Recording videos of yourself on a PC

Posted on Jul 20, 2014

Most modern PC laptop computers with an up-to-date operating system come with built-in camera and microphone hardware. They do not, however, include a recording application to record video/sound into a digital media file. You will need to download and install a free application to complete this task.

Hardware Checklist: Skip this if you already have a webcam and microphone

  • Recent PC laptop. Most recent models include a built-in camera and microphone. If you have an older laptop, a recent laptop without a camera/microphone or if you are using a desktop model, you will need to borrow or purchase an external webcam with a standard USB connector. Check your local office supply or electronics store for an inexpensive model that is PC compatible. You do not need anything fancy, but you will need both video and audio input capability. Basic models range from about $35-$50.
  • Recent version of the Windows operating system – Vista or higher. If you’re computer is running Windows XP or something older, please contact IT Help for further instructions.

Software: Skip this is you already have MovieMaker software to record a video 

movieMakerThe easiest way to record yourself with a webcam is through Windows MovieMaker. However, you will need to download and install it if you don’t already have it. “Off the shelf” Windows systems do not automatically install MovieMaker.

To download and install MovieMaker, go to the following link and follow the directions:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-movie-maker-download

How to make a video recording:

This section will only explain the technical aspects of making a recording. There is a separate page in this FRC that describes recommended practices, such as preparation and setup.

The steps below also assume you have met the above hardware and software requirements to move into the recording phase.

  1. Open the MovieMaker application.
  2. Click on the “Webcam Video” button.
  3. A popup panel will appear. Select the preferred input devices: video = your webcam, audio = laptop microphone, headset, or webcam (if you are using a plugin model).
  4. Once your webcam is activated (you will see yourself), click on the RED record button on the control panel and begin your lecture.
  5. When you are done, click on the square STOP button.
  6. Save your video to your Desktop (or wherever you prefer to store the media file).

Preview your recording. If it is no good, then just delete it and start over. Don’t worry – this is a common thing to do! No one is born with the ability to make a perfect recording the first time!


Here is a demonstration video – click on the FULL SCREEN button (on the lower right corner of the player) to get a better view:

Creative Commons License
“Recording videos of yourself on a PC” by Steve Covello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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