How to use Screen Capture Software and PowerPoint

If you’ve seen any of our video tutorials, you have more than likely wondered “What do they use to record that?” at some point or another.  Well, the answers are below, and we’ll be looking at a few of the various screen capture (video capture, specifically) programs that are available.


We are starting with JING, below is a sample file of a short presentation saved out using JING and then being posted to our blog using the Dashboard’s options.  Jing is a free program, with a limit of 5 minutes recording time.


Alright, so the first thing you probably notice is how HUGE this video is on the screen.  It’s massive compared to what it could be to fit (it’s 850×750 pixels) so let’s go ahead and shrink down the parameters and see what happens:

Alright, now this one was set to 300×264 pixels in size, the same aspect ratio of the original video.  Notice that you don’t get to see the whole screen.  Unfortunately this looks like a limitation of Jing, needing to display the same size that was recorded.  Also, there are no controls, so when you click play, it goes, period.

Microsoft has also thrown its hat into the ring, so to speak, with an available 10 minute recording length in its Microsoft Expression Encoder 4, the basic of which is free.

We are now moving on to Camtasia, my personally favorite screen capture program at this point. This program isn’t free, it’s $299 US but the amount of things you can do with it as a video editor are pretty impressive.

OK, so some things to know about Camtasia.  Once you have the item saved, and it gets sent to the video editor, you can then start to have a lot of fun with things like zooming and panning, as well as captions, adding layers of media on top of eachother with various timings and transitions, trimming your presentation to allow a break out session or intermission etc. or just a whole lot of other really interesting features.  The user interface of Camtasia is actually better on the Mac than the PC, honestly.  However, even the PC version is pretty user friendly, and Techsmith has an abundance of tutorials on their website demonstrating how to use their software.

If you were to ask me is Camtasia worth it?  Absolutely.  Is Expression Encoder a great alternative?  It definitely is.  If you choose to go with a free screen capture software, Encoder is great because you can save the video out as a WMV, and then if you so choose, use Windows Live Movie Maker, also free, to create captions, transitions, audio overlay (think fun soundtracks to a silent presentation etc.), title and end credits all within one compact program.  Windows Live Movie Maker will also upload directly to YouTube.


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