Do you want to record and edit video on your Chromebook? If your work or hobby requires occasional use of video, you may need some help in learning how to create and edit videos on Chromebook, since these machines work a little differently than more traditional laptops, MacBooks, or iPads. The task itself isn’t complicated, and anyone can learn with just a little time and effort.

This tutorial is a two-in-one. First, I’ll show you how to use Animoto to edit video on Chromebook. Then, you’ll see how to make a screencast you can share.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

  • A video source: your Chromebook probably comes with a webcam that will be sufficient if you’re recording simple screencasts or tutorials; for more complicated tasks, you may need to use your smartphone.
  • Video editing software for Chromebook. We’ll be discussing one of these below: Animoto.

Note: in this tutorial, I’m only using free tools to record and edit video on Chrome OS.

How to Record Video on a Chromebook, Step by Step

Think about what kind of video you need to create:

  • If you’re creating a screencast, Screencastify is the quickest, most intuitive solution. It allows users to take a shot of their entire screen or just an individual browser tab. It also includes a video box that records you talking. This is ideal for teachers or anyone recording tutorials. We’ll be talking more about it below.
  • If you’re stitching together pictures or video into a project to be displayed (like for a class or business presentation), Animoto is an extremely intuitive, user-friendly option. The school I used to work at used it to create almost all their videos for parent night, graduation, and more. Not only that, they recommended it to students for class projects, so I know it’s simple enough that even first-graders can use it effectively.

PRO TIP: The Most Important Thing to Know About Shooting Video

If you’re filming with an actual camera, you can skip this paragraph. But most people these days take their video using a phone or tablet. If that’s you, remember: horizontal video is right and vertical video is a terrible, terrible mistake. Professionals shoot in landscape mode. To make your video look professional, you need to do that as well.

Animoto Procedure for Editing Video

  1. Log in to Animoto or create an account.
  2. Click the “Create” button in the top right corner.
  3. Select your style. Each style comes with pre-loaded music, effects, and transitions, but you can always change it later if you decide you don’t like it.
  4. Click “Add pics & vids” in the left sidebar. You can add video clips and still images in a variety of file formats.
  5. Upload the video or image file(s) to Animoto’s server. (Note here that Animoto will allow you to upload video directly from Facebook, Instagram, and Dropbox–so if you plan to use Animoto, keep that in mind when you’re saving your raw footage.)
  6. You can add text, logos, transitions, and more once your video clips are all uploaded.
  7. You can also add music with the “Change Song” button at the top of your workspace.
  8. When you’ve ordered your clips and have all the tweaks you want in place, you can preview your video with the blue “Preview Video” button in the lower left corner. This will give you access to a low-res preview.
  9. If the preview looks good, click on “Produce” in the top menu bar. From there, you can title your video, add a date and description, and select the video quality you’d like for the final product. Once you click the “Produce” button, Animoto will finalize your video and give you a link.
  10. If you plan to use your video offline, you’ll need to go into your account and download the final product directly to your machine. To do this, click on “My Videos” under your account, and select the video you want to download. At the bottom of the new screen that loads, underneath the video itself, you’ll see options to email, share via social media, push to YouTube, embed directly on your website, or download to your hard drive.

Here’s a super quick video showing how Animoto works. They also have lots of videos in their YouTube channel.

PRO TIP: if you’re using video at a professional presentation or in a classroom, always download it. There is little in life more embarrassing than building an hour-long presentation around a video that won’t load.

Screencastify Procedure for Recording Your Screen

  1. After adding Screencastify to your machine (go here and click the “Add to Chrome” button), you’ll see an icon in the upper right that looks like a strip of film.
  2. When you click that link for the first time, the app will walk you through the configuration of your microphone and camera.
  3. Once that’s done, the app will send you to a short video that explains the basics of the process. A short list version follows:
  4. Click the Screencastify icon in the upper right corner.
  5. Set up your basic parameters: audio, webcam, and preview window.
  6. Outline a basic script so you know what you’re going to say. This takes some time on the front end, but saves you from having to re-start and start over if you get lost trying to make it up on the fly.
  7. Start recording your screen / face / voice. The lower left will have a few tools you can use during your recording, including:
    • Focus mouse or pointer mouse. Focus mouse creates a highlight around the pointer on-screen, making it easy for viewers to track its movement. Pointer mouse creates a temporary “ring” around the mouse only when you click, enabling viewers to pay attention only to where you’re clicking (rather than the pointer’s movements on-screen).
    • Pen to draw on screen, with a variety of pointer options.
    • Option to turn the embedded webcam on / off in the film. For instance, if you want the audience to see you talking at a certain point of your video, you can turn the webcam on and a window containing your face will show up. When you turn this option off, that window goes away.
    • Pause the recording momentarily.
  8. When you click the Screencastify icon again to stop the recording, it will immediately take you to a video preview screen. You can click on the video title to rename your video.
  9. There’s also an orange bar containing buttons to go to your library of recordings, download your screencast directly to disk, share it online, crop or trim your video, or trash it and start over.

Here’s a 4-minute video so you can see Screencastify in action.

What do you think?

Did you enjoy the tutorial on how to record video on a Chromebook? I hope so. Those are just two simple ways you can use your Chromebook to record and edit video. There are much more complex apps out there, but Animoto and Screencastify should do the trick for most people’s basic needs. If you have a better option, make sure you mention it in the comments!

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