Doing all important Skype Video chats/conference calls and want to make sure you get it all recorded? Here are a list of a few popular skype video recording plugins that are designed to help you do that. Overall, I found them all to be more hindrance than help and really can't recommend any of them. When Mark assigned me this, I rolled my eyes. Luckily, we're about 8,000 miles away from each other and he didn't see it.
Tools and Plugins to Record Skype Video
Personally I use one of two screen capture applications for all my video recording use as they cover most everything. Camstudio, which I received for a review I did on it and Fraps, which is pretty much the standard in the video game world. Remember, before doing any sort of call recording, you need to notify the other people who are on the call that you are recording it. It's illegal not to do so, even if you're just having a chat with your friends or family.
Now, there are a lot of plugins to Skype that will record video as well so I thought I would take a look at them also.
Pamela Call Recorder for Skype
This was, I believe, one of the first plugins to Skype that was specifically for call recording. It was developed by Pamela Systems (hence the name). It not only records voice calls but also video, conference and chat. On top of that there are a whole list of other things that aren't related to recording in it including a call scheduler.
Now there are four different versions: Basic, Call Recorder, Professional and Business. The basic limits call recordings to 15 minutes and is free while the others range in price from 14.95 to 29.95. Professional and Business have 30-day free trials while the Call Recorder has a licensed and unlicensed version. Also, you have to buy either the Professional or Business version in order to record Video calls. Unlicensed just limits calls to 15 minutes in length. Here's the big chart of product differences: http://www.pamela.biz/en/products/
Supertintin Skype Video Recorder
Another Skype plugin is Supertintin . Aside from having an odd name it's got a very easy-to-use interface and can automatically start to record a call when it begins with just one button. You can try it before you buy it for $29.95. It can even record two video streams at the same time side-by-side or picture-in-picture.
There are 6 video recording modes,
- Audio Only: No video is recorded.
- Picture-in-Picture: Record video from both sides of the call in picture-in-picture format. The recorded video will look exactly as you see it during the call, with your video inset within the remote video.
- Side by Side: Record video from both sides of the call, with each side taking up half the picture.
- Local Only: Only the local side (video from your camera) will recorded.
- Remote Only: Only the remote side (video from the other participant) will recorded.
- Two files: Records Local and Remote onto two files. The files can be used for post-production and editting.
I had massive problems with my apparently under-powered computer. With only an Intel Pentium E-5300 dual core at 2.6Ghz and 3GB of RAM I know I don't have the top of the line, but I thought it would be able to do video calling. But no. Starting up Skype with Supertintin basically began boggind things down and causing all manner of problems. Not recommended.
VodBurner Video Call Recorder
VODBurner on the other hand installed just fine. UPDATED (by Mark Robertson): Shortly after publishing this article, VodBurner reached out to us directly (mind you - the only one of these that did) and worked with me to troubleshoot the issues I was having with the tool. Im happy to report that since discovering the issue (really just needed to reinstall skype and then reinstall vodburner), the tool works great for me. Im able to record my video conversations on Skype and then edit those, choose options as to whether to have the videos (of each skype caller) shown side-by-side, vertically, etc..., and then export the file. Of all the tools that I've tested, this one works great now and I am using it often myself. Thanks to the VodBurner team for the quick resolution.
But then when I went to run it, the software told me that I had Skype v4.2 (which I do) and that it's only for v4.1 (which it apparently is). So I clicked on the site link as instructed to follow directions to get it to work with v4.2 and the instructions say "install the software, click yes." Great, only problem is, Skype didn't ask me, it just installed it and it doesn't work. FAIL!
Each Skype plugin is actually a separate EXE that runs. Some of them run poorly indeed. Maxing out CPU, RAM and generally making things sluggish was not uncommon in my testing. It seems that 3GB of RAM and a dual-core processor isn't always enough or there are memory leaks that might need to be fixed.
Ecamm Call Recorder - Video Recording for Macs
Ecamm Call Recorder is a Skype add-on for Macs (compatible up Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard, you may need QuickTime Broadcaster for older Macs) which records Skype calls into QuickTime movies. According to their site, the plugin is compatible with Skype 5. However, they say that they dont recommend using beta versions for any important recordings.
Call Recorder recordings are saved as QuickTime movie files containing two audio tracks (the local and remote side of the conversation) and one video track. Because of the fact that there are 2 separate audio tracks, uploading the skype recordings directly to some sites like YouTube and Facebook may result in missing audio on different tracks. Definitely convert the mov file first before uploading if you have this issue. Additionally, according to their website, there may be conversion issues when importing into Final Cut Pro so they recomend first converting the movies to DV using Apple's Compressor application.
The plugin costs only $19.95. However, there's a coupon code out there from TRTTT that I just found and it works now - use coupon code RISE for 20% off.
Conclusion - Try Screen Recording:
And that's all the she wrote. Overall, I dub the current state of Skype video call recording an epic failure. None of the programs function extremely well. Many are cumbersome resource hogs that bog down your computer or simply don't work. Now I see why Mark assigned this project to me...damn him! If I really needed to record a video chat on Skype, I would not use any of the plugins I found (see my personal recommendations at the top of the article).
Next Up-2-Way Video Chat Tools
Next on my agenda is two-way video chat clients, preferably with built in recording options. Personally, I'll stick to FRAPS or CamStudio both of which I already have and function great. They can record just about anything that is displayed on your screen and work in the background without eating massive resources.
Now there are other applications that will do this. The article was mainly focused on so-called Skype plugins and not external applications. Oddly, all of the plugins run like external apps anyway so really, what's the point of them?
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