MacMost Now 288: QuickTime X Screen Recording

Learn how to use the new screen recording feature of QuickTime X in Snow Leopard. It provides basic video screen capture ability. Also learn how to go beyond the basics with better third-party applications.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary, with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a look at the new screen recording features of QuickTime 10. So in episode 287, the one major new feature of QuickTime 10 I didn't talk about was the ability for it to take video captures of your screen, in other words capture your screen and all the movement of the windows, the mouse, things that change. Let's go and take a look at how that works in QuickTime 10. So to start screen recording, you want to go to QuickTime player. Make sure you're running QuickTime 10, not QuickTime 7, which should also be there with Snow Leopard. And then you want to do file, new screen recording. It will come up with this little window here, and it's going to give you some options underneath this triangle. You can choose which microphone you're going to use to record. It's going to record the audio from that microphone, but it will not record the sounds that are coming from your Mac. Also, you can choose the quality, medium will compress the video more. You can choose where to save the file to. To start, press the red record button. It's going to tell you that to stop recording you've got to use this stop button up here, or you can press command-ctrl-escape. You hit start recording, and it clears that away. And now you can go ahead and do various things on your Mac, like say open a finder window, go to safari, navigate around to different pages. Do anything you want, move your cursor around. And when it's time to stop, press the stop recording button here.
We'll then go back to QuickTime 10, and it will open up the movie that you've seen. Let's shrink it a bit by hitting command minus, so we can get this into a smaller window. And we can scroll along here and see that it's actually recorded everything that we've done on the screen, like that. Now there's some restrictions to what you can and can't record. For instance, if you bring up DVD player and play a DVD, you'll notice that it's just a grey rectangle where you would normally be seeing the video; it doesn't let you record the DVD content. Now that we have this video here in QuickTime 10, we can go ahead and save it. So you can use all the different options, like "save as", and you can choose different options, what format to save it in. You get plenty more options here because this is high resolution video. You can actually save it all the way up to 1080p here, or you can go ahead and basically save it as an original movie, Which will save it in full resolution. You can also go ahead and share to iTunes, MobileMe, or YouTube. Go back to episode 287 to see some of the different saving options that you've got. For instance, if you go and you save it for a webpage, you're going to get 3 different versions of it.
And the appropriate one will play back on the appropriate device, like, say, a very small version for the iPhone, a much larger version for safari on your computer.
So previous to QuickTime 10, people like myself have been able to use screen captures in tutorials using 3rd party software. So for years, for instance, I've used SnapzPro, which allows you to capture just a portion of the screen, and has a lot more features than QuickTime 10 does. In addition to that, a more advanced program called Screen Flow allows you to capture video of yourself talking in, say, a corner, as well as the screen at the same time. Also a very popular piece of windows software, Camtasia, just came to the Mac, and that also has a ton more features than what QuickTime X has. There's also one called Jing Project, which is a free utility that allows you to do quick screen captures, with some really interesting features. So while the screen capture utility in QuickTime 10 is interesting, it's not really very useful compared to any of these 3rd party tools. It's maybe something you can do to just capture some behavior on your screen or make a quick video to show somebody how to do something, something like that. But if you want to get serious about screen captures and creating tutorials, you're probably going to want to try one of these pieces of 3rd party software. That's it for now, till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 30 Responses to “MacMost Now 288: QuickTime X Screen Recording”

    9/10/09 @ 2:52 pm

    I’m using successfully IShowU from for years now. Great utility that includes the important options. Many features and cheaper than SnapZ, Camtasia, etc. I’ll stick with it.

    5/26/10 @ 4:31 am

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. In the future, I want ScreenFlow. Right now, I’m just testing out concepts, so I’ll play with Quicktime.

    Thanks again.


    Brandon McLean
    11/21/10 @ 5:39 am

    Is there a way that I can be able to take off the AAC lock?

      11/21/10 @ 8:48 am

      AAC lock? What do you mean by that? How are you getting AAC files when screen recording?

    David L
    2/14/11 @ 11:46 am


    Is there a way to schedule a recording or set a timer for the recording?

    There are often live webcasts for training programs that I would like to view but they are streamed when I’m not home. Any way to set up automator to do this? I can’t find any “timer” commands in automator for starting/stopping a Screen Recording.

      2/14/11 @ 11:58 am

      Probably not the right way to do it. Screen capturing a live broadcast is like pointing a camcorder at your TV. Better to see if the webcast has any option to watch it later on.

