Nowadays, pretty much everyone already knows how to capture footage through their smartphone. However, a lesser-known (yet still valuable) method of recording videos is through your computer. Unfortunately, because computer cameras aren’t as straightforward, this can be a difficult task. That’s especially true if you’re a Mac user who isn’t sure where to start.
Confused about how to record a video on Mac? No worries! Whether it’s using native or third-party software, here’s a step-by-step guide to every process you can try out.
How to Record a Video on Mac Using Native Apps
So, you want to learn how to record a video on your MacBook or iMac using the built-in webcam. Thankfully, macOS provides two built-in video recorder apps to help you do just that.
Here’s what you should know about how to record a video on Mac using either Photo Booth or QuickTime. Let’s start with the former.
Using Photo Booth (Webcam Recording)
Photo Booth is a pre-installed application made for taking photos and videos right on your Mac. You can find it by going to your Dock and launching the Finder application. Afterward, head to the Applications folder and launch the Photo Booth app. On the other hand, you can also open the app by pressing on CMD + Spacebar and typing “Photo Booth.”
Once Photo Booth is open, let’s proceed to learn how to record a video on Mac using the software. Simply follow these steps:
- On the lower-left portion of the screen, click on the video icon to enter video mode.
- Click on the red recording button to commence recording.
- To halt recording, hit the red button once more.
- Preview your video by clicking on the video thumbnail in the filmstrip.
- Right-click on the thumbnail and select Export to extract and save your video to a folder.
With that, you’ve successfully learned how to record a video on Mac using Photo Booth.
Using QuickTime (Screen Recording)
On the other hand, not everyone wants to record a video on Mac using their webcam. Sometimes, all they want to do is learn how to screen record to illustrate something to a friend or client. If that’s you, then the good news is there’s also a good built-in macOS screen recorder to do just that. With it, you can record your screen without using third-party software. Here’s how:
- Go to your Dock and select Finder.
- Click on the Applications folder and select the QuickTime Player among the various apps.
- Look for the menu bar on the upper portion of the screen.
- Click on File > New Screen Recording.
- (Optional) You can change a few settings regarding the cursor and audio before you start recording with QuickTime. Simply click the down arrow beside the record button to do this.
- To show mouse clicks in your recording, select Recording from the dropdown and click on Show Mouse Clicks.
- If you want to initiate a QuickTime screen recording with audio, click on the Internal Microphone within the same dropdown.
- Press the Record button and proceed with what you want to record.
- For full-screen footage, click your mouse anywhere on the screen to record. However, if you want a partial recording, drag the cursor to select which area you want to video capture.
- Click on Start Recording.
- To stop the recording, right-click on the QuickTime app and select Stop Recording. Alternatively, you may also use the shortcut: CMD + Ctrl + Esc.
- If you want to edit the video, find the Edit menu on the menu bar and choose an option.
Using the Screenshot Toolbar (For macOS Mojave and Later)
If you’re on macOS Mojave or later, the method for how to screen record on a Mac is much easier. That’s because Apple introduced shortcut keys you can use to quickly initiate the command. These are Shift + CMD + 5.
Once you press these keys, a screenshot toolbar should pop up. You can select the record-whole-screen icon (monitor shape with a circle) to capture your entire screen. Afterward, click anywhere on your Mac screen or click on the Record button to start your screen recording. Once you’re finished, simply click the Stop button (circle within a square) or hit CMD + Ctrl + Esc.
Alternatively, you can also click on the record selected portion icon (dotted rectangle with a circle) to record your screen partially. Afterward, drag the area you want to record with your mouse. The methods for starting and stopping your recording will remain the same.
Apart from these, you can also change various settings before you start recording using the screenshot toolbar. All that’s required is to click on the options button on the toolbar’s menu. From there, you can explore the various settings to personalize your recording session. These range from setting timers to showing your mouse clicks or allowing access to the microphone.
How to Record a Video on Mac With Third-Party Software
Of course, video recording on a Mac is simple if you use Apple’s built-in software. However, you might dislike the limited features of Photo Booth and want something more comprehensive. If that’s the case, then we recommend installing various third-party software to supplement the experience.
Here are just some third-party options that can help you record videos on Mac.
OBS is a virtual webcam recorder that provides a few more features than Photo Booth. For example, it gives you the ability to have picture-in-picture throughout your session. Moreover, it also provides a handy chroma key (or green screen) that frees you into creating backgrounds.
Here’s how to record a video on Mac through OBS:
- Download and install OBS-VirtualCam
- Restart your computer.
- Follow the usual setup instructions and wait for OBS to finish installing.
- Launch OBS.
- Select Tools from the upper menu and choose VirtualCam.
- To begin recording press the Start button.
- Once you’re done, click on the Stop button on the same window.
Another great way to record videos on Mac is by using CamDesk. CamDesk is free third-party software that was designed to act as a surveillance webcam. It has numerous features including a chroma key, resizable dimensions, and a snapshot feature. You can download the app here.
