DU Recorder is a great little screen recorder for Android. You can find it in the Play Store here. I think this is clearly one of the best, free recorders that is simple and easy to use, so you might want to try it out. It is great for vloggers and casual users alike. In addition to screen recording it sports basic video editing, simple screen shots without hardware buttons, and video streaming. This review is based on version 188.8.131.52, so if you have a different version things could be slightly different.
DU Recorder Key Features
Here are the key features:
- Free, also no in-app purchases.
- No advertisements.
- Provided by Baidu Inc. (the Chinese Google). Think: Well supported.
- Requires Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.
- No root required.
- 4.8 user rating on Google Play.
- More than 10 million installs.
- More than 20 language interfaces.
- Easy video recording with no time limit.
- High quality video: up to 1080p, 12Mbps, 60FPS.
- Record audio along with your video.
- Video editing plus merging videos and conversion to GIF.
- Image editing and stitching.
- Video file transfer over wifi.
- Video streaming.
Firing It Up
After you install DU Recorder you will have the icon to start it up on your screen:
The DU Rec Editor icon will only be there if you select in the settings to have it created. So, if you are going to be doing a lot of video or image editing with the app it is convenient to have it available because it takes you directly to the editing functions. However, you can get to the editing functions from inside the app also.
When you tap the DU Recorder app icon you get a display of four buttons on the right side of the screen surrounding a video cam icon. In a few seconds these will collapse into the orange video cam on the right edge of the screen. This gets the buttons out of the way. Just tap the collapsed video cam to get them back again. Relocate the collapsed floating icon by dragging it with your finger. You can place it anywhere along the edges of the screen: top, bottom, or sides:
There is a setting that will restrict the DU Recorder interface to the notification shade so that it does not get in the way at all. And no orange hot spot will appear on the screen! So, if that is a bother, you have control over it. You can always access the DU Recorder controls, restricted or not, by pulling down the notification shade. This is what they look like in the notification shade in non-recording mode:
Making a DU Recorder Video
Make the Recording
The red circle or Record button starts video recording. This is really the main event for DU Recorder yet it is very simple to do. You get a 3, 2, 1 countdown before the recording begins. You can change or turn off the countdown in the settings if you don’t like that. Now, just do what you want to have recorded in the video.
If you have the collapsed floating icon active it will show a red dot instead of the video cam. This is to remind you that it is recording. When you have recorded all you want just tap the floating icon. Then tap the red square that takes the place of the red dot in the pictures above above. That stops the recording. You can also pause the recording. Then do things you do not want included in it and start it again when you are ready. If you are using the notification shade instead of the floating icon just pull it down. Tap Stop to end the recording. The action you take to stop the recording will become part of the video. But using the video editing described below you can cut that out.
Working With Audio
During recording sound recording through the microphone will be active. That lets you talk your way through what you are doing. Note that you can turn off sound recording in the settings. If you are going to edit the video a lot you might want to ignore audio to begin with. After you have done your editing you can do a voice recording that describes the edited result. Add that as the final voice track.
You can exercise your creativity with voice, sound effects, and music if you are inclined to do it. You might want to use the audio that you record as you make the video even though you plan to edit a lot. In that case, pay attention to what parts you will want to cut out and be sure the audio you want to keep occurs along with the video you will be keeping.
Android prevents direct recording of internal audio. So DU Recorder cannot directly directly capture any sound generated by the apps you are recording or by Android itself. Thus, if capturing that internal audio is important then you can get creative with headphones and a mic. Or you can just let the device play the sound with its built in speaker. In that case the internal mic will pick up the sound.
But my experience was that audio recorded that way did not sound very good. I was able to get by with headphones that have a mic attached to the cable. Trapping the mic between the two headphone speakers so that it was capturing the sound they were playing worked. Kind of klunky and kludgy but it actually sounded quite good. Far better than internal speaker with internal mic. This is an Android thing, not a fault of DU Recorder.
The Recording Toolbox
You get the recording toolbox to control things like the camera, the brush, etc. The video cam with the wrench shown in the two pictures above opens the tool box. Note that what you see below is the toolbox for version 184.108.40.206 of the app. This and other things can change if you are using a different version.
