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free computer screen video capture tools

Posted on 2013-10-23
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hi expert,

Normally I use commercial software like Camtasia Studio or Adobe Captive to create video tutorials of my computer screen.

I was wondering is there any free online tools or free software out there that you know of that will allow you to create a video screen capture of my computer screen just like the software I mentioned above let you do?
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Question by:maqskywalker
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
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Four ideas for you:

(1) I use the free version of WisdomSoft's AutoScreenRecorder:
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/products/autoscreenrecorder_free.htm

It works very well and I don't have a need for the features of its Pro (paid) version, but if I did, I think that the $49.95 price is reasonable, and based on the quality of the free version, I wouldn't hesitate to go for the Pro version. Here's a comparison matrix of the Free vs. Pro versions:
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/asr/asr_compare.htm

You can decide which one satisfies your needs. Of course, you may as well start with the free version and see if it works for you. That's what I did and I have been very happy with it.

(2) FFVideo is free, open source software at SourceForge:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffvideo/

It allows recording from screen, audio, webcam, microphone, and other devices. It uses the [ffmpeg] screen-capture-recorder as its recording engine:
https://github.com/rdp/screen-capture-recorder-to-video-windows-free

[ffmpeg] provides for a number of output formats, including MP4. It is also free, open source and available at SourceForge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/screencapturer/files

(3) CamStudio is also free, open source software at SourceForge:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/

It allows recording all screen and audio activity, creating industry-standard AVI video files. It also has a built-in streaming Flash producer to convert the AVIs into SWFs. If you have any problems with it, take a look at the Issues section at its own website:
http://camstudio.org/

(4) Problem Steps Recorder is free, built into Windows:
http://windows.microsoft.com/is-IS/windows7/How-do-I-use-Problem-Steps-Recorder

However, AFAIK, there's no control over what part of the screen it records...it always records the entire screen...in fact, multiple displays, if you have them. I don't know exactly what you're looking for, but in my case, I have two large monitors in an extended desktop configuration, and Problem Steps Recorder records everything on both of them, which I usually don't want. I'm typically interested in just one program (window) being recorded and AutoScreenRecorder Free can do that. It allows the recording area to be a specified rectangle, an object/window, the active window, or the full screen (but not multiple monitors). The Pro (paid) version has even more control over the recording area (including a non-rectangular area and multiple monitors).

It all comes down to which product meets your exact requirements. Regards, Joe
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