The Best Free Screen Recorder for Chromebook Screencasting
For a long time, it was the Holy Grail of Chromebook functionality. It was the one thing that scores of people wanted to do but couldn't, because Chromebooks don't support the Java plugin that is required by popular screencasting tools like Jing or Screencast-o-matic. However, times have changed, and there are now several options for those who need a screen recorder for their Chromebook. Here are three that are well worth considering.
Screencastify for Chrome
Screencastify is the go-to Chrome extension for a lot of people who want to record their Chromebook screen. There is a free or a paid version and you can capture your webcam while you record. Here's how it works.
- Download Screencastify
- Click the film strip icon in the corner of your screen to get started.
- Choose whether you want to screencast the contents of the tab, or your entire desktop. What's the difference? If you choose Tab, you get access to some live annotation tools. However, you will not see the omnibar or bookmarks toolbar at the top of the page, nor will you see the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. If you need these to be visible, choose Desktop mode.
- If needed, you can set the frame rate and resolution, as well as decide whether or not you want to record audio.
- Check the Embed webcam box if you want to record a video of yourself as you give the screencast. The icon to the right of your selected camera lets you choose which of the four corners you want the webcam to appear in.
- Click Start Recording when you are ready.
When your screencast is done, click the Screencastify icon, and then click Stop Recording. The finished screencast will appear in a new tab. From here you can choose to rename it, delete it, download it to your Chromebook, or upload it to Google Drive or YouTube.
Screencastify is free for videos up to ten minutes in length, and may include a small watermark on your video. To remove these restrictions, you can upgrade to the paid version and also gain access to a video cropping tool.
Record Your Chromebook Screen With Screencastify
Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast
Nimbus is a more recent addition to the Chrome Web Store, but it is winning friends fast because it is a flexible tool that works well. With Nimbus you can capture screenshots or record your screen, but for the purpose of this post we will be concentrating on the screencasting abilities. Here's how it works.
- Download Nimbus Screenshot and Screencast from the Chrome Web Store
- Click the Nimbus extension and choose Record Video
- Choose whether you want to record the tab or desktop area.
- Choose the number of seconds you would like to include in a countdown timer. This is a great option to give you some time to get everything set and ready before you record.
- Click Record to start recording and click the Nimbus icon again to stop recording
The finished video will open in a new tab where you can preview your recording. You can download your screencast to your device as WebM video, or upload it to Nimbus servers. These are perhaps not the best sharing options because you can't send the video directly to either YouTube or Google Drive. However, you can upload your video to these services if you download it first. If you decide to send your video to Nimbus, note that there is a 100mb limit. The Pro account unlocks more space if you need it.
Capture Screenshots & Screencasts with Nimbus
Record Chromebook Screen With ViewedIt
Viewedit is perhaps the easiest way to create and share video. It is a free service that has some nice features to help it stand out from some others extensions, such as the ability to record your screen for up to one hour. It can also track the number of views your video gets and it integrates well with Gmail to let you pick the video you want to email right from the compose window in Chrome. Here's how it works.
- Download the Viewedit extension from the Chrome Web Store
- Click the Viewedit icon in your toolbar and sign in with your Google account.
- Once signed in, click the Viewed it button again and choose whether you want to record the tab, your entire screen, or just use the webcam. You can also choose whether you want to record with audio or not.
- When you have everything set up the way you want it, click Record to begin, and click the Viewedit icon to stop recording when you are finished.
- Your video will open in a new tab where you can copy the link, share it on social media, or attach to a Gmail message.
The simplicity of Viewedit is hard to beat. If you just need to record a quick tutorial for someone, then this is a great tool to have on your toolbar. You can't download videos or send them to YouTube, but the one hour recording limit and integrated viewing statistics make this a compelling option.
Create, Send & Track Video with Viewedit
Editing Chromebook Screen Recordings
As good as these tools are, none of them really provide you any native options for editing your finsihed screencast. So, if you need to cut or trim your final video, add titles or overlay some annotations, then you need to take your video to another app. Chromebooks are not known for their video editing prowess, but there are at least two solid options for editing video.
1. The YouTube Editor - This option works well with Screencastify because it lets you send your video straight to YouTube. In the YouTube editor you can trim, cut and add music to your screencasts. Titles, transitions, filters, and more can be also be added and because you are on YouTube is is easy to share your video with the world. If you haven't tried it before, you should. It's more powerful than it looks. Learn more about the YouTube Editor here.
2. WeVideo - If you want a bit more flexibility with your editing, try the online WeVideo editor. It connects easily to your Google Drive so again it works great with Screencastify. WeVideo includes additional features like multi-track editing, voice overs, custom transitions, graphics, and text overlays. WeVideo has a paid subscription service, but for quick edits the free version may be good enough. Try it and see.
Screencast Performance Issues
So, now that you know how to create a Chromebook screencast, you are probably thinking that it will be a seamless, trouble-free experience. I hope it is. However, you should be aware that if you are using one of the early Chromebooks with an ARM based processor, like the Samsung 303 or the first HP Chromebook 11, you may have some performance issues. The audio and video will not always sync or work the way you might expect because these particular Chromebooks lack some of the processing power that is needed to record a screencast. The Intel-based Chromebooks work much better.
Intel-based Chromebooks Perform Better When Screencasting
Any of these Chrome extensions provide a very decent screen recorder for Chrombook users, but they work within the current confines of the Chrome OS. Google is improving the Chromebook software all the time, and Chrome OS will doubtless evolve and add more functionality that will make the likes of Screencastify or Nimbus even better at what they do. I for one look forward to seeing what that might bring, but I am also enjoying the options that are available right now. Are you?
Which is your favorite screencasting option for Chromebooks?
© 2014 Jonathan Wylie