Mastering Video Recording & Editing With QuickTime


For every one of your needs, there is a tool out there that can help you fulfill it. The capability of these tools evolve over time and price tags. For such tools, the functions of time and cost are inversely proportional (with all technology really). Finding tools to capture, edit and render videos for free without an annoying watermark or resolution limit was a distant dream 5 years ago, now you can do that from your Quicktime player and not lose a modicum of quality. Following is a guide on how to put your Quicktime X to best use.


Seasoned Mac users may have noticed that if you look up Quicktime, there actually appear two icons in Launchpad, both say Quicktime Player. One is a light blue icon named Quicktime Player 7, the other is Quicktime Player X. You want the darker colored Quicktime Player X. Quicktime player 7 is a free player, with paid upgrade features, those won’t be necessary as Quicktime X will tend to your basic needs. It is an audio player and recorder, screen capture solution, video recorder, editor and renderer, all in one.

Let’s start with the basics.

How To Record

If you have an external non-firewire camera attached to your Mac, you will need special drivers (a Google search away) to enable recording with it. In any case, simply go to the file menu and click on New Movie Recording. It will pop up a menu with a red record button, give it a second to initialize the camera, you can start recording when the recorder begins streaming video from your camera.

QuickTimePlayer - Audio Recording QuickTimePlayer - ScreenRecording QuickTimePlayer - Movie Recording

You can you the same principals for recording audio, simply click on New Audio Recording and press record.

Lastly, you can press New Screen Recording, and record as long a screencast as your storage allows. Once you click on the option, you will notice a record button in the menu bar. You will see an instruction on screen, basically, if you click anywhere on the screen, you will record the whole screen. However, if you want to record a part of your screen, drag your mouse across that region and record. To stop, press the stop button on the menubar and it will stop and launch the video in Quicktime. You could also use Screen Replay which is just as powerful and equally light, though screen selection is not included in it.

In all three scenarios, closing the recording will launch a save window option. The quality of the audio is as good as the recording equipment (internal/external) which, unless you are a professional in the industry, you will be hard pressed to find something wrong with.

Now, suppose you have multiple recordings that you want to stitch into one long recording or that you want to break down into chunks. That is possible through the edit function.

How to Edit

Let’s start with video editing. Open your target video as you normally would, in Quicktime. Click on Edit in the menu bar and click on Trim. You will see a yellow bar highlighting the entire video, drag the yellow region to the area you want to keep and click Trim. Now, the area outside the yellow bar will be deleted.

Quicktime Player - Trim

Quicktime Player - Insert Clip

If you want to split the video into multiple clips, go to Edit and click on Split Clip (or ⌘+Y). Here you can split it into as many pieces as you like. That way you can trim parts of the clip that you want to delete. You can even rearrange parts of a clip here if you want. If you want to add a clip, either go to edit and click on Insert Clip After Selection or simply drag a clip to the window. It’s that simple. There is an option for duplication; it might not be an elegant solution but you can create different workarounds using it.

Quicktime Player - Video Edit Quicktime Player - Audio Edit

Now for audio; everything is exactly the same as video with the only difference being that you will see the clip in waveform. You can split audio, you can trim audio and you can add other clips. When your recording is complete, you can save it in one of the listed popular formats. You even have the option of sharing with selected services online.

Quicktime Player - Share

Now, keep in mind that this is not a complete solution to all editing needs, but it goes a long way in sorting small problems and is definitely a more flexible alternative to Windows’ Movie Maker. The drawback compared to paid solutions, is that you cannot yet manipulate audio and video simultaneously, or sync externally recorded audio. There is also a limitation that you cannot directly add an image clip. The workaround is that you can make a video of the image using the above method and use the resulting image’s recording as an insert in your video, not an elegant solution, but a suitable work around.

If you are a video blogger running screencasts, this will go a long way in getting your message across to your audience.

  • Dan

    I still think the little tick marks in QT7 worked the best unless I am not understanding the QTX ways of doing things. Be nice to see a video on this! I thought with trim you could only select the video you want and hit trim and it would cut all the other video out and only save what was in the trim part you had selected. With QT7 you could set the tick marks, do ctrl+c and ctrl+v and put the selection anywhere or select the section you didn’t want in the video like extra at the beginning or end or in between and set the tick marks and delete the part you didn’t want. Don’t think you can do that in QTX.

  • James Ogden

    How do I get Quicktime to recognize my Canon Vixia HF G20? The macbook only sees the camera for playback mode or when I go to upload files. It doesn’t recognize it in record mode.