Client Side Recording: Lync 2013

Meeting recordings are a core component of Microsoft’s Unified Communications solution. They have a rich legacy in Microsoft’s conferencing products and service offerings and fulfill a key requirement for many companies and individuals.

Generally speaking, recording consists of enabling a meeting participant to capture the information and activity in a meeting in a format that can be played back or shared with others. Crucially, recordings are about getting value from meetings after the meetings have concluded.

Lync’s meeting recordings are an entirely client-side feature which enables all participants in a meeting who have permissions to record to do so. All audio, active-speaker’s video, content and Instant Messages are captured in Lync recordings and presented from the perspective of a virtual participant in the meeting. This ensures that Lync recordings are neutral in their presentation and will not typically differ for users recording the same meeting on disparate endpoints.

While Lync recordings strive to be accurate in presenting content, audio, video and IMs exchanged during a meeting, they must not be treated as a compliance or archiving mechanism. Our intention is to provide a shareable, accurate and complete view of the meeting to those recording the meeting – nothing more or less.


Recording Format

With Lync 2013, we wanted to achieve the following goals with recordings:


  • Ensure cross-platform and device support
  • Become more standards compliant
  • Enable we are well setup to take advantage of native hardware support for encoding purposes in the near to medium term future

With these goals in mind, Lync 2013 recordings are now available in the mp4 format. This is different from Lync 2010 where they are available in a Lync-specific .crec format for rich immediate playback and wmv format for distribution. The reasons compelling this change are detailed as follows:

1. Having two disparate formats for Lync 2010 recordings (.crec and wmv) was confusing and introduced greater complexity than intended. The move to a single format (mp4) ensures ease of use and the elimination of confusion around the utility of one format over the other.

2. MP4 is widely supported on mobile devices, tablets and operating systems. WMV does not enjoy the level of support across platforms that mp4 does. CREC format was only supported on the Windows platform and could only run on Lync 2010.

3. MP4 is largely emerging as the industry standard.

4. The codecs required to support mp4 (.H264 codecs) are expected to receive hardware support for encoding purposes. That would help reduce the time and resources it takes to produce a Lync recording.

5. When compared to the .crec format, mp4s are easily distributable because they are well contained in a single file whereas .crec format requires multiple files to run. MP4s are much easier to upload and share.


Immediate Publishing

In Lync 2010, you had to wait for long while after the recording was stopped for the wmv file to be available for playback. This prevented you from being able to distribute your recordings within a few minutes after the meeting. With Lync 2013, this should no longer be an issue: recording mp4s are available only a few minutes after the recording is stopped. This would enable you to consume and share your recordings within a few minutes after the meeting instead of waiting much longer.

The process of capturing the meeting content, audio, active speaker video and IMs and converting them to mp4 format now happens during the meeting itself. In the best case, meeting recordings are available within the first 5 minutes after the recording is stopped! Previously, this process would begin after the recording was stopped resulting in the publishing (to wmv) process taking about as long as the recording duration itself. This process of mp4 generation during the meeting itself is referred to as ‘immediate publishing’.

Capture and publishing of meeting modalities (audio, video, content, IMs) in to a recording mp4 is CPU-intensive. During the meeting itself, it is undesirable for the recording processes to result in degrading the meeting experience. To prevent this from happening, the publishing process for recording mp4s runs in a low-priority thread which does not aggressively compete for resources with the meeting experience itself. In addition, when the device is operating on battery power, ‘immediate publishing’ is suspended and the publishing process will resume after the device is plugged back in to power. This helps conserve precious resources and power while the device is not plugged in.

The Recording mp4


Lync Recording mp4 showing Content + Active Speaker video layout



Lync Recording mp4 showing IM + Content + Active Speaker video layout

The characteristics of the Lync 2013 recording mp4 can be summarized as follows:

  • Most recording mp4s are available within a few minutes after the recording is stopped.
  • ‘Immediate publishing’ is paused while the device is on battery power. This is to converse battery resources during the meeting because the capture and publishing of the recording material is CPU-intensive.
  • All modalities shared in a meeting (audio, video, content, IMs) are automatically captured in the recording generated as a result of ‘immediate publishing’. You can still exclude certain modalities from the recording mp4 by re-publishing the recoding and choosing the modalities to exclude (details in the next section).
  • Unlike Lync 2010 recording wmvs, recording mp4s are now of a fixed resolution (800x600)
  • The average bitrate for the mp4s is 25 kbps.
  • The frame-rate for the mp4s is 10 fps


Republishing a Recording

The Lync Recording Manager is your one-stop-shop for managing your Lync 2013 recordings. You can perform various tasks such as Playing your recording, Browsing to the recording mp4 location, Renaming the recording, Deleting the mp4 and (Re)Publishing the recording.

