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How to Record Your Screen with VLC Media Player

How to Record Your Screen with VLC Media Player

Do you want to record your screen on your computer using VLC Media Player? Recording your screen can give you a lot of advantages, whether it be for work, school, or just a creative outlet.

VLC is one of the most popular media players available today and it turns out that it can be used to record whatever is currently playing on your screen with only a few clicks.

Related: How to Cut & Trim Videos in VLC MediaPlayer (Windows & Mac)

In this article, we will provide step by step instructions showing how to record the audio and video contents of your screen with VLC media player. We’ll also cover the benefits to using the screen capture function different ways to use it.

How to record your screen with VLC media player (Step by Step)

In this section we’ll go through all the steps you need to follow to smoothly record your screen with the VLC Media Player on both Mac and Windows

Add a glance, here are the steps to record a screen with VLC media player:

  1. Download, install, and open VLC media player
  2. Open the Capture Device option: Press Ctrl + C for windows to open this menu (or Cmd + R for Mac)
    Record a screen with VLC media player
  3. Pick the Frame Rate and Caching Option
    Record a screen with VLC media player step 3
  4. Choose Convert from the dropdown and Select File
    Record a screen with VLC media player step 4
  5. Pick the Video Format and click on Stream
    Record WebCam in VLC Setp 5 1
  6. Click the Stop Button to stop recording
    Record a screen with VLC media player step 6

Related: How to Record WebCam using VLC media player

But what software do you use if you don’t have access to the top video player softwares? Well, VLC is open source, free and incredibly powerful. That’s why we’re going to further explore in full detail with photos so you can to easily use VLC media player to record audio and video from your computer screen.

1. Download and install VLC media player

Screenshot 2023 02 16 at 4.44.08 PM e1676584789564

For Windows and mac, visit here to download. If you already have vlc make sure you have the latest version. If using Mac, use the dropdown list to select Mac. Also, always make sure that you’re running the latest version of VLC.

Open the installation file, and follow the on-screen instructions to customize your installation settings. Once the installation is complete, you can access VLC Media Player from the Start menu or desktop icon..

To install VLC Media Player on Mac, download and open the installation file, drag the VLC icon to the Applications folder, and enter your user password if prompted. Once the installation is complete, you can open VLC Media Player from the Applications folder.

Related: How to Rotate & Flip a Video in VLC and Save It (Permanently)

Note: Using the latest version of the VLC Media Player avoids facing issues you might encounter while screen recording/capturing.

2. Open the Capture Device option

2. Open the Capture Device option

Launch the VLC Media Player by double-clicking on the icon on your device.

For windows: Windows users can click on the ‘Media’ option on the menu bar. This will open a dropdown, from which tap on the option labeled “Open Capture Device.”

If you use a Mac: You can access the ‘Open Capture Device’ option by clicking on “File” in the menu bar, which will open the “Open Source” dashboard. You’ll see a few options here that range from input devices to audio and video.

Pro Tip on How to record screen on mac using VLC

Select Desktop Capture Mode. Once you tap on “Open Capture Device,” you will see the “Open Media” dialog box displayed on your screen.

For windows: In the dashboard, tap on the dropdown arrow next to the text “Capture Mode.” Now, select “Desktop” from the dropdown menu.

If you’re on Mac: users can simply select “Screen” from the dropdown to set the screen capture mode.

Related: Use VLC to capture Youtube Videos

3. Pick the Frame Rate and Caching Option

3. Pick the Frame Rate and Caching Option

In the “Open Media” dialog box, you’ll find the option to set the “desired frame rate for the capture.” Pick the best frame rate for your video, depending on your requirements.

Remember – the larger is the frame rate, the larger the file size and the smoother the recorded video. Better quality videos will mean larger file sizes here.

After picking the frame rate, tap on the empty box next to the option “Show More Options.” (Windows). This will reveal additional settings you can set up for your recording.

Related: How to Cast Videos from VLC to ANY Smart TV (Mac & Windows)

Here you can set a lower or higher caching value depending on the memory of your device. The higher the caching value, the more memory of your device will be used.

4. Choose Convert from the dropdown and Select File

Choose Convert or stream from dropdown

At the bottom of the dialog box, tap on the dropdown arrow next to the option labeled as “Play.”

From the list, tap on “Convert,” which will open another dialogue box. Here, select “File” and click on the “Add” button next to it.

Now, you can pick where you want the recording to be saved on your device and change the filename to your liking.

Related: How to Crop a Video in VLC (and save it) on Mac & Windows

Mac users can click on the “Stream Output,” checkout and tap on the “Settings” button opposite to it. This will open a window from where you can select “File” and click on “Browse” to select the destination of your recording and assign a file name.

