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How to Record a Live Streaming Video (on Mac & PC) in 2021

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How to Record a Live Streaming Video (on Mac & PC) in 2021

Are you considering streaming your podcast live to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter? Odds are good that you’ll still want to record your live stream, if not for your own use, but for your audience who may not be able to catch your episode on your schedule.

Some platforms (such as YouTube) automatically convert your live stream to VOD format. However, by making a recorded video file of your live stream, you’ll be able to edit it for marketing and promotional purposes.  

That’s why in this post, we’ll go over several screen capture, screen recorder, and video capture tools for macOS and PC that will let you record your next stream with ease!

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that we do not condone recording streaming content that you didn’t create for distribution purposes. This article is for those who want to record their own live streams to edit or distribute later.

How To Make A Recording While You're Streaming

Your options for recording a live stream come down to built-in screen capture tools, screen recording software, and additional recording hardware. We’ll take a closer look at each category below.

Before you start, make sure to set your computer’s resolution up for 720p or 1080p recording. It’s also a good idea to have a moderately powerful CPU/GPU if you plan to stream and record content at the same time. 

Built-in Screen Capture Tool for macOS Mojave or Later

If you have an Apple computer running macOS Mojave or later, you have a built-in screen capture tool that you can access by pressing Shift-Command-5. 

built in screen capture
(Image source)


The toolbar that appears lets you select a recording area (so you don’t have to record your entire computer screen). To record the audio as well, click Options and select Microphone.

Once the recording is over, press “Stop screen recording.” A thumbnail will appear in the lower right corner of your screen, which you can click to edit, share, or save it to your drive.

Built-in Screen Capture Tool for PC

For those who own a PC running Windows 10 operating system, you have a built-in option called the Game Bar. This feature was originally designed with gamers in mind; however, this built-in screen capture tool lets you record screen activity from your web browser, apps, and various programs.


screen capture tool for PC
(image source)

To enable Game Bar, press Windows+G. Navigate to Settings>General to select your preferences and enable (or disable) features. When you’re ready to record your screen, select “Start Recording.” 

When you’re done, the file is automatically saved as an MP4 video file.

Live Stream Screen Recorders

Now, let’s move on from the built-in options to recorder tools you can download or use through a browser. These live stream screen recorders are built specifically for content creators, which means they usually include helpful perks unique to your needs, such as chroma key compositing and lower thirds.

A few of the most popular screen recorders are listed below:

  • ScreenRec (PC): This free tool lets you take and annotate screenshots, capture audio, and record video. It also records both your microphone’s sound and computer’s sound, which is helpful when doing computer tutorials (if you’re recording a streaming podcast, you may want to disable this option by clicking the icon in the recording panel). The recorded video is saved as an mp4, and there are no recording limits.
  • Soundflower (macOS): If your Mac isn’t running the latest OS, you can download Soundflower as a free alternative to the built-in screen capture tool. Set it up as your output by going to System Preferences > Sound > Output, then selecting Soundflower (2ch). From there, you can make a new screen recording through Quicktime (don’t forget to select Soundflower (2ch) as the audio source under Quicktime’s recording settings). From there, you can select a recording area of your screen. 
  • AceThinker Screen Grabber Premium (Windows and Mac): This streaming recorder can record live videos up to 1080p in quality. It lets you record your entire screen, a portion of the screen, the webcam’s view, and around your mouse. You can also use the Task Scheduler to automatically record videos at predetermined times, and this tool also allows you to annotate your video with graphics such as lines, text, and shapes. When you’re done recording, you can convert your file to popular formats such as AVI, MOV, WMV, FLV, MP4. The price is currently $42.95 for a personal lifetime subscription.
  • Snagit (Windows and Mac): This tool was originally designed for people who needed to record their screen while creating visual how-to guides. However, Snagit also works well as a screen grabber tool that lets you record your entire desktop, a selected portion, or a scrolling window from an application or page. Snagit has a one-time access fee of $49.99.
  • Camtasia (Windows and Mac): This software from TechSmith offers a multitude of recording and editing options for screen recordings, lessons, product demos, and more. Camtasia offers templates, additional music and effects, and interactivity options. With purchase cost starting at $249.99, however, this software may be overkill for podcasters who simply need a reliable screen recorder for their live streams.
  • AceThinker Online Screen Recorder (Browser): If you don’t want to download a tool, AceThinker also offers a free online screen recorder that works from your browser. You can record any activity in HD quality on your screen with a click, and add annotations as well. Like its paid counterpart, the tool will convert the file to various formats including AVI, MOV, WMV, FLV, MP4.
  • Screencastify (Chrome extension): This free browser extension for Chrome lets you record and edit live streams quickly and easily, saving all recordings automatically in Google Drive. Screencastify can record up to 1080p resolution and exports to MP4, MKV, GIF, MP3, and more.

