5 Tools That Can Record Your Computer Screen (Screencast/Screen Capture/Screen Grabbing)

Wed, Nov 4, 2009

Communication, Featured

Adobe Acrobat Connect

Adobe Acrobat Connect

Adobe Acrobat Connect

To make video presentations of what you are doing on your screen, there are several ways to do this. Currently at my day job, we like using Adobe Acrobat Connect. It is a good software platform that can run on any operating since it is an application service that runs on an Adobe server that you simply connect to and uses Adobe Air which runs like like Flash as a desktop application. Advantage of this is you can Air pretty much on any operating system, thus you are sure Adobe Acrobat Connect will run on any computer. Although good service often does not come free. But still Adobe Acrobat Connect is affordable at $39/month.

But Adobe Acrobat Connect is only one option to record your screen that you may use for some instructional video, and it’s main purpose is not only as a screen recorder. It is a full web-based online meeting/collaboration platform with tons of power that if you just need a screen video capture software, there are many other options such as GoToMeeting, Jing Project, Screenr and more listed below.

GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar by Citrix|Online

Citrix Online - Makers of GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC

Citrix Online - Makers of GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC

The same people that gave you GoToMyPC which is a remote PC controller over the web, also makes software for online web conference meetings and public/private webinars just like Adobe Acrobat Connect. It also cost $39/month if you pay for the whole year. But if you pay on a monthly contract, it is actually $49/month. I personally like the intuitiveness in using GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar compared to Adobe Acrobat Connect. But somehow some people at our company have been saying the voice conference over the phone is clearer on Adobe Acrobat Connect, but in my experience, I never really had any serious problems with GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. And like Adobe Acrobat Connect, this is a full remote meeting/collaboration/presentation platform. Has more power than just screen grabbing your actions. So there are more options that are actually free, like Jing Project, Screenr, and NCH, read more about them, below.

Jing/SnagIt/Camtasia by TechSmith

TechSmith - Makers of Camtasia, SnagIt and Jing

TechSmith - Makers of Camtasia, SnagIt and Jing

TechSmith is really a screen capture company. Images or videos, adding annotations, cropping, resizing, saving in files, saving to clipboard and everything you need in a screen capture grabbing company. When you go to their site, it starts to become confusing which software you need. As a quick guide, you can think of it this way, for professional video screen recording, for professionally done presentations, Camtasia
is the way to go. For the best image capture would be SnagIt and if you want something for free, but limited power, but good enough (Video Screen Capture is only for 5 minutes maximum), use Jing Project.

It seems Camtasia + SnagIt and Jing is the top team to beat. And there does not seem to be any other reason to use something else. But actually there is some reasons why you might want to use Screenr and also NCH Debut Screen Capture. Read more about them below.

Screenr

Screenr - Share videos on Twitter

Screenr - Share videos on Twitter

In the age or real time search, social media and microblogging, Screenr easily captures short videos and easily post them on Twitter. If you are an active Twitter user, you may want to consider using Screenr. All uploaded videos are also in the MP4 or Mov format what makes it compatible also for the iPhone that does not play Flash video. So sharing on Screenr can be seen everywhere. This is a free tool and since it is free, you have a limited time of recording also per video.

But if you want just to screen capture anything for free, capture all movements of your mouse and keyboard as you explain everything on your microphone, NCH Debut Video Capture Software.

NCH Debut Video Capture Software

NCH Debut Screen Capture

NCH Debut Screen Capture

This may not have the zooming in functionality of Camtasia and the annotation power as well, but this software can record screen video as long as you want. It is really limited by your available disk space. And the best thing is, this is all free! Today, NCH Debut Video Capture Software is still my personal favorite. It gets the job done, and I didn’t need to spend anything. Although they have a pro version which is probably more comparable to Camtasia, but with the free version, this will make many people happy already.


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Started a career as a chemist. Worked in the industry and academe and pursued a master's degree in chemistry. Then one day, here I go, start a computer shop, then web company in 1999, won a few awards and just started a web career working on websites of various companies and making sure the websites work for them.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Alex Says:

    There are lots of software out there for doing screencasts, but for simple recording and narration I recommend 1AVCapture because it allows you to generate quality WMV video files with small sizes and compressed on the go, so you can quickly put a screencast together and right away make it available on your site for streaming.

    http://www.pcwinsoft.com/1avcapture/

  2. Streaming Recorder Says:

    Thanks for the information and tools review.

  3. homes mn Says:

    I agree with Alex, 1AVCapture generates quality WMV vid flies w/ small sizes.

    Anyway thanks for this!

  4. InspiroHost Says:

    CamStudio is another software able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos.

  5. G Says:

    Thanks for the informative tools review

  6. Chris Says:

    There’re plenty of free remote access choices on the internet. But some appliance based web collaboration remote access/support alternatives like RHUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) are fail-safe with secured access.

  7. Zebra IO Says:

    Nice list, screenr has to be my favorite one.

  8. Scolex Portal Says:

    All the above mentioned tools are new to me. What i’m currently using is the free version of screencast but it’s recording time is limited.

    I think i need to buy a premium account for any of these screen recording software.

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