Screencasting Software
July 6, 2007 8:32 AM   Subscribe

What is the best software to create 'screencasts'. I need to create training videos for software my company has created. Users would access these videos over the net and see the software in action as I narrate. I would prefer that the output files are flash / youtube style and not wma / mpeg.
posted by kaizen to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
For Mac or PC?

For Mac, Snapz Pro does a good job. It'll only save to Quicktime, so you'll have to convert to Flash after that, but that's not such a big deal.

I've also heard good things about iShowU.
posted by jeffxl at 8:37 AM on July 6, 2007

Don't look for something that goes directly to Flash video. Convert it after it's recorded in a more malleable format.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2007

wink , does SWF files
posted by burr1545 at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2007

Snapz Pro
posted by unixrat at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2007

For PC, I am a HUGE fan of Demo Builder. It creates screencasts by getting screen shots as you click and type, and allows you to re-arrange screens, replace bad shots, change mouse movements and cursors, and add text / voiceovers / animations as well. It's far and away the winner of this competition, before I even see the full list of competitors. Just try the demo.

The files it creates are just SWF files and NOT videos. Full fidelity screen images, it just looks wonderful. Run, don't walk, to try it out.
posted by Merdryn at 9:06 AM on July 6, 2007

Camtasia Studio works well for these purposes.
posted by fallenposters at 9:42 AM on July 6, 2007

Seconding Camtastia . . .
posted by donovan at 9:46 AM on July 6, 2007

I love Camtasia.
posted by toomuchpete at 9:56 AM on July 6, 2007

Fourth Camtastia, plus all my friends work there :) Techsmith rules.
posted by bleucube at 10:19 AM on July 6, 2007


Free is good. Creates AVI files and can convert them to SWF if you want.
posted by cmdnc0 at 10:20 AM on July 6, 2007

Seconding camstudio. I've used it before and it is great. Real easy to write to flash.
posted by ijoyner at 11:15 AM on July 6, 2007

Camtasia was very straightforward. I've done several webcasts based on it.
posted by plinth at 11:32 AM on July 6, 2007

Adobe Captivate also does screencasts. It and Camtasia have different strengths, so you may want to look at a review of both products.
posted by ejaned8 at 11:40 AM on July 6, 2007

I do quite a bit of these for work and I prefer Adobe Captivate, but TechSmith Camtasia Studio is also good and a bit easier to use if you've never done any of this sort of thing before.
posted by wheat at 1:13 PM on July 6, 2007

Camtasia Studio is quite probably your best bet on Windows side. But there's an excellent more affordable alternative called Demo Charge for all the fellow dime-pinchers out there. It is widely used by smaller software development houses to demonstrate as well as train their clients.

On the other side of the coin: if you are also in need of a foolproof way of making textual manuals that exports to HTML, do please consider CityDesk by FogCreek. One of the finer desktop publishing solutions for such needs.

Hope this helps!

Best personal regards,
posted by iheartcanada at 2:21 PM on July 6, 2007

I was very impressed with BBSoftware's Flashback. When I was searching for one I found this the best combination of power and ease of use (although it was a couple of years ago). There's a free demo.

You can narrate easily, add callouts, edit out as required, and it does little highlighter circle things so you see where / when the mouse was clicked. Filesize (for flash) is small too so it works well over the web.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:31 PM on July 6, 2007

Joining the Camtasia chorus -- it's a super-intuitive tool made by good people.
posted by anildash at 8:20 PM on July 6, 2007

Before you do Camtasia, please understand: Even if it creates flash files, the files are still VIDEO. Video which must be compressed, streamed, and suck up bandwidth.

Give Demo Builder a fair shake, trust me on this.
posted by Merdryn at 12:54 PM on July 7, 2007

One of the things I like about Captivate is Flash (SWF) is the native format. So file sizes are fairly small by default. Render times are also a good bit quicker.
posted by wheat at 2:00 PM on July 9, 2007

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