10 Clever Screen Recording Tools for Mac

Video tutorials seem to be appearing everywhere at present, and recently I’ve been researching the best ways to record and process screen recording videos on a Mac. There are plenty of recording and capturing tools out there, but they vary in their functionality. Some only capture images, others record the screen and some of them listed below additionally record sound.

If you’re looking for a tool to simply take screenshots, two I would recommend are LittleSnapper and Skitch (or the in-built utility in OS X).

In the past days I’ve tried a few different applications – some are good and some not, but I’ll show you the ones I think are useful. Please note that some of the applications aren’t freeware, but pricing information and links to the developer sites are provided. Without further ado, let’s delve into the world of screen capture software – we’ll start with free applications with fairly limited functionality and gradually work up towards the more expensive players.

Copernicus

Copernicus

Copernicus

Copernicus allows you to record screenshots, very short videos, but no sound. You can take images and store them in a virtual photo gallery or just save them on your Mac. I recommend using this application for taking images, when writing a tutorial, where screenshots are needed or whenever you want to demonstrate a particular moment on screen.

Publisher: Danicsoft
Size: 4.9 MB
License: Freeware
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Download: Copernicus

Capture Me

Capture Me

Capture Me

Capture Me however, offers more options like a floating capture window, which is resizable to different resolutions and provides several output options. As well as Copernicus, Capture Me only provides a screen capturing mode, for taking pictures. A video recording mode – again with no sound – does exist, but with a limited duration of one minute it is useless for recording video tutorials.

Publisher: Chimoosoft
Size: 0.58 MB
License: Freeware, Open source
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Download: Capture Me

Capture It

Capture It

Captureit

Captureit is a new product which was published recently. It not only provides functionality for capturing images, but also recording screen output. The developers concentrated on making it fast and easy to use, which it is. Additional features include multiple export formats for the iPhone and YouTube. It costs $15, but you can use the trial version for 15 days before buying it.

Publisher: UncleMiF
Size: 1.2 MB
License: Demo, $15
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Download: Captureit

ScreenRecord

ScreenRecord

ScreenRecord

ScreenRecord captures a video of your screen as a Quicktime movie. With a simple interface and low price tag, it’s an appealing tool if you’re just experimenting with screencasting. The publisher also mentions that this tool can be used as a “monitoring device”, further information on which can be found in the user guide.

Publisher: Mien Software
Size: 6.5 MB
License: Demo, $16
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Download: ScreenRecord

iShowU

iShowU

iShowU

iShowU is my personal favorite. There are two different versions available – if you are using Mac OS 10.4, you will only be able to use iShowU classic. It’s relatively inexpensive and provides very nice recording options for sound and video.

For users with Mac OS 10.5 and later there is a HD and HD Pro version, which is even more powerful than its forerunner. What makes this tool so easy to use is the understandable interface and in-built options such as scalability, highlighting actions and displaying keyboard commands. It is compatible with editing applications such as Final Cut and provides multiple output formats for web, internet video, email and several others.

Publisher: shinywhitebox
Size: 7.1 MB
License: Demo, $20 – $60 depending on version
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Download: iShowU

ScreenFlick

ScreenFlick

Screenflick

Screenflick features similar functions like the other tools so far, but assures smooth, fluid motion with up to 60 frames per second. Just as with iShowU, Screenflick additionally records internal and external sound. Another useful feature is the ability to display keyboard commands and highlights on mouse clicks. An important feature that some of this tools provide is the possibility to save project files with the raw screen footage, to later modify and export the video. These projects can be exported multiple times in different sizes and versions, without affecting the original footage.

Publisher: Araelium Group
Size: 3.0 MB
License: Demo, €29, currently $25
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Download: Screenflick

Screenium

Screenium

Screenium

Screenium is a German product with an additional English version of the tool and website. The tool is similar to the ones mentioned above. You can include a mouse pointer, highlight selections and movements in real-time, which makes the processing afterwards very fast and easy. It also features audio recording and a simple single-window user interface.

Publisher: Synium Software GmbH
Size: 6.3 MB
License: Demo, currently $38
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
Download: Screenium

ScreenMimic

ScreenMimic

Screen Mimic

Screen Mimic is a recording application aimed at creating SWF Flash movies, FLV Flash videos or MOV Quicktime files. This app is starting to verge on the more expensive side, although doesn’t appear to offer a huge leap in functionality for the price. It might be worth considering if you particularly like the way it works, and is probably worth a try.

Publisher: Decimus Software
Size: 2.3 MB
License: Demo, $65
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Download: Screen Mimic

Snapz Pro X

Snapz Pro X

Snapz Pro X

Snapz Pro X costs $69, but updates from Snapz Pro X 1.x or Movie Capture, start at $20. A range of demo videos are on their site to illustrate the end result of using the app. The app is supposedly “20 times faster” than any other screen recording software on the market and it includes many previously noted features. The interface and website is starting to look a little dated, and it doesn’t make the most of capabilities introduced in Leopard.

Publisher: Ambrosia Software
Size: 14.8MB
License: Demo, $69
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
Download: Snapz Pro X

ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow is the most expensive app featured, and as you’d expect is packed with features. You can record from desktop, a video camera, microphone & computer’s audio simultaneously to create a rich and compelling video. Powerful editing tools are available, making the most of Leopard technologies such as Core Animation and QuickLook. It’s really impressive, and seems to be worth the money if you’re planning on screencasting on a regular basis.

Publisher: Telestream, Inc.
Size: 5.1 MB
License: Demo, $99
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Download: ScreenFlow

Conclusion

Obviously it isn’t possible to go into great detail for each of these, and many of them include additional functionality over that noted. They all have individual selling points and depending upon your budget and specific requirements, different apps may fit the bill. I do feel that the niche is missing a ‘killer app’, one which is really well designed and easy to use – though that may just be my wishful thinking.

As is always the case with any roundup post, I’m sure I’ve missed a few which our readers swear by – feel free to let me know in the comments so I can try them out myself.