12 Screen Recorders for PC: List of Apps Used by Students and Teachers

12 Screen Recorders for PC: List of Apps Used by Students and Teachers
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Learning has never relied on technology like we’re seeing and experiencing in our time. With the internet, students have all the means to access any information that they need. Meanwhile, the best apps for teachers and educators in the classroom has revolutionized the delivery of information and learning content. Educators of all kinds can now deliver content in any matching format, from podcasts, audiovisual presentations, photos, and videos in particular.

As such, videos have emerged as one of the most widely used formats for delivering lessons and instructions in the classroom. And with video lessons becoming more common, the demand for screen recording applications is also on the rise (Brown, 2017).

Screen recorders are some of the most important programs for creating video lectures. These tools allow users to capture everything that happens on their screens, enabling them to produce how-to guides, tutorials, and demonstrations in a smarter and more comprehensible method.

On that note, this post will look at the best screen recorders for PCs, what they offer, and how to benefit from their maximum potential. Below is a list of screen recorders that users can choose from when it comes to selecting the best tool for creating instructional videos.

Screen Recorders for PC Table of Contents

  1. Flashback Recorder
  2. Camtasia
  3. OBS Studio
  4. Debut Video Capture
  5. Apowersoft
  6. TinyTake
  7. Ezvid
  8. ShareX
  9. Screencast-O-Matic
  10. Bandicam
  11. CamStudio
  12. Adobe Captivate

Over the decades, many studies have proven that videos amplify learning and can assist in mastery learning. Today, video-based instructional materials are enabling instructors to communicate facts and demonstrate procedures through an easier and more effective method (ITaLI, n.d.).

Consequently, the consumption of video resources continues to grow across various demographics, segments, and departments. In one survey conducted by TechSmith (Simon, 2020), 55% of respondents reported that they watch two or more technical videos each week. This figure is up from 45% in 2016, revealing that more people today are now relying on instructional and informational videos. These figures are among the reasons video game design degrees are becoming a magnet for aspiring young developers.

Source: TechSmith (2018)

Watson (2004, cited in Bailey, 2012) introduced the concept of “screencasting,” which he later called as video screen recordings (screen capturing or recording method/technology). Screen recording is one great way of enriching tutorial content, demonstrations, and training videos. It enables users to record whatever appears on their screen, allowing them to deliver information more quickly and efficiently. There are a number of screen recording tools for PC available today, and below is a detailed list of applications that users can choose from.

Overview of Screen Recorder Tools

A screen recording application has the capability to record everything displayed on the computer screen. Similar to a VCR, screen capture tools record the movements, actions, as well as sounds that occur on electronic screens, such as computer monitors (Goodwin, 2005). It is used to capture videos and screenshots from the screen of any device, be it mobile, tablets, or PC computers. Basically, it lets anyone record the desktop, cursor, menu, and any activity happening on the screen and save it as a video file.

A screen recorder for PC can be used to create engaging and effective instructional videos similar to PPT to video converter apps. As a learning management tool, screen recording applications allow teachers to produce high-quality video tutorials and educational videos. By recording every movement on the computer screen, the tool becomes useful in speeding up teacher-student collaboration.

Some screen recorders are not limited to recording desktop activities. In fact, some of these applications can capture webcam footage, record audio from a microphone, or use it for picture-in-picture videos. The recorded video can be saved locally or streamed in real-time using live streaming tools. Business organizations, especially marketers, also use screen capture, such as for studying user/consumer behavior (Imler & Eichelberger, 2011).

Moreover, there are two types of screen recorders that you’ll find on the market: web-based and desktop screen recorders. Desktop screen recorders offer an offline functionality, allowing users to capture their screens even without an active Internet connection. While desktop screen recorders require users to download the software, online screen recorders will run via web browsers.

Key Features

The best screen recording tools offer a number of features that can help users enhance their workspace, improve collaboration, and streamline communication.

High definition video

One of the most important features of screen recorders is producing high-quality videos. In creating engaging content, it is crucial to have clear and sharp quality videos and images.

Voice and audio recording

While there are a number of screen recorders available in the market today, not many of them have audio recording features. Screen recorders that support audio recording enable users to add commentary and auditory information to their videos. An internal audio recording feature also allows users to record the internal sound of their phones without having to deal with any background noise in the output. Additionally, some screen recording apps let users use the built-in microphone from their devices. This way, they can input sound from their mic and add audio narration to their videos.

Editing tools

Editing tools allow users to add notes and commentary to videos and images. They are also handy in blurring out sensitive information or marking important details that users wish to share with their audience.