5. Pick the Video Format and click on Stream

5. Pick the Video Format and click on Stream

For Windows devices, In the same dialogue box, you’ll find the “Profile” option. Clicking on which, you can pick the video format. Now, VLC encourages the default Video–H.264 + MP3 (MP4) format, but you can pick one to your liking.

You can also create a new profile and set the encapsulation method, video codec, and audio codec according to your need.

Mac users can achieve this by tapping the “Video” checkbox under “Transcoding Options” in the same dialogue box and selecting the video format. Lock this setting by clicking on “OK.”

When you are satisfied with the settings and ready to record the screen, Windows users can hit the “Stream’” button at the bottom-left of the dialogue box to start recording and Mac users can click on “Open” at the bottom of the “Open Source” dialogue box.

Related: How to Cleanly Rip a DVD with VLC (& Fix any Ripping Errors)

As the timer on the player screen increases, you will be able to tell that the recording is underway.

6. Click the Stop Button to stop recording

6. Click the Stop Button to stop recording

When you are done recording your screen, simply tap on the “Stop” button in the VLC controls to stop recording. VLC will automatically save the recording in the location you had picked in the previous steps. Now you can access the recording, change the filename, share it or make edits.

Troubleshooting common issues when recording with VLC

While recording your screen using the VLC Media Player, you might encounter a few issues which can degrade the quality of the recording. For instance, the player will record the screen but not the audio and vice versa or crash while recording, etc.

Related: 7 Best Screen Mirroring Apps for iPhone (Tested for streaming)

In this section, we’ll troubleshoot the common issues when recording with VLC.

What to do if the mouse pointer isn’t displayed in the recorded videos?

When you record a video, you might find VLC hasn’t displayed the mouse pointer in the video. Well, to display the pointer, you need to add a configuration to the software. Follow the steps below to achieve this:

  1. Start by downloading an image of the mouse pointer from the web in PNG format and rename it as mouse.png. Make sure you are downloading a copyright free image.
  2. Open the VLC Program Files at under Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\ and place the PNG in the folder.
  3. Before you click on the “Stream” option, add this at the end: “screen-follow- mouse :screen-mouse-image=mouse.png”

Now, you can click on “Stream” to record. VLC allows using any PNG as a mouse pointer. You can get creative around it to make your recordings more intuitive.

You can also permanently resolve this issue with the following steps:

  1. Click on “Tools,” > “Preferences,” > “Interface,” > “Show All Settings.”
  2. Now click on “Access Module” > “Screen” and tap on the box labeled: “Follow the mouse.”

Mac users can simply check on the box labeled “Follow the mouse,” in the “Open Source” dialogue box.

Also see: How to Enable VLC’s Picture in Picture Mode on Any Device

What you can do when the sound won’t record in VLC

One of the frequent issues faced after you’ve screen recording is to find the video hasn’t captured your audio. But you can solve this issue easily by applying these solutions:

  1. Check if VLC has access to your device’s microphone. If not, enable the access.
  2. Restart the sound of your device to ensure it isn’t frozen, or another program isn’t using it.
  3. Open the VLC preferences/settings and tap on the “Audio” Panel. Now change the Output Module to ALSA.

If you are recording on a Mac, check on the “Capture Audio” option in the “Open Source” dialogue box.

Related: How to Speed up (or Slow Down) Videos in VLC

What can you do when the VLC screen cuts off in the middle of recording?

Another issue you might face while recording your screen with the VLC Media Player is the cutting off the screen in the middle of recording. This typically happens when you are using an older version of the software.

You’ll likely need to learn How to View and Move a Video Frame by Frame in VLC. This will make the process easier if the screen keeps cutting off.

Uninstall the current one and install the latest version from the VideoLAN website to solve this issue. Make sure to delete the VideoLAN folder in your Program Files, as uninstalling the software doesn’t remove this folder.

You can also check if VLC has access to your device’s screen. If not, enable the access.

If you are recording at a higher frame, which your device can’t handle, try recording at a lower quality or frame rate to solve this issue.

Using VLC to convert recorded videos

If you need to change the format of a video you’ve recorded using VLC, you can easily convert it to a different format. This is useful for sharing videos on various platforms, saving videos to disc, or optimizing them for specific devices.

Here are the steps to convert your recorded videos in VLC:

  • If on Windows, Navigate to the Media menu, then select the ‘Convert/Save’ option.
  • If on Mac, locate File menu at the top of the screen, and select ‘convert/stream’ from the dropdown menu (or hold CMD + Shift + S)
  • Select the video file you want to convert in the File section.
  • Choose your preferred output format (ex. AVI, MKV) in Settings, and select the destination folder and file name for the converted video.
  • Click the Start button to begin the conversion process.

