How to Record a Webcam Video on Your Chromebook

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UPDATE – We updated the webcam recording feature of Clipchamp and made it more robust. We also redesigned the app as you will notice when you open it and have used it before.

To record a webcam video, just click on the “Record via Webcambutton and allow access to your webcam, then record away. Here is an updated tutorial.

Please note – we recommend you close all other tabs in Chrome while recording a webcam video if you’re on a Chromebook as the process is quite CPU-intensive and will work best if your Chromebook’s processor is not busy with other tasks.

The screenshots below are from Clipchamp’s classic site.

The market share of Chromebooks has increased significantly over recent years. Chrome OS is maturing and there are more and more Chromebook models available from a number of manufacturers.

According to TechCrunch, Google’s Cloud-first laptops have become particularly popular in the education sector due to their low cost and easy device management capabilities. Recent estimates by research firm Gartner mention worldwide sales of 5.2 million units in 2014 that are set to grow to around 14 million/year by 2017.

While newer models have overcome many earlier limitations compared to Windows, Mac OS and Linux laptops and it’s quite easy to take photos or video chat using the Camera app or the latest release of Google Hangout, the current generation of Chromebooks does not come with a pre-installed application to record a video with your webcam.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix and it’s available for free in the Chrome Web Store – clipchamp

No pre-installed webcam recording app – no problem

clipchamp’s main purpose is to convert & compress video files, which is useful if you have videos that you want to watch on your Chromebook but that don’t play due to an unrecognised video codec.

However, the app also comes with an extra feature that allows you to record short videos with your webcam that you can save locally, on Google Drive or share directly on Facebook or YouTube.

Here is a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to record webcam video clips on your Chromebook

Go to the Chrome Web Store and install clipchamp

Then launch it from the Web Store or the Application Launcher

In the app, click the “Take selfie video” button

Allow access to your webcam and microphone (only required the first time you do this)

Then, record your video

When you’re done , click the Finish recording button

After a bit of processing, you’ll see a file name appear underneath the “Select input video” section

Download the file or convert it for more options

You can download the recorded file by clicking the “download” link next to the file name. However if you want to upload the video directly to YouTube or Facebook and make it smaller for easier sharing, you’ll have to go through the conversion step. To do this, leave the output type as “Convert Full Video”.

Choose output device, resolution and conversion quality

The output device setting will optimise your video for this type of hardware but will also play on all other modern devices. We’ve preselected the 480p mobile output preset for webcam recordings.

Make sure to pick either an SD/480p or an HD/720p output setting if you recorded an HD webcam video – this is not recommended on Chromebooks as HD recording can be too overwhelming for its CPU.

For instance, the current generation of HP Chromebooks come with either a VGA (i.e. SD/480p) or HD (i.e. 720p) webcam, not Full HD. So does the Dell Chromebook 11.

Hint: pick a faster setting on the quality slider, which gives you good quality video and a small video file size but doesn’t consume as much CPU on your Chromebook to convert the video. If unsure, leave the slider as is, which is the default setting and will work just fine.

Click the “Convert video!” button

And wait for the video to process

Your finished video appears in the “Save & share” section

You can now play it to check if it’s what you wanted, store it on your Chromebook or your Google Drive or share it directly on Facebook or YouTube.

You can record as many videos as you like, it’s free and works directly on your computer, which means that the video you record gets processed locally and never leaves your machine unless you decide to share it or store it in Google Drive.

That’s how easy it is to record a webcam video on your Chromebook using clipchamp.

Of course this also works on any other laptop/desktop operating system, just go to (you need to have Chrome installed) or get the clipchamp app from the Chrome Web Store.

If you encounter any problems, have a question or suggestion, please let us know in the comments below.


Further Reading

If you’re after some great resources for using Chromebooks in the classroom, have a look at this collection of introductions, tutorials, classroom best practices and helpful blog posts for educators and students alike.

To stay up-to-date with latest Chromebook and Chrome OS developments and apps, this news site dedicated to Chrome is a great resource.

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