January 22, 2024

The 7 best video recording software picks for your project (2024)

Video recording software can mean the difference between a pixelated video that takes days to edit and a high-resolution masterpiece that’s ready in no time. Figure out the right software for your project with our recommendation.s
January 22, 2024

The 7 best video recording software picks for your project (2024)

Video recording software can mean the difference between a pixelated video that takes days to edit and a high-resolution masterpiece that’s ready in no time. Figure out the right software for your project with our recommendation.s
January 22, 2024
Tiffani Bauer
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
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Transcriptions
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Videos
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Transcriptions

The video production process has come a long way — where you once might need an expensive camera, mics, and lighting, you now can get away with a simple webcam and a screen recorder. But the right video recording software is key. It can mean the difference between a pixelated video that takes days to edit and a high-resolution masterpiece that’s ready in no time. Figure out the right software for your project with our recommendations below.

What is video recording software?

Unlike a video camera, which usually records to a memory card in the device itself, video recording software is installed on your computer and lets you record video through your webcam or another connected camera. As you might expect, it’s ideal for computer-based projects like software tutorials, virtual interviews, and video game streams, although it can be just as useful for other types of videos.

The pros of video recording software

The video you record is going to end up on your computer for editing anyway, and video recording software removes that middle step of transferring it from an SD card to your computer’s hard drive. And since it can record multiple sources at once — say, your webcam and your desktop — it also makes software demonstrations and quick one-off video explainers much easier than with a traditional camera. 

Screen recording is also great for educational purposes. Using a dynamic video to walk students through class material is a great way to keep them engaged even if they can’t be there in person. 

Best video recording software: 7 picks

1. Descript

Best all-purpose video recording software

Example of user editing video recording with Descript

Descript records locally from multiple sources — namely, any connected cameras and your desktop — and has multitrack recording and automatic transcription. But its real benefits come in the editing process, since it allows you to cut the video just by editing the transcript and instantly clean up crappy audio with AI-powered Studio Sound. 

Features:

  • Overdub: Create a digital voice double with AI
  • Transcription: Transcribe audio and video into text
  • Screen recording: Record your screen, yourself, or both
  • Text-based editing: Edit audio and video as easily as editing a doc
  • Annotations & comments: Highlight text and collaborate with your team
  • Non-destructive editing: Edit without permanently affecting the original file
  • Audio effects and mastering: Apply EQ, compression, and noise reduction.
  • Instant sharing: Give collaborators access to your recording with a shareable link, even if they don’t have the app. 

Pros:

  • Super easy text-based video editing.
  • Collaborative editing features. 
  • Instantly remove background noise and correct mistakes.
  • Export in various video formats like MP4, MOV, or even GIF. 

Operating systems: Mac, Windows, Web browser.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.5/5

Cost: Free version includes 1 watermark-free screen recording and 1 transcription hour per editor; paid plans start at $12 per month. 

2. SquadCast

Best software for remote video recording

Image of SquadCast dashboard
Source: SquadCast

SquadCast offers high-resolution video recording that saves locally to each participant’s computer, which ensures a higher quality final product. 

They also record in multitrack, so you get a separate file for each person’s video and audio. Bonus: you can export your SquadCast recordings directly to Descript by hitting the “Edit in Descript” button in your dashboard. 

Features:

  • Multi-track recording: Records each participant's audio and video separately
  • Flexible web-based platform: SquadCast works great from the browser on desktop, Android mobile devices, and Apple devices (Apple device support is currently in Beta)
  • Screen sharing: Share screen for interactive discussions or presentations
  • Live call-in: Allows audience members to join in real-time
  • Automatic backups: Backs up recordings to avoid data loss
  • Post-production in Descript: Automatically import files to Descript for editing and publishing

Pros:

  • Superior remote video and audio recording quality
  • Supports pre-recorded and live content
  • Easy, professional editing via Descript

Cons:

Operating systems: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Browser

G2 rating ⭐: 4.8/5

Cost: Paid plans start at $20 per month

3. OBS Studio

Best live video capture tool

Image of OBS Studio dashboard
Source: OBS Studio

ALT TEXT:

OBS, or Open Broadcast Software, is a free, open-source software favorite among gamers and streamers. Its simplicity is its strength — what it lacks in extra functionality it makes up for in solid live video capture. 

