Friday, October 4, 2013

Screencast 101 - a Comparison of Screencast Apps

There are tons of screen cast programs. A person new to flipping could be overwhelmed with the choices. Hopefully this post will prove to be helpful.

(feel free to edit the spreadsheet above to add programs, features and update outdated information. Since this is a publicly edited document, I can't attest to its accuracy.)

My favorite desktop program: 
Camtasia is hands down the iMovie of screen casting. It is a powerful feature-rich program. It has a longer history on the PC, so it has fewer features on the Mac. I hear ScreenFlow is the powerhouse on Macs but never used it. Nevertheless, it is an amazing program. It is costly though and has to be downloaded to your desktop. It has tons of editing and annotation options like zoom & pan, highlighting and even custom animations. You can export directly to YouTube, as well as TechSmith's Unlike the simpler alternatives, Camtasia supports recording from the webcam with a picture in picture option. 

My favorite web-based program:
Hands down Screencast-O-Matic is the best web based screen casting program. Assuming you have Java enabled, this free app is a great alternative for someone who doesn't want to download software. With an inexpensive upgrade, there are some nice editing and annotation features. Like Camtasia, you can either download the video or export to YouTube or a propriety website. Screencast-O-Matic also supports webcam recordings. 

My favorite iPad program:
Explain Everything is a feature rich video producing app. For only $2.99, you can import images, videos, and presentations from cloud based accounts like Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote. You can export to YouTube and pretty much everywhere else. You can even import a website into your video. In addition to the annotation options, a cool useful but undervalued feature is the customizable laser pointer. And as expected for an iOS app, it integrates well with iTunes and the iPad's native photos and videos. 

Simplest/Easiest to Use
Jing (harddrive), ScreenR (web) and Quicktime Pro (harddrive) are the simplest and easiest to use screen casting programs. The drawback to these programs is that they produce one-take videos without editing and any helpful annotations. I use Jing for screenshots but not for screen casts because the videos are recorded as swf files, which do not upload to Youtube. Quicktime Pro has a relatively unknown screen recording feature. It's as easy as selecting "New Screen Recording" on the File menu and pressing record. This is my go-to program when I wish to do a quick one-take screen cast.