Recording Skype video and audio conversations on a Mac can be extremely handy. With Skype video and audio recording, you can replay conversations at a later date and embed Skype interviews into YouTube videos and podcasts.
Skype is the standard method for having video and audio conversations across the internet, and has kept its crown in the face of strong competition from Apple and FaceTime. Skype is huge: at one point it had more than 50 million users online at the same time.
This feature covers how to record a Skype video and audio conversation on a Mac. While recording conversations may sound a little creepy, it is incredibly useful in a whole range of situations. You can record Skype interviews to make sure you are quoting people accurately, and you can record video conversations for use in video podcasts. This Skype recording tutorial shows you how to get started.
For related advice, see How to record a FaceTime call on iPhone & Mac.
Record video and audio calls using Call Recorder for Skype
If you are running Mac OS X 10.8 Mavericks or later then the easiest way to record Skype audio and video calls is to use an app called Call Recorder for Skype. Unfortunately Call Recorder isn't a free app (we get to the various free options in a moment). It costs $29.95 - about £17.61. But if you record calls on a regular basis you will find it's well worth the money.
Caleb Wojcik from DIYVideoGuide.com has a good overview of how Ecamm's Call Recorder software works.
A free trial is available from the Ecamm website that works for seven days (although it watermarks recordings). Here is how to record a call using Call Recorder:
- Quit the Skype app.
- Download Call Recorder from the Ecamm website (unzip the file and double-click the Install Call Recorder file and follow the installation process).
- When the installation process has finished click on Open Skype in the Alert dialogue window to re-open the Skype app.
- Skype now has a new Preferences setting called Recording. Here you can choose the QuickTime settings for Call Recorder. It’s best to leave them at the default to start with, but you can access them again by choosing Skype > Preferences > Recording.
- Start a video or audio conversation in Skype.
- A new window appears in Skype called Call Recorder. Click the Red record button in Call Recorder to start recording.
- Click Stop in Call Recorder to finish recording.
- Click the Search icon in Call Recorder to open the Finder folder containing the video or audio recording. (The folder is located in ~/Movies/Saved Calls by default.)
Call Recorder is the easiest way to record calls in Skype, and it integrates into the Skype app so we prefer using it to some other options. It's a shame you have to pay for it, but if you record Skype calls on a regular basis the £17.61 fee is worth it.
Recording Skype audio calls for free on a Mac
If you just want to record the audio of a Skype call, then there are a few options available to you. Probably the best option to go for is Rogue Amoeba's Piezo. This small app is designed to make it easy to record audio from your chosen app.
Here is how to use Piezo to record Skype audio for free:
- Open Skype.
- Open Piezo.
- In Piezo, click Source and select Skype.
- Start a video or audio chat.
- Click the red Record button in Piezo. Click OK to the pop-up alert warning that you are in trial mode.
- When you've finished the conversation, click Record again to stop recording.
The free version of Piezo has some limitations. It only enables you to record audio, as we said, and after 10 minutes of recording it starts to degrade the quality by adding noise on top of the audio. This time limit minimises its use in professional settings, such as podcasting, but if all you want is an audio record of a conversation, it's ideal.
Record Skype video for free using QuickTime
If you want a free way to record Skype video calls on a Mac then one option is to use QuickTime to record your screen while you are talking. QuickTime Records the whole screen and an option in settings enables you to record from your microphone at the same time. It's a pretty good option for recording from QuickTime, FaceTime or any OS X app.
Here's how to record Skype video using QuickTime:
- Open QuickTime Player in Applications.
- Choose File > New Screen Recording.
- Click the small reveal icon to the right of the Record button and choose Built-in Input: Internal Microphone.
- Click the Record button.
- Either drag a square marquee around Skype or click to record the whole screen.
- Start your Skype conversation.
When you've finished, look for the small Stop icon in the Menu bar. Click this to stop the recording.
Using Skype is completely free, and you can record video and audio for as long as you want. Be warned that it does create large files, and you need to choose File > Save As to save your video file when you've finished.
Is it legal to record voice conversations in the UK?
The law on recording voice conversations in the UK is surprisingly hazy when you start to look into it. Businesses must inform customers that voice calls are being recorded, and often pass it off as being "for training purposes". This practice is known as two-party consent: both you and the other person know about the recording.
In the US and Australia, all parties have to be involved. In the UK, individuals only need one-party consent (which can be yourself) to record a call. We were surprised to learn this, although the law may be evolving over time, and does not apply if you store recordings on a cloud service outside of the EU. It's considered polite to inform a person that you are recording them on a phone call, and we always let the other person know that the call is being recorded.
The Oral History Society says: "It is legal in the UK to record one's own telephone conversations for personal use, and there is no legal obligation to inform the other person or persons that their words are being recorded. UK laws and codes of practice, such as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), and the Telecommunications Regulations (2000), are mainly concerned with recordings made for security surveillance ('telephone tapping') or various monitoring and market research activities, where the recordists are not being recorded themselves.
"However, it is unlawful to make telephone interview recordings available to anyone else without the permission of the speakers. If telephone interviews are to be deposited in a public collection or made available for research or any other purpose, all this should be explained in detail by the interviewer before the interview starts. Arrangements should be made for interviewees to sign recording agreements (perhaps by post or email), or at the very least the interviewee should state clearly in the recording that he or she agrees to the uses described by the interviewer."