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The 14 best open source screen recorders [Top & Free]

If you are looking for good open-source screen recording software, then this article will be what you need, from which you can find the one that meets your specific requirements.

Aileena Ivy Updated on Jul 13, 2023 7:58 PM

Pick the best one for you from the following 14 best free open source screen recorders.

Open-source screen capture software is an alternative to proprietary screen recorders and its source code is publicly accessible and modifiable. Many open source screen recording apps has emerged in recent years, offering users a powerful, flexible, and customizable way to record their screen without having to pay for a license.

By reviewing the recording control capabilities of different opensource screen capture software, this article lists the 14 best open-source screen recorders that allow you to capture highly customizable screen videos on Windows, macOS, and Linux computers for free.

But if you want to avoid the complexity or incompleteness of some open source screen recorders, you can opt for AppGeeker Screen Recorder, equipped with easy-to-use recording and editing features that let you record your screen in a customizable way.

Table of Contents

The best screen recorder overall

Although open source screen capture applications provide a lot of flexibility and control over recording, if you want to develop more advanced functionality, you need certain skills and experience requirements.

But AppGeeker Screen Recorder is a full-featured screen recording tool that not only offers a clean working interface that makes it easy for even novices to quickly record screen activity, but also comes with many advanced features, such as the ability to record full screen or partial areas, record video with audio, or capture the webcam to create picture-in-picture videos!

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for Windows | for macOS

With AppGeeker Screen Recorder, you can record software tutorials, meetings, online courses, YouTube videos, etc. with no time limit. It also enables you to customize the hotkeys and trim, edit, merge and split the recorded video to make it more personalized to your specific needs.

Key features:

  • Allow scheduled recording
  • Powerful editing features
  • Record screen with audio on Windows 10 and Mac
  • Output video in various formats: MP4, MOV, WMV, F4V, ETC.
  • Support annotations and custom cursors

The 14 best open source screen recorders

1. ShareX (Windows)

2. OBS studio (Windows & Mac)

3. CamStudio (Windows)

4. UltraVNC Screen Recorder (Windows)

5. Captura (Windows)

6. VirtualDub (Windows)

7. Simple Screen Recorder (Linux)

8. Freeseer (Windows & Linux)

9. XVidCap (Linux)

10. Record My Desktop (Linux)

11. ScreenCam (Windows)

12. Kazam (Linux)

13. VLC media player (Windows & Mac)

14. ScreenToGif (Windows)

1. ShareX

Best open source screen recorder for screenshots and image editing

Platform: Windows

As a free and open source screen recording software for Windows, ShareX can capture a window, the whole screen or a specific area. It can record the sound from the microphone and export the recorded video to GIF or MP4 formats.

Best of all, this screen recorder includes a powerful image editor, enabling you to annotate, add text, mosaics, watermarks, shadows, and more. The captured images can also be automatically uploaded and a fixed URL is generated for sharing. In addition, by customizing shortcuts and configuring actions, ShareX can automatically perform any task you want, saving your time!

What we like:

  • Open-source and lightweight
  • Support for scrolling screenshots
  • With image hosting service
  • Screen recording and file sharing
  • Built-in various useful tools, such as image editor, screen color picker, thumbnail, etc.
  • Customize shortcut keys to execute corresponding commands
  • Character recognition function

What we don't like:

2. OBS studio

Ideal free open source screen capture software for game streaming and recording

Platform: Windows & Mac

When it comes to open-source screen recorder, OBS has almost dominated in recent years and is especially popular among professionals. It provides a large selection of scenes and sources for recording on-screen activities, such as audio, desktop, games, etc. to create videos and enhance visuals.

One of its features is a rich source of filters to optimize your video, image and sound effects. Its built-in audio mixer also enables you to record multi-track sound.

The most important thing is that OBS allows you to stream your screen activities to major online platforms like YouTube, Twitter, etc., which is certainly a very convenient thing for those game live-streamers. In short, OBS is an excellent open source screen recording app and live streaming software that combines video capture and broadcasting into one.

What we like:

  • Record desktop, webcam, and microphone
  • Add filters to enrich video effects
  • Audio Mixer
  • Capture games in full screen
  • Customize recording parameters
  • Streaming to other platforms
  • Seamless video scene switching

What we don't like:

  • Tough learning curve for novices
  • It takes time to fully master its functions

3. CamStudio

Best opensource screen recorder for recording AVI files and converting to SWF format

Platform: Windows

CamStudio is a lightweight and opensource screen capture app that features tools needed to record screens smarter and faster, capture audio, make picture-in-picture videos and more. You can record videos in AVI format and convert them to SWF files using SWF Producer, or you can switch to SWF format directly for recording.

This free Windows screen recording program balances the file size before outputting the recorded video so that the output AVI file does not take up too much memory. Additionally, you can choose the quality of the recording to create high-quality, anti-aliased screen videos.

