“VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols” as described on the official website. VLC is very popular on all platforms as a favorite media player for most of us. However, most of us do not know that VLC has a screen capture feature built into it. In this article, we will review VLC screen capture specifically in regard to the Mac OS X. Read on to find out what VLC has to offer when it comes to screen recording.
Just like the software that comes solely as a screencasting tool, VLC has been enriched with three main capture modes. VLC has the capability of recording the screen, the webcam and on top of that capture digital TV from an attached tuner card. With everything moving to digital, VLC lets you capture footage from the card directly without much hassle. You just need a compatible tuner card for your Mac OS X and VLC will handle the rest. Each of these recording modes has its own features and options as we will find out.
Desktop and DirectShow Capture Mode
DirectShow for those who may not be aware is a VLC plugin that enables you to capture footage from video devices like the webcam. Both of these modes have some similarities despite them capturing different content. These similarities are;
- VLC has a caching feature for these two modes which is adjusted in terms of milliseconds to a user-preferred value.
- You can schedule recordings with a specific start and stop time up to a millisecond level of preciseness.
- The ability to include an external audio file to play as you make your recording that can spice it even more.
- Once you are done recording, you can play, enqueue, stream or convert the output depending on the goal at hand. All this will be done without leaving VLC.
In terms of differences, we look at each mode separately
Desktop – No much options are provided with this mode just that you can record the whole screen with a custom frame rate of your choice. Actually, VLC accomplishes this by opening the screen then playing it as a stream or saving locally to the Mac.
DirectShow – VLC provides some more features here. You have a choice of the video device you prefer to use in the case you have more than one connected. VLC will be able to detect the connected devices and if you do not need the webcam video, you can just set the option to none. Similarly, you have a choice of the audio capture device to utilize and still, you can opt not to use any. If you need webcam footage with no audio from any microphone, you just need to set the audio capture device to none. This can be useful when you just need footage to go with an external media file that you preselect before starting the recording process. Additionally, VLC leys you predetermine the output video size, the aspect ratio, input chroma format and also the frame rate.
Digital TV Capture Mode
The first thing you will be able to play with this mode is the ability to select your tuner card in the instance where you may have more than one connected to your Mac OS X. On top of that, you will be able to select the delivery system attributed to each of your cards whether DVB-T or DVB-T2 and more. If you do not match your tuner card with the appropriate delivery system, VLC will not be able to capture what you need as nothing will be displayable.
After selecting your device, VLC lets you customize the transponder/multiplex frequency to your preferred an optimum level. In addition to this, the bandwidth can be set to a specific value or better yet let VLC handle that automatically if you are not sure of the bandwidth to go for. Other advanced options you are provided with include naming the network you are on, spectrum inversion, transmission mode, guard interval, hierarchy mode, symbol rate, stream identifier, transport stream ID, network identifier, polarization among others. You have to explore VLC screen capture to be able to tinker with all the options provided on your Mac.
Depending on the mode you choose to use, there are several ways you can work with the output file. One of them is that you can directly play the file in VLC media player once the recording is done to give you a preview of the output. Another way is that you can enqueue the file in the VLC playlist so that you can play later. What you are recording can also be streamed locally, on a private network or even on the internet. To make work easier VLC provides a wizard that lets you set various options for the stream to work as you expect.
Last but not least, you can opt to convert the recorded file. A wide array of conversion profiles is provided including MP4, TS, WEBM, OGG and ASF and not forgetting the various codecs that accompany each profile. When converting, you have the option of displaying the output in real-time with a choice of deinterlacing. Optionally, you are free to dump raw input without converting to another format. Better yet, the output file can be saved to the directory of choice.
There you have it, VLC is free and open source and fits as a screen recorder just like other screencasting software. You do not have to spend large amounts of money when this popular media player can help achieve your screen recording projects. VLC may not carry tons of features as a screen capture software but will help you record the Mac OS X screen and webcam without much hassle. No need for external software if you need to play, stream or even convert the output file. Make screencasting on your Mac simple and fast with VLC screen capture today.