If you’re a content creator, you might need the ability to record your screen and microphone as you narrate what you’re doing. On Windows or MacOS, I typically use TechSmith Camtasia for this purpose. However, Camtasia isn’t available on Chromebook at the moment. At first, I was concerned that I might not be able to record screencasts on my Chromebook.
While hunting for alternatives to Camtasia, I came across a Chrome app called Screencast-O-Matic. Installation of this program was a breeze, and only took a couple seconds to download. I fired up the program and was asked for permission to share my screen and audio with the program. When your screen and audio are recorded, ChromeOS shows you a notification indicating that a program is using those resources. Additionally, each time that you launch the application, you will be prompted to share your screen and audio again. I’m not sure if there is a mechanism to permanently add an exception for a program, however I do appreciate the added security that this operating system feature provides.
Recording a Screencast
The Screencast-O-Matic apphas no frills, and focuses on making it easy to get started. Simply choose the microphone that you want to use, and click the record button. By default, the program does not record your webcam, however it’s simply a matter of clicking a button to switch this feature on. If you don’t want to record your microphone at all, you can simply select None. By default, the computer’s audio will be recorded, such as the audio from a video that’s playing on YouTube, or from a game, for example.
Sharing Your Screencast
After finishing your screen cast recording, you will be given several options to save the video file locally, upload it to YouTube, or save it to Google Drive. The file is saved in the standard webm format.
Using an External Microphone
From my experience, most built-in laptop microphones don’t have great audio quality. For professional recordings, I use the AudioTechnica AT2020 USB condenser microphone instead. Using the included cord, this microphone connects to your computer via a USB Type A port. Thankfully, the Chromebook I’m using, the Lenovo C330, has a single USB Type A port on it. Other Chromebooks may require some kind of adapter for this microphone to work, or you could simply purchase a USB Type C to USB Type B cable.
Once you get the physical connection out of the way, the next step is to see if the software supports an external microphone. Sure enough, I found an option to select a microphone, and it allowed me to choose my AT2020.
If you need to record a screencast using your Google Chromebook, you should consider using the Screencast-O-Matic app. It’s stunningly fast, simple enough for anyone to operate, and offers enough basic features. Keep in mind that external microphones are supported quite well. The only actual problem that I had with the app was that I couldn’t tap on the gear icon. Clicking on this icon simply did nothing. I’m not sure what settings were supposed to be exposed there, but maybe they’ll add something in the future.
If this app doesn’t suit your needs, there is another Chrome app called Screencastify. I have not had a chance to try this app out yet. If you get a chance to try it out, let me know what you think of it in the comments!