Recording Video on Your Mac: It Gets Even Easier

Regarding Ask in Feb/10 (“iSight to iMovie to Email,” p81), it’s easier to record a video message with QuickTime Player.

Regarding Ask in Feb/10 (“iSight to iMovie to Email,” p81), it’s easier to record a video message with QuickTime Player. And Photo Booth is even easier, especially for the grandmother who was mentioned in the original question.

Right you are! A few people wrote in to correct us on that, and we appreciate the feedback. While the iMovie method we outlined does work, using QuickTime or Photo Booth is definitely a simpler solution.

If you’re using Snow Leopard, launch QuickTime Player and select File > New Movie Recording. An iSight window pops up, and you can just click the Record button and go for it. Click the Stop button when you’re done, and QuickTime saves a MOV file to your /Movies folder. If you need a smaller file size, select File > Save For Web, and have QuickTime export a version for iPhone (Cellular), which is the smallest. Our 2-minute, 30-second MOV file was compressed from 17.6MB in its default version to just 4KB in iPhone (Cellular) size.

Recording a movie in QuickTime 7. Hi, Grandma!

If you’re using Leopard or Tiger, QuickTime Pro 7 can also record a movie. Select File > New Movie Recording, click the Record button in the resulting iSight window, and click Stop when you’re done. It automatically saves a MOV file in your Movies folder too, and you can select File > Export For Web and choose iPhone (Cellular) as the export version for the smallest file size.

QuickTime Player's Save For Web command lets you compress your video--the iPhone (Cellular) size is plenty small.

And Photo Booth is yet another option. Launch that puppy, click the Film button, and then click the Record button. When you click Stop, the video shows up in Photo Booth’s shelf and is saved to your /Pictures/Photo Booth folder. (And you can quickly send a copy to your Desktop by just dragging it there from the Photo Booth shelf.) The resulting 640x480 H.264 MOV file should already be pretty small, and Photo Booth doesn’t offer any more built-in compression, but you could always open that file in QuickTime Player and use Save For Web (or Export For Web in QuickTime 7) to compress it a little more.

In Photo Booth, select the video button (outlined in red in the screenshot) and then click the red Record button.