After the conversion is complete, the video will be saved in the new format at the location you selected on your computer.

This is useful if you’re using Mac and have a Gopro video or a video recorded from another device that provides a unsupported multimedia formats.

Using VLC to record a webcam

VLC’s video recorder is not just for capturing screen recordings, but it can also record video from your webcam. You can use this feature to record yourself for an online presentation or to react to your favorite stream (ex. twitch).

You can follow these steps to record video from your webcam (using VLC):

  1. Open VLC and select the Media tab at the top.
  2. Click on the Capture Mode dropdown menu and choose DirectShow.
  3. You can choose your webcam and microphone from the dropdown menus for video and audio.
  4. (Optional) If desired, adjust the frame rate and other settings by clicking on Advanced Options or Device properties.
  5. Click “Okay” to confirm your selections.
  6. When you’re ready to record, click the Record button.

Once the recording is finished you can locate it in the designated folder you selected for export.

Also see: Best Micro SD Card for 4K video recording

Using VLC to capture videos from discs

If you want to extract a video clip from a DVD or Blu-ray disc, it can be time-consuming and complex to rip the video using specific software and video/audio settings. However, you can use VLC to record the video directly from the media player without the need for additional software. Here’s how:

  • First, start playing the disc on VLC media player.
  • Next, click the Record button (this is next to the Play button) to start the recording.
  • When you’re done recording the ideal segment you can select ‘Record’ again to stop recording.
  • Finally, navigate to VLC’s Videos folder to locate your new video file.

Steps to record network stream using VLC Media Player

Recording a network stream using VLC Media Player can be a useful way to capture livestreams for editing and uploading to other platforms.

Similarly, if you use cloud-based recording devices such as a ring doorbell or even a floodlight camera, you may need to record the feed to share specific activity with others.

Follow these steps for recording a network stream using VLC Media Player:

  1. Open VLC and click on the Media menu.
  2. Select “Open Network Stream” and copy the URL for your stream from your preferred browser.
  3. You can start the stream by pasting the URL into the “Please Enter a Network URL” box in VLC.
  4. Click the Record button (a red circle) to begin recording the stream.
  5. When you’re ready to stop recording, click the Record button again to end the recording.

The best way to record a portion of a video with VLC

There are times when you may want to record a specific clip of a video to add to a longer video project.

This is also known as trimming or cutting which we cover in our full guide: how to cut or tim a video in VLC in both windows and Mac.

Once you’ve selected your advanced controls (windows), here’s how to record a specific clip of a video using VLC. 

  • Start by opening your video in VLC media player and use the timeline slider to navigate to the part of the video that you want to record. I
  • If needed, use the Frame by Frame button to select the exact starting point for your video clip. This button is located on the far right of the Advanced Controls and enables you to use the Record button.
  • After you’ve chosen the starting point, click the Record button, followed by the Play button.

On Mac, you’ll need to visit playback menu from the top menu instead of advanced controls.

When you reach the end of the clip you want to record, click the Record button again to stop recording. Your video will be saved in the Videos folder for future use.

VLC alternatives for Screen Recording

There are other software alternatives available. One such option is QuickTime, which is built-in media player on Mac computers that also offers basic screen recording features.

There are also other alternatives to VLC that offer similar advanced features.

OBS Studio is free, open-sourced, and can be used for screen recording and live streaming on Windows, Mac, and even Linux.

For Windows and Mac, Camtasia offers screen recording and video editing tools.Bandicam is a Windows-only screen recording software that offers features like video and game recording, and ScreenFlow is a Mac-only option that provides advanced editing tools, animations, and effects.

Also see: (Solved) How to Get VLC for Roku | Updated for 2022


Is there a limit on the time which I can record?

No, there is no hard limit on the recording time. However, the file size may become too large if you record for an extended period. But you can record your screen in parts to avoid losing any content in case there are errors.

Can I record multiple screens with VLC?

Yes, you can capture multiple screens simultaneously by selecting the capture mode and screen layout options. You can do so in the “Capture Device” dialogue box.

  1. Tap on the checkbox labeled: “Play another media synchronously.”
  2. In the “Edit options” field, define your offset capture.

For instance, if you have another screen with a horizontal resolution of 1920px and located right of your primary screen. You can add “: screen-left=1920” to the field.

Bottom Line

VLC is a great media player that supports many video formats and is free for many operating systems like Mac, Windows, and Linux.

But you can use it for screen recording, which eliminates the need for a dedicated screen recording application. The software allows you to record multiple screens and offer you the freedom to customize the recording quality, video, and audio codes and more. 

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