Record Screen with Quicktime

In this short guide, you’ll learn how to record your screen with Quicktime — a free tool for Mac computers — and create engaging video tutorials.

Do you create tutorial-style video content? Because if not, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to grow your audience and revenue.

After all, more than half of YouTube’s reported one billion users watch videos to learn how to do something (via Pew Research Center).

And video-based online education platforms — such as Udemy, Skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning — continue to see hockey stick growth. In fact, Forbes predicts that e-learning will be a $325 billion (that’s with a “b”) industry by 2025.

“Cool stats, bro. But what do they have to do with me?” – You

It doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching people how to animate a logo or giving step-by-step origami lessons. Video has proven to be an effective — and for many would-be students, preferred — medium for education.

That means if you create more tutorial-style videos, you’ll likely grow your audience and even earn revenue through monetization or paid courses.

Recording your screen with Quicktime on Mac

As the popularity of tutorial video content grows, so, it seems, does the number of screen recorder tools. (I reviewed a couple of them here.)

Most screen recorders can simultaneously capture your webcam footage and computer screen. This allows viewers to see both your beautiful face and your onscreen actions at the same time. Ain’t technology grand?

But if you’ve got a Mac, you don’t need to invest in fancy or complicated software. Because you can make screencast videos using two programs that came bundled with your computer. I’m referring to Quicktime, a free screen recorder, and iMovie, a free video editor.

I used these programs to create one of the first videos I ever posted on YouTube — before I knew much of anything about making videos. In other words, anyone can make tutorial videos with these free screen recording tools, no matter your experience level.

Ready to become a tutorial tycoon? Keep reading to learn the secrets of making screencast videos for free.

Note: I wrote this post with Mac users in mind. If you’re on a PC, you may be able to achieve the same results by downloading Quicktime and then using Windows Movie Maker or one of these free video editors.

How to create a Quicktime screen recording with audio

You may know Quicktime as a media player. But it’s also a free screen recorder — you can use it to easily capture video and audio.

Start by opening Quicktime. Then, just follow these steps:

  1. Under “File” in the top toolbar, select “New Movie Recording.”
  2. In the Movie Recording window that appears, click the arrow beside the red button to adjust camera and audio settings as necessary. (Your webcam and internal microphone should be the defaults, but you can elect other devices if you’re using external equipment.)
  3. Return to “File” in the top toolbar and this time select “New Screen Recording.”
  4. Just as before, you can adjust recording settings by clicking the arrow beside the red button. (You’ll already be recording audio from your webcam. But I like to record audio from the screencast as well because doing so makes the two recordings easier to sync up later.)
  5. On the Screen Recording window, click the red button. You’ll then receive a prompt to select the recording area. This allows you to record only a web browser window, for example, or your entire screen. Try to keep the dimensions as close to 1920 x 1080 px (or another 16:9 ratio) as possible. You’ll be importing this screencast into iMovie, which restricts you to creating videos in landscape orientation.
  6. Once you’ve selected the target area, the recording will automatically start (as indicated by a square within a circle in the top toolbar).
  7. Click the red button on the Movie Recording window. This will start your camera recording. Make sure to then minimize the Movie Recording window or move it behind another window or offscreen. We don’t want it visible in the screen recording.
  8. Perform the tutorial and, when you’re finished, click the stop button (square within a circle) in your top toolbar. Then open the Movie Recording window and stop that recording as well.
  9. After ending the recordings, you’ll be presented with the video footage from both your camera and screencast. Save these files (command + s) wherever you like.

Pro tip: How to record your iPhone screen

Quicktime is also a great free screen recorder for other devices, such as your iPhone. Just plug the device into your Mac, select “New Movie Recording” in Quicktime, and choose your device under the recording settings (the arrow next to the red button).

Keep in mind that because you’re using the Movie Recording mode to do this, you won’t be able to simultaneously record your camera.

Combining your webcam and screencast videos with iMovie

Once you’ve recorded and saved your raw tutorial footage, it’s time to make it shine. To begin, open iMovie and create a new project. Then:

  1. Import your screencast and webcam recordings by clicking the “Import Media” button or simply dragging and dropping the files into the media library.
  2. Drag the videos to your timeline, making sure to position the webcam video above the screencast video. (Think of these as layers. You want to layer the webcam footage on top of the screencast footage.)
  3. Select the webcam video block and, under the video overlay settings (the icon with two rectangles in the top right), set the overlay effect to “Picture in Picture.”
  4. You may also need to change the crop style (click the icon between the painting palette and the camera icons) to “Fit.”
  5. In the video preview, drag the corners of the webcam video to make it smaller, and then move it wherever you like. (The bottom left part of the screen is a common choice.)
  6. Returning to the timeline, sync the videos by moving and/or trimming footage until the audio tracks from both recordings match up.
  7. Remove the audio from one of the videos by clicking the yellow line below the video and dragging down completely (until the waveform is gone).
  8. Go through and make cuts (command + b), transitions, and other adjustments as necessary. Be sure to adjust both video files at the same time so that they stay in sync.
  9. Polish your video by adding background music, title overlays, and any other embellishments you desire.
  10. Export the finished project by clicking the share icon in the top right and selecting “File.” This will export the final video to the location you define.

And that’s all there is to it! Congratulations: you’re now a screencasting superstar. I told you it would be easy.

I hope you found this guide useful. If you did, please drop me a comment over on YouTube and tell me what tutorials you’ll be making using this approach.

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Logan Nickleson

About the author: Logan is the founder of (and musician behind) Music for Makers — a simpler, more affordable music licensing solution for people who make videos, podcasts, and other creative stuff.