Video Capture Software

Video capture software is a term that can be applied to three main types of video applications:

Analogue to Digital Conversion

This is where you may have an analogue video recording from a video camera on ‘old’ style analogue tap, or an old video tape from a VHS or Betamax (!) consumer video recorder.

‘Analogue’ video from a video camera running on old style celluloid tape is where you can see the individual ‘frames’ (still pictures) of the movie on the tape, frame by frame, and the movie is played at somewhere between 24 and 30 fps (frames per second) to give the impression of movement.

You won’t see any individual pictures on your ‘Analogue’ video tape from a VHS or Betamax machine because it is magnetic tape not celluloid.

Both of these analogue formats can be converted to digital format

  • for easier, more stable storage i.e. on a hard drive instead of on tape
  • for easier editing (digital editing is WAY faster and easier than analogue editing)
  • for easier duplication

Once the movie is in digital format it makes any processing much faster and easier, and perhaps more importantly, makes a massive range of digital editing software available for you to do some serious magic with very little knowledge or previous experience of making simple movies.

In fact, it really can be ‘SuperEasy!’

Before we go onto video editing, production and special effects, let’s look at another type of video capture software.

Screen Capture Software

This is software you can use to capture what you seen on your computer screen while also recording your voice. For example, you may wish to demonstrate how some software works and show certain functions while describing what you are doing.

This is how I make my video tutorials, where I talk about how to create a video clip, or add music or a special effect at the same time as showing you what to do on screen.

All of this – my voice and the on screen demonstration – are recorded by screen capture software such as the programmes listed below, most of which also have great video editing functions.

For PC

Camtasia (my favourite and recommended screen capture software)

  • free trial available
  • powerful editing
  • add callouts (text boxes and speech bubbles on screen)
  • Picture-in-Picture
  • PowerPoint capture with voiceover for slideshow videos
  • export video in many common formats
  • upload direct to YouTube
  • $300 to buy (well worth the investment if you are serious about creating great videos)


  • Free
  • Screen capture with audio recording
  • Records in .avi format
  • no editing facility
  • recommended video editing software

For Mac


  • easy to use video capture
  • DVD capture
  • Keynote capture (slideshow presentations)
  • video editing
  • audio ‘ducking’: background music is turned down when your voice plays back – just like in the radio
  • add callouts (text boxes and speech bubbles on screen)
  • Picture-in-Picture
  • adjust video playback speed
  • upload direct to YouTube
  • Free Trial

There is also another type of video capture software

Streaming Video Capture

If you want to capture video from YouTube, Facebook or any other sites that play videos then you need streaming video capture software.

The easiest software I have found so far is a Firefox Plugin called ‘downloadhelper’ which allows tyou to easily capture video from most websites.

For hard to capture sites, you can always use one of the scren capture programmes above to record the video as it plays back, but his is not ideal.

Here is a programme you can try for free designed specifically to capture streaming video from a window on your desktop.




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