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How to Record a Video on Your Mac



When it’s time to record a video, you might whip out your smartphone or grab a dedicated camera, but you can also record video directly on your Mac. Since Apple introduced the original MacBook in 2006, all Macs have their own webcam; that is, unless you bought the Mac Mini, which requires an additional purchase. Once you’re ready to record a video on your Mac, it’s pretty easy and we’ll show you how to get the job done in just a few clicks.

Prepare to record video

Man using iMac computer with webcam
Mitchel Durfee / Pexels

Make sure you have a webcam connected to your Mac before you start. All MacBooks and iMacs have a built-in webcam, but users with Mac Minis and Mac Pros will need to purchase an external webcam as an add-on. Setup is generally as easy as plugging the new webcam into an available USB port on your computer.

If you don’t already have a webcam, be sure to check out our guide to the best webcams you can buy. In addition, you may be able to use a professional camera, such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera, from Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm or others, for example, with a little software or hardware tweaks.

Record video on your Mac

Photo Booth application
Michael Archambault / Digital trends

Once you’ve confirmed that your Mac has a built-in webcam or an external webcam is connected, you can begin the recording process. All Macs are included Photo booth pre-installed, an application that allows you to take pictures and videos with your webcam. When you’re ready to proceed, start by opening it Photo booth app. There are a few ways to open an app within MacOS:

Option 1: Click on the Finder icon (a blue smiling face) in the Dock, navigate to the Applications folder and then double-click Photo Booth

Option 2: Invoke Spotlight by tapping CMD Spacebar type the sentence on your keyboard Photo Booth, and click Enter

Option 3: Open Launch pad by tapping F4 on your keyboard, then scroll through the available apps until you find Photo Booth – click it once.

Switch to video mode

Once Photo Booth opens, you will see a preview of what your webcam is seeing, but it is not recording yet. First, we must put Photo Booth in video recording mode; we can do this by clicking the video icon in the bottom left corner of the window. Once you are in video mode, the red record button will show a video camera icon.

Record your video

Photo Booth video recording
Michael Archambault / Digital trends

Step 1: Open Photo Booth

Step 2: Select the Video Mode by clicking the video camera picture in the lower left corner of the screen.

Step 3: Start recording by pressing the red record button.

Step 4: Stop the recording by pressing the red button again.

Step 5: Click the video thumbnail in the filmstrip to preview it when you’re done. Right-click on the thumbnail and choose Export and keep it everywhere.

You can track the amount of time recorded in the lower left corner of the screen, but your recording time is only limited by the amount of free storage space available on your Mac’s hard drive or solid state drive.

To view the newly recorded video, click its thumbnail in the filmstrip below the recording window. To exit preview mode, press the gray round button at the bottom center of the Photo Booth window. You can always access the recorded video by selecting Photo Booth as the source in Finder, or just right-click on the thumbnail preview and click Export to store it elsewhere.

Additional features

Photo Booth Effects
Michael Archambault / Digital trends

Photo Booth offers a few extra features for those who want to have fun with their videos and photos. If you want to add a nice effect to your video, click the Effect button in the lower right corner and then click the effect you want to use. There are a few pages of effects available, so be sure to check out the Left and Turn right buttons at the bottom of the window to see them all. Click on the Normal effect option in the center of the screen to remove all effects.

One final tip to note is that if you have multiple webcams or microphones connected to your Mac, you can easily switch between the different webcams or microphones by going to the Camera menu displayed in the Menu bar in the top left corner of your monitor.

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