With online video taking-off, you may have noticed that many folks are using screencasting tools to create videos rather than actual videos. If you do a search on Youtube for "SEO" videos, you will find that at least half of them are actually screencasts walking users through various lessons and techniques. Clearly we know about Camstasia which is an absolutely excellent software to have for screencasts. In addition, I have used Adobe's Captivate software and found that it is also an excellent program for creating demonstration videos and screencasts.
Here are a few good examples of ways that you can use screencast videos:
- You can use it to create demonstration videos for any software program
- Or how about creating a set of videos answering your most frequently asked questions?
- You can create video tutorials for school or college class
- You can use it to record a recurring problem with your computer so you can show technical support people
- You can use it to create video-based information products you can sell
- You can even use it to record new tricks and techniques you discover on your favorite software program, before you forget them
I thought I'd share a few screencasting tools for those of you looking for free alternatives to Camstasia and Captivate. There are both tools for PC and Mac users as well as a few Java applications.
Camtasia (Free Download)
We published a post a few months back to a free Camtasia download for version 3 which is fully-functional and still a great tool for creating screencast videos. With this fully functional version, you can also upgrade to version 5 license for only $149. However, version 3 is still a very robust and excellent product.
AviScreen captures screen activities (ScreenCast) and converts the output into an AVI file or alternatively into images. Beside the usual options defining the capture area, AviScreen has a neat feature called "follow the cursor”. Using this mode you can produce a video or image of relatively small dimensions while covering all mouse activity over the whole screen area. There is also a good amount of information. The one thing I don't like is that it does not support audio and the interface is a bit odd. Other than that, its a good program.
More information about AviScreen can be found in the
OS: Windows only
CamStudio is a nice capture program that records all screen and audio activity and creates standard .avi files. CamStudioi has its own built-in SWF Producer and can turn those .avi files you converted into stream-friendly Flash video .swf files. CamStudio uses their own lossless codec that produces nice, clear results all the while at a smaller file size than most other popular codecs (so we're told).
CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)
OS: Windows only
Copernicus is for you Mac people out there. It prides itself on being very fast allowing the program to record directly to your RAM for super fast access. Use it to easily create screenshots or simple how-to movies. Copernicus is perfect for taking several screenshots. A special feature allows you to save directly to RAM, increasing movie frame rates significantly for shorter movies. Copernicus only captures pictures and video. Unfortunately, there is no support for recording audio.
OS: Mac only
The power of this tool created by TechSmith is that you can create a quick recording of the entire desktop, a specific window or drag a box around an area to record. This Mac and Windows friendly application can either capture an image or video to share in an e-mail, blog, IM or on your web site. The Jing Project allows you to save your image or video file to a media hosting server – on Screencast.com – that can be viewed via a link. You also have the option to save the file to your computer as a SWF file.
This is a project that TechSmith says will become something else with the guidance of users input. To better understand what Jing is all about click here to watch a video tour.
For further information you can also visit the Jing Project FAQ.
OS: Windows & Mac
Screencast-o-Matic is an online application that creates video recordings all from your browser. Currently the product is in Beta.
This really is a simple tool to use with options of creating titles, descriptions, notes at certain times in the video, and even allowing comments and making the screencast searchable. Or, if you're not feeling like sharing just yet, export it to a .mov file for viewing later.OS: Doesnt Matter – it is JAVA