Screencasts are basically recordings of the screen like screenshots. Difference is that Screencasts are recordings of many screenshots every second capturing all your activities on the screen into a movie – just like recording a movie with a digital camera.
Screencasts are an excellent way to show others how to perform complex tasks on a computer, to showcase how brilliant a product is and much more. Screencasts have become seriously popular and are like all over the place now. We’re almost at a point people expect to see a screencast before deciding if a product or service is worth spending money on etc.
Screencasts are simply great to deliver a message in a very short time and for most people bandwidth is not a problem any more. This means that you should consider creating screencast yourself if you have an online business, blog etc. This article is a one stop resource that give you an overview of most of the screen recording software products currently available.
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Free Screencasting tools
Free screen capture software Super Screen Capture is a great all-in-one software for free screen recorder software. You can capture screen in many ways, including full screen capture, region capture, window capture, scroll capture, directx capture, video screen capture, audio capture and etc. You can choose many kinds of output ways, including clipboard, printer, email, editor tool, temp folder, and all popular formats. Super Screen Capture has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. Download Super Screen Capture 5.0
A free open source program for capturing your on-screen video and audio as AVI files. It allows you several different options when it comes to the region of your screen being recorded.It is supported on Windows only.
Freez Screen Video Capture is a screen-capture & screen-recording tool to record screen activities and sounds into standard AVI video files. You can record any part of the screen’s activities and the cursor’s movements, using a microphone to narrate your screen recordings. You can choose the output video’s compressor (such as Microsoft Video 1, MPEG-4, DivX…), quality, framerate, audio format (such as PCM, ADPCM, MP3, OGG…), and volumn. You can also start, pause, and stop screen recording with hotkeys. Download Freez Screen Video Capture
Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users. Wink is free with unrivaled features.
Free Screen Recorder is an easy-to-use screen recording program to capture screen activities and sounds to standard AVI video file. If you move the cursor, launch a program, type some text, click buttons, select some menus – anything you see on the screen – Free Screen Recorder will record all these, and sound from your system microphone.
You can choose the output AVI file’s video codec, framerate, audio codec, frequency; You can choose the cursor’s display, to be actual cursor or custom one as you like, and you can add highlight to it. Record any part of the screen or even the entire desktop, with just a few clicks, or custom hotkeys. Download Free Screen Recorder
Screencast-O-Matic is a Java Applet-based screencasting tool that requires no downloads and will allow you to automatically upload to hosting. According to their site it works well with Macs and Windows machines, but does have some issues with Linux.
AutoScreenRecorder 3.0 Free is a completely free screen recorder to save your screen activities into video files. It is free for unlimited personal and business use. Record any area on your desktop, an object area, a window or full screen. Record mouse pointer with effects. Easy and automated video file name creation. Downlod Auto Screen Recorder
ScreenToaster is a web-based service. You don’t get any advanced editing tools but you do get full screen capture, support for picture-in-picture webcam video in the lower right corner, and audio for voice-over. When you’re done recording and previewing your clip, you can upload the video to ScreenToaster or YouTube, or download it as a MOV or SWF file. ScreenToaster is free and works with any Java-enabled web browser.
You can use Jing to capture anything you see on your computer screen and share it or short movie. This tool require that you sign up for screencast.com. There’s a Pro version of Jing that you can get for $14/ Year. This removes links to the jing website on your recordings.
This is a free capture program that records the video into AVI files, but can also do BMP photos. It’s Windows only and does not record audio.
BB FlashBack Express is a free screen recorder with the best-of-breed recording features of BB FlashBack. Download BB FlashBack
Copernicus is a free program for Macs. It doesn’t just take screenshots, it’s a virtual photo gallery too. Take as many pictures as you like, then save them one at a time or all at once. Copernicus is perfect for taking many screenshots. Also useful for making quick and speedy films by recording the video to your RAM for quicker access. Does not include any support for audio.
In addition to a movie file, the program also records separate files for audio (wav) and video (mov), which easily allows encoding to any movie format using an external encoding program.
If you’re a Firefox user, there is a great add-on that records your screen frame-by-frame. Add your voice and download as an .AVI file. Since it works within the browser, it is not OS dependent.
Krut is a screencast tool that is written in Java and well suited for making video tutorials (instructional videos) on most platforms. Krut records movie files, including sound, of selected parts of your screen. The files use the quicktime mov format. The program has an intuitive and compact user interface.
Screenpresso.com – Captured image files can be easily be shared. Many editing tools for manipulating and annotating the captured images.
Screenjelly.com – Screenjelly records your screen activity with your voice so you can spread it via Twitter or email. Use it to quickly share cool apps or software tips, report a bug, or just show stuff you like.
