Monday, October 26, 2009

I've recently done a couple of projects for clients involving "screen capture" software.
I thought it would be good to briefly discuss what this software is and what its benefits are.

Screen Capture software allows you to record any activities on your computer's (or laptop's) desktop and then in turn save that to a video file (Windows Media, Flash, or .AVI) which you can either stream out or burn to CD/DVD. In other words whatever you're doing on your computer, from running Quickbooks, or Office, to typing an email or browsing the Web--what you see is what gets recorded.

Screen Capture software is routinely used, in the past several years, to do software training--if you want to show someone how to use an application--again, let's just use QuickBooks for example, you can literally record every action that you take--how to open a new Quickbooks file or how to do save--how to enter receivables data,etc.

Screen Capture software is wonderful because when you're done you have a complete demo of whatever it is you want train some on. Screen Capture tools also give you the ability to record audio narration--either while your doing the demo, i.e., "live" or afterwards.

The most recent project I've doen involved taking a PowerPoint presentation and adding a narration track to it. I then saved the video as a Flash Video and put it on my client's website.

Voila! She now has a totally self-contained PowerPoint "movie" because after all a PowerPoint presentation is largey useless without the presenter to go along with it--and that's what these tools alllow you to do--package yourself along with your material.

Screen Capture software ranges in price from about $30.00--for Total Screen Recorder Gold--which I highly recommend--the video quality as well as the range of output options make it a terrific product for its price.

There is also Camtasia from Tech Smith--this product retails for about $500.00--the reason it is so much more expensive is that it also has numerous video editing capabilites--similar to NLE products like Final Cut Pro or Premiere--it actually lets you add graphics and transitions after you've recorded--you can also adjust or add to the audio track if you flubbed it during the live recording.

Anyway, more on this topic in the future but I just wanted to share what I think is a really powerful tool for those of you looking to either put some zing and life into your packaged presentations or who want to do demos from your desktop and preserve them for posterity.