Silvio Grosso’s screencasting workflow on Windows and Linux

Silvio Grosso was good enough to send me details of his workflow using Windows and Linux screencasting software.  I’ve tidied it up a bit and reprinted it here.  I discuss more workflow approaches in the Handbook.  Thanks Silvio!

For my colleagues, I record my video tutorials with CamStudio 2.5 beta. This software has plenty of bugs (it is still a beta). Nevertheless, for my limited needs, it has always worked really well.

It is “portable” on Windows. This is great because at work I don’t have any privileges as administrator to install new software:

  1. Generally, I record videos which are 10 minutes long at most
  2. I write a list of all the topics I want to explain with my video and I try to stick to it
  3. I do a quick test of my list before recording – I do the most “difficult” things by repeating them quickly so I don’t make mistakes during recording
  4. I never record my voice when I record the video. I prefer to concentrate on making the right steps with the software

On Windows XP and Windows 2000 Professional:

  1. For CamStudio, I use the option to “colour” my cursor when I click with a button of my mouse. I chose green for the left button and purple for the right button. The cursor, when moving, has a yellow semi-transparent circle (many videos on ShowMeDo have this feature)
  2. To zoom in and out and pan I use a utility from Microsoft (it is freeware) called Zoom-it.  With this utility I can even write some text when recording (it is possible to choose the colour, size, font)
  3. When I am done recording I save my video as AVI
  4. I open my AVI file with VirtualDub. Most of all, I delete all parts which are useless (e.g. where you have to wait 20 seconds to launch something…)
  5. While I watch my video running on VirtualDub I record my audio with Audacity with a microphone.
  6. I modify the audio on Audacity (e.g. to remove the noise) and I save it as MP3 (using the lame codec).
  7. With VirtualDub I merge the video and the audio.
  8. In the end, I compress my video with the XVid codec; for my audio I keep the MP3 lame codec.

On Linux (Ubuntu) at home I use VirtualBox 3.0.8 where I have Ubuntu Karmic (now still beta) as guest (the host is Windows XP home edition with 3Gb RAM):

  • In the past, I have tried RecordMyDesktop, but I didn’t like it too much (e.g. it doesn’t have colour options for the mouse cursor)
  • As a consequence, I prefer to stick with CamStudio 2.5
  • With Virtualbox it is possible to record a video when you are working on Linux as guest
  • This, through CamStudio, which works in background on Windows, the host (on which I have installed Virtualbox and, on it, Ubuntu)
  • Everything I do on Ubuntu is recorded (just as on Windows)
  • In short, thanks to VirtualBox, while working with Ubuntu, I am able to apply the really same workflow mentioned above for Windows XP and 2000
  • The only big problem, on Linux, regards the software zoom-it, which doesn’t work with VirtualBox 🙁

To improve your screencasting knowledge you must read The Screencasting Handbook. The author (Ian Ozsvald) also blogs.
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