Creating Screencasts with CamStudio

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OverviewInstructionsResourcesActivity Management

CamStudio is a free software download that allows you to take video screen captures of content displayed on your desktop.  This program allows you to create video segments of anything that you can show on your screen, from websites to software applications to simulations and demonstrations.  You can not only narrate as you record the screen, but you can also add special cursors, annotations and even an embedded video box from a web camera.  The videos are saved out as either AVI or SWF files.

Units

Video Tools

Duration

1 hour

Standards

Communication, Comparisons

LEVEL

Advanced, Intermediate

WEBSITE

Visit CamStudio Website

OS

PC Only

PREREQUISITES

None

OBJECTIVES

At the completion of this lesson, the learner will be able to:

  • Download the free program CamStudio
  • Record content displayed on their desktop
  • Narrate over the content as they record
  • Add annotations and special effects
  • Embed a video feed from a web cam into the recording
  • Save and export the recorded content

MATERIALS NEEDED

  • Microphone
  • Web cam (optional)

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Download the software from the CamStudio website at http://camstudio.org/.
  2. When you open the software, you will see the tool menu for the program.
     
  3. Before you make your first recording, let’s go over some important settings:
    • The Region menu allows you to specify exactly what you would like to record – it could be your desktop, a single window, or a specific region of the screen that you drag over to assign.
    • Under Options > Cursor Options, you can select how you would like your cursor to appear, set a custom cursor, and decide whether to highlight it when you click (which can be handy for procedural demonstrations).
    • Options > Audio Options lets you set the levels for your microphone and for any sound played on the computer.  Additionally, under the main Options menu, you can check off that you’d like your mic and/or the computer sounds to be recorded.
    • Under Options > Program Options > Directory for AVI Recording, you can specify where you would like CamStudio to save your completed video.  By default, it will save to your Downloads folder in My Computer.
    • Tools > Screen Annotations lets you import a shape library to include diagrams or objects on the screen as you record.
    • Tools > Video Annotations will turn on your web camera and feature your video in a small box as you record the screen.
    • Effects > Annotations allows you to insert Time Stamps, Watermarks and Captions on top of your screen recording.
  4. On the bar below the file items, the buttons each handle the following (from left to right):
    • Starts the recording
    • Pauses the recording
    • Ends the recording and saves the file
    • Changes the button view
    • Opens the Screen Annotations menu
    • Toggles the recording format between AVI and SWF
  5. To record, simply hit the red recording button and wait for the recording to start.  Once the program is capturing your screen, you’ll see the CamStudio menu begin to list the time of the recording in green.
  6. When you are finished recording, press the stop button.  You can find your recording in the folder that you set as the location to store recordings in  Options > Program Options > Directory for AVI Recording.
  7. If you would like to include video from a web cam in your recording, click on Tools > Video Annotations.  A small feed from your web cam will appear on the screen.

    • Right-click on the text over the video box to edit or delete the text.
    • Right-click on the video box and choose Video Format to set the size of the video box.
    • Right-click on the video box and hit Close to hide the video.
  8. When you record and the video box is on, your live recording will appear with whatever is on your screen.

Additional Resources and Works Cited

  • Any Video Converter – This free application will help you convert the AVI files exported from CamStudio into any format that you’d like.

Activity Management

  • Discuss the benefits of creating online demonstrations and simulations.
  • Highlight the features available in CamStudio and compare to other industry-standard screen capture applications that are for pay.
  • Demonstrate how to use the recording features in CamStudio.
  • Allow participants to spend time recording short demonstrations.
  • Have members of the class show their recordings to the group.
  • Discuss the ways in which this application could be used to support learning objectives in the classroom.

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