Whether you want to shoot a tutorial or a video of you playing Angry Birds, you’d need to capture what happens on your screen in real time and up until now, this was a pretty daunting (read, almost impossible) inside Android.
The reason was partly the lack of hardware to support enough frames of video recording, but with the jump to 28nm and quad-core Tegra 3 chips, Android has certainly grown to be able to record itself. In Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google added the Power and Volume Down key combination for grabbing a screenshot, but did you know that all device running on Android 4.4 KitKat and later can easily capture Android screen video? So, how do we do it?
1. The easy way to screencast (Android 4.4 AND root required)
To record a video of your Android screen (or to screencast) is extremely easy if you have a device running on Android 4.4 KitKat that is rooted. All you need to do is to download a free app from the Google Play Store called Rec. (Screen Recorder).
Rec. is a beautiful, modern app that captures video of up to 1 hour and can even record Android sound (not system sound, though, it only records from the microphone). It runs in the background and you can use it to record gameplay (and games and apps in general) on Android. After you use it to shoot video of your Android screen in action, you can enjoy 30fps video saved to your internal phone storage.
2. Recordable: the no-root way to record screen video on any version of Android, 2.3 Gingerbread and after
While Rec. is our favorite completely untethered way to record Android screen video, Recordable is the one that is most versatile: it works without requiring you to root your phone, and it also theoretically works with any version of Android, 2.3
Gingerbread and after. It does not do miracles - it is still impossible to capture system audio (you only grab mic recordings), but video turns out smooth and perfectly usable, even for game videos.
3. The sure way: via Android SDK and ADB (works only with Android 4.4 KitKat and later)
The most sure way to record Android screen video is via Android's own SDK. We've covered the method in full depth, and while it's fully tethered and requires a bit of tinkering, it's the geek's way and if nothing else works, you should try it.
4. For earlier Android versions like Jelly Bean: the hard and expensive way (using an HDMI recorder)
To screencast via the afore-mentioned apps, you need the latest versions of Android, but if you want to record screen video on earlier Android device to boost your YouTube Android video blogging career, you might want to invest in an HDMI recorder like the Intensity Pro PCI Express card by Blackmagic. And that’s an investment your wallet will feel - the Intensity Pro card costs $199. Of course, you’d need to also have:
- an HDMI port on your device in order to record,
- a PC/notebook where you can install the PCI Express card.
So how does it work? First you’d need to go through the hackery of installing card itself in your PC/notebook (luckily, there’s support for Windows, Mac and Linux), and once you’re done you can hook up your phone to the card’s HDMI port. Then, you simply run the included capture software to record the high-quality video from the device.
The best thing about this method of Android video capture is that you get almost perfect quality videos, ready for YouTube and other social mediums.
So these are the two ways we know yielding Android screen capture videos with decent frame rates. Do you know of an easier, or just alternative way? Feel free to share your experience below.
Here’s how to capture screen video on Android (using method 1, or Rec.)
Note: You can use this how-to tutorial guide for Android screencasting with phones that run 4.4+ like the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, Note 3, HTC One (M8), LG G3, G2, Moto G, Moto X, Sony Xperia Z2, Z1, Xiaomi Mi3, etc.