Review of 3 of the Best Screen Video Recorders
There's a bunch of screen video recorders out there so we're going to investigate 3 of the most commonly mentioned (Loom, Vidyard, Cloudapp), install them, try them out and give our thoughts on each one. We'll include use cases, key differences between them and anything uniquely interesting.
A typical default use of any video screen recorder would be to hit record, talk and save it.
The subsequent video would show your face in the bottom left and allow a quick sharing of the video as a link.
Below is a screenshot of the video landing page that is generated every time you do a recording.
Within Loom they uniquely also allow for responding with your own video. Here is a screenshot of the original video's landing page.
Below I reply to that original video with comments and a new video. It's a video conversation I guess.
Previously Loom had 4 pricing options and they've simplified it to 3.
Loom is definitely the one product we hear about the most as customers ask us to record "Loom" videos to help explain our own features.
What are the typical use cases Loom mentions and how might we need them?
For team Alignment
"Harness the flexibility of asynchronous video to accelerate team communication and boost productivity."
Reading this I'm quite surprised we don't use this internally yet.
We slack, we whatsapp, we email and we use Quicktime or something similar to record video.
Why on earth are we not using Loom? It would be faster to record and talk than type everything out.
Maybe it's just habit? Once we start using Loom we might use it a lot for team comms. Also, with remote work, it's a little friendlier to record vids and send them.
"Record over a website, presentation, or professional profile to put a human touch on your targeted outreach."
We send automated emails but not yet one-to-one personalised videos unless specifically requested.
We do record generic videos for explaining the product but these are higher production value type vids. However I have noticed that simple Loom type vids can be better for more natural walk throughs which I sometimes prefer.
“On outreach in particular, prospects respond well to the human element of Loom. They get to hear a real person communicating with them, but they’re not obliged to pick up the phone, which is very powerful.”
The above makes a lot of sense. Just like live chat is a convenience so is video communication. Again, this is a habit we need to pick up.
Also, as they have tracking and measuring built in we could check the ROI of making and sending these videos and that's one great advantage we have not considered.
For customer support
“My teammates and I love using Loom! It has saved us hundreds of hours by creating informative video tutorials instead of long emails and 1:1 trainings with customers.”
We currently used saved replies to answer many chats. The saved replies link to documents which themselves may contain videos.
We don't do one to one videos on the fly. It's partly because Upscope co-browsing itself is a visual tool for customer support but also we associate making videos with a lot of effort and the idea of doing it on the fly is odd.
However, for creating video tutorials to be used by lots of people, this makes sense.
Loom mentions "Ultrafast uploads and share links copied to your clipboard let you get your message across seamlessly." Yes, this is definitely a factor. Ideally we'd want to hit a button to record, choose a window or tab, record it and then send the link in seconds. Speed is a big factor.
Also mentioned is "Add links to help articles and additional resources right in your video." which is perfect for when we want to also explain another feature which is typically the next likely feature they'll encounter.
There's also internal sharing of the video. We often need to loop in the engineering team and it would make sense to simply record the damn session we already underwent with a customer rather than asking the engineering team to replicate it. I'm feeling more and more stupid in not using something like Loom.
For onboarding team mates
Loom mentions onboarding "agents" almost as an afterthought in the customer support use case but I figured I should separate this out as it applies to all team mates.
They mention "Record onboarding training so new hires can learn the ins-and-outs and get up to speed on their own."
When more than half the team is remote this is now a separate section all by itself. The amount of effort we put into documentation these days is only going up and it should just be videos but the documentation habit is hard to break.
We need 100s of videos. We need a video library. Does not matter if they are rough around the edges, they just need to be done. It might take days to do them but it will take weeks to write out documentation.
The use cases loom mentions are demo what you build, record your feedback, crush bugs.
I used Quicktime to record what I had built back in Jan/Feb. It creates a video which is 200mb+ in size which take an age to add to Slack. If someone else asks for the vid in another channel then it takes another age to add it to that channel. I may be doing something wrong but all in all a 200mb vid shared that way feels dumb.
Also, I asked for feedback via Slack and really it should be directly within the video or next to it. If they can add comments that way that would actually be better. I don't need to chase through the threads.
"Talk to your vision and showcase your design by recording your screen, camera or both."
When we re-designed Upscope our team members included websites they found inspirational and sent them across to the designers.
The process roughly worked but I'm thinking it would have been faster to open a website, record what I liked about it and then published that link. It would certainly be faster to get a list of say 10 websites and run through them all saying what I liked, rather than listing down those websites with notes under them.
However, the notes are faster to read through and check back through but now I can see that loom has a transcription service in beta. Interesting!
"Help customers get the most out of your product with informative videos that showcase new features."
I've seen some very fast growing startups use very simple Loom videos to showcase their features. They are simple, not particularly polished and so they come across as natural. Maybe that's a good way to go where you both save time and money and also put across something that is more human than a manicured advert.
I'm not certain though. I don't like vids that start "hey guys, how's it going..." and I really dislike it when I do that myself. It's just a self-conscious reaction for me. I want it to go fast and get to the point. Editing matters BUT if the person is an expert in using it and is naturally to the point then the simple Loom type unedited video works.
"Loom has a full range of customizable features to let your audience to react, comment, and take action effortlessly."
I don't know how much we'd want people reacting or engaging with some marketing content as the purpose is to convey information and not necessarily act as a point of communications.
“Loom, with the little face bubble in the corner is so powerful. It works so much better than traditional formats, where an audio track runs over animation or a slide show. Having a real face in the corner adds personality and brings the storytelling to life.”
The face in the corner does change things. A voice in the background keeps my head thinking about what the person looks like and what expression they're making when they're talking and I guess the face in the corner alleviates that.
