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Guide to Hybrid & Online Learning at JMU

Use Zoom to record a presentation

Zoom is a popular videoconferencing platform. It is not officially supported by JMU IT (WebEx is the online conferencing tool that JMU IT supports), so support for Zoom is limited, but you can of course use it.

Here are links to the information about Zoom on this page:

What benefits does Zoom offer as a way to record presentations?

While Zoom is not the most robust video recording software available, it is useful for recording presentations due to its simplicity and ease of use. Recordings can be started, paused, and stopped with one-click actions and video conversion is done automatically when a meeting ends. The resulting file(s) can be edited further in another program or uploaded directly to e.g. Canvas, Dropbox, etc. (See the question “How can I my upload Zoom recordings to Canvas?”)

Note: Zoom is not officially supported by JMU Information Technology, so support is limited. If you might need personal support from IT, consider using the JMU supported WebEx. A guide on presenting and recording with WebEx can be found at: 

Do I need an account to record my presentation on Zoom?

Yes. Although an account is not needed to join an existing Zoom meeting, you will need an account to host and record a Zoom meeting. You can create a free Zoom Basic account on the Zoom website.

A screenshot of the homepage of the Zoom website

This and all other images are provided by James Madison University unless otherwise specified.

During the account creation process, you will be asked to verify your birth date and your email address for security purposes. Be sure to register with an email address that you currently have access to. This may be your email.

Note: Presenters using Chromebooks or mobile devices will be unable to record and save video with a Zoom Basic (free) account. Use a desktop or laptop computer with Windows or MacOS if you have access to one or consider an alternative video recording software such as WebEx. 

Do I need to download the Zoom app to record a meeting?

Yes. Although you can join an existing Zoom meeting through your web browser, you will need to download the desktop application to record a meeting. You can download the Zoom client directly from the Zoom website. Alternatively, the first time you start or join a Zoom meeting in your browser, a dialog box will ask if you would like to download the client.

A screenshot of the Zoom website when attempting to join a meeting for the first time. The screen is a mostly plain background with the Zoom logo and the text, "If nothing prompts from browser, download & run Zoom." The last few words are part of a hyperlink that leads to a download page.

How do I start a recording in Zoom?

In order to record audio or video in Zoom, you must be participating in a Zoom meeting. This can either be an individual/private meeting or a group meeting. By default, only the host of a given meeting (the person who started the meeting) can record video and audio.

How do I host a Zoom meeting?

The simplest way to start a Zoom meeting is from the desktop client. To start a new meeting, click the button labeled “New Meeting.”

You can also begin a meeting from the Zoom website. Doing so will prompt you to open the desktop client if you already have it installed or ask if you would like to download it if you do not. (See the question “Do I need to download the Zoom app to record a meeting?”)

How do I record a Zoom meeting?

When you have successfully started a meeting, the menu bar along the bottom of the client window will give you various options. If you are the host of the meeting or have been given recording permissions by the host, one of these options is a button labeled “Record,” which will record the meeting when pressed.

While a recording is in progress, this option will be replaced by “Pause” and “Stop Recording.” Pausing a recording will allow you to take a break and resume the same recording later in the same meeting. Stopping the recording will end the current recording. If another recording is started, it will save as a separate file. When the meeting ends, Zoom will convert and save the recorded video and audio. This may take a few minutes. (See the question “Where are my Zoom recordings saved?”)

Can I include PowerPoint slides or other files in my Zoom recording?

Yes. In addition to recording video from the device’s webcam, Zoom also supports sharing digital files using a screen sharing feature. Meetings can use webcam video or shared screens exclusively, or can feature a combination of both.

How do I share my screen?

When you are hosting a meeting in the Zoom desktop client, there is an option in the bottom menu bar labeled “Share Screen.” Clicking this button will allow you to share some or all of the contents of your device instead of or in addition to the video from your webcam. If this is the first time you are sharing your screen through Zoom, you may be asked to allow the application to record the contents of your screen. This may look different depending on your device’s operating system.

Once you have allowed Zoom access to screen recording—or if you have already done so in the past—you will be presented with a dialog box that will allow you to select which content you would like to share in the Zoom meeting. You can choose to share the entire screen or just one open application window.

When you have selected which content you will share, click the “Share” button in the bottom right to begin sharing the content in full screen view. If there are any other meeting participants, they will now be able to see the content you are sharing (See the question “Can I record a group presentation in Zoom?”).

The window(s) being shared will now be surrounded by a green outline and the Zoom menu bar will shrink and move to the top of the screen. To see the full menu bar, hover over it with your cursor. The menu bar will not be visible in recordings of the meeting. 