Features:

  • Streaming capabilities: Streams directly to platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and more
  • Scenes and sources: Allows for different configurations of audio and video inputs
  • Audio mixer: Features per-source filters such as noise suppression and gain
  • Multiview: Allows monitoring of eight different scenes and easily switching between them
  • Custom transitions: Provides the ability to add custom transitions between scenes
  • Studio mode: Allows for preview and edit of scenes before going live

Pros:

  • Free and customizable
  • Supports a wide range of operating systems
  • Suitable for professional streaming and recording 

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • No dedicated customer support 

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, Linux/Unix

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.6/5

Cost: Free

4. Camtasia

Image of Camtasia video recorder in use
Source: Techsmith

Camtasia is a popular video recording software for creating tutorials and webinars directly via screencast. You can create interactive videos with clickable links and quizzes. Or animate text images and icons in your video with Camtasia’s built-in animations. You can also edit out any background noise with audio leveling and add other sound effects.

Features:

  • Webcam recording: Add a personal touch with your video feed
  • Audio recording: Record and edit high-quality audio
  • Multi-track timeline: Layer different media elements on multiple tracks
  • Annotations and effects: Add callouts, arrows, shapes, and more to enhance videos
  • Interactive quizzes: Add quizzes and interactivity to encourage learning in your videos
  • Direct export: Directly publish your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or other platforms

Pros:

  • Excellent learning features to help viewers retain knowledge
  • User-friendly interface
  • Locked-in pricing

Cons:

  • Pricey for most creators
  • Demands a lot from your system's resources
  • Lacks advanced video editing tools

Operating systems: macOS, Windows

G2 rating ⭐: 4.6/5

Price: $299 flat fee. 

5. Loom

Best Chrome plugin for screen capture

Loom pre-recording screen

Loom is a good free video recording tool if you need to capture something quick. It’s easy to record and share video files. Just install the Chrome extension and open it when you want to record your screen. After you’re done, Loom will upload the video to your account, where you can do some basic editing and grab a link to share with your people.

Features:

  • Screen and webcam recording: Capture your screen, voice, and face at the same time
  • Instant sharing: Share videos instantly through a link
  • Video library: Store, organize, and manage your videos in one place
  • Drawing tool: Highlight or focus on certain areas of your computer screen
  • Call to action button: Direct viewers to a specific link after watching
  • Video reactions: Viewers can respond with emoji reactions
  • Viewer insights: Track views and analyze viewer engagement

Pros:

  • Takes seconds to start recording a video
  • Easy to share with teams
  • Tools to improve viewer engagement

Cons: 

  • Can only record up to 25 videos on the free version
  • Quality depends on your webcam and microphone

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, iOS. Android, browser

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.7/5

Price: Free version available, paid plans start at $12.50 per month.

6. Bandicam

Best screen recording tool for educators

Image of Bandicam dashboard 
Source: Bandicam

Bandicam’s flexible screen-recording features may be just the thing to take school lectures and PowerPoint presentations to the next level. You can overlay your webcam, doodle on the screen while you record, and add mouse effects to inject some excitement into explainer videos. 

Features:

  • Screen recording: Records the entire screen or a selected area in high definition
  • Game recording: Captures gameplay with a high compression ratio while keeping the video quality close to the original
  • Device recording: Records external video devices such as a webcam, Xbox, and iPhone
  • Real-time drawing: Draw, outline, or add arrows/boxes during the recording
  • Add webcam overlay: Add a webcam video of yourself on the video that you are recording
  • Mix your own voice: Record audio and your voice at the same time
  • Scheduled recording: Start recording at a specific time on a daily/weekly schedule

Pros:

  • Versatile and can capture a range of activities like gaming and online tutorials
  • High-quality recording with high compression ratio
  • Intuitive interface

Cons:

  • 10-minute recording time limit on free plan
  • Free version places Bandicam watermark on videos
  • Only for Windows users

Operating systems: Windows

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.3/5

Cost: Annual plans start at $36.95

7. Zoom

Best video capture software in a pinch

Image of multiple people on group Zoom call
Source: Zoom

Everybody has Zoom, which is why it’s often the best recording option when all else fails. Just know that the video recording quality isn’t as high as the other options listed here and it won’t record all participants’ videos locally, so be prepared for some low-res, glitchy video and audio.