The Screenshot option turns on a “camera” floating icon on the device main screen. When you tap that icon DU Recorder takes a screenshot. One cool thing about this in comparison to using the hardware buttons to take a screenshot is that this will exclude from the image anything that DU Recorder itself is displaying. For example, the camcorder icon, the brush icon, or the very same camera icon you used to take the screenshot will not appear in the image. In contrast, if you did it with the hardware buttons those things would be included. This makes it so easy to make screenshots with DU Recorder that using the hardware buttons in most cases just does not make sense.
Enable the camera and your smiling face will show up in a little window and become part of the recording. Don’t like the initial location of the camera window? Drag it to where ever is more convenient. Tap on the camera window. You get options in the corners to:
- Change the window size.
- Switch between front and back camera.
- Close the window.
The brush option allows you to draw lines on the screen with your finger or stylus. When you activate the brush in the toolbox you get a small translucent options panel at the bottom right of the screen:
It lets you do several things:
- Camera button: Take a screenshot. OK, I’m not sure why either! Probably to capture your drawing art for posterity. This screenshot will not show the options panel or any other control elements the DU Recorder has placed on the screen.
- Eraser button: Turn on/off the eraser. With the eraser enabled your finger or stylus strokes over any previous drawing will erase that part of the drawing.
- Left arrow button: Eliminate the last brush or eraser stroke. Eliminating an eraser stroke brings back the erased part of the drawing. Tapping repeatedly un-does drawing and eraser strokes one by one from most recent to least recent.
- Pallet button: Select the color and/or stroke width. This opens a dot size and color pallet.
- X button: Close the panel.
Closing the panel gets you a new brush floating icon on the screen that will re-open the panel when tapped. You can only draw on the video when the brush panel is open. The brush panel and pallet when opened do become part of the recording although not part of screenshots. DU Recorder erases your brush strokes when you close the brush panel so be aware that if you do not capture your art work for posterity in a video or screenshot it will be lost.
Selecting GIF recorder in the toolbox gets you a GIF video cam floating icon. In this case you record by simply touching the floating GIF icon and letting it record. It records a 10 second long GIF. So, if that works for what you want then this is all you need. But, if you want something longer for your GIF you can record a video and then convert it to a GIF using DU Recorder’s editing options. GIFs are nice because they are really image, not video, files. So, you can put one any place you can put a picture but might not be able to put a video.
Activate Show touches and your screen touches will appear in the video as small white circles where you touch the screen. This can clarify for the viewer exactly what you are doing. It is a nice feature because even though you know what you tapped, slid, etc. that might not be so obvious to the viewer. If that is important for your video this really helps. This option is activated in the picture above.
Watermark will make a DU Recorder watermark appear on your recordings. Leave it disabled if you don’t want that. There are several places where watermarks get placed. This turns most of them off but not all when it is disabled. The ones that do not get turned off by this generally have an X next to them that will remove them if you tap it.
Taking a Screenshot
To use DU Recorder’s screenshot capability turn on the screenshot floating icon as described above. When you tap the floating icon you will see activity on the screen as the screenshot is captured. Then the following options window will be displayed at the top of the screen:
This allows you to view the image, to share it through quite a variety of channels (social media, email, cloud services, etc.), to edit the image, or to delete it. After the screenshot has been taken you can easily find it in the screenshot gallery section of DU Recorder, in the Screenshot section of Gallery, or in many other apps that display the pictures present on the device.
If you are wondering about taking screenshots on other devices or which buttons to press on a particular Android device, for that method this article on taking screenshots on any device may be of interest.
DU Recorder Main Application Screen
The “four squares” button in the pictures above deserves a little more attention. It opens up many of the great capabilities that DU Recorder provides. It is also the gateway to the app’s settings. When you tap it this is what you get:
This screen shows you the most recent videos that you have recorded. It also puts in a plug for Pop Videos and other things they are promoting. In any event you can view these videos from here. You also have options to share, delete, rename, and edit them. (Tap the three dots to get the additional options.) You can see that the video names are date/time stamps of when the video was made. That does not help you much to just look at the name and know which video is which. Renaming can be very useful!
Notice the other four icons at the top of this screen. Very important! We will look at each of these now.
