How to record video: Top tips for Mac

10 min read

At this point, knowing how to take a video on a MacBook has become a daily necessity. We share short-form videos on social media every day, create virtual tutorials, run online meetings for work, and make presentations. 

From basic native macOS tools to more advanced and customizable third-party options, below is a complete guide to the best utilities you can use to create and edit videos on Mac in different ways.

Do Macs have a built-in video recorder?

While Macs come with a wide range of pre-installed apps that answer many user needs, they lack dedicated video recorder software. Some native tools, like the Screenshot toolbar, have basic recording functions you can use to make videos on Mac. You can quickly launch the Screenshot toolbar by pressing Shift + Command + 5.

Record Entire Screen using built-in tool

However, the functionality of Screenshot on Mac is limited. You won't have much room for editing your video, and if you're wondering, "how to record screen and record myself on Mac?" you definitely need a more advanced recorder app in your toolkit.

Top tools to record the Mac screen

The right tools can make your experience effortless, no matter the task. That's why we've compiled the following list of apps to help you record a video meeting on a Mac or make a screen capture.

1. Record a voice video on Mac with QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a default app made for playing media files on Mac. However, you can also use it to record a Mac screen with sounds, using either your Mac's webcam or an external camera.

Here's how to take a video on MacBook using QuickTime Player:

  1. Open QuickTime Player and go to File ➙ New Screen Recording. Alternatively, press Shift + Command + 5.
  2. Click the Options pop-up menu, then choose your recording options.
  3. Choose a microphone to record your voice or other audio.
  4. Choose Show Mouse Clicks in Recording, if necessary.
  5. Click the record button, then click anywhere on the screen to begin recording the entire screen or drag to select an area to record.
    take a new screen recording using QuickTime Player

When you're done recording, click the record button again to stop the process. QuickTime Player will process and automatically open your screen recording, allowing you to play it, edit using some basic tools like trimming, rearranging, and rotating, or share it with others.

2. All-in-one: record and edit videos with Capto

As you can see, there isn't much room for editing your video in QuickTime Player. So, if you'd like more power when deciding how to record video on Mac, try Capto.

Capto is an intuitive screen recorder and video editor for Mac. It's simple to use and has many features that help you get the desired results. Record a specific app, browser window, or custom-sized area with multiple windows, and then edit your recording to perfection. You can add audio tracks, annotate, crop, cut, and combine with ease.

If you're wondering how to record video on Mac using Capto, simply launch the app, click Record, and choose how and what you want to record. Set a timer for recording, set the frame rate, and choose the compression type. For your convenience, Capto opens the start, stop, pause, and cancel recording options in the app's status menu.

3. Take screenshots or screen recordings with CleanShot X

If you wonder, "how do I record screen and record myself on Mac? and how to edit the result at the same time?" the answer is CleanShot X.

CleanShot X is a snipping tool for Mac with a Swiss-knife-like set of features, including recording high-quality video while weeding out distractions like desktop icons. In addition, you can choose whether to record a video or a GIF, record a specific window, full screen, or an area, disable notification for the time of your recording, create a scrolling window, and much more.

Here's how to make video recording on Mac with CleanShot X:

  1. Launch the app from your Mac menu bar.
    record screen Cleanshot X option
  2. Click Record Screen.
  3. Click Edit in the new window.

    edit videos in CleanShot X

Once you're done recording, you can easily annotate, highlight, blur, and choose to compress or trim your video before saving it on your Mac or sharing it to an internal cloud.

4. Create a timelapse with Hustl

One of the most dynamic forms of a Mac video recording is a timelapse video, and Hustl is the best app to quickly create a timelapse with sharp details and high-definition quality.

Hustl has a very simple user interface that features a single giant record button to start, pause, or stop your time-lapse recording. This app has numerous customizable settings ranging from resolution (480p to 8K), to speed (12 to 60 frames per second), and file type.

Another helpful feature of this screen recording tool is that Hustl automatically edits out inactivity periods in your video to save time on manual edits. However, you can still preview and fine-tune your video frame by frame before exporting. 

5. Record video calls with Backtrack

How often have you walked out of the meeting thinking you should have recorded the conversation? Well, there's an app that can record it from the past.

Once installed, Backtrack records everything on your Mac by default, including you using apps and any meetings that take place. You can keep or delete any saved information after the fact — Backtrack can rewind recordings back up to 5 hours before the new ones replace them. Plus, you can use Backtrack for audio-to-text transcripts and summaries of your meetings!

Backtrack is also a way to record a video meeting on Mac without other participants knowing, as it doesn't send them notifications. But make sure it's legal in your jurisdiction first! 

Backtrack records everything on your Mac

6. Create and share videos with Dropshare

What usually happens after you make video recording on Mac? Yes, you probably want to share it with others. For that, try Dropshare.

Dropshare is a robust and secure file-sharing app that works with all popular cloud storage accounts. It lets you record, edit, and share screenshots and screen videos as password-protected download links.

Dropshare sharing options

Dropshare covers all the features you might need to record a Mac screen with sounds. Record an app window, a specific area of your screen, or the whole screen at up to 60 FPS and with optional audio. To start, click on Dropshare in the menu bar, then the record icon. Select the way you'd like to capture the video and click the record button. Click that button one more time to stop recording.

Dropshare recording options

7. Capture a Mac screen to GIFs with Gifox

If you're searching for how to create and edit a video on Mac only to turn it into a GIF, there's one great tool you can use to speed up the process.

