Use VLC As A Screen Recording Tool

VLC player is touted as the Swiss Army Knife of all media players, and not without reason. While it practically plays every media file that you throw at it, what’s amazing about VLC is that it does so much more beyond that.

One of VLC’s potential use-cases can be using it as a screen capture/recording tool. Sure, there are other free apps out there that are better equipped for this particular task, but there might be situations when you need to do some quick screen recording, and don’t have a recorder app to work with.

Screen capturing with VLC is fairly simple, and requires just a few steps –

  • Open VLC player, and click on View –> Advanced Controls. A few more buttons will appear on the interface.
  • Now, press Ctrl + C (or, go to Media –> Open Capture Device…).
  • In the new window, set Capture Device to “Desktop”, and the Desired frame rate to “10 fps” (frames per second). You can set a higher value if you want, but 10-12 fps will make just fine screencasts.

desktop recording

  • Click on the Play button, and VLC will start showing your desktop. Make sure VLC isn’t maximized, else all you’ll see is an endless stream of VLC-inside-VLC windows!
  • Click on the Record button to start recording. You should preferably minimize the VLC window so that it doesn’t show up in your screencast.

vlc record

  • Do whatever you need to show in your screencast, then restore the VLC window and click on the Record button again to stop recording.
  • VLC will automatically save an AVI file in your Videos folder, which you can then share or do whatever you want with it.

Before you get all excited about this VLC feature, here are some pretty serious limitations you should keep in mind.

  • There is no way to use your voice in your screencast. You’ll have to record your voice separately and stream that audio file along with the desktop recording. Clicking on the recording button will then save the audio along with the screencast.

Screenshot 6

  • You can only record your entire desktop in RAW format. There is no way to record a part of the desktop. This leads to enormous sized videos (like in GBs!) even for relatively short screencasts. For smaller videos, you’ll have to compress your video using H.264 or WebM.

As I said before, VLC shouldn’t be your go-to screen recording app, but it is certainly a useful feature to have nevertheless.