Zoom in/out

The ability to zoom in and out while recording a screen is an essential function of screen recorders. This allows users to focus on a particular region on the screen, giving users more freedom to control which parts of the screen they want to put more emphasis on.

Export to multiple formats

A good screen recorder allows users to export their video files into a variety of widely-used formats, including WebM, MP4, WMV, MOV, and AVI. There are also a number of screen recorders that let users save individual frames as PNG or JPEG images.

List of Screen Recorders for PC

The beauty of screen recorders lies in their capability to capture real-time footage of activities as they happen on someone’s PC monitor. They are great programs for recording step-by-step guides, allowing viewers to easily follow through the instructions and demonstrations presented in the videos.

There are many screen recorder options that users can choose from, and most of them are available for free. However, to use more advanced features, users can expect to select and pay for premium subscription plans that vendors offer.

1. Flashback Recorder

Recording and exporting in various formats are natively supported by Flashback Recorder.

Flashback Recorder is a screen recorder for Windows that allows users to record their screen, share clips, and create engaging training videos and demos. It comes with video editing tools for adding captions, visual cues, and highlighting important parts. Following a recent update, Flashback Recorder lets users export their files to MP4, AVI, and WMV formats, eliminating the need to use a separate video converter when saving the recorder video file (Ellis, 2020).

Many users find Flashback Recorder a handy tool for capturing footage from the desktop and sharing it online. With its capability to record audio and sound right from the desktop or from a webcam and microphone, it is an excellent choice for training videos, demonstrations, vlogs, and walkthroughs. Plus, it has a scheduled recording feature that lets users capture their screen at a certain date and time.

Another useful feature of Flashback Recorder is its custom resolution option. This allows users to save their recordings in any resolution that they want. Moreover, it can limit the file size for recording to ensure that each saved file will not be eating too much space in the hard drive.

Flashback Recorder offers free and paid versions of the software and, unlike some free screen recorders, saved video files do not have unsightly watermarks on them.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $49 to $74
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, 8, and 10
  • Exporting format: AVI, MP4, FBR
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

2. Camtasia

Camtasia screenshot

Postprocessing video in Camtasia.

Camtasia is an easy-to-use screen recorder, and it comes with extremely intuitive tools that allow users to produce high-quality videos. The application is a mix of screen recorder and video editor, enabling users to create professional-looking tutorials, demos, and training videos on Windows and Mac. It lets users capture anything from their computer screens, or they can record video calls, walkthroughs, and PowerPoint presentations. The resulting product can be saved in various file types or formats—such as MP4, Flash, or Quicktime—for use in a number of ways, including for podcasts (Mestre, 2012).

The software comes with an ExpressShow tool that can be used to produce a single Flash (SWF) file so users can easily embed their videos on their website. Its built-in video editor also allows users to put a few effects on their videos. With its drag-and-drop functionality, users can easily add text and transitions to create more attention-grabbing videos.

Another useful feature of Camtasia is its custom screen recording, a tool that enables users to record specific regions, dimensions, windows, or applications. In addition, the program allows users to add webcam footage to their videos. This way, users can create more effective instructional content.

  • Free version: Not available
  • Pricing: From $152.10 to $249
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: MOV (ProRes), MOV (H.264, PNG codecs only) AVI, MP4 (AVC, and H.264 codecs only), M4A, BMP, MP3, MPEG-1, PPT, PPTX, WMA, WMV, WAV, TREC
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

3. OBS Studio

OBS Studio screenshot

An autoconfiguration wizard in OBS Studio makes screen recording an easy experience for beginners.

OBS Studio combines screen recording, streaming, and video editing in one platform. It is one of the best screen recorders available today, enabling users to share their screens and create engaging footage from games or desktop screens. It also lets users mix multiple sources, allowing them to produce one seamless broadcast.

Live streaming using OBS Studio can be done with minimal to no latency or problems. This makes the software an incredible tool for users who need to do a live broadcast of their PC activities. While OBR Studio is mainly used in broadcasting game streams from platforms like Twitch and YouTube, it is still a powerful program for anyone who wants a quick and easy screen capture solution.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: Free
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: FLV
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

4. Debut Video Capture

Debut Video Capture screenshot

Multiple options are readily available when editing video screen captures in Debut Video Capture

Debut Video Capture is a feature-packed screen recorder ideal for home use. Aside from computer screens, Debut Video Capture also allows users to capture footage from webcams and security cameras. The software does more than just capturing activities on your monitor—it also records videos from connected devices like IP cameras. Moreover, Debut Video Capture exports video files in most widely used formats, such as WMV, MOV, MP4, and AVI.

