The popularity of remote and hybrid work is increasing at an incredible rate. Since the pandemic, around 16% of companies worldwide have gone fully-remote, while 62% of companies allow their staff to work remotely on occasion.
The distributed nature of the workplace today means companies need to invest in new tools to keep their staff aligned and connected. Whether you’re sharing messages in Slack, or video conferencing in Microsoft Teams, you’re probably already investing in tools that will support the change landscape of work.
Loom is quickly emerging as one of the most valuable platforms in remote and asynchronous work. It focuses on allowing users to capture video content, screenshots, and other information for recipients to watch whenever they choose. This can be a lot easier for teams looking to communicate when other staff members aren’t available for a real-time video call.
Today’s Loom review will explore everything you need to know about leveraging this video and screen-capture tool for the age of asynchronous and remote work.
Loom Pros and Cons
Loom is the leading video communication platform for asynchronous work. Designed for speed and simplicity, the solution allows you to record, share, and interact with videos. Over 14 million people across 200,000 companies use Loom to work more collaboratively.
The primary features of Loom include:
- Screen recording: Record your camera, screen, or both simultaneously to share useful insights with your colleagues wherever they are.
- Chrome extension and desktop app: You can record videos with up to 4k quality with a desktop app, or leverage 1080p recording with the Chrome extension.
- Video stitching: If you need to record multiple videos for a tutorial or guidance for another employee, you can stitch them together into a full video.
- Screenshot: If videos aren’t necessary to share contextual information with a co-worker, you can take a simple screenshot and share that through the cloud instead.
- Automatic transcriptions: Using AI technology, Loom can transcribe your video, making it easier to access to a wider range of viewers.
- Filler word removal: If you’re worried about the number of “uhs” and “umms” included in your video content when sharing with a manager or supervisor, remove them with one click.
- Video hosting: Cloud-based video hosting is included with Loom, so you can store your content in an easily-searchable place. This is ideal for sharing the same video with more people, or checking back over previous videos.
- Backgrounds and frames: Add some personality and branding to your looms with custom backgrounds and designs. This can be a great way to make your videos more fun.
- Comments and reactions: Your colleagues can react to your looms with emojis, or leave comments and annotations to keep the conversation going.
How to Get Started with Loom
One of the things that makes Loom so compelling to modern workforces is how easy it is to use. It only takes a few seconds to sign up with Loom using your Google, Slack, or Apple ID. You can also create an account with an email address or SSO.
Once you’ve created an account, you can simply install your application onto your device. Downloads are available for Windows and Mac, and you can get the iOS or Android app directly from respective app stores. There’s also a Chrome extension for Loom.
After installing the application, you’ll have to make sure you enable permissions for recording from your microphone, webcam, and screen. The desktop application will appear in your system tray or menu bar, so you can start recording with one click. There’s also the option to set up keyboard shortcuts.
When you’re fully setup, you can start recording your videos instantly. By default, the app records your screen with a webcam overlay, but you can also choose to record your face or screen individually. The iOS version of Loom does not allow for recording both your webcam and your screen at once, however.
Before you begin recording, you’ll be able to reposition and resize the webcam overlay, and choose whether you want to capture a portion of your screen or the whole thing. You can also decide whether to record system audio alongside your voice.
When you’re done recording, the entire video will automatically upload to the Loom cloud environment, and be accessible through your account. Here, you can edit the video in various basic ways, such as stitching different pieces of content together, cutting out the parts you don’t need, and adding “call to action” buttons which popup for users after the video finishes.
Notably, every video created with Loom is automatically made “public”. You can share the link to anyone, and they’ll be able to watch it without signing up for an account. The share button also offers one-click sharing for social media, and access to code for embedding videos on a website. The Chrome Extension will also automatically convert videos into embedded content for Google Doc, JIRA, Gmail, and GitLab.
Users viewing your video can speed up playback, react with emojis throughout the viewing process, see an automatic transcript, and leave comments.
Loom’s pricing structure is relatively straightforward. There are 3 primary plans to choose from, starting with an attractive free package.