Features:

  • Local and cloud recording: Save recordings to your device or on the cloud
  • Automatic recording: Start recording when the meeting starts automatically
  • Selective recording: Options to record video, audio, and chat
  • Audio transcript: Transcribes audio in cloud recordings
  • Timestamps and thumbnails: Includes timestamps and thumbnail images
  • Annotation: Add notes during screen sharing

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and record anything
  • HD video and clear audio
  • Integrates with various platforms like Google Calendar and Slack 

Cons:

  • Performance relies on a good internet connection
  • Limited free version

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, Browser, iOS, Android

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.5/5

Cost: Free for sessions up to 40 minutes 

What to consider when choosing video recording software

Resolution

These days, most laptops come with a high-resolution webcam built in, so you’ll want software that can handle that resolution at its full potential. It’s also important to use a high-quality video recorder that won’t jump, skip, or go blurry. Look for video recording software that uses higher-res video recording — 4K, 1080p, or at the very least, 720p.

Local recording

A video signal that’s streamed over the internet is liable to lose some quality in the process. That’s how many apps record video — and it’s not what you want. Finding a screen recording software that can record locally to your computer or an external hard drive makes for smoother, crisper video. This is especially key with videos that run hours long, as video quality can deteriorate with larger projects.

Multitrack recording

Multitrack recording lets you capture audio and video on separate tracks for everyone on the call. This gives you more options in editing — say, if you’d like to remove crosstalk or cut between one and multiple speakers. When everything is recorded onto a single track, there’s not a lot you can do in the video editing phase. 

Screen recording

It’s helpful to have video recording and screen recording in the same software, as you often need to switch between the two. Gamers, educators, and company trainers can save a lot of time by simply recording themselves doing the thing they’re demonstrating and then sharing it with others. 

Ease of use

Some apps come bogged down with a million overwhelming features, while others are a puzzle to operate. Simple is the name of the game. The easier the software is, the more you’ll use it. 

Additional features

Extras such as video transcription, screenshots, basic video editing tools, Google Drive exports, and remote livestreaming are all great bonuses to any video recording product. But this all depends on what you need for your project — if you’re just starting out, you may not want to be weighed down with bells and whistles. 

Video recording software FAQ

What's the best video recording software for beginners?

We think it’s Descript. It’s easy to record high-resolution video locally, straight from your webcam, desktop, or both, and it’s even easier to edit it — because you do it from the transcript, not from a video timeline. 

How can I record my screen?

It depends on the program you’re using. In Descript, go to File, then New Screen Recording. For other applications, first check that you have a built-in screen recorder. Riverside and SquadCast don’t currently offer screen recording, but Bandicam and OBS do. A free alternative is Quicktime, available on both Mac and PC. 

Can I record a livestream on my laptop?

Yes, if you’re doing the livestream. Riverside, Squadcast, OBS, and Zoom will record your livestream to your hard drive, where you can edit it as needed. If you want to record someone else’s livestream, it gets a little trickier, as you can see in the next FAQ.

How can I record a video from the Internet?

If you’re trying to record a video on the internet, first, make sure you have permission to do so. Most screen recorders are capable of recording internet video and audio, depending on where that video is posted.

Can I record a video I'm watching on my computer?

Again, only do this if you have permission — and if you don’t, it’ll be extremely difficult anyway. Streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOMax all have screen recording blockers so that all you’ll record is a black screen. If you’re trying to record something like a lecture or a livestream — again, that you have permission to record — you can use screen recording software like Descript, OBS, or Bandicam.