Debut Video Capture also boasts of an easy-to-use interface, allowing first-time users to easily navigate the software. It also gives users total control in choosing the destination for saved files and picking a custom filename convention for their recordings. In this way, users can easily organize and locate their files. The software also offers tools to apply filters, adjust colors, and add watermarks and captions to saved recordings. In addition, the Debut Video Capture supports picture-in-picture, allowing users to overlay a recording from your webcam alongside the footage from your computer screen.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $34.99 to $39.95
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: MOV, AVI, MP4, FLV, WMV, MPG
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

5. Apowersoft

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder

Configure, set, and go—running Apowersoft is a straightforward affair from the get-go.

Apowersoft basically offers two kinds of screen recorders. First is the web-based screen recording tool that runs on any browser and is completely free to use, while the other is a premium application that can be downloaded from Apowersoft’s website.

Apowersoft’s free screen recorder can be used by anyone at no cost and with no paywalls, time limitations, or watermarks. While it is a web-based tool, it still requires users to download a launcher application before they can use the software. Afterwards, all they need to do is click the “Start Recording” button so they can begin capturing everything on their computer screen.

The software also offers a wide array of feature selections that lets users create effective tutorials, video demos, and walkthroughs. For instance, it allows users to customize the videos’ output directory, keyboard shortcuts, frame rates, cursor highlighting, and more. Moreover, it has an annotation feature that lets users add captions and comments while they are recording their screens.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $39.95
  • Deployment type: Web-based, on-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: MOV, AVI, MP4, FLV, WMV, MPEG, VOB, GIF, ASF
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

6. TinyTake

TinyTake screenshotThe free personal version of cloud-based TinyTake is quite limited, but a premium account will expand the recording time substantially.

TinyTake makes screen recording as easy as clicking a button on the desktop, and it comes with a free 2GB cloud storage where users can upload their saved videos and easily share them online. This screen recording software is ideal for recording presentations, making application tutorials, as well as taking still screen captures.

The free version of the software, however, is strictly for personal use and only allows users to record up to 5 minutes at a stretch. If users need to make longer recordings, add annotations, or upload directly to YouTube, they will need to avail of any of TinyTake’s premium options.

TinyTake offers a great variety of screen capture and recording features. For one, it allows users to manually select a specific window or screen area that they need to record. Using the handy keyboard shortcuts, users can also easily launch the application and capture an entire screen or record videos straight from their webcams.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $29.95 to $99.95
  • Deployment type: Web-based, on-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: MP4
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

7. Ezvid

Ezvid screenshot

Ezvid lets users record whatever appears on their screen—web pages, paint programs, applications, games, maps, and more.

Ezvid is another free screen recorder for Windows that works well in capturing everything from the user’s PC monitor. It allows multiple screen recordings and is ideal for small projects, and it does not spoil the saved footage with unsightly watermarks. The only setback in using Ezvid, however, is that it does not allow users to save their recordings on their PCs. Instead, the recorded videos can only be exported through YouTube.

Nonetheless, Ezvid offers a variety of screen recording features well worth consideration. With just a few clicks, Ezvid lets users record whatever appears on their screen—web pages, paint programs, applications, games, maps, and more. The software also has built-in editing tools that make it easier for users to rearrange scenes and image slides, add text, and modify speed settings.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: Free
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1  / 10
  • Exporting format: MOV, WMV
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

8. ShareX

ShareX screenshot

Configuring upload settings in ShareX.

The best thing about ShareX is that it combines screen recording, screen capture, and file sharing in one platform. What sets it apart from other screen sharing tools is its wide array of sharing options, enabling users to upload and share their screen captures or recordings to a range of cloud services, such as online storage platforms, social media, and other media hosting sites.

ShareX also comes with automation tools that let users define workflows and automate manual and repetitive tasks. Using preset keyboard shortcuts, users can easily start a delayed screen capture, specify a region to record, automatically save file recordings, and upload it to their cloud storage. With these features, ShareX allows users to save time in creating their video content.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: Free
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10
  • Exporting format: Direct upload
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Not supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

9. Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic screenshot

Rich editing functions make Screencast-O-Matic useful for many types of video productions.

Screencast-O-Matic is one of the few web-based screen recorder that offer features specific for educational use. It is an easy-to-use and affordable screen recording solution for faculty use, allowing users to record, edit, and share powerful and engaging tutorials and video lessons for classroom instructions. Moreover, it comes with video editing tools to produce effective videos that connect with students, parents, and teachers.

