How To Record a Video Diary On Your Mac

You can record a simple video diary on your Mac using your built-in camera and the QuickTime Player app. When you save the video, you can export it as a lower-resolution video to save space. You can use the comments field for the file to add comments and keywords. Save these to a folder and you can easily view them in a list by date.

Video Transcript
I was recently asked by somebody if there's a way to record a video diary using the Mac. After all, most Macs, the iMacs and the MacBooks, have a camera right there. While you can type out a diary some people would prefer to actually record some audio or maybe just use the camera and do some video. It's a great way to keep a journal and it must be really fun to look back years later to see about what you were doing with your day and how you felt. That kind of thing.

So, it's actually really easy to do this with builtin software. There's some expensive apps that you could buy that will allow you to organize your stuff. But you could do this using QuickTime Player. QuickTIme Player has player in the name but it actually can record as well. So you can launch Quicktime Player using Spotlight, Command Space, and QuickTime Player. I've moved it to the Dock just for easy access.

Instead of opening a document to play you can go to File then New Movie Recording. This will then show you your camera and you can choose things here. Notice this little down arrow next to the record button. You can choose which camera. So I've got my MacPro here and I've got a whole bunch of different video sources. But you would normally just choose your regular builtin camera. It's probably the only thing that appears there. I also have a variety of different audio sources microphone. You would just, again, choose your internal microphone. You can choose Quality. You probably, for something like this, just want to stick with High and not Maximum, so your files aren't too big.

Then you can just hit Record. Then you can talk about your day and how you feel and maybe things you have planned. That kind of thing. When you're done just hit Stop again. Now nothing has actually happened. You haven't saved the file. So the great thing is if say you have a false start, you start and then you say no no no I want to start again, you can basically just close this window, Delete, and it's gone. Then you can just start the process again. It's really nice and easy. There's no file to find and delete.

But, at this point if it's what you want you can Save. So you can do File, you can do Save, Command S, and you can save it to the desktop. So let me say Diary and I can just number them. Do 1 or I can do like the date in some sort of format and save that out.

Another option you may want to do instead of saving is go right to Export. So you can Export As and you can do a lower resolution. Like if I don't want anything special for this I can do 480p which is like standard definition video. So I can do that as a file. Now let's go to export it out. If I haven't saved it already and I try to Quit it would say you haven't saved this. But you can say just say delete it because I want to just keep this file there.

So you can see there's the two files. This one here is actually 9mg and that was only for a few seconds of me recording. This one here, I'm just doing Command i, is 2.8 mg. So you can see the difference here. Here's the size of this one. You can see the quality is still pretty good it's just a small video frame. This one is much bigger. So depending upon what you want that is how you can save it out. I would probably like for a diary for myself, if it's just going to be me talking and I'm not going to be showing anything special, just save it in a compact format like that.

Now when you've got info, Command i after selecting the file, notice there are other things you can do as well. Like for instance there's Comments down here. So if you wanted to add a comment, some sort of text, to the diary then you could do that. Actually this is searchable. So if you were to actually, you know, put a couple key words in there or a quick description of what it is you talked about, you can actually search. You can do a Find on Files, and that video will show up. The video, the Find function, can't actually hear what you're saying in the video and index that but it can do it with the comment in here. So, for instance, if you're talking about a particular person in the diary you can maybe mention that person in there and then later on when you do a search, if there were five video entries that you mentioned that person and you recorded them all in Comments, you can easily find them that way.

So this is kind of a fun interesting thing to do just using the software that's completely in your Mac. I would like create a folder maybe in your Documents folder called Diary or Video Diary and stick the files in there. When you go to view them you can view by List and you can see the date so you can easily sort them by date and, you know, go back and kind of keep this video diary of what you're doing. A lot easier than writing for a lot of people and a lot more interesting than just recording some audio.

Comments: 3 Responses to “How To Record a Video Diary On Your Mac”

    6 months ago

    thanks for this …. simple but useful

    Larry Carver
    6 months ago

    When recording with the built in camera on an iMac, is there some way to limit the recording area. When I record a video it covers too much of the room and I want to have the focus on me, like your corner image.

    6 months ago

    Larry: When I record for my video, I get a lot more. Then I crop it out (inside Screenflow) to get the square you see. Search the Mac App Store for “Webcam Settings.” It will do a little bit of a zoom for you if you like. But if you are recording for use in something else (iMovie, FCP, etc) then you usually just crop it at that point.

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