Publishing a chosen recording will regenerate the recording. This can help under the following circumstances:

1. The previous attempt at generating a recording mp4 results in an error—while not a common occurrence, the mp4 generation process can fail. Under most circumstances, publishing the recording again will help resolve the issues.

2. You want to view the recording mp4 without certain modalities (audio, video, content, IM).

In order to publish the recording again, please follow the steps outlines below:

(i) Open the Lync Recording Manager

(ii) Select the recording mp4 you want to republish


(iii) Click on Publish

(iv) From the Save and Publish dialog, select Options to choose modalities to select/unselect


(v) Choose the modalities you want to choose to publish in the recording mp4

(vi) Click Ok


Note: upon re-publishing the recording, the previous mp4 will be overwritten by the new instance. If you want to generate multiple copies of the same meeting recording please make a copy of each mp4 manually.


Lync Recordings increase your productivity

Lync recordings have been designed to help increase productivity and efficiency of your meeting experiences. We believe you should not have to worry about missing that critical bit of information during the meeting and keep wondering how to recall. You can not only use your Lync recordings for personal purposes but also share the meeting experience with those who were not able to make it or to a wider audience in general. With the introduction of ‘immediate publishing’ and availability of higher quality recording output, you will find the experience more efficient and fulfilling.

Jehangir Amjad

Program Manager, Lync Client

Comments (48)

  1. Anonymous says:

    It should read….

    The characteristics of the Lync 2013 recording mp4 can be summarized as follows:


    Unreadable video

    Great job Lync team at taking your product from good to terrible.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just experienced the new resolution or the first time… awful and not useful at 800-600.  I had used Lync recording in the past for quick training snapshots…. not good if the recipient can read it.

  3. Tomas Kanturek says:

    Why is there fixed resolution 800×600? We use Lync as online training tool and provide recording to those unable to attend, but I'd really need higher resolution. Almost everyone has 16:9 monitor with at least 1366×768 resolution, so 800×600 looks … weird.


  4. Brandon Shanks says:

    I agree with Tomas. It would be nice to have a high res (or widescreen) option available for those who desire it.

  5. Alex Moseley says:

    Another agreement.  Please, please, please switch to a 16:9 aspect ratio.  We produce training videos from our meetings for a couple hundred thousand workstations all having wide aspect ratio display devices.  Being able to control the resolution (HD vs. less) would be nice too, but aspect ratio being wide is more important than anything else since we have to re-edit and publish with 3rd party tool to convert from 4:3 to 16:9 – be nice if you could choose (4:3 vs. 16:9) so as t satisfy all users.  Please recognize that 4:3 is legacy at this point.

  6. Michael Cottenden says:

    While I agree with the other comments, I also am confused why you have removed the ability to set a start time and end time when Re-Publishing the content. As someone who frequently records and publishes meetings, the one thing that I always have to do is the trim the original recording. We start recording a few minutes before the meeting starts and we want to trim that up front wasted time from the recording we archive. This was a FANTASTIC feature of the Lync 2010 client and now it is gone. I had to uninstall the Lync 2013 client after I realized this trim feature was missing.

    I do appreciate that the meetings are now recorded in MP4 and that they happen almost instantly. Nice work!

  7. Michael Elliott says:

    Using the Lync 2010 client our organization routinely recorded conference calls that included screen sharing that last approximately 1 hour.  The .wmv file produced usually is in the range of 50 Mb.  Since I've started using the 2013 Lync client the same one hour with screen sharing is producing a 260 Mb MP4 file.  The file size is now so large it is proving impractical to post to our central SharePoint site.  The value of Lync recording has fallen significantly for us.  

  8. Reena says:

    How the heck do you save the recording as a .wmv file?  This was so easy in 2010.  Now I can't even find an option to do this anymore.  Does the Lync team not like the Windows Media team?  

  9. Oirad Amaral says:

    I can see the need to keep up to innovations but moving from wmv to mp4 is crating huge issues for users. I am looking to uninstall Lync 2013 and go back to Lync 2010 until I can save mtg in wmv for distribution. Mp4 format is not distributable w/ the size it generates.