The software is also handy in capturing screen lectures so that students can watch them anytime. With recorded lectures, students can review course material at any given time. Screencast-O-Matic also allows those unable to make it to class to catch up on the lectures that they have missed.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $1.65 to $17.50
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chromebook
  • Exporting format: MP4, AVI, FLV
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Not supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

10. Bandicam

Bandicam screenshot

Straightforward screen recording options in Bandicam.

Bandicam is another powerful screencasting software that lets users capture videos and take screenshots from their PCs. It produces high-quality videos, which makes it a great tool for users in the learning industry as it can be used to create HD video tutorials complete with sounds and annotations. Bandicam is the ideal tool for recording lectures and webinars, allowing users to add narrations from their microphones and sharing them on sites like Vimeo or YouTube.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: From $39 to $468
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows
  • Exporting format: MP4, AVI
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Supported

11. CamStudio

CamStudio screenshot

CamStudio screen capture of Vegas video editing application.

CamStudio is a free desktop recorder and streaming software that has many uses. It can be used for demonstration videos, video-based product information, and tutorial lessons for schools or college classes. It also gives users total control over the output of their videos. For instance, they can pick custom cursors, limit the quality of their videos, or manually choose which area in the screen they need to record.

  • Free version: Available
  • Pricing: Free
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows
  • Exporting format: AVI, SWF
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Not supported

12. Adobe Captivate

adobe captivate dashboard

Adobe Captivate’s intuitive dashboard.

Adobe Captivate is an all-in-one elearning and screen recording tool designed to help users manage images, videos, closed caption, motion effects, slides and more. It allows users to create responsive screen recording projects that can be played across multiple devices. Adobe Captivate also comes with smart and enhanced functionalities, such as the virtual reality and interactive video features, allowing users to create more responsive and innovative elearning projects.

With Adobe Captivate’s capture-as-a-video workflow, users can easily create high-quality training videos, demonstrations, and video lessons. This also allows them to edit the recorded videos and add captions, transitions, audio, and effects. Smart shapes and picture-in-picture format are also supported, enabling users to customize the visual elements that they want to add in their presentations.

  • Free version: Not available
  • Pricing: From $399 to $1299
  • Deployment type: On-premise
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Exporting format: WAV, XML, CPR, SWF, HTML5, MP4
  • Voice/Audio: Supported
  • Webcam Recording: Supported
  • Annotation & Notes: Not supported

The Best Screen Recorder Tools

To sum up, the plethora of screen recording applications that exist today ranges from those that produce lower quality videos to high-quality screen recordings. They vary in features as well, in that some screen recorders can only capture screen footage, while there are some tools that also let users add narrations and record audio from their microphone. The existing screen recorders today also vary in uses. Some offer more cutting-edge features for gaming tutorials, while others have more specific tools for training and instructional videos.

Nonetheless, it cannot be denied how screen recorders have further enabled video-based learning in many industries. With these applications, the delivery of instructional content is made much simpler and clearer. Instead of relying on text alone, users can show exactly what they want their audience to know, making even the most complex ideas easily understood.

Screen recorder and video tools are just some of the useful applications you’ll need for various projects. If you want to go further, you may want to explore how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint. For organizing projects and tasks, you’ll find a timeline maker tool just as useful.

 

References:

  1. Brown, L. (2020, September 4). 10 best free video capture software on win/Mac/Linux [2020]. Wondershare Filmora.
  2. Bailey, J. (2012). Informal screencasting: results of a customer‐satisfaction survey with a convenience sample. New Library World, 113 (1/2), 7-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074801211199013
  3. Ellis, C. (2020, January 29). Flashback express review. TechRadar.
  4. Goodwin, S. (2005). Using screen capture software for web site usability and redesign buy‐in. Library Hi Tech, 23 (4), 610-621. https://doi.org/10.1108/07378830510636382
  5. Imler, B., & Eichelberger, M. (2011). Using screen capture to study user research behavior. Library Hi Tech, 29 (3), 446-454. https://doi.org/10.1108/07378831111174413
  6. Mestre, L.S. (2012). Student preference for tutorial design: a usability study. Reference Services Review, 40 (2), 258-276. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907321211228318
  7. ITaLI (n.d.). Pedagogical benefits of video for teaching and learning. Brisbane, Queensland: The University of Queensland.
  8. Kotova, G. (2020, February 6). Screen recorder app 101: Everything you need to know. Droplr.
  9. Simon, J. (2020). Video statistics, habits, and trends you need to know. TechSmith Blog.

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