Gifox is a great and quick GIF maker for your Mac. It's one of the fastest ways to create and share how-tos, product feature demos, and specific workflows with others. Since Gifox lives in your menu bar, it's always just a click away. 

record the screen or sections and output a GIF with Gifox

After your GIF is recorded, use Gifox to make necessary changes, such as cropping, tuning the color balance, etc. And work even faster with hotkeys. 

Here's how to record a video on Mac and turn it into a GIF with Gifox:

  1. Click on the Gifox icon in the menu bar.
  2. Select the recording option you'd like to use.
  3. Click anywhere on the screen to start recording.
  4. Click the stop icon when done.

How to record yourself on Mac

At this point, you might wonder, "And what if I need to record the screen and record myself on Mac?" And we have a couple of solutions.

1. QuickTime Player self-recordings

Apart from using QuickTime Player to record video presentations from your Mac's screen, you can also use this app to record video from the built-in camera. Here's how:

  1. Open QuickTime Player.
  2. Click File in the menu bar and then New Movie Recording.
  3. Check the preview to make sure everything looks good in the frame.
  4. Click the arrow next to the recording button to change the audio and video sources.
  5. Set the recording quality you want.
  6. Start recording.

    QuickTime Player to record video with your webcam

When you're finished recording, click on the red button to stop the process and use the Save option in the File menu to save the video on your Mac.

QuickTime Player can record videos in high quality, which is great. The downside is that they can take up a lot of space.

2. PhotoBooth for short funny recordings

PhotoBooth, another native utility, is a good basic solution if you want to record video with audio and have yourself in the frame. It allows you to add funny effects, and record through the iPhone camera, and it is perfect for short videos. (Though, you can record as much video as you want. The only limit is the storage space on your Mac.)

Here's how to quickly record a video of myself on Mac:

  1. Open PhotoBooth by going through Spotlight search.
  2. Click the video icon in the bottom left corner.
  3. Check the preview to make sure everything looks good in the frame.
  4. Click on the camera icon to record the video.

    PhotoBooth for short webcam recordings

Once you're done recording, click the red stop button and then Control-click on the video thumbnail to export it. PhotoBooth also allows for some basic editing and has a few filters you can apply to create and edit videos.

3. Teleprompter App to record yourself speaking 

If you're aiming to create powerful presentations and deliver your message to your online audience, teleprompter apps will be your most effective solution.

Teleprompter App is one of the best utilities with such functionality. From customizable text settings and scrolling speed controls to text mirroring features and the ability to add your logo for better brand recognition — this app is simple to use yet enhances your whole production in seconds.

How to record yourself on a MacBook with a teleprompter? Start by adding your script to Teleprompter and enjoy a seamless broadcast of the text on your Mac or iPhone screen as the app records you speak simultaneously. With its robust editing tools, Teleprompter gives you the ability to add captions to your videos, crop to different formats, and even mirror your footage.

Teleprompter app to record yourself presenting

4. Capto for screen & webcam recording

At some point, you may want to make a video on a Mac that includes your screen, plus a real-time webcam feed, and your voiceover. That's when you want to try Capto.

Capto is a creative screen capture tool with an array of handy features for editing and sharing your video. Automatically hide the desktop when recording your screen, edit video and audio tracks independently, incorporate text annotations or speech bubbles, try hotkey combinations, and easily share to Dropbox, YouTube, Facebook, or cloud storage.

self record using Capto

To record screen and record myself on Mac with Capto, follow these steps:

  1. Download and open Capto.
  2. Click Record at the top of the app's window and choose Screen.
  3. Check the box next to Record Camera in the pop-up window that appears (this will include video from your Mac's built-in camera or a connected external camera).
  4. Click the recording button to start, and then click the stop button in the menu bar when done.
  5. Use editing and annotation tools from the panel on the left.
  6. Go to the File menu at the top to save your work.

Tips for video recording on a Mac

Since MacBooks have built-in HD cameras, they're one of the best devices to make video recordings on Mac with yourself. Apart from generic best practices like cleaning the lens with a soft cloth, here are some things to adjust before you record video with audio on Mac for the ultimate result:

  • Framing. Get the camera at your eye level to give the recording a more natural feel. Plus, check the video frame to make sure it's not too tight or cluttered, and then center yourself in front of the camera.
  • Lighting. It's best to record in a room with lots of natural light, but if you're using additional light sources like lamps or ring lights, put them in front of you to keep the shadows away from your face.
  • Sound. Although you can use an external mic if you have one, Macs generally have good built-in mics, so all you really have to do is choose a location with minimal background noise and speak clearly.

Try implementing these small adjustments the next time you record video with audio on your Mac for a more professional-looking result!

Record video on Mac with ease

As you now know, QuickTime Player and Photo Booth are native macOS apps you can use any time you need to record yourself on a MacBook or to do a quick screen capture. Those tools are simple and straightforward, yet lack functionality like elaborate editing, annotation, voiceover, and sound options.

To record video on a Mac that will stand out, use Capto and take video from both your screen and camera, edit, and add visual highlights in one app. The Teleprompter App will be your best solution when you need to record yourself reading a script. If you want to make quick GIFs and screen recordings, test CleanShot X and Gifox. For more specialized video works like time-lapse creations, use Hustl. Backtrack will help you record and review videos from the past. Plus, you can create password-protected download links for your video recordings with Dropshare.

Best of all, Capto, Teleprompter App, CleanShot X, Gifox, Hustl, Backtrack, and Dropshare are all available for free through a seven-day trial of Setapp. Setapp is a curated platform of over 240 best-in-class macOS and iOS apps for any task. Learn how to record video on Mac and master this art with all the top utilities to help boost your performance!

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