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Tools to get the job done: Screencasting


Wednesday, August 8th, 2007 — 10:36pm PDT
Comments 5

I’ve discovered some tools, apps and tricks that have made a part of my ‘real life’ job a lot easier lately. Basically I wanted to start screencasting – providing an online demo video of our new web-based application. After searching and putting the word out to the wonderful Vancity Tech Swarm folks I found the following tools (for Macs) that make this process a breeze.

  • Capturing: I use SnapZPro X.

    Pros: It works on a Mac, it’s cheap, easy to use, very basic, captures anything happening in a pre-set area of your screen along with audio.

    Cons: It doesn’t include an editor, which I can live without and it doesn’t feature neat effects like zooming – but there are ways to work around that. Does not capture for flash format, so I’ve been encoding to .MOV (Quicktime). (See what others would like to see from this as well)

  • Editing: Quicktime Pro for anything basic.

    Pros: As simple as choosing your “in” and “out” points then clicking “delete” or copying/pasting in the same manner to append multiple files.

    Cons: That’s about the extent of its capabilities.

    Final Cut Pro for anything heavy duty or effects – but that’s a whole other ball of wax, I’ll try to keep these tips for this post rather elementary.

  • Converting: I wanted to convert my .MOV into .FLV since using a flash player on the website helps with load times, file sizes and preserves quality, to do this I use ffmpegX.

    Pros: Very simple to use, can convert from dozens or formats into various other dozens of formats rather quickly.

    Cons: It can be a little quirky but it the job done.

  • Once my screencaptured video is converted from .MOV to .FLV how do I get it on my site? I browsed WP codex and forums for a while until I stumbled across this player, which also came recommended by peers.

  • MOV to FLV: Definitely try JW FLV Player.

    Pros: So easy to install on your WordPress site, it even comes with a wizard to help you setup your player, generating code for you to embed your file on your site. It’s much cleaner than using other options such as Anarchy Media Player because it doesn’t force a still image of the player’s name onto your page.

  • So there we have it, how to use a Mac to screen capture and publish custom flash video on a WordPress site. Snapz Pro to an editor and/or converting program, then getting a kick butt flash player to embed your video.

    This works so far and everything is fairly inexpensive and simple to use (except for Final Cut Pro if you want to get fancy with fades, text, zooms, compression etc.). If this helps anyone else, great! If this seems like way too many steps, please let me know if you have any recommendations.

    5 comments

    1. Tod Maffin says:

      Nice roundup.

      I’ve played with both Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro and find the latter to be far better, fwiw.

    2. Chris says:

      Check out iShowu by ShinyWhiteBox. I found it on a site that reviewed a bunch of screencasting apps and it got the best review.

      http://www.shinywhitebox.com/index.html

    3. Stephanie says:

      Holy Moly – super geek out! That’s pretty cool. You’re not just a pretty face. What do you do? You must be happy if it involves Macs.

    4. […] “quick tips” I’ve been offering. As a refresher, I wrote a post last summer about Screencasting Tools and I’ve done a few WordPress tutorials using […]

    5. Kolbuszowa says:

      Good tips. I use Adobe Premiere, I think it’s the best for editing video.

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