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How Do You Create Screencasts for Your Blog?

Screencasts are the equivalent of a video recording of action on your computer screen. These are wonderful for educational video productions on your blog that show readers how to use software or a web page, moving beyond printed instructions to visual guides.

Jeff Alexander offers “Screencasts: Tools of the Trade”, an amazing offering of the tools and software he uses to produce screencasts on Windows Vista.

Some of these tools will work on Windows XP and may cross operating system platforms. Though some of the best tools don’t come cheap.

In the end, Jeff recommends Camtasia Studio, available for free for a 30 day trial, but individual copies are USD $299 each (or less). Ouch. If you do a lot of screencasts, this will pay for itself in a very short time. If you don’t, that’s a big ticket price.

Jeff offers other lower tech and cheaper methods. I did a little searching and found some free downloadable screencasting programs, but I haven’t given them a try yet.

I also found an interesting FAQ on screencasting and screen capture from All Streaming Media worth a read if screencasting is in your future.

What you use for creating screencasts on your blog or for teaching or presenting programs? Do you have a favorite program that allows you to “record” your onscreen activities, mouse movement, along with video instructions?

Have you found a decent free or open source program? How do you create screencasts? And if you do, what are some tips and things we need to look for in a good screencasting program?


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14 Comments

  1. Posted March 14, 2007 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    An how about Macintosh? I’ve found a few tools including Snapz Pro, Screen Mimic but am still looking for that Camatasia power on my Mac.

  2. Posted March 14, 2007 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    just tried out the Hypercam. it’s really amazing! very compact program but appears to have all the features needed to do basic screen capturing, along with narration. the demo version has a little watermark in the corner, but the upgrade is only $39 — a great deal considering the price of camtastia. thanks for finding this gem!

  3. Posted March 14, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually, just tried CamStudio and that is the winner. It captures at a much smoother frame-rate and has a built in SWF converter. Plus it’s totally free!

  4. Posted March 14, 2007 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    First I started with Wink (http://www.debugmode.com/wink/), which creates SWF-files. If you want to capture something with sound, I made the best files also with CamStudio.

  5. Posted March 14, 2007 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I use Adobe Captivate, which isn’t free or perfect, but which has a much more intuitive editing suite than Camtasia, IMHO. I’d try some freeware and some 30-day trials and pay close attention to the editing features. Captivate records activity in slides, based on the actions you take, while Camtasia records it in a single file, based on elapsed time. Both have advantages for different kinds of projects. You’d probably also want to pay attention to the file types you can create (.swf for sure, possibly .wmv or .avi) and any other special features you might want (a table of contents/menu feature; ability to print out slides in a Word or other document; 508 compliance.)

    There are quite a few sites out there comparing and contrasting the main contenders in screencasting software; a Google search should get you going.

  6. Marc
    Posted March 14, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a thread regarding Camtasia and WordPress. I would like run Camtasia on one PC and capture the screen of a 2nd PC.

    Since VGA may not be the best to actually ‘capture from’ and also causes unnecessary D-to-A conversion to take place…

    Has anyone tried to record a 2nd PC’s screen using a PCI Capture card, USB 2.0, or a Firewire device that can accommodate DVI input (from a 2nd PC)? Any suggestions/recommendations on such a ‘DVI input-capable’ capture device?

  7. Posted March 14, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Don McAllister at Screencastsonline.com does high quality Mac-related screencasts. He used to use Snapz Pro X from Ambrosia Software but now he uses IShowU.

  8. Posted March 14, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done just over 200 screencasts using Camtasia. I started with version 3.0 but upgraded to 4.0 a few months ago. I was using a regular headset microphone until about two weeks ago and now I’m using a Samson C03U studio condenser microphone, which has made a nice improvement. Camtasia has worked great for me so far but I’m always interested in new screencast software, so thanks for all the info!

  9. Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    related post at Coding Horror: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000721.html

    he ended up recommending Camtasia studio as well.

  10. Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m just now looking for some software to produce some screencast for the italian people reading http://www.wordpressmania.it and stopped at Wink (http://www.debugmode.com/wink/). Now thanks to your article found CamStudio… I’m downloading it right now.
    Thanks!!

    Stefano

  11. Posted March 20, 2007 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve begun testing BB Flashback from Blueberry Software, based in the UK. They’re at http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk. Pretty good features and easy to use at $160 or so, with a scaled down version for $40.

  12. jholth
    Posted August 21, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Another free one that uses a much different (and easier) approach is http://www.ignitecast.com/.

  13. J. Robinson
    Posted April 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Is ignitecast the same as Scate Ignite at http://www.scateignite.com ?

  14. Posted November 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    +1 for snapz pro, it’s easy to use. I normally use it to capture on screen video sessions in the recording studio to keep a log of workflow. Records in the background without a hitch. Josef Horhay. Mix Engineer. Acoostic Zoo. Recording Studio Brisbane


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