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I'm currently recording videos of my screen using QuckTime Player and a MacBook Pro 13" (mid-2010) in a resolution of 640x480. The application I'm recording is called Synthesia (it is a game like Guitar Hero for piano) and is based on OpenGL.

Somehow all videos I record do have a subtile stuttering which I think is annoying (see an example here:

Is there a program that will do a better job at recording my screen than QuckTime Player, or is it just my MacBook Pro that is not powerful enough?

Same issue here. I have tried everything to get rid of the problem, but so far nothing. I'm going to install the latest Mojave beta to see if it still occurs there.

(Even a clean install onto an external drive of High Sierra exhibited the same behaviour).

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I'm not sure if my computer is not powerful enough for such a task, or if quicktime 10.0 isn't capable of smoothly recording gameplay.

I've tried lowering graphic settings in the game and switching the recorder to medium quality, but no matter what the video is still choppy, distorted, and skips.

The main problem is that the CPU power is divided between both the rendering of what is displayed on the screen and simultaneously recording that screen redering. Further, the app is programmed with a more or less fixed recoding data rate dependent on the recording quality setting and screen area to be recorded. Basically, the "scratch" file captue data rate on my systems may vary from a low of about 20 Mbps to a high on the order of nearly 80 Mbps. Since the recoding data rate is more or less fixed for each recording session, the QT X screen capture routine varies the frame rate in response to the amount of CPU power that is available for recording. Thus, if you check the playback frame rates for your files, you will probably see relatively low fps which produce the "chopply" playback. You will probably also note that the lower quality recording setting produces a somewhat higher frame rate with slightly smoother playback than the HQ mode. That is because the Photo JPEG medium efficiency codec is less CPU intensive than the MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) high efficiency video codec which produces better video quality in a smaller file package.


The normal method for improving the smoothness of final playback is to decrease the area of your scratch recording which, in turn, tends to increase the frame rate of your scratch file providing a smoother playback potential. Some apps allow you to select and record a given area of the screen at its current resolution and/or record the display at a "scaled resolution" to reduce the surface area actually being recoded. Other apps only record the screen at its "native" resolution with or without the ability select a specific area of the screen for recording. Still others may allow you to record "objects" such as a gaming window which may or may not already be scaled by the user to selected fraction of the entire display area. In short, what you can do to increase the frame rate and smooth playback may vary drastically depending on the specific screen capture app use. QT X v10.2 allows recording of both a user selected area or a "scaled" display rendering to improve the frame rate but I rarely use it. I would normally use the moderately priced ScreenFlick app instead for simple projects or an app like Snaps Pro X or ScreenFlow for more complex screen capture projects.

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The reason for the “stuttering” could be a combination of different factors.

First is of course your computer’s power and video card. The more power you have, the more the number of FPSs your computer can “record”.

Despite that, QuickTime is not known for its “fast” recording, so I suggest you give a try to different alternatives. This comparison is a little bit “outdated” because some (if not most) of the applications mentioned have been updated and have fixed or changed some of the problems they had, however, it should be a starting point for your final QUickTime Replacement. This other link has a very similar list, but rather than a review is a list with a short description of the products.

For reference, the most important Screen Capture tools for OS X (or to put it in another way, the “most used ones”) are (in no particular order): iShowU, Snapz Pro X, ScreenFlow and one that is missing from those lists (because it’s a new player in the Mac world): Camtasia for Mac (which I’ve been betatesting and it’s quite good and in par with the ones I’ve mentioned). Some features missing from Camtasia 1.0 have been addressed in an update and I know they are working on a newer version after getting tons of feedback in the Beta forums (which I can’t disclose because I participated).

I’ve personally tried those four I’ve mentioned (i have a Snapz Pro license) and I think they more or less are the same, but some were (when I tried them) faster than others but lacked certain features. All in all, the “best” doesn’t exist, they all have strengths and weaknesses so your best bet is to give them a try and see if one does the job.

Last but not least, remember that quality also plays an important factor in CPU overhead when recording, try to keep your CPU load low and reduce the recording quality as much as you can afford.

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