Using QuickTime for Recording Usability Testing Sessions

Problems with Silverback

For quite a while Silverback - - has been the chosen app for recording usability testing on OS X.

Silverback App Silverback App

It offered an easy way to to capture both what was happening on screen and live audio and video of the user taking part in the session and was very reasonably priced compared to the PC alternative, Morae -

However, it has recently started to degrade as a useful system, a operating system update prevented the use of inbuilt iSight cameras on the current MacBook range;

SUPPORT UPDATE: Apple recently removed a core component that prevents Silverback from connecting to the new FaceTime Camera in the current Macbook range.

which could be worked around by making use of an external webcam. This made Silverback less of an all-in-one solution but was still workable. But following this there now seems to be a general problem with Silverback not capturing audio which they seem slow to address -

Looking for an Alternative

I spent some time looking around for a OS X based alternative before discovering that an ideal solution was inbuilt to the OS, QuickTime -

The reason for me that this didn’t immediately jump out is that QuickTime has always been labelled as a media player and it’s recording functions are not obviously labeled -

How to Record with QuickTime

QuickTime New Screen Recording QuickTime New Screen Recording

QuickTime New Screen Recording Microphone Settings QuickTime New Screen Recording Microphone Settings

Capturing User Picture-In-Picture Style

For this you just need to start two recordings from the menu;

File > New Screen Recording


File > New Movie Recording

The New Movie Recording option will open a video capture screen from the inbuilt MacBook Pro iSight camera (or an alternative webcam if required), reduce this window down, drag it to the corner of the screen with the system being tested and start a New Screen Recording. This will now capture both the user and the system.