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Looking for software that does video screen captures in a multi-monitor setup

Microsoft Expression Encoder looks good (and there is a free version).  However, it looks like it only records a predefined screen area instead of having the option to record the active window so that when I switch to applications on other monitors, the recording follows.

Anyone know of a free/open source solution for W7-64?

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Joe Winograd - EE Fellow & MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi SAbboushi,

I've been very pleased with Screencast-O-Matic:

I started out with their Free version and liked it well enough to go with their Pro version, which is just $15/year (I actually went for three years at $29). The trial version is limited to 15 minutes and places a watermark in the lower left, which can be very bothersome. I used it to record ten 5-minute video Micro Tutorials here at EE. The first three were with the Free version — here's one:

The next seven were with the Pro version — here's one:

The main reason I went with the Pro version is that the watermark was blocking important stuff.

However, it records a defined area, not a window, so you should look at the free version of WisdomSoft's AutoScreenRecorder:

It works very well and I didn't have a need for the features of its Pro (paid) version, but if I had, 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:

Note that the Free version can record the Active Window, but you'll need the Pro version to record a Specific Window. 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 was very happy with it before moving to Screencast-O-Matic.

Another possibility is CamStudio, which is free, open source software at SourceForge:

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:

But I'm not sure if it allows you to specify a window. However, I do know that the Free version of Atomi Systems' ActivePresenter can can capture an application (or a specified screen area or full screen):

The Free edition supports audio recording and audio/video editing. It has no time limit and creates no watermark. It also comes in Standard and Professional Editions. Here's a comparison table of the three editions:

Unlike AutoScreenRecorder and Screencast-O-Matic, where the non-free edition is reasonably priced, the non-free editions of ActivePresenter are expensive – $299 for Standard and $399 for Professional.

I normally recommend Problem Steps Recorder as an option (free, built into Windows), but I don't think there's any control over what part of the screen it records. I could be wrong about that, but in my attempts to use it, it always recorded the entire screen — in fact, multiple displays, which I have.

Regards, Joe
Snagit possibly
I'm not sure if this can work with a switch, as you say active window so that when I switch to applications on other monitors, the recording follows.
As Snagit is free to try  give it a test,
With dual monitors, if the Input is set to Screen, both monitors will be captured.
To capture from only one monitor, set the Input to either Region or Fixed Region. If Fixed Region is used,  you will need to set the size of the fixed region to the resolution of the monitor to be captured.
If you have multiple monitors, Screen captures both monitors.
SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
Joe Winograd - EE Fellow & MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome.
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