Wish you could make video tutorials? Want to create a video for your webinar of your Powerpoint presentation? Camtasia Studio screen capture and video editing software is what you really want!

But what if you can't afford to dishout $300 for Camtasia Studio? Here are a few alternatives…

CamStudio -- This is great alternative.tool… if you can get it to work on your computer. I've used it before but it doesn't work on my current computer. More info…

Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 -- Allows you to record up to 10 minutes of both audio and video, which happens to also be the maximum length of a YouTube video!

Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9 -- This free solution actually produces very good video quality and does not have any time limit other than those of your computer hardware. More info…

VLC / VideoLAN -- Not very flexible and, when I tested this in v2.0.2, I ended up with green screen (grey if played back in VLC) that was completely unusable when saving in MP4 format. I had a bit better luck with WMV format but the video file still appeared to be corrupt. Hopefully this will be addressed in future versions. More info…

Free Screen Recorder -- [TO BE REVIEWED]



Capturing Screencast Videos with CamStudio 2.6

Before you get started, you'll want to change some of the CamStudio default settings.

  • Click Region > Fixed Region…Although you could do full screen videos, the resulting video files would be huge and hard to read when scalled smaller. It is better to have the viewable region be smaller and fixed.
    • Video: 360p  -- Width: 640    Height: 360
    • Video: 600p  -- Width: 800    Height: 600
    • Video: 720p  -- Width: 1280   Height: 720
    • Video: 1080p -- Width: 1920   Height: 1080
    • Enable Drag Corners to Pan
  • Click Options > Video Options
    • Compressor: CamStudio Lossless Codec v1.5
    • Quality: 100
    • Click the Configure Button and make sure LZO is selected and click OK.
    • Set the maxframe rate so that the frame rate is 30 fps.
    • Click Ok.
  • Click OptionsCursor options…Make sur the following options are selected:
    • Show Cursor
    • Use Actual Cursor
    • Optional: Highlight Cursor. This puts a yellow circle around the mouse pointer.
    • Optional: Enable Visual Click Feedback. This changes the colour of the circle when you click the mouse.
  • Click Options > Record audio from microphone
  • click Options > Enable Autopan
  • Click Options > Autopan Speed… and experiment to see what speed you like the best.
  • Click Options > Program Options > Minimize Program on Start Recording
  • Click Options > Program Options > Save Settings on exit. This is the default setting.
  • Click Options > Program Options > Capture TRanslucent/layered Window. This is the default setting.
  • Click Options > Program Options > Play AVI file when recording stops > Do not play AVI file
  • Click Options > Program Options > Name of AVI file > Ask for Filename
  • If you are experiencing time lagging synchronization issues with the audio…
    • Click Options > Program Options > Recording Thread Priority > Highest / Time Critical
    • OR set the priority of the recorder.exe process in Windows Task Manager to Real Time.
  • Click Options > Audio Options > Audio Options for Microphone: -- Select the correct Audio Capture Device if there is more than one. -- Set the Recording Format to:
    • If you have music: 44.1 kHz, mono, 16-bit
    • If you just have speech: 44.1 kHz, mono, 8-bit (you don't need stereo -- you only have one microphone)

To start recording, simply click the big round red button. When you are done, click the square blue button.

You can also use hotkeys to control CamStudio. Although you can change them in Options > Program Options > Keyboard Shortcuts, here are the defaults:

  • Record/Pause: F8
  • Stop: (not set)
  • Cancel Recording: F10
  • Next Layout: Ctrl-F11
  • Previous Layout: (not set)
  • Show/Hide Layout: (not set)

By the way, under Effects > Options, you can do cool things like add captions or even a water mark to your video.

Capturing Screencast Videos with Windows Media Encoder 9

  1. Run  Windows Media Encoder 9.
  2. Click File > New > Capture Screen.
  3. You can capture a specific window, a region of screen or the entire screen.
  4. Capture the audio from the default audio device.
  5. Then click Next, save the file in a location you can remember and click Next.
  6. Choose the Low, Medium or High setting depending on the quality of video you want to make and click Next.
  7. Enter the Display Information such as Title, Author, Rating & Description.
  8. Then click Finish and then Start Encoding to begin recording your computer screen.
  9. Once you are are done recording, click Stop.
  10. To play the video, click Play Output File.

Capturing Screencast Videos with VLC / VideoLAN

  1. Click Media > Open Capture Device
  2. Set the Capture Mode to Desktop and set the Frame Rate option to 10.00 f/s. To capture just part of the screen, you need to setShow more options manually. It also won't capture the mouse by default.
  3. Also in the manual options, you set the Start time to 10 seconds. This is how much time you will have to get the screen ready before it starts recording.
  4. When you are done setting the options, click the arrow next to the Play button and select Convert.
  5. In the next window, specify the destination filename and location. The file name should end in .mp4 if you are using theVideo -- H.264 + AAC (MP4)video profile for best compatibility.