Caption: This video walks you through the steps described below — it’s mostly silent until the audio output is restored to the speaker for testing/playback …
One of my perennially popular blog posts is a movie review — Symbolism in “The Ninth Gate” with over 100K views to date — which could benefit from a few video clips lifted from the movie. I recently wanted to record a few clips from a movie streaming on Netflix for another review — only to find that Mac’s QuickTime Player and Safari conspire to prevent me from screen recording. So I futzed around until I got it to work. Today a friend asked how it could be done, so having to write it up for her, I thought to share the process in this post …
- Use Google’s Chrome browser, not Safari: Safari and QuickTime Player act in concert to prevent you from screen grabbing Netflix!
- QuickTime Player, while screen recording, captures sound from your microphone, not directly from the computer’s audio output channel. While an open microphone will usually pick up audio from the speakers it will sound hollow and will also capture all the other noises in the room. We’ll need to use some software like Soundflower to route the computer’s audio output to a channel which you can select as the input to QuickTime Player while recording.
- When using Soundflower do not forget to set the audio output back to your internal speakers, else your Mac will remain silent — and you may think sound hasn’t been recorded when you play back your recordings.
Required Hardware/Software …
- Mac running under OS X with a lot of free hard disk space, long recordings will require gigabytes worth of space.
- QuickTime Player v10 (free with OS X, previous versions of QuickTime player do not screen record)
- SoundFlower for Mac OS X. Download and install the latest version of Soundflower for MacOSX from here, it’s free: https://code.google.com/p/soundflower/downloads/list
- Google’s Chrome browser.
- Time/alarm: If you’re going to record long clips and don’t have a lot of disk space* to spare you’ll want an alert when your screen recording is done.
Quit all applications and suppress all notifications — which might pop up on your screen recording. Turn your screen saver off, or remember to park your cursor in the corner set to suppress your screen saver while recording. Note: Once the recording is under way do not adjust volume, screen brightness or anything else that will create an image on the screen or output clicks/beeps/sounds as these will be recorded too.
Launch Chrome and line up the video stream you wish to capture, do not hit play just yet — allow for a couple of seconds lead in which won’t record. Take note of how long the clip in your stream will play and set your timer/alarm accordingly — especially if you are low on disk space*.
In your Mac’s System Preferences>Sound>Output switch from “Internal Speakers/Built In” to “Soundflower (2ch)”; set the Output Volume to maximum (for some strange reason the audio on movies transferred to iPhone/iPads defaults way too low) …
Launch QuickTime Player, dismiss the dialog that offers to open a file to play, then select File>New Screen Recording. Click on the down arrow next to the red recoding button and switch your Microphone option from “Built-in Microphone: Internal Microphone” to “Soundflower (2ch)” — then click the record button …
Quickly switch apps back to Chrome and press the play button to start steaming, expand to full screen if required and park your cursor out of the way in a corner that suppresses your screen saver if you have it enabled — and then hit the go button on your timer/alarm. Note: Since your audio output has been switched from your speaker to Soundflower you will not hear the audio. Also notice that QuickTime player has added an icon to your menu bar, a circle around a big dot, which is your stop recording button — there is no menu option in QuickTime Player to stop recording.
When done, hit Esc to reduce the movie screen if expanded, hit QT’s stop recording icon in the menu bar.
Switch back to Chrome to quit play (you don’t need the distraction of something else playing as you test your new recording).
Very important next step, restore audio to your speaker: In your Mac’s System Preferences>Sound>Output switch from “Soundflower (2ch)” back to “Internal Speakers/Built In” — else you won’t be hearing anything!
Switch to QuickTime Player to test your recording: Hit play and scrub around the recording to check at various points. Happy? If yes, go onto the next steps, else re-record (not forgetting to set Sound output back to Soundflower).
In QuickTime Player File>Export>iPad, iPhone, iPod touch & Apple TV … and then choose the file format and resolution appropriate for your needs, a file name and a destination folder on your drive …
Navigate to your exported file, test it to be sure you have captured what you need — if so, you’re done.
Since we chose to export our movie, QuickTime Player will still offer to let you save this clip as a .mov file — which you probably won’t need, so dismiss the dialog that offers to save your file when quitting the app to recover the temp file* space it is holding.
This blog post aims to answer the question “How to record Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu etc,?” or, less precisely, “How to download Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu etc.?”. Use this method for fair use of copyrighted material — terms of service for the respectively mentioned services probably do not provide for offline viewing. There are other more fully featured screen recording apps, such as ScreenFlow which one can purchase and are easier to use. The method described here uses free software. I used ScreenFlow here to screen capture QuickTime Player screen capturing off Netflix in Chrome.
*A note on disk space: You will likely need more than double the disk space you estimate to record, once for QT’s .mov temp file and another for the .mp4 export so consider the trade off between the convenience of recording one long clip and editing out the pieces you need afterwards or having to go through this finicky process clip by clip. Don’t forget to have QT release the temp space as soon as possible by not saving the .mov file after you have successfully exported an .mp4.