Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to record your computer screen using VLC in 7 simple steps

If it's true a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. It's amazing how people often don't realize they can easily share how to do something by simply recording their computer screen so other can see how it's done. Today, I'm going to teach you how to do that, without resorting to any specific screen capture software. In fact, if you're using VLC to play your videos, that's all you need!

If you still don't use VLC as a media player, then you should. It's a real swiss army knife when it comes to playing all kinds of video formats without requiring you to worry about which codecs you happen to have installed on your computer. But it does a lot more than merely playing back videos, as you're about to see.

The key point here is not to use a specific screen grabbing software, like CamStudio or FRAPS - though if you intend to regularly and frequently do screencasts and screen captures to video, you may prefer to give those a try. But for that odd occasion when you might need to do it just a couple of times, VLC will do just fine.

So, let's get on with it.
  1. Launch VLC and select Stream from the Media dropdown menu
  2. In the Open Media window select the "Capture Device" tab
  3. Select "Desktop" as capture mode, and choose the framerate you desire - keep in mind that the higher the screen resolution you have and the framerate you choose, the harder it will be for the CPU to handle it all
  4. Follow through the process, by clicking "stream", then "next".
  5. Select the destination file by clicking "add" and the location and filename of your choosing
  6. Select transcoding (and leave the default codec selected unless you know what you're doing)
  7. And finally, click stream to start recording what happens in your computer screen.
And that's it, you're done!

  • optional: if you want the recording to show a mouse pointer, just add the following to the stream url:
    :screen-follow-mouse :screen-mouse-image="c:\temp\mousepointerimage.png"
    (changing the path and filename of the desired image to use as pointer)

To prove the point, here's a video of the entire process (sorry for the glitches, but that's due to the video editing program I used to add the watermark and crop/zoom the video - the original captured video by VLC was perfect).

[Just so people don't think I'm ripping anyone off, this tutorial was first published in my portuguese tech blog Aberto até de Madrugada - yep, that's me as well, so... no need to worry about it]

1 comment:

  1. Great guide. I don't know VLC can record computer screen. In my mind, it's just a good video player. Thanks for sharing your experience. I used to create screencast with Acethinker online screen recorder, free and works like a charm. Share it here as an alternative to VLC player.


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