Do you belong to a trading group that discusses trading strategies?
Do you have family members you’re teaching how to trade?
Would it be helpful if you had a video of how to do something online that you don’t do often, to remind you how to do it?
Do you ever need to contact a support desk and explain the odd behavior you’re seeing?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, and you don’t already have a good screen recorder app, you’re going to love today’s post.
At a minimum, a screen recorder application will let you make a short video of your computer screen so you can document what’s happening on your trading computer, and then share it with others (or just keep a record for yourself).
Here are some specific examples of what you, as a trader, might want to do with a screen recorder app:
- Record a group’s analysis of trades during a postmortem mastermind session
- Make a series of tutorials showing how to set up trades on various trading platforms
- Keep a record of your past trades and your strategies at the time
- Show software support people exactly how their software is misbehaving
If any of that sounds like something you might want to do, read on.
Which Screen Recorder App is Best for You?
There are plenty of screen recording applications available. Some paid, some free. Some good, some not-so-good.
At a minimum, traders should look for a screen recording app meeting these basic criteria:
- Able to record a whole screen, one window, or a specific area
- Able to superimpose a webcam feed on top of the screen capture
- Allow choice of microphone or system audio recording, or both
- Built-in video sharing or ability to export video
- Easy-to-use interface
Beyond that, look for one that satisfies any special needs you might have.
For example, if you need to share your screen recording on multiple devices, you might want an application that can convert videos to various formats.
Don’t be afraid to try out multiple options before you decide. Even the paid ones have free trial periods. Use the trial period to get a better feel for the capabilities of a particular application.
You may even end up keeping access to multiple apps and trading off between them, depending on the task.
Here are our top four choices of screen recording apps suitable for traders, ordered from most to least powerful. If you’ve never used one, you’ll probably want to get your feet wet with Option 4 (Loom), but we’ve included other options here just so you know what’s possible.
Option 1: Camtasia
Camtasia is a professional-grade solution that’s quite popular. It has superior editing capabilities. For example, you can cut, join, insert freeze frame, change volume, and annotate.
Although the workspace looks a bit daunting, it’s fairly easy to navigate and get started doing basic tasks. Their tutorial instruction is plentiful, both from parent company TechSmith and from independent sources.
One big benefit is the ability to separately edit multiple tracks (for video, audio, images, and text). And you can transform PowerPoint slides into video or add slides to an existing video.
We’ve just scratched the surface here in terms of all the benefits Camtasia has to offer. Camtasia’s capabilities are really quite extensive.
The big downside with Camtasia is the price. It’s $249 for a lifetime single license that allows 2 installations per user. And once you buy the license, it’s $49.75 a year to stay updated and get priority support.
Camtasia does offer a 30-day free trial. However, the trial version has time and commercial-use limitations.
My team uses Camtasia for creating videos for public consumption (like replays of our webinars and video tips for YouTube).
So if you need a screen recording app for creating tutorials or videos for public viewing, this one is a good choice. Otherwise, it’s more than you need.
Option 2: OBS Studio
OBS Studio is popular for recording gameplay. The fact that gamers use it means you can rest assured it has the ability to capture high-quality videos. (In contrast, our least powerful option, Loom, only offers HD at paid levels, and only on Mac at the moment.)
Unlike Camtasia, OBS Studio is an open-source and free application that anyone can use without restrictions, even for commercial purposes. And, it offers social media integration for easy sharing on those platforms.
One key reason you might want to choose OBS Studio is to be able to record videos in multiple formats (mp4, flv, mkv, etc).
The downside is, OBS Studio is much more complex to use (and to install) than more basic solutions. You pretty much need to watch a tutorial to be able to perform even the simplest task, like starting a recording.
If you need lots of control over your final product, you have to have HD, you need multiple video formats, or you need to switch between scenes, OBS Studio might be right for you.
But if you just need to make quick videos for simple projects, this is probably overkill.
Option 3: SnagIt
SnagIt is an easy-to-use screen capture tool from TechSmith (makers of Camtasia). The interface is intuitive, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time learning the software.
Although it doesn’t offer nearly as wide a variety of editing options as Camtasia, SnagIt is a highly reliable application for basic video creation with trimming capability. As an added bonus, it allows you to capture, edit, and annotate still screenshots.
SnagIt pricing is much more reasonable than Camtasia at $49.95 for a lifetime license that allows installation on 2 devices per user. The annual maintenance is $12.49 and includes software upgrades as well as priority support.
My team uses it for resizing images, taking and annotating screen shots for inclusion in blog posts like this one, and recording training webinars for later personal viewing.
Option 4: Loom
Loom is quickly becoming the go-to screen recording application for marketing and IT professionals. But it’s great for traders, too.
It’s a web-based app, so there’s nothing to download. Just launch the web page, log in, and you’re ready to record.
Once you’ve completed the recording, Loom offers an easy-to-use basic editor so you can cut out that dead space from while you were waiting for a page to load, or those couple of minutes when your spouse came into the room to let you know the grandkids were on their way for a visit.
Your finished videos remain stored on the loom site. You can even create folders on your account page to keep everything neatly organized.
A Basic account on Loom is free. You’re limited to storing 25 videos on their site, but you can download as many as you want.
Although Loom’s free account is arguably the least powerful of the 4 apps listed here, Loom does offer a more powerful paid option. Loom’s paid accounts offer a 14-day free trial (and unlimited storage). Also at the paid level, you get expanded editing capabilities, access to analytics, and higher levels of support.
Loom is super-popular for sharing videos with help desk people. No upload is necessary. Just make a quick video of where you’re having a problem, then share the link with the support desk. They’ll love you for it!
My team uses the free version for recording our SOPs for continuity planning, and organizes them by process. And, of course, we use it for facilitating our own calls to various help desks.
What Are You Waiting For?
If this is all new to you, start by signing up for a free Loom account and try it out. If you mess up or don’t like what you created, just delete the blooper videos and try again.
One last thing before you get started… For best results, you’ll want to use a head set with microphone to record your voice-over tracks.
Once you start creating simple screenshot videos, you won’t know how you did without them.
Then if you find you need more functionality, use the free trial periods to try out the more powerful apps until you find one that’s a good fit for your trading business.
And maybe most importantly, have fun!
There are more trading computer tips like this one in our free buyer’s guide: How To Buy a Trading Computer. Grab your copy today.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found it helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250.
Image by Madison Yocum on Unsplash.