What we like:

  • Add on-screen captions and video annotations
  • No maximum recording time limit
  • Configure cursor control
  • Select the desired output quality and frame rate
  • Capture fixed or custom areas of the screen
  • Intuitive interface

What we don't like:

  • Record and save videos in AVI and SWF formats only
  • May encounter crash issues
  • Include other bundled programs
  • Recording audio tends to be problematic

4. UltraVNC Screen Recorder

An open source screen capture app best for quick recording of the entire screen

Platform: Windows

UltraVNC Screen Recorder is an open-source recorder built by the developer based on the old Rendersoft camstudio source and is designed for faster full screen recording. It can enable audio recording while recording your screen. You can also adjust the recording quality with its video compressor to reduce the file size.

It automatically stores the recorded file in a specific folder on the emulator desktop, allowing you to easily find the recording. Another feature of this screen recording software is that you can use the mouse cursor to highlight specific content on the screen to enhance the impression.

What we like:

  • Customize video quality
  • Support 64-bit version of the Windows
  • Record screens, live streams and games
  • Capture multiple windows on the screen
  • Mouse clicks highlighted
  • No watermark

What we don't like:

  • No technical support
  • No further updates
  • No video editing function

5. Captura

Open-source screen recording software best for making instructional videos

Platform: Windows

Although Captura relies on another multimedia program framework, FFmpeg, it has thus become a free open source screen capture software for Windows that can record any area on the screen or capture video clips on your PC, meeting most recording requirements.

You can record from different camera sources and embed microphone and system audio recordings to create tutorial-type videos. In its settings, not only can you change the language and recording duration, but you can also choose the System Tray function.

If you don't mind its dependence on additional accessories, Captura can be said to be a very simple and straightforward open-source software with the perfect recording tools.

What we like:

  • Option to show mouse or not
  • Support command line usage
  • Equipped with video encoder
  • No ads
  • Capture Screenshot
  • Adjustable playback speed

What we don't like:

  • Additional programs need to be configured

6. VirtualDub

A great open-source screen recorder with video editor

Platform: Windows

VirtualDub is an open-source and free screen capture application that's perfect for those who are looking for a cheap but powerful recording tool where they can take advantage of its rich editing tools, such as resizing, adding filters, changing colors, blurring, etc. It brings many features, both common and innovative in open source screen recording software, offering users the freedom to handle video capture, whether they are amateurs or professionals in the field.

What we like:

  • Batch processing for large number of files
  • Support real-time preview
  • Record movie clips of more than 2GB at a time
  • Extractable sound files
  • Excellent color processor
  • Record dynamic screen and sound

What we don't like:

  • Only supports processing AVI video files
  • Easy to crash when handling multiple files
  • Interface is not intuitive

7. Simple Screen Recorder

Open source screen recording program for capturing gameplays and OpenGL applications

Platform: Linux

Compared to open-source application like VLC or avconv, Simple Screen Recorder is easy to use due to its simple user interface without any technical requirements, which is what its developers first thought of when writing this program. Although its interface is simple, each option has its function prompted by simply placing the mouse in the corresponding position.

Its entire-screen recording lets you capture full-screen game mode without affecting your game play. And this open-source screen recorder will show the statistics and the preview effect during the recording. Moreover, if you know about encoding technology, you can also adjust the encoding format of different videos and audios by yourself.

What we like:

  • Follow and record the cursor
  • Set the desired frame rate
  • Very lightweight recorder
  • Pause / resume recording
  • Save input configuration for next use
  • Fully multi-thread capability
  • Built-in Record OpenGL option

What we don't like:

  • Some output configurations require code knowledge
  • Only applicable to Unix operating system

8. Freeseer

Best open source screen recorder for presentation and meeting capture

Platform: Windows & Linux

The Freeseer project developed by FOSSLC is mainly used to record meetings, such as online webinars, Zoom meetings, Google Meet sessions, or other large presentations. Freeseer can easily help you record high-quality conference video with audio and effectively manage the conversation list. It is also one of the few open-source screen capture applications that can capture video from external sources, such as external grid cameras or VGA output.

This video capture software uses Gstreamer, which is based on open standards and therefore supports royalty-free audio and video codecs. With its plug-in system, you can also add new features to configure audio and video inputs and outputs, and more.

What we like:

  • Capture or stream desktop
  • Simple to operate and easy to learn
  • Support shortcut key
  • Built-in talk manager
  • YouTube uploader
  • Multiple audio inputs

What we don't like:

  • Lack of editing features
  • No support for macOS

9. XVidCap

Good open-source screen capture program with command-line tool

Platform: Linux

If you're looking for free video recording software that enables a command line interface, you won't be disappointed with XVidCap. XVidCap allows you to execute the command line interface and access advanced features through a GUI-free mode.

This open source recorder simplifies the recording process by allowing you to drag the mouse to delineate the recording area and move the control box to anywhere on the screen. And in single-frame mode, you can double-click the Record button to take a screenshot. But it should be noted that XVidCap only records audio in multi-frame mode.

