How to Record on Webcam on Your PC or Mac

Use your built-in laptop camera to make movies

Online video is the lifeblood of the internet. Advances in webcam technology and the built-in webcams on almost every computer make it easy to record your own video on your PC or Mac.

Information in this article applies to Windows 10 PCs and Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) through OS X El Capitan (10.11).

Man uses a laptop camera to record video.
Getty Images/Smith Collection

There are several programs for the Mac that you can use to record video straight from your webcam. iMovie, Photo Booth, and QuickTime Player are the main three. On a PC, the Camera app in Windows 10 is the way to go.

How to Record Video in iMovie

If you don't already have iMovie, download it from the Mac App Store. It is free to all Mac users. Then, to record from your Mac webcam directly into iMovie:

  1. Launch the iMovie app on a Mac and select File > New Movie from the iMovie menu bar or Create New in the iMovie projects screen.

    New Movie option in iMovie on Mac
  2. Click the down-facing Import arrow at the top of the iMovie screen.

    Import arrow in iMovie for a Mac
  3. Select FaceTime HD Camera in the Cameras section at the left side of the screen. If this is the first time you've selected the FaceTime camera in iMovie, you are asked to grant the app access to the Mac's microphone and camera.

    Selection of built in web cam on Mac
  4. Click the drop-down menu next to Import to at the top of the iMovie screen and select the project you are working on.

    iMovie app on Mac
  5. Click the circular Record button at the bottom of the screen to begin recording. Click it again to stop recording. Press Close at the bottom of the screen to close the recording window.

    The record button in iMovie for Mac
  6. Click Projects in the top left corner of the iMovie window to save the recording and return to the main iMovie projects menu.

    The Proects tab in iMovie on a Mac

How to Record Video in Photo Booth

Photo Booth is a built-in application on most Mac computers and one of the easiest ways to record video. Here's how.

  1. Open the Photo Booth app by clicking its icon in the Mac Dock or by choosing it in the Applications folder.

    Mac Dock showing Photo Booth app
  2. At the bottom left side of the screen, click the icon that looks like a film reel. When you hover your cursor over it, it says "Record a movie clip."

    Photo Booth app on a Mac
  3. To record, press the red Record button in the center of the screen. Press it again to stop recording.

    Record button in Photo Booth on Mac
  4. Under the main image is a row of thumbnail image for the videos or photos you have taken with Photo Booth. Select the one you want to export. The one you just recorded is on the far right.

    Selecting a recording in Photo Booth on a Mac
  5. Click the Share icon in the bottom right corner of the window and choose a sharing method from the pop-up menu.

    The Share icon in Photo Booth on a Mac

How to Record Video in QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a free, easy download that most people already have available on their Mac. In addition to being an excellent tool for recording video, it can also play a huge variety of video formats. Here's how to record a movie of your own with it.

  1. Open Quicktime Player in the Applications folder.

  2. In the menu bar, go to File > New Movie Recording.

    QuickTime Player on a Mac

    By default, this option opens the front-facing camera on the Mac.

  3. Press the red Record button in the center of the screen to begin recording. Press it a second time to stop recording.

    QuickTime Player on Mac
  4. Select File > Save from the menu bar to save the recording or press the red circle in the top left corner of the QuickTime Player screen to exit the screen. You are prompted to give the recording a name and location to save it.

    QuickTime Player on a Mac

How to Record Video on Your PC Webcam

The built-in webcam on your PC can also record video, although it is not as high-quality as a dedicated camera. Here's how to record video on Windows 10. 

  1. Open the Camera app from the Start menu, or search for "Camera" in the search bar.

    The Camera app
  2. Press the video camera icon to select the recording option.

    The Video option
  3. Press the video camera icon to start recording. 

    The Take Video button
  4. Click the Stop button to stop the recording. Use the Pause button to temporarily stop the camera and then restart it later.

    The Pause and Stop buttons
  5. The default location for photos and videos you take using Camera is This PC > Pictures > Camera Roll.

    The default file path to Camera files

There are dozens of applications you can use to record video on Windows, but the built-in Camera app is the most easily accessible. If you do not have Windows 10, you may need to find a third-party application that allows you to record. VLC Media Player and FonePaw are both good options for Windows users.