Record Your Mac Webcam With QuickTime and VLC


If you need to record your Mac webcam to disk, you can use either macOS’s built-in QuickTime Player or the open-source VLC Player.

Using QuickTime Player to Record Your Mac Webcam Video

QuickTime Player comes bundled with every Mac sold today. It’s an excellent default video player, but not ever user is aware that it can record videos. With this feature, you can record your webcam’s video and audio feed to disk and edit or share with your audience. This is also a great way to preview your webcam’s settings and make sure your reading for a video call.

1. Open QuickTime Player from the Applications folder.

2. Dismiss the window asking if you want to open a new file by clicking the Done button.

3. Click on File in the menu bar and choose New Movie Recording… from the drop down menu.

4. A new QuickTime window will open. You’ll see a preview of what your webcam will capture when you click Record. Use this opportunity to adjust your camera’s placement and the lighting in the room as necessary. If you need to make adjustments to your webcam’s advanced settings, you can use the $8 Webcam Settings app from the Mac App Store.

5. QuickTime will automatically record audio from your Mac’s current audio input, which is adjusted under System Preferences > Sound. You can also change audio input sources from within QuickTime. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Record button. This will expose a drop-down menu showing all the available audio inputs. If it isn’t already selected, click on the audio input you want to use.

6. When you’re ready to start recording, click the red Record button.

A tally will begin showing the length in minutes and seconds and file size in bytes of the recording. You’ll also see a live stream of the video on your monitor as it’s recorded. In our testing, it seems like it takes a few seconds for QuickTime to actually start recording, so give yourself about five seconds of “pre-roll” time before you start performing.

7. When you’re done recording, click the grey Stop button. It will be in the same place the Record button was previously. You’ll want to give QuickTime a few seconds of “post-roll” after your performance is complete, since, in our testing, it seems to cut off the last few seconds of any recording.

8. Now that the recording is complete, the finished file will appear in its own QuickTime Player window. By default, the file isn’t saved, so you’ll need to do that manually. Choose Save… from the File menu to save the new file.

9. Browse to the location where you’d like to save the file, give the file a name, and click the Save button.

Using VLC Player to Record Your Mac Webcam

QuickTime is an excellent choice for fast and simple webcam recordings. If you’d like some more advanced options, you can check out the open-source VLC Player.

1. Install VLC from the developer’s website.

record your mac webcam vlc download

2. Open VLC from the Applications folder.

record your mac webcam open vlc

3. Click File in the menu bar and choose Open Capture Device from the drop-down menu.

record your mac webcam open capture device

4. Tick the checkboxes next to Video and Audio to enable video and audio recording, respectively. If necessary, select the correct audio and video input options from the associated drop-down menus.

record your mac webcam vlc open capture device menu 1

5. Then, tick the checkbox next to Streaming/Saving: to allow VLC to save your webcam’s video and audio.

record your mac webcam vlc-open-capture-device-menu-streaming-saving

6. Now let’s access the real meat of VLC’s recording settings. Click the Settings… button above Open.

record your mac webcam vlc-open-capture-device-menu-streaming-saving-setting

7. This pop-up pane is where most of VLC’s magic happens. In here you can adjust the various settings that affect your video capture.

8. Click the drop-down next to Encapsulation Method and choose your preferred recording wrapper. If you want a .mov file, choose Quicktime, as seen below. For online streaming, consider recording in the MPEG4 (.mp4) format. If you don’t know which option to choose, Quicktime is a good default choice.

 

It’s important that you set this parameter before choosing where to save your file, or your saved file might have an incorrect file extension.

9. Click Browse… next to the File text box to choose where to save your video file.

10. If you want to see your recording on your screen as it happens, tick the box next to Display the stream locally.

11. If you want to compress or transcode the video file after recording, use the transcoding options in the middle of the window. If you’re not sure if you need these, you can leave them blank.

12. When you’re done, click the OK button in the lower right.

13. Click the Open button in the lower right to “open” the stream and begin recording.

14. When you’re finished recording, click the Stop button in the lower left of the recording’s window. After a few seconds, the recorded file will appear in your chosen save location.

Conclusion

For quick and easy recordings, you can use QuickTime Player to capture video and audio from your webcam. If you want to expose some more advanced options, you can use VLC to record your webcam’s video.

You might also like:

How to Hold a Webinar on Your Mac
How to Use Screen Recorder in OS X Mavericks
Record Your Conversations with These iPhone Call Recording Apps

Alexander Fox

4 Comments

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  1. Cool, I never thought that VLC could have such useful function. I will try it later. Aside from using VLC, I’d also recommend Acethinker Online Screen Recorder which I have been using for many years. It is a free web-based tool that lets you record your screen right from your browser. Share it here as an alternative to VLC.

  2. Hi Alexander! Thanks for your nice sharing! I know that VLC is a strong video editor and video converter, but I never expect that it could be a strong recorder as well. I install Joyoshare Screen Recorder on my Mac. Though it can record videos and audios easily, a free recorder could be more favorable. I would follow your steps and I hope that VLC, along with QuickTime, could work great on me.

  3. This is truly awesome! Thanks for imparting a knowledge about quicktime. Honestly I am not even aware that it has hidden gems like screen recording. I thought it can only access media files. Typically, I am using a screen recording called Acethinker Screen Grabber Premium. So far, I had no problem using it but I will definitely try Quicktime for my Mac.

  4. thank you for sharing this wonderful post Alexander! to be honest, I don’t know how to properly use Quicktime that’s why I used an online tool like record-screen.com as an alternative. I can’t download other software because most of them are only available on Windows and others are a bit expensive. Good thing that you gave a well-detailed tutorial about recording with Quicktime. This helps me a lot! thanks