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Video and audio capture on Windows 7

Posted on 2016-09-15
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Last Modified: 2016-09-28
I have some presentations coming up that I would like to capture the video and audio from my PC running Windows 7. I have not done something like this and was hoping someone could suggest a trust worthy and reputable product I can try, hopefully free but I am willing to pay for something for a decent price. Has anyone ever heard of a product that would allow you to bookmark the video kind of like a table of contents so you can easily jump to specific topics?

Also, the sessions will be from 4-6 hours each. Do you have an idea about how large these video files would be? I may buy an additional hard drive if needed, I probably have about 1 TB to play with now.

The main thing I need is capture a screen or browser, PC audio, and the ability to bookmark points in the video for reference later.
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Question by:REIUSA
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by:Laroy Shtotland
Laroy Shtotland earned 250 total points
ID: 41800798
VLC has a screen recording feature built-in that you can use. It’s useful especially when you have VLC installed on your computer already.

If recording a full screen isn’t enough, go with OBS - Open Broadcaster Software or CamStudio.

However, if installing another piece of software doesn’t sound attractive, there are free web apps that can do screen recordings too, such as Screencast-O-Matic.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 250 total points
ID: 41800838
I use a tool called Screencast-O-Matic to do screen recordings:
https://screencast-o-matic.com

They have a Free version, but it is limited to 15-minute recordings and it puts a watermark in the lower left corner. The Pro version allows unlimited recording length and does not put in the watermark. The Pro version is very reasonably priced at $15 for one year, and even better at $29 for three years — just $9.67 per year (that's what I bought). I've done more than 25 five-minute video Micro Tutorials here at EE with Screencast-O-Matic. The first three were with the Free version — here's one:
Cloning a Hard Drive with Casper

I then switched to the Pro version and have done all since the first three with the Pro version. The reason I upgraded to Pro was not the 15-minute limit, since EE video Micro Tutorials are just five minutes, but because of the watermark, which was blocking some stuff in the tutorial. Here's the first video I did with the Pro version:
Make Windows 8 Look Like Earlier Versions of Windows with Classic Shell

Here's the most recent published video that I did with the Pro version:
Xpdf - PDFtoPNG - Command Line Utility to Convert a Multi-page PDF File into Separate PNG Files

In your case, of course, you'll need the Pro version to record 4-6 hour videos. Although I don't use the feature in EE videos, Screencast-O-Matic has editing tools.

Some other products besides Screencast-O-Matic:

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

It works very well, but the free version doesn't record audio. For that you'll need the Pro (paid) version, which is $49.95. Here's a comparison matrix of the Free vs. Pro versions:
http://www.wisdom-soft.com/asr/asr_compare.htm

(2) CamStudio is 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/

(3) FFVideo is also 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

(4) Atomi Systems' ActivePresenter comes in Free, Standard, and Professional Editions:
http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/

Even the Free edition can capture an application, specified screen area, or full screen (both manually and automatically). The Free edition supports audio recording and audio/video editing. It has no time limit and creates no watermark. Here's a comparison table of the three editions:
http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/features-comparison/

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.

(5) TechSmith is best known for its excellent Snagit product, but they also have two products in the video recording space — the basic, low-end Jing (free) and the robust, high-end Camtasia (expensive at $299):
http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

I haven't used either TechSmith product, but have heard good things about both, and am simply passing them along for your consideration.

(6) VLC is best known as an extraordinary (free!) media player:
http://www.videolan.org/

What is much less known about it is that it has desktop recording capability. This article explains how:
https://www.vlchelp.com/how-to-record-desktop

(7) Problem Steps Recorder is free, built into Windows:
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/patricka/2010/01/04/using-the-secret-windows-7-problem-steps-recorder-to-create-step-by-step-screenshot-documents/

However, 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. I don't know exactly what you are looking for, but in my case, I had two large monitors in an extended desktop configuration (three now), and Problem Steps Recorder recorded everything on both of them, which I usually did not want. I'm typically interested in just one program (window) being recorded and both AutoScreenRecorder Free and Screencast-O-Matic Free can do that. It all comes down to which product meets your exact requirements.

In terms of bookmarking points in the video, I don't know which products can do that — I don't think that S-O-M can do it, but I'm not sure. If not, then you can save the S-O-M recording as an MP4 (true for most of the other products, too) and then add chapters to the MP4. If you do a web search for "adding chapters to mp4", you'll be able to figure out how to do it.

As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned in this post and no financial interest in them whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
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by:REIUSA
ID: 41820274
Thanks for the tips, this should get me going.
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