Once downloaded, open OBS and it should immediately initiate the recording. However, you’ll notice that the recording will appear as a floating thumbnail on top of all your other applications. This lets you multitask as you’re recording through your webcam. On the other hand, you can also explore CamDesk’s many other features, including those involving streaming and surveillance.
Another great alternative software to record a video on Mac is none other than ManyCam. It has a plethora of pro-level features that you won’t normally find in most other recording software. Of course, these naturally include more common features such as virtual backgrounds, chroma key, and whiteboard functionality.
However, it also provides more niche features that streamers, in specific, can benefit from. For example, it can naturally integrate to YouTube and Facebook streaming. Moreover, you can screencast, switch media sources, create playlists from 3rd-party videos, and more. There’s also 4K video support and tons of effects including 3D masks, layers, and overlay.
VLC Media Player
Lastly, VLC Media Player serves as a great alternative to QuickTime if you want a third-party screen recording app. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably already have the application installed to watch movies. However, you can easily download the application here if you haven’t already.
Once downloaded, you can begin to record a video on Mac by launching the VLC app. Here are the steps:
- Click on File > Open Capture Device on the menu bar.
- An Open Source window should open after this, wherein you can select the Capture tab.
- Afterward, click on Input Devices and select your Screen as the input mechanism. You can also adjust the settings of your recording, such as the frame rate, dimensions, and audio source.
- Once finished, hit the Open button on the lower-right. You’ll see an endless loop of VLC players on your Mac screen.
- Then, find the Playback option on VLC’s menu bar and click Record. This will tell VLC to record your current Mac session.
- Once you’re finished, head back to the Playback option and click the Stop or Record option again.
With that, you’ve successfully learned how to record a video on Mac using the VLC media player. To view your new AVI file, go to Macintosh HD > Users > username > Movies. With this, you can view your recording within VLC or edit the footage using video editing software.
How to Record a Video on Mac With Online Webcam Recorders
Third-party software is a great option to record videos on Mac. However, the problem with them is that they can take up quite a bit of storage on your hard drive. Hence, using an online recorder is a great alternative to recording a video on Mac if you want to save space.
One of the most reliable online recorders to record a video on Mac is none other than VEED.IO. What’s cool about it is that it not only lets you record for free but it’s also incredibly versatile. That’s because you can record a video on Mac using your webcam and capture your screen at the same time.
Here’s how to use it:
- Head to the website and choose which layout you want. You can either record yourself, just your screen, or both simultaneously.
- To start recording, select the record button (red circle) and start your video after the countdown.
- After recording click on the stop button (the same button, but only with a red square) to halt the recording.
Afterward, you can do whatever you want with the footage you’ve captured. You can either share the link to other users, leave comments, or even use the website’s built-in video editor.
Another decent alternative to record a video on Mac is none other than Webcamera.IO. Simply head to the website on your browser and it should be all set up. The only thing you need to do is allow access to your computer’s camera and microphone.
To do this, select the lock icon next to the address bar. Then, select Allow on the permissions for both your camera and microphone to complete the setup. Once this is done, you can head back to the main website’s screen and click the red button to begin. After you finish, hit the stop button on the same area.
To save your file, hit the Save button and select the folder where you want it saved. (Note that Webcamera.io only allows you to save in MP4, so you’ll have to work with it.) Afterward, click Save again and you should be finished.
What Makes a Good Webcam Recorder?
Native webcam recorders on Mac are great for quick and easy jobs. However, sometimes, you truly have to rely on third-party software, especially if you want something more versatile. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that third-party software isn’t always guaranteed to be good. That’s why it’s important to keep some key things in mind before you hit the download button on any website.
The first and most important quality of a good webcam recorder is the security of the software. After all, even the most feature-rich option isn’t worth it if you need to give your privacy away. Hence, ensuring the safety and security of the app would be the top priority.
Check out forums or review websites before you download any kind of software to keep your computer virus and malware-free.
On the other hand, accessibility is also a key ingredient in determining which webcam recorder is best for you. If you want the most accessible app, then macOS’s built-in solutions should be your first picks. However, if you want something that isn’t part of macOS, then a web-based solution is the next best thing.
Lastly, the least accessible alternative to record a video on Mac computers is undoubtedly third-party software. However, what these apps lack in accessibility they make up for in features.
If default Mac apps and web apps aren’t doing the trick, then it might be worth considering third-party software. These apps are normally more feature-rich and provide extensive functionality that you won’t find elsewhere. For example, some of them provide chroma key and whiteboard functionality while others seamlessly integrate with streaming platforms. Of course, you’ll have to filter the list of options depending on your specific use case.
Record a Video on Your Mac Today!
There are tons of great webcam recording software out there to help you record a video on Mac computers. Some of them are natively supported by macOS and don’t require any installation. These are the most ideal (if you can put up with their limited features) because they guarantee privacy.
However, you may want to utilize third-party software for occasions when you need something more robust. On the other hand, you can also choose to use online alternatives if you need something quick and easy. Regardless of which you choose, there’s an easy way to record a video on Mac — even if you’re on older hardware.