Screencasting

Screencasting

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Term2.png SCREENCASTING
A screencast records digital videos of desktop activity on a computer. It captures what happens on a monitor over a period of time. This is used for illustrating software features. Screencasting is a technique of creating video tutorials and software imitation by capturing a sequence of screenshots of any running software application. Screencasting tools work like a video camera which can record the actions on a user’s computer. The recorded video can be exported in a range of popular video formats like EXE, SWF, Flash, WMV, AVI, Quick Time and MPEG-4. These formats are widely used in video sharing sites and may easily be imported into any video editing tools.


There are two types of screencasting applications:

  • Desktop applications: It is essential to download and run the screencasting software on your local computer.
  • Web-based applications: You do not need to download the software to your computer as you can run the application directly from the web.


Many screencasting tools are completely free to use and don’t have any registration procedure. Some tools can be used for a trial period while others need to be purchased. After creating a video you will have the option to download it to your desktop and to upload it in video-sharing sites like YouTube, Revver, Vimeo and so on. A few sites let you embed your recorded screencast on your blog without uploading it to YouTube first.

Using screencasting tools is very straight forward. You can record the entire screen or only a selected area. You can use the shortcut key in order to start, stop and push your recoding. Below, you will find a set of features which will help you identify free screencasting tools that best suit your needs.


Contents

Features of Screencasting tools

In order to select the screencasting tool that meets your needs and expectations, there are a series of features that should be considered:

  1. Operating System: Required Operating System to run the selected tool.
  2. Region capture: Recording option of full screen or selected area screen.
  3. Audio: Adding system voice or microphone recording and voice annotation support during your recording.
  4. Shortcut key: Key to start, push and stop your recording.
  5. Output format: The format of the video after screencasting.
  6. Length: Duration of recording.
  7. Editing: Recreating, combining video, adding voice or text annotation in your recorded video.
  8. Video uploading and sharing: Easiest way to upload and share the recorded video.[1]


Toolkit.png Steps to create a Screencast

You can start to create a screencast and deliver it to the user by following these five steps:

  1. Preparing content: Choose your topic and establish an idea of what you plan to screencast. Have all the content ready before starting to record.
  2. Recording: Select a screencasting tool to record your screen output and push the red button to start recording. After recording your screen you can store the recorded file in your local computer.
  3. Editing: Edit your video according to your paradigm. Select a video editing tool which lets you add audio and text annotation. Generally, video editing tools give you some basic functions like- adding a title, audio and text annotation or combining videos.
  4. Produce: Produce a video that best fits your intended output video format and which can easily be streamed from the web or delivered on disk.
  5. Distributing the video: Select a video sharing site which permits the uploading and publishing of your recorded video for users. [2]


Find below a list of useful tools to record, edit and publish your Screencasts.

Free screencasting tools

In this table there is a selection of free screencasting tools and a description of their features:
Tools Licence Type of Application Special Features Uploading and Sharing Options
ScreenToaster Free Web-based Output Format: MOV,SWF

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Video file Can be embedded on blog and other site
  • Video file Can be stored on site and shared via email
Screen-o-Matic Free Web-based Output Format: MOV,WMV

Editing: No (Free version)

Audio: Yes

Length: 15 minutes

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Video file can be stored on Screen-o-Matic website
  • Video file can be uploaded on YouTube directly
  • Video file can be embedded on blog
FreeScreencast Free Desktop (Run by local computer) Output Format: FLV

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video file can be stored on freescreencast.com
  • Video file can be shared via email
  • Video file can be embedded on website
  • Video file can be downloaded file in FLV format
ScreenCastle Free Web-based Output Format: Unknown

Editing: No

Audio: No

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video file can be stored on site
  • Video file can be shared via email
  • Video file can be embedded on website
Screenr Free Web-based Output Format: MP4

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

  • Video file can be stored on Screenr site
  • Can easily be shared via email links
  • Video file can be embedded on websites
  • Video file can be downloaded file as MP4 format
Avi Screen Free Desktop Output Format: AVI