    David L
    2/14/11 @ 1:26 pm

    I found a way to do it.

    I used an automator script to start and stop quicktime screen recording. I’ve been searching for weeks and finally found a solution. The reason these webcasts don’t allow you to watch it later on is because they are streaming once live at little to no cost. Saving it onto a server to allow downloading by thousands of users later costs them too much in bandwidth.

    Now I can watch training classes when I’m available on my schedule. Thanks for leading me down the right path.

      5/12/11 @ 9:37 am


      Would you share with me on how to get automator to start and stop quicktime screen recording at a schedule time and date?



        5/12/11 @ 9:39 am

        Experiment to get an Automator workflow to start and stop QuickTime screen recording. Not sure if it is possible, but if you do get it working, then add that workflow to an iCal alarm set for that time.

    Jim H
    3/26/11 @ 12:38 pm

    Is there a screen recording program that allows you to capture DVD video such as home recorded dvds?

    3/29/11 @ 7:50 pm

    Does this work with Windows? Vista in particular?

    4/1/11 @ 2:26 pm

    is there a way to pause the recording or save it and continue recording later? and can i edit the screen recording in imovie?

      4/1/11 @ 3:43 pm

      No way to continue it. But record it in segments and them edit together in iMovie. Yes, you can certainly use iMovie to edit. Be sure to import into iMovie in original format (not letting iMovie resize it).
      Also, you can switch to a third-party screen recording option if you like — many of those do let you resume a paused recording, and some let you edit as well.

        4/1/11 @ 4:39 pm

        i see thanks for the help :)

    4/14/11 @ 5:33 pm

    Do you know of a way to have the Quicktime X Screen Recording feature capture a secondary display?

      4/14/11 @ 5:35 pm

      Good question. Doesn’t look to be any way to do that. Probably should use one of the many 3rd-party applications for that.

    5/7/11 @ 2:40 am

    Hi Gary,

    firstable many thx. for your little show!
    But do you know, how to cut the big video, so you just can see, what you want to see?

    kindly regards

    Mike from germany

      5/7/11 @ 8:51 am

      You can edit the video in iMovie if you like and crop it there. Or, get one of the many third-party screen capture tools like ScreenFlow or Snapz Pro and you have a ton of features like that.

        5/9/11 @ 8:47 am

        thx a lot

    8/18/11 @ 3:20 pm

    Dude quicktime is realllllllllllyyyyyy annoying. okay im trying to record a screen but i want to select my own area that im trying to record but nooooooooooooooo quicktime just records my entire desktop and i dont want that i wana choose what to record with it like a seperate screen its agrivating

      8/18/11 @ 3:23 pm

      It sounds like you need a more powerful screen capture tool. There are many Snapz Pro, ScreenFlow, Skitch, Jing, etc.

    8/29/11 @ 7:40 am

    Just wanted to see how to capture a portion of the screen. This is purely for those who are scared to select a menu option and explore. It should have a ‘extreme novice” warning on the label so we don’t have to waste time watching the whole thing only to find that it does not address anything beyond simple screen recording.

    Teguh Santoso
    9/28/11 @ 6:12 am

    Hello Gary, just wondering, is it possible to record audio and screen recording at the same time with Quicktime X? (I know about sound flower. didn’t work for screen recording) if not, can you recommend me a good screen recorder that also records sound that’s free? it’s ok if it’s not free, though, I prefer the free ones (yes I’m cheap) =D

      9/28/11 @ 6:38 am

      Jing is free. Maybe that will work for you

    2/29/12 @ 8:33 pm

    I tried to use Quicktime to do video game walkthroughs, but on certain full-screen games, the program cuts off the left side and bottom of the screen. And it isn’t just a centimeter, but a whole sixth of the screen! Is there:
    A) Any way to fix this, by changing the capture area to larger than the whole screen or otherwise changing the Quicktime preferences.
    B) A program that doesn’t cut off the edges like that.

    Please help!

      2/29/12 @ 8:34 pm

      Also, there seems to be a 10-minute time limit. Either that or Quicktime broke at exactly the 10 minute mark.

        2/29/12 @ 8:39 pm

        There are many many alternatives. Try one to see if it works better for you.

          3/4/12 @ 2:38 pm

          I have tried many many alternatives, and none have worked better for me.
          I think I’ll ask around. Thanks anyway!

Comments Closed.