The Starter plan is free for anyone who wants to record quick videos (less than 5 minutes) and share them with colleagues quickly. You can use this package with up to 50 creators, and create 25 videos per person, with access to features like:
- Privacy controls
- Viewer insights
- Unlimited transcriptions
- Instant editing and gif thumbnails
- Screen recording and cam bubbles
- Personal, shared and team libraries
- Video quality of up to 720p
- System audio, with background noise suppression
- Recording canvas with virtual backgrounds
Price: $8 per user per month
The Business plan comes with all the free features of Loom for unlimited creators, and 50 Creators “Lite”. You can create as many videos as you like with unlimited recording lengths. As well as the features in the Starter pack, you also get:
- High-def recording up to 4k
- Drawing tools and mouse emphasis
- Custom recording dimensions and branding
- Filler word removal
- Embedded links for videos
- Removal of Loom branding and custom colors
- Video archiving and uploads
- Viewer insights and engagement insights
- Closed captions
- Security and password protection
Designed for companies with specific recording needs and privacy requirements, the Enterprise plan gives you more advanced admin and security settings. You can also set up unlimited members, videos, and record for as long as you choose. Along with all the features in the Business plan, you’ll also get access to:
- SSO (SAML) and SCIM (Okta) security
- Advanced privacy features
- Custom data retention policies
- Salesforce integrations
- Activity log reports
- Restricted viewing and access
- User roles and management
- Priority dedicated support and account manager
Loom for Education
If you’re a teacher in the digital world, you can access a specialist plan specifically for education. Loom offers qualified educators access to premium features and unlimited recordings for free. You also get advanced HD videos, up to 45 minute recording lengths, and unlimited viewers.
Password protected videos, call-to-action buttons, search functionality, and system audio tools are also included as part of the package.
Loom Alternatives: Your Other Options
Loom is an excellent tool for rapidly creating and sharing video content and screens with your colleagues. It’s easy-to-use, packed full of useful features, and relatively affordable compared to some other options. However, there are other solutions out there.
Some of the most compelling alternatives include:
Slack Clips is the native screen recording feature built into Slack. If you’re already using the Slack service for asynchronous collaboration, it might make sense to choose this product over Loom. With Clips, you can not only capture screen information, but also add voice overs to something, and implement your webcam too.
The Slack Clips feature doesn’t work outside of Slack, so you will need an account to start using the service. Clips can also only be shared in channels or through Slack direct messages. There’s also a five minute limit with no way to increase your recording options.
You’ll also need a paid account with Slack to access this service. Clips is not included as part of the Slack free package.
If you’re using Dropbox for storing and managing files in the remote working world, you can also tap into one of the most recent features introduced by Dropbox. “Dropbox Capture” automatically uploads the videos you create directly into your Dropbox folder, which makes it ideal for sharing with distributed team members.
Though still relatively new to Dropbox, the Capture function offers many of the same features as Loom, including the option to take a screenshot, record your screen, or combine your screen recording with a view of your webcam. You can also record audio, or make a gif this way.
All of the content you produce will be saved to the Capture folder in your Dropbox account. You’ll also be able to hover over the capture to collect an URL to share with colleagues. The “Markup” feature allows you to draw on your content and add annotations.
Another option for those who already have a dedicated productivity and collaboration tool in place with their team, Asana comes with a range of “add-on” features for screen recording and video. One of the most common options is the “Coview” service, which allows you to create detailed videos and screen recordings with a couple of clicks.
You can also use Coview as part of your customer service strategy, allowing customers to capture information and code-level insights into any problem they’re having. All of the content is stored to your Asana account, where you can export screenshots and recordings as Asana tasks.
While the features aren’t exactly the same as the ones you’ll get from Loom, they’re pretty straightforward, and ideal for customer service teams.
Mac and Windows Screen Recording Tools
If you want to avoid adding any more apps to your workplace, or you need to keep your budget as low as possible, Mac and Windows devices also have some of their own screen capturing options. You can capture an entire screen, window, or portion of a screen on a Mac by pressing shift, command, and 3 together on your device.
The QuickTime player on Mac also allows you to capture video recordings of your computer screen. Simply open the QuickTime player, then click on “File”, then “New Screen Recording”. You’ll be able to control exactly which portion of the screen you want to record, and decide whether you want to include your pointer in the recording.
On Windows, the best way to capture screen recordings is with the “Game Bar”, built for Xbox consoles. You can access this feature by going into “Settings > Gaming > Xbox Bar”. From there, enable the Xbox Game Bar, and you’ll be able to start recording videos or taking a screenshot with the click of a button. You can also trigger the game bar with shortcuts.
You should be able to record activity in most windows and applications with Game Bar, and there are various tools for allowing you to adjust your recordings, adding audio, and reducing the size of your screen.
Loom Review: Finishing Thoughts
For capturing asynchronous video messages, screenshots, and screen recordings, Loom is one of the simplest tools on the market. It’s ideal for beginners who want to be able to capture quick videos to share with colleagues in an instant. The fact that other people don’t need an account to watch your videos can make it much easier to collaborate with Loom.
Share your experiences with the Loom app in the comments below, and let us know if you prefer any of the alternative options available today.