Download BigBlueButton recordings as videos

Oct 19, 2021 by Thibault Debatty | 4050 views


BigBlueButton is a great platform for online teaching. It has many features like built-in drawing tools (even supports multi-user drawing), breakout rooms, chat, shared notes, polling, screen sharing, session recording etc. But, the recorded sessions are no actual videos.


How BigBlueButton works

During the meeting, the different "streams" are recorded separately: presentation pages, chat messages, drawings, audio stream and webcams. On the playback interface, the different streams are "played" separately from each other, maintaining the synchronization. This allows to spare a lot of bandwidth as only the webcam streams have to be recorded as videos.

But if you want to share or archive the session, you might some time prefer a video recording...

TLDR : use Docker

You can use our Docker image to capture the recorded session into a video. By default, videos are saved to the /video directory of the container, so you must use a mounted volume to get the video on your host machine:

docker run --rm -v `pwd`:/video cylab/bbb-recorder <URL>

Where <URL> is the URL of the recording. E.g.

docker run --rm -v `pwd`:/video cylab/bbb-recorder


How it works

Under the hood, this image contains an X virtual framebuffer (xvfb) and a node script that:

  • launches an instance of Google Chrome in full screen, using xvfb as a virtual display, and with screen capture activated
  • open the provided URL
  • start the video
  • wait for the end of the video (so it will take some time...)
  • save the recorded screen capture

The source of the image is available at

This blog post is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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