How to Record on Webcam on Your PC or Mac

Use your built-in laptop camera to make movies

Advances in webcam technology and the built-in webcams on computers make it easy to record video on a Mac or PC. There are several programs for the Mac that record video from a 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.

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

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

How to Record Video in iMovie

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

  1. Launch the iMovie app on a Mac. Then, either go to the iMovie menu bar and select File > New Movie, or go to the iMovie projects screen and select Create New.

    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. Go to the Cameras section in the left panel, then select FaceTime HD Camera.

    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 Import to drop-down menu 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 upper-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 choosing it in the Applications folder.

    Mac Dock showing Photo Booth app
  2. In the lower-left corner of the screen, click the Record a movie clip icon (it looks like a film reel).

    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. Thumbnail images appear under the main image. These thumbnail images represent the videos or photos you took with Photo Booth. Select the one you want to export. The one you last recorded is on the right.

    Selecting a recording in Photo Booth on a Mac
  5. Click the Share icon in the lower-right corner of the window, then choose a sharing method.

    The Share icon in Photo Booth on a Mac

How to Record Video in QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a free download that is available on most Macs. In addition to being an excellent tool for recording video, it also plays a variety of video formats. Here's how to record a movie with it.

  1. Go to the Applications folder and open Quicktime Player.

  2. Go to the menu bar and select File > New Movie Recording. By default, this option opens the front-facing camera on the Mac.

    QuickTime Player on a 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. Go to the menu bar and select File > Save to save the recording. Or, select the red circle in the upper-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. However, it isn't as high-quality as a dedicated camera. Here's how to record a video on Windows 10. 

  1. Go to the Start menu and open the Camera app, or go to the search bar and search for Camera.

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

    The Video option
  3. Select 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 stop the camera temporarily and 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. Still, the built-in Camera app is the most 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.