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How to record video on MacBook Pro & Air - 4 ways

Trying to figure out how to use FaceTime HD camera to record a video on your MacBook? Apple has built-in tools to get it done. There're other ways to make video recording, too.

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 10, 2023 11:31 AM

MacBook Video Recording:

  • To record a video on MacBook directly, use QuickTime Player, Photo Booth or iMovie.
  • You can use the built-in webcam on MacBook for video recording of yourself, or plug an external webcam as an add-on into an available USB port on your laptop.
  • All MacBooks let you record video with your voice by selecting from internal microphone.
  • If you are aiming for professional video recordings and screen capture with more flexibility, you can go with a third-party app like Screen Recorder. It works with both Mac and PC's.

There are a variety of ways to take video of yourself with webcam on your MacBook.

Apple makes it easy to record videos with your iPhone camera: simply open Camera, select Video mode, tap the Record button to start your recording. What about MacBook?

Whether it's to make a video demo for your teaching, an online business presentation, or just a happy birthday video, it's important to know how to record video on MacBook Pro or Air.

Luckily, MacBook has its own pre-installed applications for video recordings. You can take a video with webcam on your MacBook using either the Photo Booth, the QuickTime Player app, or iMovie. There are also many of popular third-party utilities available for recording your video with MacBook's FaceTime HD camera or external webcam. Here are your options.

Table of Contents

The following steps work the same for those who are using iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, and Mac Studio. And if you stick around till the end, we also have a bonus section that shows you how to record a video of your Mac's screen through the Screenshot Toolbar tool if your machine has macOS Mojave or newer version. Older version can switch to use the QuickTime Player instead.

Before recording your video

You will want to make sure the built-in webcam on your MacBook works before recording yourself on the machine. You can head to Finder > Applications, then double-click on the Photo Booth app. It should open the Webcam automatically.

If, for some reason, the macOS webcam doesn't work, you may invest in an external camera from Amazon or other online retainers to record your videos. When using an external Webcam, ensure it is compatible with your MacBook, and you've installed its driver while attaching the webcam into the USB port on your machine.

When you're ready, let's move on.

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How to record a video on MacBook using QuickTime

The QuickTime Player is an app that comes pre-installed with all new macOS versions. It's mostly designed for digital media playback and common movie edits, but it also doubles as a screen recorder to take video, audio, or screen of a MacBook with its webcam.

Here's how to record a video of yourself with QuickTime player on MacBook:

1. Go to Finder > Applications, find QuickTime Player from the list, open it. You may get a separate Finder window, click Cancel to close it.

2. In the menu bar at the top of your screen on your MacBook, select File > New Movie Recording.

You can get the "New Movie Recording" option in the File menu to record yourself with QuickTime.

3. You will now see yourself on the recording screen. If the screen doesn't show the camera view, check to see if the webcam is turned on.

4. Click the tiny down arrow next to the record button to choose what camera, microphone, and quality you want to use. Unless you have a reason to make a tweak, the default "FaceTime HD Camera," "Internal Microphone," and "High" quality options are enough to cater to your daily needs. If you're using an external camera or microphone, ensure that you have the appropriate one ticked.

QuickTime lets you select from camera, microphone, and quality before a video recording starts.

5. Click the Record button (the icon with red circle) to begin recording. During the video recording, it will indicate how long the video is and the file size.

6. When you're done, click the Record button again. It will open the recorded video in QuickTime Player automatically. You can preview, edit and share it.

7. Click File > Save. In the opening dialog box, type in a name for your recording and specify where to be saved, followed by Save button. By default, your video recording will be saved as a .mov file under QuickTime Player folder in iCloud Library.

That's it! you've successfully recorded a video of yourself using QuickTime on your MacBook.

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How to record a video on a MacBook with Photo Booth

Photo Booth is another effective option for MacBook webcam recording. Once you've switched into video mode on the application, you can record your video using your MacBook's built-in FaceTime HD camera or an external webcam connected to the machine with a few clicks.

Be mindful that if you are using an external webcam to record videos, make sure you have selected it as your input device in Camera settings in the menu bar on top of the screen once the Photo Booth app opens in MacBook.

To begin the video recording process using Photo Booth:

1. Open Photo Booth from Finder > Applications. All MacBooks come with it pre-installed.

2. Click the Camera option in the menu bar to select the camera you want to use with Photo Booth, if you have multiple webcams installed.

3. Select the video mode by clicking on the video camera button in the lower left corner of the screen to — you will then view the Record Video button. The app also allows you to take photos.

4. To begin recording a video, click on the red Record button to start.

Click the red Record button, found in bottom center of the window, to recording your video.

5. Click the red Stop button when you are done.

6. After taking a video, you will get a video thumbnail appearing in the bottom of the recording window. You can click on the thumbnail of it to preview the video you just recorded. If you're satisfied with it, right-click on it and choose Export to save it to desktop or any folder on your MacBook.