For product management
This use is not that clear to me but that's because product management is something we do as co-founders without actually having read product management books or through using product management tools.
I guess one use case is showing which features I like on another website and then showing how we are currently doing that same features. Definitely a habit to form.
Actually, thinking about it, I'd like a Loom 'product clippings' service where I record small snippets and it goes into the clippings file for future reference. When we come to re-building a feature for flow we can use that clippings library for reference.
What's the killer Loom feature(s) that might push us towards them?
Besides being one of the most popular tools they appear to have a new set of features in development on their new.loom.com page including closed captions, transcriptions, removal of filler words and they're looking to catch up on integrations.
The Loom brand is appealing.
Go to Loom.com
I installed both Loom and Vidyard to have a look at the differences.
They both have the same recording features but it looks like Vidyard moved faster on the Salesforce / Hubspot / Marketo type integrations and has pricing to reflect that.
When creating a video Loom appears to have more options to add comments and to reply with a video. Vidyard's share page did not allow that. Maybe it's in the settings but certainly by default it does not allow it.
The use cases listed by Vidyard are not done by department but by sector. Many of the landing pages are very similar. I'll list a few of the interesting sectors we had not considered as a use case which have added detail.
"Vidyard makes it easy for dealerships and sales reps to connect with clients through the power of personal video – no expertise required!"
We had a few auto-industry CRM providers use Upscope co-browsing and so we looked into the industry a little. There are some dealerships that have used co-browsing + video to do live walk throughs of their website with customers. This is another way to communicate the same thing but not live in this case.
In some ways I'd prefer this. Does anybody really want to talk live with the car sales guy? I'd rather ask questions and get an overview via video and then have time to think.
I guess there is a use case here during and after the pandemic shift to remote teaching.
"Vidyard enables teachers to create and share videos with students and each other". This could just as well be said of Loom which has a different engagement model for each video and allows replies and comments.
That said, both of them could be used to create and send lessons, explain ideas, generate an entire repeatable course.
At Upscope we've got to create a repeatable onboarding course for new employees to understand how co-browsing works so I can see the benefits of creating and lining up multiple videos in a lesson format.
B2C sales video solution
This might be a key part of Vidyard's solution where they allow you to send personalised videos to consumers by "weaving in individual viewer data, like a user’s name or company."
This is where the analytics part of the software becomes important. I've seen plenty of tools out there which generate videos that can be embedded or linkedin into emails sent to consumers but the analytics are essential.
How many clicked through to watch the video? How many watched it all the way? At what point are most of them stopping?
This then allows us to make changes and refine the video until we've got something we can trust to communicate effectively.
Vidyard's integrations with software like Salesforce also means they're able to share the video data to the next step in their sales or marketing process.
They really are more 'enterprisey' I feel.
CloudApp has both an extension and a desktop app. (Turns out Loom and Vidyard also have desktop apps but CloudApp seems to promote it more)
The extension functions much the same way as Loom and Vidyard. The desktop app allows for creation of .gifs and editing of videos and of course has the shortcut built right into the desktop rather than just the browser bar.
One thing I liked is that they have templates including one that adds a 'Book a meeting' button to the bottom of the shared video page.
There are also the support, bug report and announcement templates. The Support one then links to your help section, the bug report one links to 'view issue' etc. This makes things just a little easier in creating a mini-landing page with a clear call to action.
Their pricing is closer to that of Loom though the free plan screen recording is 90 seconds vs Loom's 5 minutes. This one feature is looming large over CloudApp haha. oh god. sorry.
In terms of integrations there is a large list of integrations but I don't see Salesforce mentioned.
The desktop app
I've tested out creating a gif, taking a screenshot, doing an annotated screenshot. It's fast and effective. The gif takes the most time to generate but that's barely 20 seconds depending on the length of the recording. It then loops it when you're watching - which I guess is what a gif is for :)
I do see a video explaining how creating a gif and adding it to Slack via the integration is very useful. That makes sense if they have a desktop app which is easy to use and then embed with. It would likely save us time in explaining things or even just having some fun.
It says the following regarding the mac app "By using the hotkey of your choice, you can take a screenshot and post it directly in the Slack app". Sounds good!
They also have a trim cut type feature built into the desktop app as you can see below.
I believe Loom and Vidyard both have such a feature. I guess I mostly work in the browser but I've noticed that I sometimes forget to use extensions but the CloudApp desktop app puts the icon right there and I'm less likely to forget that.
CloudApp mentions almost the exact same use cases as Loom. Interesting how Loom and CloudApp do it by department and Vidyard goes by a select group of industries.
The workflows mentioned on the right are more like landing pages as part of a content marketing plan rather than specific use cases. Still, that's a good structure for future features - video relays specifically built for remote work? Video for CX whereby customer support can record and tag customer issues which are distributed depending on how many record the same type of video? Hard to say what the app might be but the visual communication side has a lot further to go.
We have a bias towards Loom because it's the first brand we came across that many of our customers already use. That makes it tempting. They're building a good set of new features and might come out with some surprising stuff in the future.
Vidyard looks like the service we'd use for email marketing and especially because it has a Salesforce integration which our current and upcoming new sales hires will enjoy as well as our marketing team.
CloudApp is now on my machine and I'm tempted to use it because of the gifs and simplicity of clicking on the convenient desktop icon. However, Loom and Vidyard also have desktop apps. In terms of website design I think CloudApp is behind Loom and Vidyard but in terms of core 'video screen recording' features they seem to be on the same level.
We might use Loom as a team and I was tempted to keep CloudApp running on my desktop now that I have it installed but as Loom has a desktop app as well I might switch it out. CloudApp has a 90 second limit on vids for the free trial compared to Loom so that's another factor for switching. Vidyard looks like the solution we'd embed into current marketing emails and future cold emails but not just yet.
Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.