We often take for granted what our eyes catch happening on-screen, but as our world becomes more engrossed in the digital, capturing that screentime is turning into a more relevant process. Below, we’ll talk about the 5 best screen recorders that you can get for your Mac computer, to make the process simpler.
So integral has technology become in our daily processes that the proliferation of information about that technology has practically become an industry unto itself. We don’t just learn about technology anymore; we watch people using it and are rewarded with something in between education and entertainment. Whether we’re watching a tutorial for software that we’d like to learn to use, a troubleshooting video to a common problem, or an instructional video for art techniques in design programs, practically anyone can capture their activities onscreen to share with a viewership.
The only thing that’s stopping most users from doing this, ironically, is the lack of software to do so. The meta problem aside, it’s not actually as large of an obstacle as it’s often made out to be, and a little bit of instruction and know-how can get you recording video content (or simply taking screenshots) in no time at all. The software can range from easy to use, where you can be recording in only a few clicks, to professional-grade recorders that give you extensive input and output options that you can configure to your hearts content. Want to capture a few seconds of video to turn into a GIF image? There’s a software kit for that. Want to create, edit, and upload educational and tutorial videos? Feature-rich software exists that will allow you to custom-tune your recordings to your heart’s content.
It should be said up front that when it comes to capture and recording software, you get what you pay for. The quality of the video and/or audio that you’re recording is going to be dependent upon the software that you’re using, and, therefore, if you want to output a recording that looks even remotely professional, a free download is going to be out of the question. This isn’t necessarily a reason to fret, however; while many design software suites can cost you hundreds of dollars or require a license to use, many professional-grade screen recorders can be had for the price of a good dinner.
To go over every nuance that you’ll get from strong recording software will require another entire guide, but we can move through the basics here and make some strong recommendations. You should also be aware of how you intend to use your screen recorder before shelling out any money for one; if you’re only looking to upload hobbyist videos on popular streaming websites like Youtube, you probably don’t need to buy the most feature-rich program available. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a screen recorder that will let you capture for educational or professional purposes, that higher investment is going to pay off in the long run.
Without further ado, here are five of the best screen recorders that you can currently get for your Mac computer, in no particular order.
I said that I wouldn’t list them in any particular order, but I’d be remiss in not putting my personal favorite first on the list. As a fan of the feature-packed software, I find Capto (formerly known as Voila) to be a delightful find that’s available at a more than reasonable price, considering all of the features it comes packed with.
Easily capture anything happening on your Mac or iOS screen at a fluid 60 frames per second. You can separate video and audio or bring in recordings from external sources, such as your own voice recorded via microphone. On top of that, the file management system offered in Capto rivals even those stellar standards set by Adobe’s software lineup, meaning that once you get the hang of navigating Capto, you’ll never lose track of your work. It’s excellent for productivity.
Most appealing is the price! A single-user license will only cost you $29.99, and further discounts are available for students after proof of identification.
From TeleStream comes ScreenFlow, a strong recording program that allows you to not only capture from your Mac but also your external and iOS devices. In this way, it’s very similar to Capto, though I find it to be slightly less intuitive. It’s also definitely more pricey.
For the cost, however, you’ll be given recording software that has all of the features necessary to produce professional-quality videos. If you’re a developer yourself or are simply looking for a way to promote your own business and work through video media, ScreenFlow will give you the means to do this and more. Along with its orientation towards professional expectation, I don’t find it to be quite as consumer friendly; this will result in a steeper learning curve, but like every recording software package featured on this list, it’s well worth its price.
You can buy ScreenFlow from the TeleStream online store for $99.
The above two software packages are premium compared to Quickcast, but sometimes, you don’t need professional-grade video capture and editing capabilities. Sometimes, you just want to snag a quick video to share with friends or turn video into a shareable GIF that you can spread around online. If your needs are simpler, and you won’t be working with longer recordings or video content, then QuickCast can likely get the job done for you.
This app is free, which is another stark contrast with the other mentioned offerings. A single download will put the Quickcast button on your toolbar, and after a brief countdown to announce your recording, you can capture brief strands of video that are able to be quickly uploaded and shared.
Camtasia Studio might be the resulting product of a child between Screenflow and Capto. It’s certainly a strong program with professional-grade video capture capabilities, but it’s packaged in an user-friendly form that gives it an “everyday” appeal suitable to just about any type of consumer.
Exporting recorded video is a cinch, and if you want to add a bit of personality to your output, you can add additional recordings from external peripherals such as cameras and microphones. This makes it an ideal choice for hobbyists who want to narrate their screen recordings, or even place a picture-in-picture recording of themselves as they operate and navigate their Mac screen. The SmartFocus feature, when activated, can intelligently zoom in during your playback and editing based on where your cursor was operating during a recording.
Camtasia is actually available for Mac or PC for $99 and runs fluently on either platform.
We’ve been ping-ponging back and forth between “basic” and advanced software packages, with the hope that it’s allowing you to measure your own recording needs along the way. However, we’ll close out this list with an application that comes built into every Mac operating system currently in use: QuickTime Player.
Once again, as long as your recording needs aren’t terribly advanced, this is a cost-free solution that’s available to you after a single download (or, not even that if you’ve kept your app up-to-date.) It’s incredibly simple to use, as well. Once the QuickTime software is open, simply select “File” and then “New Screen Recording.” You’ll be presented with a minimalistic little recording interface that allows you to select your sound input prior to actually capturing any video, so if you want to add simple narration through a microphone, you most certainly can.
Handily, QuickTime is also available on Windows, but as it’s an Apple-developed app, you’re going to have an easier time with it on an actual Mac computer. While it won’t hold up to the standards necessary for most professional work, it’s available right out of the box and remains incredibly handy.
A comprehensive list would include dozens of further options that are just as available to you as any of the above five (except, perhaps, QuickTime), but this list includes five stellar options for Mac-based screen recording that will suit just about any type of user that needs to capture video. No matter the prices attached–or lack thereof–each of these software packages has top-notch video playback, and each is supported with the necessary tools and features to accomplish what it’s meant to.
Any cursory search of “streaming content” or “video capture” will reveal more results than you know what to do with, only further proving that this method of content sharing is becoming fully engrained in the way that we learn, do business, and seek entertainment. A glance through the number of lecture and education videos on Youtube alone will show you just how useful such a simple (and often overlooked) video recording technique can be.
By my measure, the five recommendations above are the best screen recorders that you can currently get on a Mac computer, but they’re not the only ones! Use the comments below to offer your own suggestions, or post feedback from your own use of the above software.