Editing: No

Audio: No

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video file can be stored in local computer
  • Video file can be uploaded to YouTube or any other video sharing site
Copernicus Free Desktop Output Format: Unknown

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Mac

  • Video file can be stored in local computer
  • Video file can be uploaded to YouTube or any other video sharing site
Jing Free Desktop Output Format: SWF

Editing: Yes

Audio: Yes

Length: 3 minutes

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows, Mac

  • Video file can be stored in local computer
  • Video can be directly uploaded to YouTube or any other video sharing site
uTIPu (TipCam) Free (Standard version) Desktop Output Format: AVI, FLV

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: Limited

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video can be uploaded directly to uTIPu.com, uTIPu communities and YouTube


Proprietary software

In this table there is a selection of paid screencasting tools and a description of their features:

Tools Licence Type of Application Special Features Uploading and Sharing Options
Camtasia studio Proprietary commercial Desktop (Application runs on local computer) Output Format: AVI, WMV, FLV, MPEG4, MP4

Editing: No

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video file can be stored in local computer
  • Video Can be directly uploaded to YouTube and screencast.com
  • Video can be hosting and collaboration via Acrobat.com
Adobe Captivate Proprietary commercial Desktop Output Format: MOV, AVI, WMV, FLV, MPEG4

Editing: Yes

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows

  • Video file can be stored in local computer
  • Video Can be directly uploaded to YouTube
  • Easily integrate with eLearning application and Leading SCORM
  • Video can be edited with rich animation effect
  • Multivideo support and synchronization
Demo Builder Proprietary commercial Desktop Output Format: SWF, EXE, HQX

Editing: Yes

Audio: Yes

Length: No limit

Region capture: Yes

Shortcut key: Yes

OS: Windows, Linux, MAC

  • Video can be stored in local computer
  • Video can be uploaded in video sharing site


Editing

You can edit your recorded video by using the video editing tool. The video editing tool gives you some options for adding a timeline, voice or text annotation, deleting unwanted sections of a movie, merging with other movies or video clips. You can choose a video editing tool from the following list:

Name of Application Licence Features
Window Live Movie Maker Free Use: Easy to use

Edit: Cut, split, merge

Timeline: Yes

Annotation: Yes

Animation: Yes

Output format: WMV

OS: Windows

Other: Recommended for YouTube

Camtasia Studio Need to purchase Use: Simple to use

Edit: Cut, split, merge

Timeline: Yes

Annotation: Yes

Animation: No

Output format: MP4

OS: Windows

Other: Recommended for Screencast.com

AVS Video Editor Free (Trial) Use: Simple to use

Edit: Cut, split, merge, rotate and mix

Timeline: Yes

Annotation: Yes

Animation: No

Output format: AVI, MP4, WMV,3 GP, Quick time

OS: Windows


Publishing

Finally, after recording and editing you can publish your video in a video sharing site, share it via email or embed it in your blog. A list of video sharing sites is provided below:

Name of Site Licence Features
YouTube.com Free
  • Smaller than 2GB of file size
  • Less than 10 minutes
  • Make playlist
  • Adding annotation
Screencast.com Free
  • 2GB of storage with 2GB bandwidth
  • Manage your video
  • Make playlist
Vimeo.com Free
  • 5GB upload per week
  • Unlimited HD uploading
  • Embed your HD videos
Revver.com Free
  • Files up to 100MB
  • Upload time is usually fast
  • File can be uploaded in mov, mpeg, mp4, wmv, avi and 3GP format

Job Aid

Pdf.png Screencasting


References

  1. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/screencast.html (13 October 2011), http://labnol.blogspot.com/2005/05/screencasting-to-help-your-mom.html (13 October 2011), http://www.masternewmedia.org/free-screencasting-tools-guide-to-the-best-tools-to-record-your-screen/ (13 October 2011)
  2. http://diythemes.com/thesis/how-to-create-screencasts/ (14 October 2011)