I recently produced a screencast for Update Center 2, and I've had some folks ask me how I did it. There are a zillion tools and techniques for producing screencasts. This blog describes one approach. I in no way claim it's the best approach -- and in fact I'm certain it is not. But it worked OK for me.
I did this on a Mac laptop running Mac OS 10.5. Windows users will likely need to look elsewhere for guidance.
I've broken down the job of creating a screencast into four steps:
To record the raw content off of the screen I used iShowU HD from shinywhitebox. Benefits to this software:
The main drawback is it's pretty basic. I imagine there are more sophisticated solutions out there. For example I needed to use some additional software to convert my Quicktime video into Flash Video for publishing to the web.
I really did not evaluate any other solution. You may want to before blindly following me.
Here are the iShowU HD settings I used for screen recording:
Output Video Size 720x540, 4:3 Output Video Codec Apple Animation, High Quality Output Video Framerate 4 fps Output Audio AAC, 44100 khz, 2 channel Capture Area Same as video size (720x540) Mouse Mode Fixed / Stretch
General Recording Tips:
Once you are ready to record, click Rec and go! Do your best to get it done in a single take. You want to minimize the amount of editing required. Consider breaking down your screencast to 5 minute clips (I violated this with my 15 minute take).
When you're done recording you will have a mov file in Movies/iShowU HD/.
I used iMovie '08 to assemble the content into a video. Import your video using File->Import Movies. I performed very minor edits -- basically splicing in an intro and conclusion that I had to "re-shoot". iMovie '08 is pretty weak -- rumor has it '09 is a significant improvement.
I then exported the video using "Share->Export Quicktime" with the following settings (click the "Options..." button in the export dialog)
Export Movie to QuickTime Movie Video Settings Compression Type H.264 Frame Rate 4 Key Frames Automatic Compressor Quality High Encoding Best quality Data Rate Automatic Audio Settings Format Linear PCM Channels Mono Rate 22.050 kHz Quality Normal Sample Size 1
After this you will have a new .mov file with your screencast
The problem with video formats is that it is still, after all these years, difficult to find one format that plays universally on all platforms. To get around this I converted to flash video format. To do this conversion I used ffmpegx to convert my Quicktime movie to flash video (.flv).
Here are the ffmpegX settings I used:
Video Codec Flass Video (.FLV) Size 720x540 Auto Size 4:3 Frame Rate 4 fps Audio Codec MP3 Bitrate 64 kbit/s Sampling 22050 Channels Mono Mode CBR Options High Quality Two pass encoding|
So, now you have a .flv file -- what the heck do you do with it? Well, first you want to preview it, then you want to publish it to the world.
To preview it, place the file someplace accessible via an http URL, then put the following code in an HTML page:
<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="720" height="556" wmode="transparent"
<param name="wmode" value="transparent" />
This uses the Flash NLV player from mediacast.sun.com to play the video in your web page.
For final publication Sun employees can upload the flv file to http://mediacast.sun.com. Once you do that you can click the "Share" area on the video to see various options for sharing.