How to Record Video on Your Mac

It's easy to take a video on a Mac

Recording video on your Mac is easy once you get the hang of it. Although there are plenty of commercial video editing applications out there, you don't have to start by buying one of them. Several apps that are capable of recording video ship with the Mac. Here are the different ways to record video through the various apps already on your Mac.

Record Video on Mac With QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a free bare-bones version of the QuickTime video recording application. It comes installed on your Mac.

  1. Open the Applications folder, which you can reach by clicking the Applications folder in the Mac Dock or a Finder window. Then, click QuickTime Player to open it.

  2. Once QuickTime is open, click File in the menu bar. In the drop-down menu are two movie options: New Movie Recording or New Screen Recording.

    QuickTime Player menu on Mac
  3. Select New Movie Recording to open your Mac's video camera and record what it sees.

    Select New Screen Recording for options to record what occurs on the entire Mac screen or in only one section of it.

    After you chose an option, the QuickTime control panel appears.

  4. To start recording video, click the button with the red dot. To stop recording, click the same button.

How to Record on Mac Without Using an App

If all you want to do is record your screen activity, there's a way to cut out some of the steps of going through QuickTime Player.

  1. If you downloaded the Mojave update for macOS, press Command+Shift+5. This should sound familiar if you've used the similar keyboard shortcut (Command+Shift+4) to take a screenshot.

  2. When you use this keyboard shortcut, a toolbar opens with two options in the middle:

    • The first looks like a solid box with a record symbol in the lower-right corner. Select it to record the entire screen.
    • The other looks like a dotted box with the same record symbol. Use it to select a portion of the screen to record.
    Mac screen recording toolbar
  3. For either option, stop recording by either clicking Stop in the toolbar or by pressing Command+Control+Esc.

Use the thumbnail that appears to trim, save, or share your new video.

Use Photo Booth to Take a Video

Photo Booth is another app you can use to take a video.

  1. Open Photo Booth by selecting its icon in the Mac Dock or by opening the Applications folder.

  2. Once the app is open, look in the lower-left corner of the window for three icons. Starting from the left, your options are:

    • Take four quick pictures.
    • Take a still picture.
    • Record a movie clip.
  3. Select the third option and then click the red camera in the center to begin recording. Click the red camera again to stop recording.

    PhotoBooth controls on a Mac

Use iMovie to Import Directly Into the App

Your final option for easily recording video on a Mac is by using iMovie. This app is more involved than the others covered here, but it gives you more freedom in editing your videos.

  1. Open the iMovie app.

  2. Click the Import button, represented by a down arrow.

    iMovie app showing the import arrow
  3. Select the camera you want to use, which will usually be the built-in camera.

  4. Select the Event you want the video to be added to in the Import to menu. You can either open an existing one or create a new one.

  5. To begin recording your video, click the Record button at the bottom of the screen and click it again to stop recording.

    iMovie app on a Mac
  6. Close the video window when you're done recording. The clips you recorded are added to the selected event.

  7. Edit the clips with the standard suite of iMovie tools.

You don't need to go through this entire process each time you record a new clip. Every time you start and stop recording, a new clip is made. You can create several in a row.

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