Tiffani Bauer
Former Video Producer at Descript. Accomplished editor and videographer. Fan of hibachi and women's basketball and knit hats.
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The 7 best video recording software picks for your project (2024)

DSLR camera typing on a laptop open to Descript

The video production process has come a long way — where you once might need an expensive camera, mics, and lighting, you now can get away with a simple webcam and a screen recorder. But the right video recording software is key. It can mean the difference between a pixelated video that takes days to edit and a high-resolution masterpiece that’s ready in no time. Figure out the right software for your project with our recommendations below.

Set up your interview on Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts and record directly into Descript. — no additional software needed. And after you finish, you’ll have the transcript in moments.
With Descript, remote recording is easy, fast, powerful.

What is video recording software?

Unlike a video camera, which usually records to a memory card in the device itself, video recording software is installed on your computer and lets you record video through your webcam or another connected camera. As you might expect, it’s ideal for computer-based projects like software tutorials, virtual interviews, and video game streams, although it can be just as useful for other types of videos.

The pros of video recording software

The video you record is going to end up on your computer for editing anyway, and video recording software removes that middle step of transferring it from an SD card to your computer’s hard drive. And since it can record multiple sources at once — say, your webcam and your desktop — it also makes software demonstrations and quick one-off video explainers much easier than with a traditional camera. 

Screen recording is also great for educational purposes. Using a dynamic video to walk students through class material is a great way to keep them engaged even if they can’t be there in person. 

Best video recording software: 7 picks

1. Descript

Best all-purpose video recording software

Example of user editing video recording with Descript

Descript records locally from multiple sources — namely, any connected cameras and your desktop — and has multitrack recording and automatic transcription. But its real benefits come in the editing process, since it allows you to cut the video just by editing the transcript and instantly clean up crappy audio with AI-powered Studio Sound. 

Features:

  • Overdub: Create a digital voice double with AI
  • Transcription: Transcribe audio and video into text
  • Screen recording: Record your screen, yourself, or both
  • Text-based editing: Edit audio and video as easily as editing a doc
  • Annotations & comments: Highlight text and collaborate with your team
  • Non-destructive editing: Edit without permanently affecting the original file
  • Audio effects and mastering: Apply EQ, compression, and noise reduction.
  • Instant sharing: Give collaborators access to your recording with a shareable link, even if they don’t have the app. 

Pros:

  • Super easy text-based video editing.
  • Collaborative editing features. 
  • Instantly remove background noise and correct mistakes.
  • Export in various video formats like MP4, MOV, or even GIF. 

Operating systems: Mac, Windows, Web browser.

G2 rating ⭐: 4.5/5

Cost: Free version includes 1 watermark-free screen recording and 1 transcription hour per editor; paid plans start at $12 per month. 

2. SquadCast

Best software for remote video recording

Image of SquadCast dashboard
Source: SquadCast

SquadCast offers high-resolution video recording that saves locally to each participant’s computer, which ensures a higher quality final product. 

They also record in multitrack, so you get a separate file for each person’s video and audio. Bonus: you can export your SquadCast recordings directly to Descript by hitting the “Edit in Descript” button in your dashboard. 

Features:

  • Multi-track recording: Records each participant's audio and video separately
  • Flexible web-based platform: SquadCast works great from the browser on desktop, Android mobile devices, and Apple devices (Apple device support is currently in Beta)
  • Screen sharing: Share screen for interactive discussions or presentations
  • Live call-in: Allows audience members to join in real-time
  • Automatic backups: Backs up recordings to avoid data loss
  • Post-production in Descript: Automatically import files to Descript for editing and publishing

Pros:

  • Superior remote video and audio recording quality
  • Supports pre-recorded and live content
  • Easy, professional editing via Descript

Cons:

Operating systems: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Browser

G2 rating ⭐: 4.8/5

Cost: Paid plans start at $20 per month

3. OBS Studio

Best live video capture tool

Image of OBS Studio dashboard
Source: OBS Studio

ALT TEXT:

OBS, or Open Broadcast Software, is a free, open-source software favorite among gamers and streamers. Its simplicity is its strength — what it lacks in extra functionality it makes up for in solid live video capture. 