Tip Cam – This is a free screencasting software that can also record a remote computer screen provided your computer is running the VNC server.
Community Clips – Free screencasting tool from the Microsoft Office team can be used for creating quick screencasts from within Microsoft Office.
Live Screencasting – Procaster from Mogulus is a free software that helps you broadcast your desktop screen (live streaming) on the Internet to any number of users
Demo Studio – GPL-licensed screen capture application for Microsoft Windows (open source). DemoStudio records by default to AVI format, but you may use Demo Studio Producer for converting screencasts into Flash (SWF) files.
Screenr.com – Web based free recorder ideal for creating and tweeting mini cast via twitter.
Commercial Screencasting tools
Screen recorder DemoCreator is a powerful yet simple screen recording software program for Windows. It captures the desktop activities, records what you say to the microphone and what you hear from the computer for further editing, publishes the screen recordings as compressed Flash movies or videos of popular formats to share to all. Price: $199.90
Snapz Pro X is a robust offering of settings and compressions for screen captures of all sizes. It is fairly easy to use and captures great quality of video and sound. Video from this application is exported in Quicktime (.mov) format only and Snapz Pro X does not allow for video editing. Price of about $70, Mac only.
Camtasia Studio is one of the leading products in the screencasting space. Packed with features, Camtasia Studio makes it easy to create screencasts with presets for a variety of sharing situations like YouTube, HD displays, Screencast.com, and more. You can edit the audio and video independently so you don’t have to redo a whole segment just because of an oops in the audio or video portion. Special effects and edits are easy to manipulate thanks to fine control over the time line—you can select a portion of your editing timeline right down to the tenth of a second. It’s far from free, but Camtasia Studio is a well thought out and feature rich screencasting tool. Windows, $299
Offers a wide-range of presets that allows you to record directly into Quicktime and up to 1080P in both NTSC and PAL formats. Also does audio and the file is ready to be published as soon as hit stop. Mac only $29.95 USD, offer 30 days trail.
Outputs to Quicktime directly and can record your clicks and all on-screen activities. Offers a free trial and then $15.95 to purchase.
Windows only system for recording screen activity to AVI files along with system audio. Free trial with $39.95 for full version.
Capture in real time, add audio during recording or after completion. Can output to Flash, EXE, ASF, DVD, SVCD and VCD. Free trial available, Windows only.
Easy Screen Recorder is a powerful record screen software for recording screen activities into AVI movies. With this useful program, you can create demo videos that record what’s happening on your PC desktop screen.
It can record the entire screen, a window, a fixed region, or any part of the screen. Audio can also be recorded from any source, including microphone, line-in, or speakers. You can choose video and audio codec and quality.
Easy Screen Recorder offers many features to make the demonstrations clearer. For example, it can add caption and timestamp, highlights mouse-click areas with colored circles and adds sounds on keystrokes and mouse clicks. It will especially suit making demos, tutorials and training videos. Price: $29.95
Adobe Captive is a high quality product with features that will satisfy most users. Unfortunately the product is expensive compared to the others. So unless you really need the extra goodies for your recordings a pricing that starts at nearly $700 may scare you away.
With Turbo Demo, you can create screencasts in either Flash or Java. The screencasts projects can be exported to plain text files, that are editable and can be imported back into Turbodemo. In the screencast editing mode (after screen capture), you can change the cursor style or reposition the mouse anywhere on the slide. Priceing starts at $199.
ScreenFlow is a Mac-only screencast editor that fills a nice niche between the limited-but-free options and the car-payment-sized options. ScreenFlow sports advanced features, like the ability to decouple audio and video streams for independent editing and audio ducking (if you’re using background music it’s automatically adjusted during speaking portions of the video); the ability to freeze, speed up, or slow down the video to allow you to time lapse or zoom through a more tedious portion of the task you’re demonstrating. ScreenFlow also supports custom cursors and callouts for emphasizing the cursor or foremost window. Mac, $99
Qarbon patented the Screen Capture technology and prefer to call their flash movies as Viewlets which are basically .swf files. Qarbon seems to have the best Flash file compression algorithm around. However, another software called ViewletCam is required to enable moving screen captures. This is Windows only
This tool provides a good interface and can record full motion videos (like in Camtasia) or through manual screenshots (as in Qarbon Viewletbuilder). Demo Builder can automatically add visual hints (in the form of text balloons) at relevant points in the screencast (like closing a button with the mouse). You can also edit cursor motions after the screen capture. Price starts at $199.
How to use get started screencasting
Smashing Magazine have created a really good guide with many tips and links to resources you will need to get started: Screencasting: How To Start, Tools and Guidelines