Step 1

Make sure you’re running Apple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you are, then you will notice a new version of QuickTime Player in your Applications folder. We’ll be using that in a minute, so just remember where it is.

Step 2

The best way to do a full screen showing of a Hulu show to be recorded by QuickTime Player is to install the Hulu Desktop Application, which you can grab directly from Hulu Labs. Download and install it.

Note: I’m not entirely sure if any of what I’m about to show you is legal or illegal, although I don’t really see how it’s much different from setting a TiVO or other DVR to record your favorite show while you’re out to dinner or to make a VHS copy of a show on TV. It probably violates some user agreement with Hulu, I would imagine. I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, I’m just sharing how to do this if you ever think: “Hey, I really wish I could record a copy of this Hulu show to watch on my iPhone while I’m riding to ________ for Labor Day weekend.”

Step 3

QuickTime doesn’t allow you to capture system audio when you are doing a screencast, probably because they want to avoid allowing you to do exactly the type of thing that I’m showing you how to do in this How to. In order to get around this little shortcoming of QuickTime, you’re going to want to download and install SoundFlower. Although Soundflower’s installation doesn’t ask you to restart your computer once installation is complete, you should go ahead and do so.

Step 4

Go to your System Preferences (either Apple logo—>System Preferences… or navigate to Applications—>System Preferences) and select the Sound control panel, choose the Output tab, and select Soundflower (2ch), like so:
Note that once you make this change, you will no longer hear any sound from your computer’s speakers (because it’s all being routed to Soundflower. Also, keep in mind that absolutely *all* sounds that your computer makes are being piped to Soundflower and since we’re going to be using Soundflower to capture the audio from your Hulu show, you’re going to want to make sure that every other application that makes sounds is turned off while recording (this includes Growl notifications, iChat, and even hitting the audio up and down buttons on your keyboard).

Step 5

Launch Hulu and queue up the show you want to record. Pause it. Choose Hulu Desktop—>Hide from the menu bar at the top of the screen to temporarily get Hulu Desktop out of your way.

Step 6

Launch QuickTime Player and select File—>New Screen Recording, like so:

Step 7

A new Screen Recording window that is little more than a small black box with a red REC button in the middle will open up. Click on the little downwards facing arrow and make sure that under the Microphone setting that Soundflower (2ch) is selected, like so:

Step 8

Click that little red REC button in the middle of the Screen Recording window. A notice will pop-up saying “Are you sure you want to start recording the screen?” along with instructions telling you that you can stop recording by either clicking on the Stop Recording button in the menu bar or by hitting Command+Control+Esc simultaneously on your keyboard.

Keep in mind that once you start recording whatever is visible on your screen will be recorded. We’ll be making Hulu full screen but should you use any sort of applications with on-screen notifications, like Growl or Google Notifiers, you’re going to want to make sure that you turn those off.

Once you are sure you are ready, click Start Recording, like so:

Step 9

Click on Hulu Desktop in your Dock to bring that app back to the front now that you’re recording. Click on View—>Fullscreen (Command+F) in order to have Hulu fill your screen and begin playback. Walk away and let the show record. Make a note of how long it is so you know when to come back. Go walk your dog, take a walk, spend some time with a loved one, or do something to get away from this digital world for a while. When you return and the show is over, simply hit Command+Control+Esc simultaneously on your keyboard to stop recording.

Step 10

As soon as you stop recording the freshly recorded file opens in QuickTime Player. You won’t be able to hear anything until you go back to the System Preferences and switch the Output back to Internal Speakers (see Step 4 above). If you had to rewind at the beginning or you forgot the key command at the end and ended up recording some of your onscreen actions, don’t worry. Simply hit Command+T to bring up the trim controls for trimming the beginning and end of your video in QuickTime Player, like so:

Step 11

Once you are done trimming your video, select File—>Save As… (or hit Command+S) to bring up the save as dialog. Choose iPhone (or whatever other output you’d like) from the drop down Format menu, name the video, and click Save:
That’s it you’re done.

I’ve not recorded a full show yet, but I have tested this method and it works. Keep in mind that the screen capture isn’t at a full 29.97 frames per second as most video; it’s only recording about eight frames per second, so the video isn’t the smoothest quality and there is some noticable jitter in extremely high action moments of video (like the 30 seconds or so of ABC’s Crash Course that I used to test). It’s not unwatchable, however, especially if you’re exporting it for watching on a small screen like the iPhone’s.

18 thoughts on “How to use Snow Leopard’s new QuickTime Screen Recording feature to record Hulu content for your iPhone

  1. Cool… it is a great step by step instruction… I am looking for method to record screen on Mac… and you helped me all… thank you!

  2. Hello,
    I used this Soundflower method (thanks) to record a screen with a steam train video on it, and got an echo, not real bad, but bad enough. Is there a fix for that? I had the audio key (F10) off on my Macbook Pro.
    Thank you.

  3. OK, I fixed the echo by lowering all the way that volume control below the red record dot.
    That did it.
    Thanks much,
    Jerry R.

  4. Is there a way to use the above method, but confine the recording to just one window on the desktop?? I’d love that.

  5. Steve and all: You could buy iShowU HD and do all of that a bit more easily. It will also allow you to select a section of the screen (one window) to record or the entire screen. It can also do it in the full 29.97 FPS.

    But wait, there’s more. It will record video and audio from anything, Hulu, Youtube, or anything that appears on your screen. Naturally, this is not as good as downloading, but even if d/l is not enabled, it will capture anything displayed on your screen and save it as file.

    .mov files too big? Open it in Quicktime and export as an mpeg-4 or wmv file. By clicking the Options button in the Export window, you can choose size, quality, etc. Quicktime is a marvel, but I’m not satisfied with the screen recorder functions.

  6. I just want to comment on this article. The technique used for quick time is very smart, though I do want to say that you are able to record audio and video at the same time in the quick time program. All you have to do is select Screen Recording. Once opened there will be a drop down arrow that you select. There you will see options to select the microphone settings. Select (built-in microphone: Internal Microphone). From that point on you can now record video and audio at the same time.

    1. Umm no, that does not work. If you choose the internal mic, then you are using the mic that is built into the Mac. That can not record system sound. All that can do is record external sound.

      1. Macgver solution: A wire… physically connect Audio-Out to Audio-In (mic input)?

        Alternatively — can Ambrosia’s Wiretap reroute Audio-Out to Audio-In internally?

  7. Hey CK! I can’t get it to work! I’m tring to record sound from applications not internet/Hulu… Is there any differences?

    Please give us more tips about your sound setup volume! Does it needs to be like it’s showing inside screenshots?

    Thank you!

  8. Allright now I guess i got it, i need to change booth: Input And output to soundflower, and then change sistem preferences agin to hear the output record ;)

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