Screen Capture, Screen Recording, Screencasting: The Best Tools To Record Videos Of Your Screen - Sharewood Guide
Screen capture and screen recording tools allow anyone to record faithfully any visual activity taking place on your computer screen, generally for the purpose of creating a video tutorial, demo or showcase to be published online. Once a screen recording gets published online it is normally referred to as a "screencast" (a broadcast of a screen recording).
Photo credit: Mipan, Anatoly Tiplyashin
Screencasting and screen recording tools give you the possibility to capture videos of either the full area of your computer screen or alternatively of a specific area of your monitor. You can use all of your computer normal functions while screen recording and even record your own audio as you comment and highlight the tasks being carried out.
Screen recordings can be generally saved in one more standard video file formats for easy upload and republishing on any web site.
Typically free, such screencasting applications are also really easy to use: to record a video, just decide whether to record a specific area or the full screen, hit the record button or key combination, and start doing your demo as if you were actually showing your computer screen to someone. Once you are done hit the Stop button and the recording gets saved for you automatically on your hard disk, ready to be exported / converted in any one of the major video file formats.
Here below a small set of screen capture features I have identified as critical when comparing these tools. Use it yourself to more easily find the screencasting tool that best suits your needs.
- Platform: Specifies which operating system is required to run the application
- Software - Web-Based: Determines whether the tool is a downloadable software or a web-based application
- Capture Region: Possibility of recording the entire screen or specific regions of your screen
- Record Audio: Allows to record the audio from a microphone along with the video
- Record Webcam: Allows to record and embed your webcam video inside your screencast
- Shortcut Key for Stop: Enables you to stop the recording by pressing a key combination
- Output Formats: Indicates the available output file formats in which you can save your screencast
Screencasting Tools Comparison Tables
Best Tools To Record Videos of Your Screen
Camtasia is probably the most known screencasting solution to record your screen easily. You can record any fixed or hand-drawn region of your screen, with the possibility of embedding your webcam or any other video source into your screencast. When finished recording, you can edit your video with a professional suite of video editing tools: cut parts, apply effect and transitions, add captions and audio, and more. After you're finished, export your work in one of the major video file formats to share it on the Web. $299 to buy for Windows and $99 for Mac.
CamStudio is a screen recording software that allows you to record all screen and audio activities on your computer. CamStudio allows you to create AVI video files to be converted into Streaming Flash videos (SWF). The interface is really easy to use: just set the video and audio quality, and press the big red button to start recording. When done, you'll be able to save the file locally on your machine. Free to download and use.
uTipu is a new screen recording software which allows you to record anything that is shown on your screen in order to create demos, tutorials or clip recording. uTipu can capture your full screen or any selected region you want to define, letting you zoom and record your screen activities (keyboard shortcuts are supported). When finished, the video can be uploaded directly to your account. Fully free, uTipu works on Windows XP and Vista only.
ISU - I Show You
I Show You is a free software for Windows platforms that enables you to easily record a sequence of operations in real-time as you perform them on your screen. After the screencasting session ends, you can edit your recording by drawing on it, adding notes, or recording a voice over narration. When done, you can send it to your friends via email, messenger or any other application. You can download ISU by clicking here.
oRipa Screen Recorder
oRipa Screen Recorder is a free software solution that lets you record your screen activities and saves them as video files. oRipa Screen Recorder can help you record presentations, web pages, tutorials, or anything that is happening on your screen. You can save your output video in multiple formats and codecs, and add a real-time audio narration. oRipa is free to download and use.
Jing is a downloadable application for taking screenshots and screencasts of your monitor (or any region of it). You can invoke Jing via keyboard shortcut, select the area you want to capture, specify whether you want a video or an image, and then just let Jing do its work. Currently Jing is free to download. Works on both Windows and Mac platforms.
Debut is a free screen capturing software for Windows that anyone can use to capture video or still images from any device. The setup comes in just 400kb and, after you install it, you can capture any part of your screen, or even capture videos from a webcam. You can export the video in any format and save the screenshots in JPG format. Debut is completely free to download and use.
FreeScreencast is a free screencasting software that allows you to create high quality Flash encoded screencasts easily. Just register to the service, download the software and you will be ready to start recording your screen. When you finish your video, you can save the output flash file to your computer. Or if you prefer to share it, simply use the automatic upload service that will store your file online and will let you embed it in your website or blog. Free to use, registration needed.
Screencast-O-Matic is a Java-based application that anyone can use to create screencasts of their screen with no additional software to download. Without even registering to the site, you can record anything that happens on your screen just by setting the capture size, choose if you want audio included, and click go. When done, you can publish the screencast online or download it in .mov format. Free to use.
AviScreen is an application for capturing screen activity in AVI video format, or sequential images, but with no audio. You can specify any area of the screen to define what you want to capture, and also use the “follow the cursor” feature: using this mode you can produce a video or image of relatively small dimensions while covering all mouse activities over the whole screen area. When you are finished with your work, it will be automatically exported and saved in AVI format or sequence of BMP images. Free to download, available for Windows only.
ScreenToaster is a web-based screencasting software that lets you record screen activities without downloading any software. Working on any Windows, Mac, and Linux machines, it allows you to record your screen by pressing a key combination. The same combination will also stop the recording, and then you'll be able to create a new video file that will be immediately saved into your account, so that you can whether share its link or embed it everywhere. Free.
Lecturnity is a screencasting software for Windows enhanced with a unique feature that lets you search inside your videos. You can record your webcam and audio and mix all the elements together in rich video presentations. When your screencast is ready, you can publish it on the web or export the video on iPod, PSP or compatible mobile phone. Lecturnity costs around $215 for a one-time license. Free trial available.
Please help me refine, edit, correct and extend this guide by suggesting other screen capture tools and screencasting web services that I have not included in the above list, by using the comments section here below.
Nico Canali De Rossi -
Originally written by Nico Canali De Rossi for MasterNewMedia and first published on October 27th 2008 as "Screen Capture, Screen Recording, Screencasting: The Best Tools To Record Videos Of Your Screen - Sharewood Guide". Edited by Daniele Bazzano.