DIY Free Skype video call recorder for OS X El Capitan

In a previous post I wrote about getting Soundflower to work with El Capitan. Here, I want to outline how you can use it to enable complete Skype video call recording – including both side of the conversation as well as the video. There’s lots of information around about recording the OTHER side of the video chat, but less about both sides. There use to be a Soundflower add-on called Flowerbed that facilitated this but is has now ceased development. There are also an amazing number of apps you can buy – some for $70-$80 that will do it for you too! Let’s do it for free 😀

My set up – iMac OS X El Capitan, latest Soundflower installed (see previous post if necessary), an external (apogee) usb mic and some headphones. No reason this wont work for the built in mic. NOT sure about doing it without headphones because of the potential feedback issues. YMMV. You will also need Quicktime as supplied with every Mac OS X El Capitan.

The Initial set-up (once only)

Plug in / connect your headphones/mic. Don’t worry about making them active on the sound control panel.

Now, you will need to access your Audio MIDI setup (just look for it in spotlight). Open it. You will see a split panel showing devices on the left and settings on the right.

We are now going to build an aggregate output device and an aggregate input device.

Click the + at the bottom left of the Audio Midi Setup panel (Audio devices). Choose “Create Multi-output device“.  in the settings for that device, tick built-in output, your headphones, and Soundflower (2ch).

Next click the + at the bottom left of the Audio Midi Setup panel (Audio devices), but this time click “Create aggregate device“. Tick your microphone and Soundflower (2ch).

The good news is, you will not have to do this again unless you add a new mic, or new headphones etc. These devices will now be available when needed.

Time for Skype?

in your Sound control panel, choose to Input from the aggregate device you just created (it has your mic and Soundflower) and choose to output to the multi output device you created (headphones,built-in output and Soundflower). (You can also do this from the Audio MIDI Setup too – right-click the new devices and choose appropriately).

Open Skype, go to preferences -> Audio/Video. Set “Microphone” to your mic (it will probably be that anyway). Set “Speakers” to your multi-output device. Close the preference panel. Leave Skype open.

Open Quicktime. Ignore the dialogue box if it opens. Go to File-> New Screen Recording. A small black window opens. First, set the volume slider at the bottom all the way to the LEFT. This will prevent reverb/feedback. Next, there is a tiny down arrow beside the Big red record button. Click the arrow and choose your aggregate input device.

PHEW – that’s it 😀 Now when you are ready to record , click the Red button in Quicktime and choose the area you want to record video from. Make your Skype call. End your Skype call. Click the stop recording button (in the top right menu bar usually – Black dot). Then choose to save the new file and/or convert it to a more friendly size.

You can reset your input and output devices to normal/usual in the sound control panel once you have finished recording.

Ok, I know it may seem like some work – but when you have set it up once, you just have to choose the correct devices from: your sound control panel; in Skype and in QuickTime. Takes about 10 seconds.

I’ll explain what is happening with Soundflower and the aggregate devices in another post.

Let me know if it doesn’t work for you or if you have suggestions/question.






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