In this article and the video above I will review the top 5 best free screen capture programs I’ve been able to find. With these screen recorders you can capture gaming footage as well as your desktop, so you can make software tutorials for example and capture other types of video and audio from your screen for whatever purpose.
|#||Name||Game Capture||Full Screen||Custom Area||Platform|
|1||Open Broadcaster OBS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Linux, Mac|
#1 Open Broadcaster OBS
Open Broadcaster Software is actually meant for streaming video to websites like YouTube and Twitch, however it can also record the broadcasts directly to a MP4 file, so it effectively works as a free screen recorder as well.
With OBS you can capture game footage, your entire screen, specific program windows, webcams and more. You can also add other items like images and text that are overlayed above the other video footage, which can be useful when streaming. OBS can also capture your audio and microphone input.
OBS is however more difficult to configure and use, and it might take a while to learn how to use it. But on the other hand there’s no watermarks or other limitations.
Despite being a bit more difficult to use than most free screen recorders, overall OBS seems to be the best free screen recorder at this time.
Bandicam is a free and commercial screen recorder for Windows developed by South Korea based Bandisoft.
Bandicam can record game footage, your entire screen and custom sized areas within your screen. Bandicam has a bunch of additional features like the ability to overlay your webcam over your screen capture, make a highlight area around your cursor, record clicks and you can also draw, make boxes and highlight things on your screen while you are recording.
The free version of Bandicam comes with two main restrictions, a watermark on the top center of the screen and a 10 minute limit to video clips, so you can only record for 10 minutes at a time, then you have to press record again.
Despite the watermark and 10 minute time limit, Bandicam has a number of features that other free screen recorders do not and thus it is still a fairly good program.
If you have a Nvidia graphics card you will get ShadowPlay for free along with the GeForce Experience program which manages driver updates for your graphics card.
ShadowPlay has a unique feature called ShadowTime which continuously records the last 20 minutes (or less). So if you’re playing a video game and you did something cool but forgot to record it, you can just press a hotkey and ShadowPlay will save the last 20 minutes to a video file which you can then later edit.
ShadowPlay does record game footage and also your entire primary monitor, however at this point you can’t make it record a secondary monitor. ShadowPlay can also be manually activated to record sessions longer than 20 minutes. It also captures audio and you can enable microphone capture along with a push-to-talk hotkey if needed.
Nvidia ShadowPlay is a fairly good free screen recorder if you have a Nvidia graphics card.
CamStudio is a free screen capture program for Windows.
CamStudio is able to capture your entire screen, specific screens, a custom area within your screen or a specific program window. It also records audio and can capture microphone input as well. You can add annotations to the video capture, such as a watermark, caption or timestamp.
Immediately after recording CamStudio uses video codecs on your computer to compress the footage, which makes your computer really laggy and you can’t do much while that is happening, which can be a bit annoying.
However CamStudio has no watermarks or other limitations, which is a bonus.
CamStudio is a functioning basic free screen recorder.
Ezvid is a free screen recorder and video editor for Windows.
Ezvid can capture game footage or the entire screen of your primary monitor. There are some downsides with Ezvid however. It tries to force you to upload directly to YouTube through the program itself and pushes you to use music provided by the program for your videos. Most of these tracks are copyrighted and your video will be claimed by an entity called NATOarts, who will then monetize your videos and take revenue from them, while at the same time preventing you from monetizing your videos. The video editor also puts a Ezvid promo clip at the start of each video, it is removable however.
This can be circumvented though, to see how, just watch my review.
As for the screen recordings, there’s no way to export it from the video editor to a file, but when you record the video it is actually saved on your harddrive in the Ezvid folder in My Documents.
Ezvid can be a bit cumbersome as it purposely makes it difficult to use the software, but it can still be usable.