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  1. #1
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    Mittineague's Avatar
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    experienced screencasters - got any tips - pitfalls?

    I've been working on a tutorial of sorts. Rather than being verbose explaining where things are, I plan to use screen captures where appropriate. No problem there.
    In some cases I figured screencasts would help with showing how things work (copy-paste, clicks, etc.), so I downloaded CamStudio.

    I got it working on my machine, and I imagine having a relatively small viewport will help with file weight, but I wonder about some of the option settings.

    *I'm not planning on embedding the screencasts, simply linking to the files for others to download and view.
    I can save in either avi or swf. Can most view avi files?
    What about codec and framerate?
    What about audio recording / compression / interleaving?

    I have some problem with audio, it's so soft I have to up my volume to hear it clearly, maybe use captions instead?

    Anyway, I'm too lazy busy to experiment a lot, and rather than hunt down answers at the apps site I prefer to ask here.
    So if any have tips on reducing file weight without totally destroying quality, or pitfalls to avoid so the files aren't useless for some, please share.

  2. #2
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    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Screen recording is quite fun, but I don't use CamStudio.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    I'm not planning on embedding the screencasts, simply linking to the files for others to download and view.
    Have you considered uploading them to YouTube? It converts them to various formats automatically. I have trouble with .avi (on Mac) and .swf is not much better.

    I have some problem with audio, it's so soft I have to up my volume to hear it clearly, maybe use captions instead?
    It's good to use captions for those who need them, but I'd rather listen. May be worth picking up a cheap mic, or at least upping your input volume while you record.

  3. #3
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    Mittineague's Avatar
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    Bummer about the avi.

    The files are meant for a small select private group of people and will have content I'd rather not be availabe tor the general public.

    No one will "need" captions, I'll experiment with volume settings and see what I can do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    I
    I have some problem with audio, it's so soft I have to up my volume to hear it clearly, maybe use captions instead?
    I always redo audio as a separate overdub, it's hard to concentrate on operating whatever's being captured and concentrating on what you're saying. Also, doing both at the same time you capture audio from keyboard/mouse, and sometimes noise from the pc fan. It's also easier to use a pop shield and keep a consistent distance from the mic when only concentrating on speaking. With regards to intelligibility, a close mic will get a higher signal to noise ratio, which will then compress better. By compress, I'm referring to dynamic compression of the audio (reducing the difference between lower and higher sounds) which is essential for a professional sound.

  5. #5
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    Mittineague's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I wanted to report back.

    I looked for "over-dub" but AFAIK unless I install an additional app, CamStudio can't do it.

    But, on the positive side, by experimenting I discovered that by reducing my browser size to ~800x~600 the sound volume was OK without changing any option settings. I guess the volume quality was being sacrificed to accomodate the larger video in my earlier tests.

    I went to the apps FAQ and found
    If you're recording yourself demonstrating something on your computer, these settings will be sufficient:
    Set Keyframes Every 30 frames
    Capture Frames Every = 50 milliseconds
    Playback Rate = 20 frames per second
    Video codec: CamStudio Lossless Codec
    Quality: 70%
    I don't have that codec so I used Intel IYUV and everything worked fine.

    Well, almost. The swf files keep looping. I couldn't find the "behavior" setting in the apps SWF Producer and it seems to stop it I would again need to install an additional app.

    I can't speak for how pro the resulting files will be, but as long as others can see and hear them I'll be satisfied. For now.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    The swf files keep looping. I couldn't find the "behavior" setting in the apps SWF Producer and it seems to stop it I would again need to install an additional app.
    You should be able to set the loop attribute to false in the html that embeds the swf

  7. #7
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    Yes, that will probably be the easiest and less annoying. I've been using the desktop player - Adobe's standalone "Projector".
    If I zip them anyway an HTML file won't add much weight.

    And I see what you mean about overdub being easier. Considering I've done the mouse movements thousands of times I would think I could do that without even thinking about it. And certainly have no trouble narrating. Yet the stammering, stuttering, ers, ums, uhs, and dead air seem to be in the majority. It's tempting to have mute vids but I'll try rehearsing written scripts first.


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