There’re always a crowd of customers who get used to using free open source tools rather than the closed sources in the very beginning. Therefore, to help those who are seeking for one or two decent open source screen recording software, we’ve gathered, tested, gone through the reviews and users’ feedbacks, and finally narrowed them down to this best 5 open source screen recorder list, covering all the mainstream computer systems of Windows, macOS as well as Linux. Since some tools are cross-platform available, to help you choose an ideal one quickly, we will deliver their compatible systems, the latest release dates and easy-level alongside for your reference.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Open source software (OSS) vs. closed source software (CSS), the most conspicuous difference is that OSS is totally free in usage and its code is shared in public so that any person can copy and modify it, while the CSS locks its code source and usually sell the service to customers for usage.
Who is superior to the other one? It’s hard to reach a decision as it depends on the actual need. If you are a general public who are just eager for a tool for the sake of the capability, open source software is worth a shot as long as you can bear the relatively less friendly interface and maybe more complicated settings.
Many people believe that closed source software, due to its closing principle, is more secure than open source one. Is it true? Not really. On the contrast, the OSS to some degree is more reliable than CSS because the source code is under public’s inspection for numerous times. So if you’re an ordinary customer, you can just leave the security problem alone. (>> Is screen recorder safe to use?)
In the following open source screen recorder article, you can figure out who is easier-to-handle. But a word of caution, few open source screen recorder keeps a well balance between functionality and simplicity. Therefore, if you are a beginner and have more requirements on software features, you are suggested to pick a closed source tool like RecMaster.
RecMaster gives a one-click screencast solution for capturing everything happening on the computer. No matter you are a PC gamer, a vlogger, a teacher, a student, or an usual user, you can leverage this app to save whatever on-screen content (besides those encrypted).
Now it’s time to check our cherry-picked open source screen recorders for computer:
OS: Windows 8, 8.1 and 10, macOS 10.13 +, and Linux
Last update date: April 5th, 2020 for Windows version and April 17th, 2020 for Mac version
OBS, full name Open Broadcaster Software and also called OBS Studio for newer versions, is a household name for experienced streamers and gamers. As an open source software suite for both broadcasting and screen recording, it perfectly supports live streaming on YouTube/Twitch/Mixer etc. platforms and capturing whatever content on the computer screen with no limit on duration and scenes.
Looking into the screen recording capability of this completely free screen recorder for Windows 10, macOS 10.15 etc, video & audio capturing and mixing, various capture sources and scenes (for switching with transition), and an array of configuration settings are all kept in stock to meet any possible needs. You can dig around here for many useful yet hidden-deeply features like multi-view/studio mode, multi-track screen capture, resolution scaling, (FLV/MOV/MKV/TS) video to MP4 remuxing, hardware encoder and so on.
OBS Studio is really powerful. The only downside of it is the beginner-unfriendly learning curve. Also, the infamous black screen error may get newbie in trouble when there’s any proper setting or system update.
OS: Officially available on Windows XP, Vista and 7
Last release date: October 19th 2013
CamStudio, as a dedicated open source screen recorder for Windows, empowers you to take any screen activity with audio and export the video as a standard AVI, MP4 or SWF file. If you’re going to grab various screen behaviors, CamStudio gives you freedom to set full screen, window or fixed region as target area. If you dislike the internal sound or your voice or need to mark up some crucial contents, use the Annotation tool to add captions or other effects. If you plan to create picture-in-picture video tutorial or similar with your webcam overlay attached, turn on the webcam with CamStudio. If you are not satisfied with the capture quality or file size (too big I mean), free download the CamStudio Lossless Codec to improve this situation. SWF producer is an unique feature of CamStudio to help transform AVI to flash format free. (>>How to Capture Flash Video)
OS: Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
Last update date: 2020-03-01
ShareX is notable and versatile open source screen capture software that supports both screenshots and screencasts making. Due to its written language and framework, ShareX is only available for Windows system and will not go for Mac and Linux at all.
ShareX offers a dozen of capture options on its main UI while only two for screen recording, and they are “Screen Recording” and “Screen Recording (GIF)”. It may seem a little bit simple, but ShareX can help you take video capture on any common activities and streams on the desktop without restriction.
You may not know that what ShareX stands out from others and gets its own name is the vast number of sharing and storing options for uploading captured files to online sites (40+) or to local destination (80+). Also, it’s powered with many toolbars like image editor, URL shortener, directory indexer, and DNS changer. One more word, if you come across a “(403) Forbidden” download error on Github, please go to Microsoft Store to complete the download and install.
OS: Windows 8 or later for 2015 version, and win2000 and later for older version
Last update date: New version in 2015, and older version on 12 October 2010
This open source screen recorder is owned by RenderSoft Software, whose initial purpose is to conduct a faster screen capture than general software while maintaining a low CPU usage. Yes, the software boosted the speed with the help of a mirror driver in older version, and the 2015 version is optimized and only has a single .exe file.
Similar to the design of CamStudio, Ultravnc/UVNC/Ultra Screen Recorder (three names are actually the same thing) has a concise UI and allows people to do full screen recording, fixed region recording and selected area recording (with audio) in clicks. Video and audio options are given to set compressor, quality, frame rate (up to 200fps) and similar.
In short, Ultra is a super simple freebie to meet all basic desktop recording needs. However, no advanced functions at all, say showing/highlighting mouse cursor, turning on webcam and editing. And the recorded file format is fixed in AVI.
OS: Windows platforms (98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7), and may also available on Linux and Mac OS X using Wine
Last update date: Dec 29, 2013
Virtualdub is another open-source video capture and processing utility for Windows. Aimed to help the developer Avery Lee do easy screen capture and encoding work on PC, the software has finally grown into a common application and was released to the public.
It supports DirectShow, Video for Windows video recording and DV capture. It enables you to customize the video frame size and data format at will, and also is preloaded with noise reduction/field swapping alike real-time capture helper. Plus the basic video filters (e.g. cut, trim, crop, add segments, resize, blur, sharpen, and adjust video parameters) and the support for third-party video processing plug-in, Virtualdub is de facto a good desktop screen recorder and linear video processor, for pro-level users.
However, as a part-time product from its author, Virtualdub doesn’t have a newbie-friendly interface and workflow on both screen capture and editing. Also, since it only outputs AVI video capture, the file is usually over-sized and you need do further compression or transcoding for sharing or storing.
Now that you’ve finished the reading, how do you think about them and have you discovered the ideal open source screen recorder you’d like to try? If we have missed some quality OSS you’ve already known, please feel free to let us know via the support email.
RecMaster – Record Every Moment on Your Computer Screen
Record 1080p or even 4K clips at 60fps to maintain the high quality still.
Flexible settings for mouse cursor effects, watermark and annotations.
Preloaded with recording scheduler, video editor. Allow one-click sharing.