Building a web based screen recorder

Unnikrishnan KP

By Unnikrishnan KP

on March 15, 2024

This is part 1 of our blog on how we are building neetoRecord, a Loom alternative. Here are part 2 and part 3.

At neeto, the product team, developers and the UI team often communicate using short videos and screen recordings. We relied on popular solutions like Loom and Bubbles. But they allowed only a small number of recordings in their free versions and Soon, they presented us with the upgraded screens - upgrades were quite expensive for our team due to our team size and the number of recordings we made daily.

So, we thought of building a solution of our own. We found the browser's MediaStream Recording API.

MediaStream Recording API

The MediaStream Recording API, sometimes called the MediaRecorder API, is closely affiliated with the Media Capture and Streams API and the WebRTC API. The MediaStream Recording API enables capturing the data generated by a MediaStream or HTMLMediaElement. Captured video data is in WebM format. We can play it back later using the HTMLVideoElement on any video player that supports WebM playback.

We will build a basic recorder that records the screen, audio from the microphone and then play it back. We will first look at different fragements of code for recording the screen, recording audio, playing back in the browser and then downloading the video file. At the end we will combine them together into a fully working web based screen recorder program.

Record the screen

1let mediaRecorder;
2let recordedChunks = [];
4const stream = await navigator.mediaDevices.getDisplayMedia({
5  video: true,
8mediaRecorder = new MediaRecorder(stream);
10mediaRecorder.ondataavailable = event => {
11  recordedChunks.push(;

getDisplayMedia() is provided by the WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) API. It captures the contents of the user's screen or specific application windows. getDisplayMedia() method prompts the user to select and grant permission to capture the contents of a display or portion thereof (such as a window) as a MediaStream.

There is a similar method called getUserMedia(). It is typically used for applications like video conferencing and live streaming. When you call getUserMedia(), the browser prompts the user for permission to access their camera and microphone.

When there is recorded data available, ondataavailable() callback is triggered. We could process the data in this callback. In our case, we collect the data by appending it to an array named recordedChunks.

Record audio

1let audioStream = await window.navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia({
2  audio: { echoCancellation: true, noiseSuppression: true },

To capture audio, we use getUserMedia(). It is typically used for applications like video conferencing and live streaming. When you call getUserMedia(), the browser prompts the user for permission to access their camera and microphone. But we want to capture only the audio, so we pass the audio parameter.

The audio key accepts a set of parameters that would let us control the quality and properties of the captured audio stream. In our example, we have enabled echoCancellation and noiseSuppression - two good features that would enhance the quality of our screen recordings. The complete list of audio options is available here.

The audio stream could be composed of multiple audio tracks - the microphone, system sounds, etc. We will add these tracks to the video stream we had previously set up using getDisplayMedia().

1audioStream.getAudioTracks().forEach(audioTrack => stream.addTrack(audioTrack));

Playback the recording

We now have an array named recordedChunks, which contains sequential chunks of the recorded data. Video players need video data as a Blob. A blob is a file-like object of immutable, raw binary/text data. We must convert our recordedChunks array into a Blob to be played back or written into a file.

To construct a Blob from other non-blob objects and data, we can use the Blob() constructor.

1const blob = new Blob(recordedChunks, {
2  type: "video/webm",

Suppose we have an HTML video tag in our page.

1<video id="recordedVideo" controls></video>

When the video recording is stopped, we could create an Object URL for our recording blob and attach it to the video player.

1mediaRecorder.onstop = () => {
2  let recordedVideo = document.getElementById("recordedVideo");
3  recordedVideo.src = URL.createObjectURL(blob);

We can now play the recording on the HTML video player.

Similarly, we can create a download link using the Object URL for the recording blob.

1let a = document.createElement("a");
2let url = URL.createObjectURL(blob);
3a.href = url;

We can now download and play the recording locally on any video player supporting WebM playback.

Putting it all together

We have glued together the code fragments discussed above and created a demo for a basic web-based screen recorder.

You may view the source code here.

Next steps

Now that we have a basic screen recorder in place, we have to consider the following:

  1. Persistent storage.
  2. Chunked uploading.
  3. CDN support.
  4. Playback with support for streaming.

We will cover these topics in the next set of blogs. Stay tuned.

If you liked this post, see our full blog archive.

Stay up to date with our blogs. Sign up for our newsletter.

We write about Ruby on Rails, ReactJS, React Native, remote work,open source, engineering & design.