recording tool, allowing you to select an area and start recording. Once done, click the stop icon in the menu bar to save the recording.

  4. How do I record on a Mac without an app?

    To record on a Mac without an app, use the built-in QuickTime Player. Go to File > New Screen Recording, then click the Record button. This method uses macOS’s native capabilities, eliminating the need for third-party applications.

  5. Why is there no sound when I screen record on a Mac?

    If there is no sound when you screen record on a Mac, it may be because the internal audio capture option isn’t selected. Ensure you’ve chosen the correct audio source in your recording settings, and check your Mac’s sound settings to confirm the correct output and volume levels.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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