    If you have a solution, please let us know.

  10. GB says:

    This move is a complete failing on the product, while most of Lync 2013 shines, this feature is useless in it's current state now, there is no point in recording a presentation when you cannot read the text, why this has been changed, and why it was allowed to roll out is beyond me.

  11. Darren says:

    Just discovered this terrible feature. When recording program sharing from my wide screen, no-one can read anything on the recorded session as the shared content now has been letterboxed with white banners top and bottom. Just terrible. I echo Tomas' comments.

  12. Antti Kivivalli says:

    I can appreciate the fast conversion after the recording has been stopped and the MP4 format, but I think the Lync Recording of the previous version was one of the best things I've seen.

    If meetings are sometimes boring, a recorded meeting is approximately three times so boring. With the Lync Recording it was easy to jump between spoken comments, slides and other share media. Now all you can do is fastforward and hope that you won't miss anything important.

  13. I just recorded a presentation this past Friday on Lync 2013, and the low resolution makes it almost useless. The video framerate, resolution, and bitrate should be configurable.

  14. Steve Reed says:

    This is a huge step backwards!

    The crec format was interactive, and I could jump to specific people, etc. The shading was also much higher quality. with the new mp4 format, shared screens are not readable.

    I love most of the features of 2013, but due to the limitation I wall most likely have to switch back to 2010 for meetings…

  15. Chad says:

    What a disappointment.  Have to switch back to 2010 because of how blurry and large the recording files are.  Kind of mind boggling this was released functioning this way and still no CU to date addressing it.  Can we get a reply from the team on this???

  16. Florian W says:

    Extremely unhappy with the quality, a simple low, medium, high would have been enough. Lync recording was a true surprise in 2010, it made us efficient  and smart. The business loved the feature. Now everyone is asking to downgrade. 🙁

    And while we are on it, its hard to record meeting with phone participants. Its not illegal in my country. i wouldn't mind that there was a voice message informing that this call was monitored, still now I can't even start it, and we need it, people who didnt participate wants to listen in afterwards.

  17. Tony Kent says:

    The low resolution of 800×600 makes the recording feature nearly useless now.    Big disappointment.

  18. Jim Duncan, MCM says:

    I was having problems with all of my recordings taken with Lync 2013 on Windows 8.1; they all showed a Warning (Runtime Error) and when viewed the video said nobody was sharing content (though I was). Also, the video files were indeed 800×600 (4:3) with a low frame rate.

    HOWEVER: I republished them, waited through the relatively quick conversion and then checked the results. The new version now includes the shared content, was sized to 1280×720 (widescreen) and has a very readable quality.

    File size is still bit high (140MB for 50 minutes) but not too bad, all things considered.

    Those of you experiencing issues with aspect ratio and readability, try republishing the recording as described in the post and see if it makes a difference.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Improving Quality of Meeting Recordings – Information Store – ExchangeBlog – TechNetKlub

  20. Franc Hauselmann says:

    Having lost the feature to set a start time and stop time for a publish operation will complicate and slow-down the operations to clean a record… This feature was great in 2010.

  21. Erin Gallagher says:

    Lync – utterly useless programme. Can’t even edit the recording. Another Lync failing.

  22. Kevin says:

    Chiming in with some of the others – I like the mp4 format, but I need to CONVERT some recordings to WMV for upload to an older streaming media server. Can you at least recommend a third-party product, if Microsoft can’t do it internally?

  23. nicko says:

    Most of our recordings are simple PowerPoint slides plus someone talking.

    In Lync 2010 an hour recording was about 60MB and in WMV format, which works just great with SharePoint.

    With Lync 2013 the recordings have swollen to about 260MB and are only in MP4 format, which is proving hard to upload to SharePoint 2010 and will not start playing until the whole file has been downloaded – unlike wmv, which started to play right away. A user
    may have to wait 3-4 minutes with Windows Media Player just saying ‘Connecting…’ before the MP4 is fully downloaded and starts to roll. Only the most patient users wait so long without giving up.

    The MP4 files Lync 2013 produces are set at too high a video frame rate and too high an audio sample rate for the usual content: static images and voice(s). Result: file bloat

    Sorry, but we believe the Lync 2013 product team have not managed to get right the mix of Fidelity vs File size vs Ease of use in Lync recordings of run-of-the-mill inter-office meetings
    Manipulating the MP4 with third party tools (such as Avidemux and qt-faststart) can fix some of the issues, but takes a long time and requires a skilled person’s time.

