Thinking and Writing

Free alternative to Silverback/ Morae / Camtasia

I was doing some usability testing last week and, due to a glitch on my Macbook Air*, wasn't able to use my regular screen recording package of choice Silverback. Time was against me so after a quick bit of Googling I came up with a free alternative to Silverback using some of the built in functionality with OSx namely Quicktime. Now when I say its an alternative to Silverback (and Morae or Camtasia for that matter) there are some draw backs:

  • The first being that while Quicktime can record screen movements and audio it doesn’t do the picture in picture video stuff that Silverback does.
  • The other minor drawback is that Quicktime produces some pretty hefty files before you export them so make sure you’ve got plenty of space on your hard drive.

It really is worth shelling out for Silverback but if you're stuck (or short on funds) Quicktime does work at a stretch.

Heres how I used Quicktime for recording user testing sessions:

1) Open Quicktime then go to File -> New Screen Recording

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 15.24.17

2) Click the little drop down arrow on the right hand side of the popup window and choose the mic and also ensure that “show mouse clicks” is ticked if you want to emulate the same click effect that Silverback does.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 15.25.13

3) Hit the red record button!

I do very little video work so this post may well throw up lots of “well, yeah, durr” comments but it was new to me so I hope it helps out someone else in the same predicament. Below is a little demo video I recorded earlier.

Quicktime screen recording demo

*NOTE: The glitch was a plugin problem but I'm also aware that at the time of writing this Silverback doesn't work with new Macbook Airs or Macbook Pros so Quicktime may also be useful as a short term solution here as well if you've not already got a Silverback licence until the next version of Silverback comes out.