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Recording Captures with Personal Capture for Mac
Last Updated: Mar 28, 2019 10:08AM EDT

This article applies to:  Echo360 Instructors

End of Support for Personal Capture
August 30th, 2019: The download links for PCAP will be removed from the platform. This is also the end of support date for these applications in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). While the applications will likely continue to work for the rest of the year, there will be no support available. Clients in the EMEA region should plan a full transition to Universal Capture before this time. Clients in other regions can continue to use existing PCAP installations but will no longer have the ability to download it.
January 15th, 2020: This date marks both the end of life and the end of support for these applications globally. As of this date, PCAP will cease to work with the Echo360 platform due to enhancements in the capture pipeline that will only work with Universal Capture. It is of utmost importance that all Echo360 clients complete their transition to Universal Capture by this time.

Before creating a Personal Capture (PCAP) recording, be sure you have installed Personal Capture for Mac and have identified and configured the recording devices you want to use for the input types you want to capture.


  1. Launch Personal Capture: Double-click the desktop icon, or select Echo360 Personal Capture from the Applications folder.
  2. Prepare and preview the items to be recorded.
  3. Start the recording.
  4. Pause and resume the recording as needed.
  5. Stop the recording.
  6. Review and edit the recording as needed.
  7. Publish the recording.

Once your capture is published, it is processed and placed into the classroom for student viewing. You may need to make it unavailable if you don't want students viewing it immediately.

Practice! Practice! Practice! We recommend you spend some time creating test captures, just so you get used to working with PCAP. Go ahead! Make a holiday greetings video for some relatives, or the product advertisement you always thought they should make. Edit your captures, so you understand the PCAP editor's capabilities and limitations. All recordings are saved locally (until you publish them), so no one even has to know you did it. And you can delete any capture at any time.

Best Practice - Use the keyboard shortcuts

For more streamlined and professional looking results, we recommend learning and using the keyboard shortcuts to pause, resume, and stop the capture. This allows you to control the recording without showing your actions (either on video or on the display being captured), potentially reducing items that may need to be edited from the capture before publishing.

Action Keyboard Shortcuts
Pause & Resume (toggle) Command + 6
Stop the recording Command + 8

Prepare and preview the recording space 

Before beginning a recording, you have the opportunity to preview the inputs being captured. You may also want to take this opportunity to clear the computer desktop of unneeded programs, and open any presentations or materials you plan to show.

Clean up the desktop

We recommend that you close (or at least minimize) all applications and windows except for Personal Capture and any applications you will use during the recording. The recording will be less cluttered and more professional looking.

Open the presentation file(s)

If your capture will include computer Display input, open any files or other items you plan to show on the computer during capture. This helps reduce any "fumbling" or unnecessary computer actions, all of which are captured in the recording, and help ensure a smooth presentation of materials.

After opening the presentation(s) or other files, minimize any you won't be showing at the beginning, and note their location in the taskbar. This provides a clean space to capture, and for smoother transitions from one item to the next.

Preview the items being captured

  • Launch Personal Capture, then click Start Recording.

RELAX! This doesn't actually start the capture. It does, however, open the preview screen, shown below, where you can select what inputs you want to capture (display and/or video), and preview them before actually beginning to record.

It also allows you to enter a Title for the recording (though you can add this later if you prefer).

PCAP for Mac preview screen with selected inputs and previews and title field marked

Check or Uncheck each input to see how it changes the preview.

Use the preview to be sure what you want to capture is actually being captured. What you see on the screen is what will be recorded.

Audio is always captured. You cannot uncheck the audio input.

If the input device you want is not showing:
If for example, your input selections show a display device and a video input, but you want to capture dual video, you will have to change the recording device input configuration. Be sure the second camera is attached to the computer, then click Configure from the preview screen (shown above). From there, be sure that the Device selections for Video (Left) and Video (Right) are both cameras.
You may also want to lower the video quality, depending on the processing power of the computer you are using.
NOTE also that PCAP cannot record content that is HDCP protected, and many newer Macs have HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) enabled. If your display feed is not showing up, you may try showing the material in standard definition or select other content that is not HDCP-protected.

Start recording

After setting up the items you want to capture, and selecting and previewing the inputs, you are ready to begin recording.

  1. From the preview screen, shown above, click Start Capture.
  2. The Personal Capture window minimizes and a countdown dialog box appears. This countdown box also provides a reminder of the keyboard shortcuts you can use to control the capture. 
    If your capture aborts at this point, see the note below this procedure for possible cause/resolution.
  3. When the countdown timer disappears, notice that a Personal Capture icon and timer appears in the menu bar at the top of the screen to let you know how long you've been recording.
    Clicking the icon also provides access to the pause/resume/stop commands for the recording.
    Personal capture icon in menu bar
  4. Begin the presentation.
  5. During the recording you can pause and resume the capture, using the keyboard shortcuts or the commands accessed from the Personal Capture icon.
  6. When finished, stop the recording.

After the recording stops, the Personal Capture window re-appears on the screen. At this point, you can review and edit the recording, and publish it when you are ready.

If your capture aborts immediately after starting
This situation, while rare, typically occurs when performing dual-video capture using two high definition cameras. It can occur if your computer does not have sufficient resources to process the flood of data from both cameras.
You have these alternatives:
-- Reduce the resolution on one or both cameras and restart your capture
-- Capture a single video input using just one high definition camera, then restart your capture

Pause and resume a recording

To pause a capture

  • Press Command + 6, or click on the Echo360 icon in the menu bar and select Pause.

To resume a capture

  • Press Command + 6, or click Resume in the Personal Capture window (which appears when you pause).

You can pause a capture for up to 15 minutes. After that, you are prompted to either continue or stop the capture.

Best Practice: Use the Keyboard Shortcuts
We strongly recommend that you use the keyboard shortcuts for pause, resume, and stop. If you do not use the shortcuts, your capture will include screen actions that you will have to cut out in the editor.

Stop recording

When you are finished with your recording, you can stop it. Once stopped, the recording file is saved to your local computer and can be reviewed, edited, and ultimately published to a class.

To stop a capture

  • Press Command + 8, or click on the Echo360 icon in the menu bar and select Stop Recording.
    Stop Recording
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