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Capture Your Screen for YouTube Videos and Tutorials

What's free, what's cheap, and what's worth paying for.

Apps in this Guide

You can make decent money from recording yourself playing a video game, a musical instrument, or sometimes from creating popular video tutorials and uploading them to YouTube. Or maybe you have a specialmore

You can make decent money from recording yourself playing a video game, a musical instrument, or sometimes from creating popular video tutorials and uploading them to YouTube. Or maybe you have a special talent that you've been dying to show the world. With these desktop recording and editing tools, now is your time to shine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a fast computer to record my desktop smoothly?
The short answer is no. If you encounter slowdowns or stuttering, most recording tools have settings that let you reduce the quality of the video to compensate.
Do I need to pay a subscription fee for any of this stuff?
For the tools below, you just pay once and keep it forever. However, you may need to pay for major new versions down the road, though you'll frequently get a discount offer if you bought the previous version. There is no fee to put a video on YouTube.

Recommended Windows Video Capture Software

Best value option: Icecream Screen Recorder

Best value option: Icecream Screen Recorder

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If you want something that you can run with minimal know-how, and you're prepared to spend a reasonable amount of money, you can pick up Icecream Screen Recorder for around $30. It doesn't have editing tools, and it doesn't record webcam input, but it has a simple and friendly interface and will let you crank out high-quality clips and upload them to YouTube. It also supports scheduled recording.

Best premium option: Camtasia

Best premium option: Camtasia

You can spend quite a lot more on video-cutting platforms like Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Pro; Camtasia's purpose is to bring a wide set of tools to an audience that won't require formal training to make the most out of it. It doesn't do live broadcasting, but it does have both video capture and video editing; webcam and green screen support; and integrated uploads to YouTube, Vimeo, and Google Drive. The free 30-day trial version also doesn't restrict what features you have access to; it just adds a watermark.

Best free option: Open Broadcaster Software Studio

Best free option: Open Broadcaster Software Studio

Its name implies that it's just for streaming live video from your PC, but OBS Studio can record screen activity offline just fine. There are actually a lot of video and audio recording options underneath the hood, for both the desktop and a webcam. OBS is an open-source project supported by donations, so you don't have to pull out your credit card, deal with ads, or wonder if the software is making money by spying on your activities. OBS's editing tools are pretty minimal, though, and its interface can be tricky to get around if you haven't used this kind of tool before.