How do I make Screencasts?
I've received a few inquiries lately on how I make our screencasts and video tutorials so I've compiled a review if want to make some for your own clients. Last year I switched my systems over to Mac but when I was using Windows the two best applicaions were Camtasia, Captivate and Wink.
Camtasia is great for video tutorials and produces nice little galleries if you have a series of videos. It is also very easy to edit with its own internal editor and text rendering tools. You can also export to DVD and iPod. File size output is a little hefty but they offer affordable dedicated video hosting services through screencast.com which is capable of loading them quicker if you don't have the best server setup. The downside of this is the price tag which is about $300 bucks. If you're serious about it though, it is well worth the dollar. This is my Windows reccomendation.
Captivate is made by Macromedia/Adobe so it integrates nicely with Flash. It also has some nice text and editing tools but very shaky output unless you have alot of time to tweak the framerate and imported pieces all just right. In my opinion, this has been one of Adobe's weaker products and I can't believe they boosted the price tag to $599. It isn't all that worth it. You can download a trial and decide for yourself.
Wink is a cheaper alternative. I was pretty impressed at the small file sizes of Wink. It doesn't have a whole lot of editing capabilities or a very intuitive interface but for quick tutorials it ges the job done. What more can you ask for, though? It is free.
If you're a Mac user, there are alot of great tools for screencasting which are much more affordable, too. Anything you record is usually saved as a Quicktime (.mov) file and can be edited in iMovie or Final Cut Pro. I prefer Final Cut Pro. To capture the screen, there are many applications to choose from $15 to $50 all which are pretty comparable to one another.
My first choice is iShowU ($20) in combination with Mousepose' ($15). It produces a very small file size and gives you access to all your native and 3rd party codecs, has custom presets and scales nicely.
My second choice is ScreenSnapz Pro ($69). I used it for a long time while iShowU was being updated to include scaling. It's a great app to use but doesn't stand up to its competitors pricing and I haven't seen an update in many months.
If you're curious about any of my other favorite Mac apps you can see a list here.