Saturday, May 24, 2008

DIL: Learning how to make a screencast with Camstudio

The second half of the Digital Literacy Project workshop I attended the other day was spent learning about Camstudio.

Making screencasts with Camstudio
Camstudio is a free program which allows you to make a screencast, which is a video of your computer desktop. A screen cast is very useful for showing people how to use different computer features, programs and software.

I have used Jing in the past, which is a similar program for making free screencasts. Jing is an extremely easy tool to use and I love it. But I have found it difficult to store the completed videos and impossible to embed into my blog and/or YouTube. Nevertheless, it is still my preferred tool for working with still photos. Sue Waters has given instructions for utilizing Jing but I haven't got around to looking at them yet. I thought it might be easier if I bit the bullet and learned about Camstudio.

Learning about Camstudio
I had already downloaded Camstudio and faffed about with it using instructions from videos on YouTube. But I didn't find it very intuitive and being my usual impatient self, gave up on it fairly quickly. So it was a relief to have Leigh and Lyn show me how to use it and be on hand to answer my questions. I think my problem with it initially was that I was making life too complicated for myself.

Main things I learned were:
  • keep 'Region' fixed;
  • if you increase the size of the region you are recording, do it in proportion;
  • if you try to record the full screen, you lose quality of picture;
  • set 'Options' to 'autopan'. This means the 'camera' will follow your mouse and record what your mouse is pointing at;
  • once the screencast has been made it has to be compressed so that I can save it in YouTube. I should be able to do this with Windows Movie Maker.
Making the screencast
So my homework has been to come away and actually make a screencast. And I choose to make one showing how to make a video using Animoto.

It was really easy to make the screencast. I am not one for using keyboard shortcuts but it was definitely easier using them to pause, play and stop the recording. I found the photos did not show up very well and audio that came from the computer (as opposed to my speech) did not record well eg when I eventually show the video I made, you cannot hear the music that goes with it.

Disaster strikes
In the end, it was Animoto that let me down. For some reason it could not process the video. But hopefully I was able to demonstrate enough for people to be able to use this screencast to make their own Animoto video. I do not know if Animoto was having an off day or if it did not like me using Camstudio in conjunction.

The next step
The next thing I need to do is find out how to compress the screencast so that I can embed it in YouTube and this blog. Any advice on how to do this will be gratefully received.

Image: 'camera tossings for TV' clickykbd


Bronwyn hegarty said...

hi sarah
I found a couple of youtube videos explaining how to compress video. did not look at them so not sure what they are like. If you do a google search with keywords - compress video - lots comes up including the Youtube vids.

Sarah Stewart said...

Sometimes I find videos really useful and some times they just do not work. I learned how to use Slideshare with YouTube videos, which was great fun. But the other day, I got hopelessly stuck trying to embed a video into PowerPoint. And sometimes, it isn't the fault of the video, it's just a misunderstanding on my part.