Features:

  • Streaming capabilities: Streams directly to platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and more
  • Scenes and sources: Allows for different configurations of audio and video inputs
  • Audio mixer: Features per-source filters such as noise suppression and gain
  • Multiview: Allows monitoring of eight different scenes and easily switching between them
  • Custom transitions: Provides the ability to add custom transitions between scenes
  • Studio mode: Allows for preview and edit of scenes before going live

Pros:

  • Free and customizable
  • Supports a wide range of operating systems
  • Suitable for professional streaming and recording 

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • No dedicated customer support 

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, Linux/Unix

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.6/5

Cost: Free

4. Camtasia

Image of Camtasia video recorder in use
Source: Techsmith

Camtasia is a popular video recording software for creating tutorials and webinars directly via screencast. You can create interactive videos with clickable links and quizzes. Or animate text images and icons in your video with Camtasia’s built-in animations. You can also edit out any background noise with audio leveling and add other sound effects.

Features:

  • Webcam recording: Add a personal touch with your video feed
  • Audio recording: Record and edit high-quality audio
  • Multi-track timeline: Layer different media elements on multiple tracks
  • Annotations and effects: Add callouts, arrows, shapes, and more to enhance videos
  • Interactive quizzes: Add quizzes and interactivity to encourage learning in your videos
  • Direct export: Directly publish your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or other platforms

Pros:

  • Excellent learning features to help viewers retain knowledge
  • User-friendly interface
  • Locked-in pricing

Cons:

  • Pricey for most creators
  • Demands a lot from your system's resources
  • Lacks advanced video editing tools

Operating systems: macOS, Windows

G2 rating ⭐: 4.6/5

Price: $299 flat fee. 

5. Loom

Best Chrome plugin for screen capture

Loom pre-recording screen

Loom is a good free video recording tool if you need to capture something quick. It’s easy to record and share video files. Just install the Chrome extension and open it when you want to record your screen. After you’re done, Loom will upload the video to your account, where you can do some basic editing and grab a link to share with your people.

Features:

  • Screen and webcam recording: Capture your screen, voice, and face at the same time
  • Instant sharing: Share videos instantly through a link
  • Video library: Store, organize, and manage your videos in one place
  • Drawing tool: Highlight or focus on certain areas of your computer screen
  • Call to action button: Direct viewers to a specific link after watching
  • Video reactions: Viewers can respond with emoji reactions
  • Viewer insights: Track views and analyze viewer engagement

Pros:

  • Takes seconds to start recording a video
  • Easy to share with teams
  • Tools to improve viewer engagement

Cons: 

  • Can only record up to 25 videos on the free version
  • Quality depends on your webcam and microphone

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, iOS. Android, browser

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.7/5

Price: Free version available, paid plans start at $12.50 per month.

6. Bandicam

Best screen recording tool for educators

Image of Bandicam dashboard 
Source: Bandicam

Bandicam’s flexible screen-recording features may be just the thing to take school lectures and PowerPoint presentations to the next level. You can overlay your webcam, doodle on the screen while you record, and add mouse effects to inject some excitement into explainer videos. 

Features:

  • Screen recording: Records the entire screen or a selected area in high definition
  • Game recording: Captures gameplay with a high compression ratio while keeping the video quality close to the original
  • Device recording: Records external video devices such as a webcam, Xbox, and iPhone
  • Real-time drawing: Draw, outline, or add arrows/boxes during the recording
  • Add webcam overlay: Add a webcam video of yourself on the video that you are recording
  • Mix your own voice: Record audio and your voice at the same time
  • Scheduled recording: Start recording at a specific time on a daily/weekly schedule

Pros:

  • Versatile and can capture a range of activities like gaming and online tutorials
  • High-quality recording with high compression ratio
  • Intuitive interface

Cons:

  • 10-minute recording time limit on free plan
  • Free version places Bandicam watermark on videos
  • Only for Windows users

Operating systems: Windows

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.3/5

Cost: Annual plans start at $36.95

7. Zoom

Best video capture software in a pinch

Image of multiple people on group Zoom call
Source: Zoom

Everybody has Zoom, which is why it’s often the best recording option when all else fails. Just know that the video recording quality isn’t as high as the other options listed here and it won’t record all participants’ videos locally, so be prepared for some low-res, glitchy video and audio.