The camera icon shows you screen shots. If you happen to have edited one you see the edited version. These will only be the ones you took with DU Recorder. For ones made in any other way use the Gallery app or something similar. At the bottom of the screen you have options to share, delete, or stitch them:
The live streaming section gives you quite an extensive list of active live streams that you can watch. Slide the screen upward to see more. By default you get all streams in the list but you can also filter them down by categories (Minecraft, PUBG, Clash of Clans, etc.). The category list slides to the left to reveal more. In the bottom right section of the screen you have a Live streaming button. Tap it and you are offered options to live stream your device screen via YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch. So, DU Recorder is giving you options to view streams as well as to create one yourself.
Editing, Transformation, and File Transfer Options
The wrench and screw driver icon is the gateway to much of DU Recorder’s capabilities:
Lets explore each of these briefly. You’ll get the idea of what each one should be able to do for you.
Editing a Video
First, Edit Video is pretty obvious but exactly what kind of editing does it let you do? When you tap that section you will see thumb nails of all the videos. These do not have to be DU Recorder videos. You can edit any videos you have. Just tap the thumbnail for the one you want to edit. I will use an example of a DU Recorder video that I made for this review:
First, you can just play the video. This is nice because you can see the results of editing better. Also, you can go full screen if desired. You can slide to any point you want in the video in case you want to check out any specific points.
The Trim option lets you chop sections off the beginning and end of the video. This is nice if what you did at the beginning or end is not something you want to include. So, clip, clip and its gone! When you select it you get a time line and sliders at the ends to let you easily set the trimming points.
Remove Middle lets you chop sections out of the middle. Very handy for chopping stuff within the video that you really do not want to show. Like with the trim option you get a time line with sliders that mark the chop points. The difference is that the sliders are within the video, not at the ends.
Add Music lets you add either music or any other audio you have available. There are options for selecting music already on the device or to get it online. You can think of it as just “add audio”. You could make a voice recording that describes what is going on in the video after you get done editing it. Then you could use this function to merge your descriptive audio into the finished product.
Add Subtitle lets you place subtitles at appropriate points. These can describe what is going on, point out important things, make a joke, or what ever comes to mind. You can pick when and where each subtitle will appear. And multiple subtitles are OK. One limitation, however, is that subtitles cannot overlap.
OK! You thought that was it? Well… It’s not. There are five more editing options that you get if you slide the options bar to the left. Here are the next four:
Intro & Outro
Intro & Outro lets you add an introductory slide at the beginning and an exit slide at the end. For the intro you can add a video title, a description, and who is the video maker. You can select from several backgrounds for the slides. They provide backgrounds or you can use an image of your own. The outro works the same way but gives you only the options of having a closing remark (“Thanks!” by default) and some contact info.
Background Image allows addition of a background that is displayed behind your video. DU Recorder provides some and you can pick any image of your own. The provided backgrounds will expand your tall, narrow video to standard 16:9 proportions with the area to the right and left being filled with the background. I did not check to see what the results would be if a background image of other proportions were used.
Crop is exactly what you would expect. If you want only a limited rectangular section of the video to be included you can reduce the final video to just that area. For some reason the cropping function worked better for me with a stylus than with my finger. Fat fingers, I guess! You can resize the cropping window and slide it around over the image. DU Recorder will keep only the area inside the cropping rectangle.
Speed allows you to alter the speed of the replay. This permits slowing down to as little as one quarter speed, accelerating up to double speed, or anything in between. You can select different speed factors for different segments of the video. You get a time line with markers you can slide to select the part to apply the speed change to. Be aware that changing speed messes up any audio in the selected section. If you do speed changes where you have audio you might want to re-record audio for those sections or use music if appropriate. Just don’t add the new audio until the speed changes have been made.
Rotate is the final option (not shown above but to the right of the Speed option if you slid the options to the left). It lets you rotate the video in increments of 90 degrees clockwise per rotation. Two rotations place it up side down. Four rotations return the image to it’s original orientation.
When you tap the Merge Videos option you get a screen with thumb nails of all the videos on the device. Each thumb nail has a circle in it with a check mark. To select the videos you want to merge you just tap on the gray check marks. Do this in the order that you want the videos to show in the merged result. The check marks will change to numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. for as many videos as you select. The numbers indicate the order in which they will play back. The final result shows you which videos will be merged and in what order. Here three videos will be merged with “1” first, “2” second, and “3” third:
Now when you tap on the Merge button the merge process will proceed and you get a progress wheel. Notably, if the videos selected are not all of the same resolution the process will be slower:
You will find the merged result along with the other videos. DU Recorder does not alter the original source videos.
