$30 screen recorders are much laggier on OS X 10.8 than QuickTime was on 10.6

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by om8zen, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. om8zen macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2015
    I had Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) on my 2007 iMac from 2011 until 2014, and the free QuickTime screen recorder that came with 10.6 did not lag one bit, even when recording somewhat graphics-intensive video games (such as Marble Blast Gold). I upgraded to 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) in 2014, and now QuickTime can barely record a blank screen at 5 fps.

    I think part of this might be because the new QuickTime appears to be compressing the movies as it records them(!), which makes the file sizes much smaller (~100 MB per hour rather than ~5 GB), but makes the framerate during recording extremely low. (Of course, I didn't mind the large file sizes with the old QuickTime, because I could compress them afterwards anyway.)

    But I'm still puzzled as to why the top-quality screen recorders (I've tested the trial versions of Screenflick and Ephnic) can't do any better. I've tried things like recording GarageBand playing a song, and while Screenflick says it's getting 30 fps, the actual visible fps starts at around 10, and drops to about 5 as soon as the display starts to scroll to the right. (I've uploaded a video to demonstrate - click here to watch it.)

    Unfortunately, there seems to be no way for me to test the old version of QuickTime on my new operating system. But it seems absurd to me that a simple software upgrade could bog down the processor/graphics card so much that a $30 top-of-the-line screen recorder is now completely unable to perform on the same level as a piece of freeware that came with the computer.

    Is my computer simply incapable of handling these tasks now? Do I need to get a more expensive screen recorder? Or can I restore QuickTime to the way it used to be, with no live video compression?

    Any help is appreciated.


    iMac 20 inch, Mid 2007
    Processor: 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory: 4 GB 667 Mhz DDR2 SDRAM
    Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT 128 MB
    Software: OS X 10.8.5
  2. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    QT7 is still available, and still works on the latest OS. I am using it on 10.11. Though really, it's pretty long in the tooth.
  3. om8zen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2015
    Hi! Thanks for the input. I had tried reinstalling QuickTime 7 a year ago, but encountered problems because I think it was attempting (unsuccessfully) to replace the newer QuickTime Player in Applications. However, I just tried it again, and it installed perfectly! :)

    I unfortunately can't test out the video recording, though, because it's restricted to the pro version. I'm willing to buy the pro version, but I'd like to ask, before I go dishing out $30, whether I should have reason to believe that it will perform to my satisfaction, given that Screenflick etc. are not (as you can tell from the video). Is this hypothetical disparity between Screenflick and QuickTime something other people have observed? Or is the lag simply due to a hardware deficiency for which no screen recorder can compensate?
  4. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    I wonder if the software has been optimized for CPU with video encoding built in?

    I believe you are spot on about being unable to keep up due to compression of the video but new CPU are able to encode / playback compressed video without taxing the CPU by passing these processes to on chip hardware that is dedicated to handling video compression.

    Maybe look for a means to turn off the compression by saving to an uncompressed file format?

    Food for thought.

  5. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    QT7, to my knowledge, has never had screen recording capabilities - only a player. That has always been enabled by the $30 Pro option. In QT7 Pro, you can set recording quality, which will affect how well your system can keep up. You can set which QT is the default using Finder Preferences, but they can co-exist. I use them both. I can't comment on Screenflick - haven't used it (I use Screenflow and Camtasia, and QT). My suggestion is before spending $30 on QT7Pro, a very dated program with no known future, you consider something like Screenflow, which regularly goes on sale for just a little more. You should check to make sure your platform meets their minimum requirements. One more thought - performance issues can stem from anything in the end-to-end architecture: App, OS, graphics, memory, disk, and CPU. Some of these things are in your control - if you have an 8-year old disk that is failing, you could replace it - and some are not.
  6. om8zen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2015
    @RCAFBrat: I haven't found anything online about this new QuickTime phenomenon. Certainly there's nothing in the QuickTime prefs/menus that relate to this. And again, it seems to be not just QuickTime, but other screen recorders as well.

    @kohlson: I've just found out that the QuickTime that came with 10.6 is QuickTime X, not QuickTime 7. Now I remember why I had problems installing it a year ago. :)
    I tried Screenflow 3, and while it's better than Screenflick, there's still the same problems: the framerate skips very frequently, the screen flickers periodically, and there seems to be no option to set video quality / target framerate.

    Here is part of a (highly compressed) video I found from April 2014 which was recorded with the OEM QuickTime. The video game is running on a ~2002 3D OpenGL engine and iTunes is playing a movie in the background. And it's still keeping up ~15fps with no skips (and I was getting ~30fps during recording). So I know that my graphics card and processor are more than capable of handling this stuff.
    I'm also quite sure that the problem is not a failing disk or anything like that, because I happened to have been recording a video right before I upgraded to 10.8, and then I resumed recording immediately afterward, and there was a noticeable difference in the framerates of those two videos. So it seems like the new OS must somehow be at fault here.
  7. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    What I was thinking of was Quick Sync hardware accelerated enciding and decoding that is featured on newer Intel CPU (Sandy Bridge and subsequent). Perhaps the app is compressing by default and unable to keep up not having Quick Sync available - pure speculation on my part of course.

    The following is a link about Quick Sync if you're interested:


    As for presets, perhaps you have an option to save to an uncompressed file format - as I recall you said files used to be quite large suggesting minimal compression during capture - see what options or settings are available for output file.

    Note I'm on my iPad so can't check myself.

    Best of luck.

  8. om8zen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2015
    Hmm, well the Wikipedia article says that Mac OS X only introduced Quick Sync in 10.8. So that may be the problem -- QuickTime is already using Quick Sync when it wasn't before, because it incorrectly assumes that my old machine can do the kind of hardware acceleration needed to compress the video as it records.

    Well, shucks. I think this means, though, that if I manage to uninstall the 10.8 QTx and reinstall the 10.6 QTx, then it would fix the problem, because 10.6 QTx did not use Quick Sync. Unfortunately, 10.8 QTx is impossible to uninstall, and trying to install 10.6 QTx on top of it seems almost impossible as well (as I figured out a year ago). Any tips? Should I try to downgrade the whole OS? (I'd be willing to do that to fix the problem.)

Share This Page