Features:

  • Local and cloud recording: Save recordings to your device or on the cloud
  • Automatic recording: Start recording when the meeting starts automatically
  • Selective recording: Options to record video, audio, and chat
  • Audio transcript: Transcribes audio in cloud recordings
  • Timestamps and thumbnails: Includes timestamps and thumbnail images
  • Annotation: Add notes during screen sharing

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and record anything
  • HD video and clear audio
  • Integrates with various platforms like Google Calendar and Slack 

Cons:

  • Performance relies on a good internet connection
  • Limited free version

Operating systems: macOS, Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, Browser, iOS, Android

G2 Rating ⭐: 4.5/5

Cost: Free for sessions up to 40 minutes 

What to consider when choosing video recording software

Resolution

These days, most laptops come with a high-resolution webcam built in, so you’ll want software that can handle that resolution at its full potential. It’s also important to use a high-quality video recorder that won’t jump, skip, or go blurry. Look for video recording software that uses higher-res video recording — 4K, 1080p, or at the very least, 720p.

Local recording

A video signal that’s streamed over the internet is liable to lose some quality in the process. That’s how many apps record video — and it’s not what you want. Finding a screen recording software that can record locally to your computer or an external hard drive makes for smoother, crisper video. This is especially key with videos that run hours long, as video quality can deteriorate with larger projects.

Multitrack recording

Multitrack recording lets you capture audio and video on separate tracks for everyone on the call. This gives you more options in editing — say, if you’d like to remove crosstalk or cut between one and multiple speakers. When everything is recorded onto a single track, there’s not a lot you can do in the video editing phase. 

Screen recording

It’s helpful to have video recording and screen recording in the same software, as you often need to switch between the two. Gamers, educators, and company trainers can save a lot of time by simply recording themselves doing the thing they’re demonstrating and then sharing it with others. 

Ease of use

Some apps come bogged down with a million overwhelming features, while others are a puzzle to operate. Simple is the name of the game. The easier the software is, the more you’ll use it. 

Additional features

Extras such as video transcription, screenshots, basic video editing tools, Google Drive exports, and remote livestreaming are all great bonuses to any video recording product. But this all depends on what you need for your project — if you’re just starting out, you may not want to be weighed down with bells and whistles. 

Video recording software FAQ

What's the best video recording software for beginners?

We think it’s Descript. It’s easy to record high-resolution video locally, straight from your webcam, desktop, or both, and it’s even easier to edit it — because you do it from the transcript, not from a video timeline. 

How can I record my screen?

It depends on the program you’re using. In Descript, go to File, then New Screen Recording. For other applications, first check that you have a built-in screen recorder. Riverside and SquadCast don’t currently offer screen recording, but Bandicam and OBS do. A free alternative is Quicktime, available on both Mac and PC. 

Can I record a livestream on my laptop?

Yes, if you’re doing the livestream. Riverside, Squadcast, OBS, and Zoom will record your livestream to your hard drive, where you can edit it as needed. If you want to record someone else’s livestream, it gets a little trickier, as you can see in the next FAQ.

How can I record a video from the Internet?

If you’re trying to record a video on the internet, first, make sure you have permission to do so. Most screen recorders are capable of recording internet video and audio, depending on where that video is posted.

Can I record a video I'm watching on my computer?

Again, only do this if you have permission — and if you don’t, it’ll be extremely difficult anyway. Streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOMax all have screen recording blockers so that all you’ll record is a black screen. If you’re trying to record something like a lecture or a livestream — again, that you have permission to record — you can use screen recording software like Descript, OBS, or Bandicam.

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