We’ve already covered why you should be screencasting, now let’s look at your software choices. For each platform you have a choice of a few pieces of software. Each of the choices will give you crystal-clear recordings so you have great raw-footage to edit down.
I’ll cover editing in the next of these screencast tutorial posts. You really should put time aside to edit the recording down otherwise you have to take a perfect recording (and that’s hard!).
Update – a longer list of screencast software is being maintained at TheScreencastingHandbook.
You can use desktop software or web-based tools, these are your main choices:
- CamTasia, commercial, to Windows Vista
- BBFlashBack, commercial, to Windows Vista
- BBFlashBack Express, free, to Windows Vista
- CamStudio, open-source, to Windows XP
- HyperCam, shareware, to Windows Vista
- ScreenFlow, commercial, Mac OS X
- iShowU, commercial, Mac OS X
- Snapz Pro, commercial, Mac OS X
- RecordMyDesktop, open-source, Linux
- ScreenToaster, free, web-app (Win/Lin/Mac)
- ScreenCastle, free, web-app (Win/Lin/Mac)
- Jing, free with watermark and unwatermarked Pro version, web-app
- Screencast-0-matic, free, web-app
- More tools here
My preferred tool on Windows is CamTasia (all our commercial productions are recorded with it). I’ve used HyperCam in the past, it is simple, cheap and stable. CamStudio is equally as simple as HyperCam and comes with a free lossless codec, but the codec suffers from audio/video synch problems on some machines (all of mine!) and doesn’t work so well on XP.
BBFlashBack Express looks powerful but I’ve yet to try it – it is free and has an editor (if it is as good as the commercial version’s editor then it’ll be good indeed).
TechSmith offer a First Walkthrough pdf (12 pages) on the fundamentals of making your first recording using CamTasia. Even if you’re not using CT you should take a look, they highlight a lot of points that will probably help you out.
ShowMeDo has a long learning path on learning to screencast which demonstrates many of the free tools with sets of screencasts.
Both HyperCam and CamStudio lack an editor (see the next post) whereas CamTasia has everything built-in.
On a Mac I use ScreenFlow. I’m told that iShowU and SnapzPro are each very good.
For Linux you have RecordMyDesktop, it exports .ogg vorbis files (which makes editing a pain as few editors work well with .ogg) but is a stable tool. You might have to fight to get your mic to work, that’s a perennial problem with Linux annoyingly.
The three web-based tools are easy to use, they run straight from the browser. I believe that they each lack an editor though it looks as though you can export a .mov or .avi from each for off-line editing. I believe that Jing watermarks the videos (unless you buy Jing Pro) and that ScreenToaster and Screencast-o-matic are unmarked.
Next you’ll want to edit your screencast to remove glitches, cut down sections when things are loaded and generally make the screencast as snappy as possible. After editing of course you’ll want to add music to improve the viewer’s perception of quality.
Become a better screencaster – read The Screencasting Handbook. We’re distilling 4 years of experience into our book, this blog series you’re reading was the first inspiration that we should write everything we know into a book to make you a better screencaster.
Do you want more of your visitors to use your software? We make professional screencasts. Get in Contact and we’ll help you convert more visitors into users, sell more of your software and reduce your support costs.
Looking for a professional screen cast? Get in touch today via www.procasts.co.uk.
The Screencast Tutorial Part 2 – Choosing your software by ProCasts' Blog about Professional Screencast Production, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England License.