One word of caution, however: there may be many free software options, but it’s worth asking yourself where their creators get their incentive to provide the product. 

Many browser extensions and apps may be gathering and selling your data to the highest bidder, which is why it’s always best to read the fine print of user agreements — and to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to pay for the products you use. 

This will increase the chances that you aren’t secretly the product.

Hardware Encoders

Keep in mind that using screen capture tools usually means the video quality will be lower than you might prefer. After all, recording video involves encoding it, and if you’ll be recording video that’s already been encoded once when it was originally published, that just doubles up on the potential quality loss.

Also, if you don’t have a high-powered computer, using software to record your screen in high resolution could put too much strain on the computer’s CPU/GPU — which could leave you with a jumpy media file that was encoded poorly.

So if your computer isn’t the strongest, you may want to invest in alternative hardware recording options. Hardware encoders are separate processors (usually smaller and more portable than an average computer) dedicated to encoding video data into streamable content.  

Here are a couple of the most popular hardware encoders on the market today:

  • Telestream’s Wirecast (Windows and Mac): This popular encoder has real-time mixing and multi-camera switcher. However, it has a steep learning curve and pricing starts at $599.
  • Epiphan’s Pearl Mini: This tool offers 1080p HD live streaming and recording. It also comes with cloud-based configuration and monitoring as well as a custom layout designer. Pricing varies depending on the dealer, but it’s a good bet that it’ll cost you well into the thousands.

A word of warning: hardware encoders are usually priced much higher than software options, as you see above — which is why they are usually the choice of advanced, professional broadcasters. 

They’re also less customizable, which means that once the encoding quality has become obsolete, there’s not much you can do besides upgrade to a newer model.

Recording Live Streams with Riverside

While there are many options for recording your live stream with a built-in screen capture tool, a screen recorder, or hardware, each category has its drawbacks. For starters, encoding hardware can be prohibitively expensive for beginners and can easily become obsolete with each advance in technology.

Built-in screen capture and screen recorder tools, on the other hand, capture the video that's on the screen during the live stream. This means that the quality of the recording is contingent on the quality of the live stream (in other words, the internet connection).

That’s why we suggest using Riverside’s software to record your live stream. 

Our platform offers the option to live stream your podcast of up to three hours in length with our Audio+Video+Live bundle. During a livestream with Riverside, everything is automatically recorded and uploaded to the platform, exactly as it happens in a normal podcast recording

Riverside records a local version of all participants’ feeds, which means that the recording is independent of internet quality. From Riverside, you can live stream in 720p to external platforms while recording the same episode in the highest quality possible (up to 4K). There’s no need to download software, either; our platform works in your browser for Mac and PC alike.

Riverside is optimized for recording rather than live streaming, meaning that our platform is ideal if you care more about the post-recording quality than the live stream quality. After all, the live stream is a way to engage with a small part of your audience, but the post-recording distribution is what matters most.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to record your podcast’s live stream on your Mac or PC, it usually comes down to three options: built-in screen capture tools, screen recording software, and encoding hardware. These options run a wide range in price and availability, but they each come with drawbacks as well. 

When you create a live stream of your podcast, odds are good that you’re looking for reliability and a crisp, clear audio/video experience. It can be difficult to find a solution that’s easy to use and delivers a professional result while being accessible and affordable — which is why we created Riverside as a fourth solution.

With Riverside, you can finally record your professional-quality podcast while simultaneously streaming it live to your audience. Who says you can’t have it all?

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