Skype is one of the most popular internet telephone and video chat services. It’s great for calling people in different countries and avoiding hefty phone bills.
You can call other Skype users for free or any phone number for a far lower rate than your phone company would charge. This makes Skype especially good for conducting interviews and having meetings.
As someone who regularly has to interview someone in a different country, I’ve come to rely on Skype. One feature that Skype lacks, however, is a way to record your calls. If you’re trying to conduct an interview, it’s pretty inconvenient.
Fortunately, there are ways around it.
What to Look For
There are plenty of hacky workarounds for recording Skype calls, like using QuickTime’s Screen Capture mode or any other screencasting app, but they all fall short in a few different areas. They might work in some cases, but they wouldn’t allow you to record any Skype call you wanted quickly and easily.
Before deciding on which app to use, I set out some basic criteria:
- Has to be able to record the audio from both parties as separate tracks
- Has to be able to record both audio and video Skype calls
- Has to be simple to use with no weird configuring or set ups
There was one app that stood out: Ecamm’s Call Recorder for Skype.At $29.95 it’s more expensive than some of the other options, but it’s far better. There’s a free, seven-day trial so you can check it out first before committing.
Setting Up Call Recorder for Skype
Download Call Recorder for Skype from the developer’s website. You can either buy the full version initially or check out the free trial first.
Call Recorder for Skype is an add on for Skype rather than a standalone app. Run the installer and select Install.
You’ll be prompted to enter your password, do it and Skype will open with Call Recorder for Skype running in a small window.
Start by configuring a few things with Call Recorder. Click the Settings icon or go to Skype > Preferences > Recording.
Under QuickTime Options you can configure the quality of the saved files.
If you’re planning on recording a podcast or releasing the video anywhere, I’d recommend increasing the Video Image Resolution from 640x360 to 1280x720.
If you want to record all Skype calls, tick the Record Calls Automatically box.
By default, all files are saved to the Movies folder on the Mac. You can change that by changing the Save Recordings To option.
Everything else is good at the defaults.
Using Call Recorder for Skype
To record a call with Call Recorder for Skype, make the call as normal through Skype and then, when you’re ready, tap the red record symbol in Call Recorder.
To stop recording at any time, tap the Stop button or just hang up. The file is saved automatically.
Editing Recordings With Ecamm Movie Tools
When you buy Call Recorder for Skype you also get Ecamm Movie Tools, a simple video editor, for putting together your recordings.
Once you’ve recorded a call, click the magnifying glass icon to open Movie Tools.
In Movie Tools, you can choose whether you want the two videos arranged in Split Screen, Tiled or Picture-in-Picture. You can also select to just have the Local or Remote video showing.
With Movie Tools, you can’t do any advanced editing but you can set a new start and end point to the call. To set a start point, scrub to the point you want to use and press the [ key. To set an end point, press the ] instead.
When you’ve finished, select the format you wish to export the video or audio to and click Export.
Even with an app like Call Recorder For Skype, you have to do some work to make sure you get a high quality recording.
- For the best sound quality, both you and the person on the other end should be using an external microphone rather than the one that comes built into the Mac
- Skype is very sensitive to unstable connections. Ensure that nothing is downloading in the background and that there are not too many other people sharing the internet connection you’re using
- Ensure you tell the person on the other end of the line you’re recording. Not only is it polite, it may be required by law
Call Recorder for Skype is the best way I’ve found for recording Skype calls. It’s simple to use, can handle both audio and video calls, and has all the features necessary to record interviews or put together a podcast. In this tutorial, I’ve looked at the basics of using it.