Lecture recording is sometimes considered a disruptive technology which has the potential to supplant the traditional higher education model through fundamentally changing how students are taught. Despite this, there is limited evidence that lecture recordings affect student attendance or attainment, and so it is not clear why lecture recording is considered so disruptive. An evaluation was run in a large Russell Group Institution in the UK in 2018 as it rolled out an institute-wide lecture recording programme. In this study, in-depth interviews with 13 staff members and free-text responses from 159 first-year student survey respondents were analysed using constructivist grounded theory to explore why lecture recording is viewed as disruptive, and what the implications of this are for teaching. Both staff and students were concerned with issues which happened inside the classroom (proximate) and wider issues about education (ultimate issues), but these concerns manifested differently between the groups. Overall, the act of recording a space was considered transformative, creating a digital artefact which was both highly valued by students as a ‘tool’ to improve their learning, but impacting on the overall ‘show’ that lecturers felt was a core aspect of the lecture. Ultimately, staff were also concerned that recordings ‘canonised’ the material, and made students too reliant on lectures, whereas students viewed the recordings as a safety net. The implications of this transformative power of recording for teaching are discussed.