What we like:

  • The default MPEG video format makes it easier to share files with others
  • Record Flash files with sound directly
  • Adjust the recording area by dragging
  • Display the size of the recording area when adjusting it

What we don't like:

  • Cannot record system audio
  • No video editing
  • Very difficult to install

10. Record My Desktop

A simple Opensource video recorder with audio encoder for recording desktop

Platform: Linux

Record My Desktop is an open source screen recording software for Linux-based operating systems, which consists of command line tools and a clear interface. However, it should be noted that Record My Desktop only supports a few output formats, such as Ogg and Theora, which may not be compatible with all video players or platforms. Despite its simplicity, it is still capable of meeting basic screen recording needs.

What we like:

  • Support window and audio recording
  • Provide recording customization options
  • Can select the quality of video and sound
  • Ability to view and modify source code
  • Lightweight screen recorder

What we don't like:

  • Limited output formats
  • No editing capabilities

11. ScreenCam

Open source screen recording tool best for making movie recordings and editing them

Platform: Windows

As an open-source screen recorder designed specifically for Windows, ScreenCam has a "VCR-like" interface and is widely used to create screen movies. It also has the concept of a movie editor, such as the ability to merge movies, split movies and delete movie parts.

It can export videos to standard file formats and edit them, including adding annotations, text, colored shapes and arrows, etc. It can also capture still images and support importing images and audio into ScreenCam's editor

What we like:

  • Export to Adobe Flash, SWF, AVI, GIF formats
  • No advertisements
  • With basic video editing capabilities
  • Record PowerPoint slide shows
  • Capture screenshot and cursor

What we don't like:

  • There are requirements for the operating system
  • Poor video file compatibility and interactivity
  • Outdated interface

12. Kazam

Portable open source screen recorder for creating video clips and upload to YouTube

Platform: Linux

Kazam is another open source screen capture app that is easy to install and use, and you can download it from the Ubuntu Universe repository. Its page is very concise and clear, directly giving you two options of Screencast and Screenshot to let you perform your capture tasks. And you can export the recorded video in WebM, MP4 or AVI format and upload it to YouTube.

What we like:

  • Simple-to-use interface
  • Capture both microphone sound and system sound
  • Customize the framerate and file save destination
  • Support hotkey recording
  • Includes three recording modes: Fullscreen, Windows, and Area

What we don't like:

  • Need to play the recorded video in another media player
  • No webcam recording

13. VLC media player

Open source recording software for converting video formats

Platform: Windows & Mac

Combining the functions of media player and recorder, VLC is also an excellent open source recording application for recording screen activities. Not only that, VLC is also a video converter. When you choose to capture desktop screen or streaming, you can also choose the format of video conversion output, such as MPEG, AVI, MP4, WMV, etc. And its built-in powerful codec can play videos of various encoding methods in high-definition state.

What we like:

  • Support recording screen, audio and streaming
  • No need to download additional video and audio codecs
  • Can add subtitles
  • With trimming and preview functions
  • Lossless conversion of video formats
  • Customize recording parameters and output formats

What we don't like:

  • Requirements for computer performance
  • The screen recording function needs to be learned
  • Many functions are hidden in the menu

14. ScreenToGif

A reliable open source video recorder for creating GIF files and share with others

Platform: Windows

ScreenToGif is an open-source tool on GitHub that enables you to record any selected area of the screen. After recording, you can edit and save the animation as a GIF or APNG format, video, PSD or PNG image. You can customize the parameters of the Screen Recorder feature, including shortcuts, frame rate, cursor, snapshots and other configurations.

It must be mentioned that it comes with a powerful independent editor, which allows you to give full play to your creativity. It provides speed control, adding text, blur, cropping, transition effects and more, allowing you to modify the video frame by frame and create a unique GIF file to share with your friends or on social media.

What we like:

  • Customize watermark and transparency
  • Provide whiteboard recording
  • Multiple languages to choose from
  • With full-featured editor
  • Free and safe
  • Can record webcam

What we don't like:

  • Low video resolution
  • Pure white border interface may not be very beautiful
  • Unable to record sound

FAQs about open-source screen recorder

How to choose the best open source screen capture software?

The great thing about open-source software is that it gives you full freedom and flexibility to accomplish what you want to do. Opensource screen recording software is no exception, but in addition to this, there are a few factors to consider when choosing a screen recorder that is best for you.

1. Functionality: Look for software that provides the features you need, such as capturing specific areas of the screen or webcam, recording audio, and adding annotations or other editing features.

2. Ease of use: Make sure the recorder has an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows you to easily find the corresponding options.

3. Compatibility: Make sure the screen recording app is compatible with your operating system.

4. Stability: Choose software that is stable and reliable, with minimal crashes or errors.

5. Community Support: Look for opensource screen recorder that has an active community that provides support and updates.

What is the best open-source screen recording software for Windows?

Considering the specificity of open source software's compatibility with the system, you can choose from several Windows-based open source recording video recorders to complete the recording task on your Windows PC.

  • ShareX
  • Camstudio
  • Captura
  • VirtualDub
  • ScreenCam
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