Converting a Video to a GIF
You might want to convert one of your videos into an animated GIF. The great thing about a GIF is that it is an image file format. However, it is not a video format even though it displays like a video. That means you can normally place one anywhere you could place any picture but might not be able to place a video. GIFs are usually best for short content that works well playing over and over in a continuous loop.
Be aware that converting a high resolution video to GIF will not work too well. It will greatly reduce the resolution so you might not like the result.
When you tap the Video to GIF option DU Recorder shows you thumb nails of all the available videos. Tap one to select it. The app shows you a screen where you can select the segment of the video to convert. You can slide the beginning and end markers to get the exact segment you want. You can play the selected segment to be sure. When you have the desired selection just tap Save to convert it to a GIF:
When you tap Save the conversion process will begin. It is a little bit slow. When finished you have the option to view the result and/or share it.
Transfer Files Over Wifi
When you tap on the Wifi Transfer option you get a screen giving you an http browser address. When you type this address into your browser you will get a web page that DU Recorder generates. It will allow you to select between videos and images. You just mark the ones you want to download and click the Download button.
However, note that this has no security at all. Anyone on your local network accessing that address would be able to download the files. This might not be a problem but be aware just in case. The greater risk would be to do it on public wifi (not recommended). It is possible you might not get a connection to this address on your browser. There could be a firewall problem. If you are accessing the mobile data network on your phone instead of wifi this capability will not work. Once you close the wifi download screen on your mobile device the app prevents any further downloads.
This is the kind of screen you would see on your browser. I blocked out the local address to protect my local network:
When you tap the Edit image selection you get a screen that allows you to select any of the images stored on your device. This will be all images as long as they are located in the standard places. Tap on the image you want to edit and you will get the image edit screen:
Tap the editing option buttons once to turn them on and once more to turn them off. When active the buttons turn orange.
The Mosaics option lets you fuzz out the area you drag you finger over. Use this to obscure text or image that you do not want to be fully visible in the image. A mosaic pixel pattern will replace what ever was on the screen.
The Crop option is, again, what you would expect. You get a box that you can drag the edges of to change the size. Then you can drag the whole box around to position it just as you want.
The Brush option lets you draw on the screen with your finger or a stylus. However, I found that a stylus worked best. That is where that red arrow came from. If there is a way to change the line color I could not find it.
The Reset option will get you back to where you started if you do not like your changes. I used it a few times because of the inaccurate drawing with my finger before trying the stylus.
If you like the results the save option in the upper right will save your changes for posterity.
Stitching Together Two or More Images
When you tap the Stitch images option you get an image selection screen. Here you can select two or more images to stitch together vertically. This can be really handy when you have taken several screenshots that logically go one on top of another. They may be more useful when merged vertically. And you can trim out irrelevant material in between them after they have been stitched. It has other uses also, of course.
Just like with the merge videos option each image thumb print has a circle with a check mark in it. You select the images in the order you want from top to bottom by tapping the check mark. The check marks turn to numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc. Number 1 will be at the top, number 2 just below it, and so on. You can stitch together up to 10 images. Note that if you tap the image instead of the check mark you get a full view of the image. That can be handy if the thumbnail is not showing you all you need to identify the right images:
When you tap Done you get an edit screen with the selected images vertically stitched together:
Scroll up and down to see the whole merged image. The scissor icon activates a “chop from the middle” mode. That lets you remove a section of the merge area between two images to clean things up. This is available at each merge point between images. When you finish cleaning things up the floppy disk save button saves the results.
DU Recorder Settings
The Settings icon in the main application screen opens a long list of settings. I will not go into them here. Below you will find an image I stitched together using the stitch images capability from multiple screenshots of the settings page. I slid the settings up each time and made a new screenshot. Then I used the scissors you can see above to clip out the unwanted content. You can see all the available settings below. It gives you an idea of what you can tweak in the app:
I guess you can tell I have a pretty good opinion of DU Recorder. Yet, like every other app, it is not perfect. Still, it its imperfections are minor. It is a free, well supported app that can do an excellent job for you if you need to do screen recording on an Android device. And it lets you do some basic editing of your still pictures and videos with the same app.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Have you had any experiences with DU Recorder that you would like to share? If you are logged in you can post comments below. I would love to hear from you!