To stop sharing your screen and return to relaying only webcam video, click the “Stop Share” button.

How do I choose a recording layout?

By default, content shared with screen sharing will be overlayed with a small video of the active speaker in the upper-right corner of the display. This can be disabled or turned off if desired.

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If there are multiple participants in the Zoom meeting, you may also enable “Gallery View” to see video overlays of multiple participants at once (See the question “Can I record a group presentation in Zoom?”).

Image credit:

How do I record my shared screen?

A recording or a video made from a Zoom meeting will include the shared content and the video streams of any visible speakers, if applicable, as they appear in the Zoom client. Visible participant videos will appear in the upper-right corner of the recorded video, even if they are moved elsewhere during the live Zoom meeting. 

See the question “How do I start a recording in Zoom?” to get started.

Can I record a group presentation in Zoom?

Yes. A recording of a Zoom meeting with multiple participants will contain video of all participants as they appear on screen during the meeting.

How do I invite more participants?

When you are hosting a meeting in the Zoom desktop client, there is an option in the bottom menu bar labeled “Invite.” 

Clicking this button will open up a dialog box which will allow you to choose whom you would like to invite. If you have contacts established in Zoom already, they will appear here. If not, you may also copy your Zoom meeting information and send it through emails. 

To join your meeting, invitees may either click the link in the email they receive or use the “Join” button on the home screen of the Zoom desktop client and enter the corresponding meeting ID and password.

How do I choose a recording layout?

By default, a Zoom meeting with multiple participants is displayed in “Active Speaker View” where the video feed of the participant who is speaking at any given moment fills most of the screen. Other participants are shown as thumbnails across the top.

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Note: In a one-on-one meeting with only two participants, Active Speaker view will display your video at the top, and the other participant's video below. 

The other layout option is called “Gallery View,” in which all participants’ video feeds (up to 49) are simultaneously displayed on screen in a grid. 

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A recording or a video made from a Zoom meeting will use the layout of the person who started the recording and the resulting video will appear as it does in the Zoom client (i.e. if you begin a recording in Active Speaker View, only one participant’s video will be shown at a time in the saved file; if you begin a recording in Gallery View, the resulting video will show all participants in a grid accordingly). 

This setting applies whether participants are visible on screen via webcam or are sharing their screens—either will show up in the final recorded video as they do in the Zoom client (See the question “Can I include PowerPoint slides or other files in my Zoom recording?”).

What are the limits on Zoom recordings?

Individual Zoom recordings or meetings with only two participants do not have a time limit. Group meetings with three or more participants are generally limited to 40 minutes when using free Zoom Basic accounts. If your presentation requires more time, consider recording it in multiple parts. 

Where are my Zoom recordings saved?

By default, local Zoom recordings are stored in the “Documents” folder of the user who is signed in to the computer when a recording is made. This may look slightly different depending on whether your computer is running Windows or MacOS:

  • PC: C:\Users\User Name\Documents\Zoom
  • Mac: /Users/User Name/Documents/Zoom

Recordings from each Zoom meeting are saved in a new individual folder with the date and time the meeting started, the host’s name, and the 10- or 11-digit meeting ID. For example, if Jane Smith recorded part of a Zoom meeting which she started at 3:30pm on April 20, 2020, the new folder which the recording is saved to might be named something like “2020-04-20 15.30.45 Jane Smith’s Zoom Meeting 9876543210”. 

A screenshot of a MacOS Finder window containing a folder named according to the default Zoom folder naming conventions

The folder for each meeting will contain at least one video file (.mp4) and one audio only file (.m4a). It may contain more than one of each if more than one recording was started and stopped during the meeting. (See the question “How do I start a recording in Zoom?”)

How can I upload Zoom recordings to Canvas?

Canvas supports video and audio submissions and uploads. To upload a Zoom recording as an assignment submission or to a group in Canvas, follow the same steps you would normally follow to upload or submit any other file:

  1. Navigate to the JMU Canvas Portal
  2. Navigate to the assignment or group where you would like to upload your recording. 
  3. Click the “Submit Assignment” button. 
  4. In the submission dialog box, select “Choose File.” 
  5. Navigate to the folder where your recording is saved.
  6. Select the file you want to upload and click “Open.”
  7. Check that the correct file was uploaded.
  8. Click the “Submit Assignment” button to finish.

You are unlikely to run into any issues with video length or file size in Canvas. In the rare case that you do, please contact your instructor with ample time for them to help you resolve this issue before the due date.

How can I ensure the security of my presentation or recording?

Please consult the following data privacy consideration guide and making Zoom meeting safe and secure guide:

More resources for using Zoom

Resources from James Madison University:

Resources from Zoom: