Webcam Recording Software 101: How to Get Started

The CloudApp Team

Today's businesses have a wealth of communication tools at their disposal, from email to instant messaging platforms, but perhaps the most exciting of them all is video. It's been well-documented that video is more engaging than other forms of communication. Viewers retain 95 percent of video content compared with just 10 percent when reading text. Furthermore, 59 percent of executives say they prefer watching videos to reading articles.

Whether you want to train new employees, troubleshoot a problem with co-workers, create product guides for customers or engage potential sales leads, video is one of the easiest and most direct ways to communicate with your audience. All you really need is a decent webcam and user-friendly webcam recording software.

If you're a first-time user, don't worry: Our webcam recording software guide will get you started in no time without breaking a sweat.

Connecting your webcam

Since laptops generally come with built-in webcams, laptop users probably don't need to worry about installing a camera for their recording needs. Connecting a new webcam is actually a pretty simple process no matter what device you use.

Most webcams will initiate the setup process as soon as they are connected to a computer. All you need to do is plug the camera's USB cable into your PC's USB port and wait for the operating system to detect the camera. You should receive a pop-up message notifying you that your new device is to ready to be configured and that whatever built-in software can be installed. A few clicks later - agreeing to user terms, creating desktop icons, selecting a file directory, etc. - and you're ready to start recording.

Setting up your webcam

Depending on how you want to position your webcam, you may need to attach it to your computer monitor. Odds are your webcam came with a clip or latch to mount it to an elevated surface. If you would rather not mount your webcam, you can always place it directly on your desk or work space. Whichever way you go, be sure to open up your webcam recording software to double check that the angle is OK and that there is a clear line of sight with no obstructions.

Before recording anything, you want to check that your camera is picking up audio correctly. There's nothing more frustrating than recording a long video session only to find that none of the audio was captured.

Give your webcam's settings one last look to check if anything needs to be changed before you're ready to record. Once you're all set, download your webcam recording software and create an account.

Downloading and installing webcam recording software

Assuming your staff is not filled with expert videographers with decades of experience working with the latest video recording software suites, your best option is to download the most user-friendly and straightforward webcam recording software available: CloudApp. Head to this page to download the app for either Windows or Mac machines. Double-click on the downloaded file to launch the setup wizard and begin the installation process. Run through each required step to complete the installation and launch CloudApp. If you're unsure about any of the questions or steps in this process, simply defer to the suggested prompt.

Once you've installed the software, you'll need to create a CloudApp account. Unless you deviated from the suggested installation steps, there should be a CloudApp icon now located on your desktop or in the system tray taskbar. Click on that icon to bring up the sign in screen and then click on new user sign up link to set up an account.

Recording your webcam video

If you're using CloudApp, recording a webcam video is a breeze:

  1. Click on the TV icon in the upper righthand corner of your screen.
  2. If you want to share your screen (say, if you're running through a set of troubleshooting steps), simply drag your cursor over the screen area you wish to record.
  3. Click on the camera button, and the software will begin recording automatically.

That's all there is to it! Simple, right?

When using webcam recording software, you'll notice that a circular window pops up displaying your webcam video. That way, you can simultaneously record yourself and the on-screen action.

Both Mac and Windows users can take advantage of another cool trick to quickly start recording without navigating any dashboards or on-screen prompts: Use CloudApps hotkeys (command+shift+8 for Mac and alt+shift+9 for Windows) to begin recording without touching your mouse.

Tweaking your recording options

CloudApp gives you total control over what to include in your recording and even lets you create both videos and GIFs. To get started, click on the CloudApp icon (For Windows users, this will be in lower righthand corner of your screen in the system tray. Mac users can find it in the menu bar located at the top of your screen.) to bring up the program window. Then, click on one of the two labeled icons situated in the bottom left corner to record either a GIF or an HD video. While a full-fledged video will be perfect for more in-depth discussions, GIFs offer a great way to quickly walk through a short process or convey quick bits of information without needing to wade through a minute-long (or more) video. Whatever the task at hand is, CloudApp has the tools to help you get it done quickly, easily and  effectively.

You can also toggle the sound on and off, depending on whether you'd like to include audio with your recording. Mac users are able to turn their webcam on and off by clicking on the icon that looks like a video camera as well as adjust the size of your webcam video on the screen.

Annotating your video

Video is a good communication tool in its own right, but if you really want to draw viewers' attention to specific details on the screen, CloudApp comes packed with a number of annotation tools to do so. Like every other process in the CloudApp platform, annotating your video is simple and straightforward. Here's how it works:

  • Place your cursor over the on-screen image or icon you wish to add a comment, line, emoji or other graphic to.
  • Click on the "Annotate" button to pull up the annotation toolbar.
  • Select from the various built-in tools to overlay images and text onto the screen.

Both Mac and Windows users can also use keyboard shortcuts (command+shift+A and alt+shift+0, respectively) to quickly bring up the annotation toolbar.

CloudApp makes it very easy to add an annotation, with clear icons representing each tool, including arrows, lines and shapes, text, crop and freehand drawing. There's even a blurring option that can be used to pixelate any on-screen images, faces or text you don't your viewers to see. It's a great tool to have if you wish to create a step-by-step guide for customers, but don't want to risk divulging any sensitive data like financial records or personally identifiable information.

Leverage these tools to tweak your videos and provide more clarity to your message. Mac users also have the option to annotate the GIFs they create in CloudApp, adding an extra layer of personalization.

Uploading your video

One of the great benefits of CloudApp is that there's no massive video file to try and email to your clients, product users or fellow co-workers. Any content recorded through the software is automatically uploaded to the cloud for easy access and sharing. But that's not all. You can also use CloudApp to share and send other media files that are stored on your computer. Simply drag the file you wish to share over to the CloudApp icon and drop it in, and the application will take care of the rest. Another approach is to click on the upload icon in the CloudApp taskbar and choose "upload from computer." That will open up your system directory, and you can navigate to the appropriate file from there.

Recording your own video may seem daunting, but anyone can do it. User-friendly webcam recording software solutions make the entire process as simple as possible, so you can start making videos without any training or past experience.

Get in front of the competition and improve customer experience with visual communication. Try CloudApp for free.


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