  24. tracey says:

    Is there a way to re-publish as a Windows Media File? I have some folks that are not upgraded to 2013 yet and are unable to open the mp4 file.

  25. arch says:

    I need to disable the option Browse and Publish in the Lync recording manager….Can you please guide me through it.

  26. sroy says:

    Why is it not possible to record calls between two persons? Why does it have to be a conference call (or some kind of screen sharing) for recording facility to get enabled?

  27. Veeru says:

    Thanks for the post.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is an awesome addition to Office 365 tenants and Office 365 Education customers and is in the process

  29. Peg Lundquist says:

    How do I record a Lync web meeting with audio through the phone instead of VOiP?

  30. Robert Andrew says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog,but this feature is useless.>recording app

  31. says:

    It’s okay to discover someone with some unique contemplations on this subject. Much obliged for offering to us.

  32. says:

    It’s okay to discover someone with some unique contemplations on this subject. Much obliged for offering to us.

  33. says:

    Much obliged for sharing the pleasant data in this blog that to exceptionally cheerful for the decent innovation in this site.

  34. says:

    Good fortunes to the creator! all the best! Numerous distinctions in individuals’ yearning to make the fantasy of each individual is diverse.

  35. Roxy says:

    I have stopped my recordings and none take 5 minutes or less to process. Not only that I cannot hit publish…..everything is non functional. HELP!

  36. John D says:

    As with a lot of your product Microsoft, you managed to take a large step BACKWARDS. Congratulations!!!
    It would be great to provide users OPTIONS so that if not everyone agrees with your rationale of the change, at least they would have the option of using a different file format for recording, so we don’t have to deal with the CRAP you created.

  37. says:

    I concur with your web journal and i will be back to check it more later on so please keep up your work.

  38. M88bet says:

    Additionally, I found this one truly enrapturing and it should go into my social event. Great work !

  39. says:

    I am believing the same best work from you later on too. I expected to thank you for this locales !

  40. hacking Facebook says:

    There’s a lot of individuals that I think would genuinely benefit as much as possible from your substance.

    hacking Facebook

  41. watch star wars episode 7 online says:

    I found this is an illuminating and captivating post so i think as much it is to a great degree profitable and learned.
    watch star wars episode 7 online

  42. says:

    Greatly fair blog and articles. I am realy particularly happy to visit your online diary. Right away I am found which I truly require.

  43. yoga for complete beginners says:

    A astoundingly heavenly blog section. We are genuinely grateful for your web journal section.

    yoga for complete beginners

  44. erectile dysfunction conqueror review says:

    I have scrutinized this glorious post. An obligation of appreciation is all together to share information about it.

  45. show box says:

    Thanks for the great info. I really loved this. I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    For more info on showbox please refer below sites:
    Latest version of Showbox App download for all android smart phones and tablets. – It’s just 2 MB file you can easily get it on your android device without much trouble. Showbox app was well designed application for android to watch movies and TV shows, Cartoons and many more such things on your smartphone.
    For showbox on iOS (iPhone/iPad), please read below articles:
    Showbox for PC articles:
    There are countless for PC clients as it is essentially easy to understand, simple to introduce, gives continuous administration, effectively reasonable. it is accessible at completely free of expense i.e., there will be no establishment charges and after establishment
    it doesn’t charge cash for watching films and recordings. Not simply watching, it likewise offers alternative to download recordings and motion pictures. The accompanying are the strides that are to be taken after to introduce Showbox application on Android. The above
    all else thing to be done is, go to the Security Settings on your Android telephone, Scroll down and tap on ‘Obscure sources’.
    Movie Box, an esteemed movies application in which you can find stacks of programs and films. The guide is given here to download Movie Box app to Android and to Apple iOS 9.0.2, iOS 8.4/8.3 and also for the lower versions without Jailbreak.
    Please do login to Showbox application with the help of Ymail. You can login in Ymail from here –
    Sign Up & Do registration for latest movies on Showbox application

  46. says:

    Thanks for offering this interesting web diary to us.My happiness to landing on your web diary.

  47. fat diminisher review says:

    Never seen this kind of profitable post. I am appreciative to you and expect more number of posts like these.

    fat diminisher review

Skip to main content