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How to record a video on a MacBook using iMovie

Apple's iMovie is not usually the video recording tool you'll want to use on your MacBook. But if you're looking to record a live video and embed into the movies you create in iMovie, you can't go miss its easy-to-use audio and video recording feature. Follow these steps to record your videos into iMovie on MacBook using the built-in FaceTime HD camera.

1. Open iMovie app on your MacBook.

2. Click the Import button in the toolbar in the Projects browser to open the Import window where we will record our video with iMovie.

You may need to close Photos, Image Capture, or any other photo app if it opens on your Mac.

You can also click the Media tab in the tool bar and then click the Import button.

3. Move to the Cameras section in the sidebar of iMovie window, select the built-in camera: FaceTime HD Camera. If your camera fails to work, you can connect an external camera or camcorder.

If this is the first time to record a video using the MacBook's camera, you'll get a message asking you to grant the permission for your camera and microphone. Click OK. The window should appear a live video image.

A Record button will appear in the screen once you enable FaceTime HD camera on the sidebar.

4. At the top of the window, choose how you want to organize the recorded video into your events. In the Import to drop-down box, you can select to adding the imported video to an existing Event, create a new Event, or leave it in your open project.

5. Click the Record button below the live video image to start recording from the camera.

6. When you want to stop recording your video, click the Record button again. Your new video clip has been created for your recording.

You can repeat clicking Record button to record videos as many times as you want.

7. When you're finished recording, you can click Close on the bottom right to return to the iMovie window.

How to record video on MacBook via Screen Recorder

Although macOS comes with pre-installed tools for basic recording of yourself on MacBook, you can install third-party applications to accomplish the task. One example of a popular 3rd-party video recording software program that gets more flexibility and advanced features than macOS ones is Screen Recorder.

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for Windows | for macOS

Apart from carrying the basic webcam recording feature that allows you to record from internal FaceTime HD camera or external camera, the program also gives you ability to preview and trim the video clip to cut out the parts you don't want to keep before saving it on your MacBook.

The Screen Recorder program even adds further functionality to your recording needs like capturing screen activities, making picture in picture videos, screenshot, as well as recording both computer system sounds and microphone voice while recording screen. It brings everything in one place.

Here're steps on how to recording a video on a MacBook Air & Pro.

Step 1: Launch Screen Recorder

Open the Screen Recorder software on your MacBook desktop after it's installed successfully.

A primary interface will open with easy-to-use design. In our case, we're going to use webcam to record the video, so click "Webcam Recorder" tab to proceed.

Step 2: Choose from webcam and voice

Once the Webcam Recorder opens, you'll see a live preview of your webcam.

You can use the drop-down menu located on the lower left side of the screen to select a different webcam device if there is more than one camera connected, and enable the voice button if you want to record voice from your microphone. Taking a screenshot is supported, as well.

Step 3: Begin recording video on MacBook Pro or Air

When everything looks good, click the "Rec" button at the bottom center and you're good to go. This will begin recording the video in your computer.

Step 4: Stop recording and save your video locally

Once you're done, hit the Stop button (the red square). The software will display the thumbnail of the video on the window where you can preview what your recording looks like before saving it. Not good enough? Select "Re-record" button in the bottom right to record again.

One nice thing about Screen Recorder is that you can use its handy clipper in the bottom left of the window, which help you cut the video and remove the unwanted parts.

The only thing left to do is click the "Save" to store your recording on MacBook hard drive.

At any time, you can close the window to return the program's main interface.

Recording screen on MacBook

As its name implies, the software enables you to record everything happening on the screen.

Once your select its "Video Recorder" tab, you will get into the next window just like the screenshot below. Here you can choose to record the video in full screen, a window, or a specific area with a custom width & height. You can turn on your webcam, system sound, as well as microphone voice.

Recording audio on MacBook

If you just want to capture the audio from your computer, you can switch to its "Audio Recorder" tab and record the audio from internal sound or/and microphone.

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Bonus - How to screen record on MacBook with the Screenshot Toolbar

1. Press Command + Shift + 5 on your keyboard to open the Screenshot Toolbar.

2. A toolbar with a few icons and options will appear on your MacBook screen.

You can take two options in the center of Screenshot toolbar to record video of MacBook's screen.

3. Select which recording type you want. If you're looking to record a video of your entire screen on MacBook, click the icon that has the record symbol (a solid circle) over it; if you just need a part of the screen to record, click the dashed box icon that has the record symbol.

4. Click Record button on the far right side of the bar. This will capture everything, including your screen and any audio playing, on your MacBook.

If you want to cancel beginning a screen recording, press the Esc key.

5. To stop you will need to press the Stop button. Your screen recording of video will ended in .mov file extension and be autosaved to the desktop on your machine.


Screenshot Toolbar is available for macOS Mojave or newer in MacBook. If you have an older version of macOS, you will need to launch QuickTime Player to perform the same tasks.

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