I’ve always been one for screen recording/screencast/video capture tutorials. I feel that they help me understand and emulate the ‘tutorial’ better, because I can actually see what the person is try to say. Plus, it’s so much easier as a person who is trying to tell someone something to just show how to do it instead of describing to someone how they can do something. Of course, using things like screenshots (with software like the free and excellent Screenshot Captor) should suffice most of the time, but sometimes, its just easier to do screen captures.
Once you are done recording a screencast, you can easily upload it to a video sharing service like YouTube. Plus, screencasts/screen recordings are useful when you’re doing a presentation and don’t have the luxury of bringing along your laptop or an internet connection. I must mention here that if you are using a video recording for a presentation, please do not make it annoying with all sorts of click noises, and also please make sure that the text is readable. I find that many people just take a screen recording of a screen that is 1900 x 1200 and the mouse cursor looks like an ant moving around on the screen – not good when you want to show people something.
First up –
Free and Open Source screen casting and screen recording software
CamStudio – This is probably one of the most well know free open source screen recording software out there. It has the ability to capture everything on your screen in different file formats (like AVI and SWF) and also has the ability to record audio along with the screen recording. It’s perfect for those tutorials that you might want to do. It also has other feature like mouse highlighting, and mouse clicking sounds. However, I find those two features a bit annoying, so I wouldn’t recommend using them, because I’m sure there are many people like me out there. Recommended for Screencasting Tutorials.
Taksi – A screen recording software that was primarily built to recording video games and other 3d applications. Because of this, it has live compressions systems to keep the size of the files produced down (because video games usually have a high frame rate – which inflates the file size of normal screen recordings). Recommended for Video Game Recordings
Virtual Dub – Another open source screen recorder. It was mainly built for Windows though, so it saves files as AVIs, although it has the ability to use several codecs. This doesn’t have as many options as CamStudio though.
Freeware (but not open source) screen casting/screen recording/video capture software
Wink – This is a program that was specifically created for the purpose of tutorials and presentations. It has many additional features like the ability to add ‘comment boxes’ while the video is playing to tell the viewer about important information, and also saves the output as swf files for easy uploading to your web server. It’s almost like Camtasia/Captivate (both of which are paid software) but it does the same thing for free. However, it does have some limitations when it comes to the video player and the design of the callouts.
Evan’s AVI Screen Capture – Simply captures everything on your screen and your screen cursor. You can then import the AVI into some other kind of video editing software like Windows Movie Maker and then add narration if desired.
Capture Fox – Capture fox is a great little addon for Mozilla Firefox, that can capture video recordings of websites as well as anything else that can be displayed on the computer. It can also capture audio input as well. However, you will require Firefox to be able to use the add-on.
Jing – Although I don’t particularly like Jing, it’s still an application that can record everything that’s on your screen. I can also record system audio or microphone audio (but not both). You can also directly upload screen casts to screencast.com. It’s free for now, but in the future, expect premium services.
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