Lightweight screencasting with vnc2swf

By Kevin Yank

Thinking about producing a screencast? Will quick and dirty do the trick, as long as it’s free? vnc2swf could be just what you need:

  1. Set up a VNC server. The free VNC Server for Windows (previously WinVNC) will do the trick on Windows boxes, and there’s OSXvnc for Mac.
  2. Install and run vnc2swf. You’ll need to set up Python first, but everything you need is linked on the site. Once it’s running, hit F9 to start recording your desktop.
  3. Stop recording when you’re done. An SWF is produced, which you can publish on the Web.
  4. Use the companion editing tool to chop off the pieces of the movie you don’t want to keep, and then add an MP3 soundtrack recorded separately.

And just like that, you’ve got your screencast! The screencast demonstration on the site is a little tough to follow if you’re not up on your Unix commands, but with a little tinkering at the command prompt you should be able to get it to work on Windows or Mac OS X with relatively little trouble.

  • Jed Wood
  • Is there anything that you can’t do or don’t know about Kevin ;)

  • Here is a link to the site:

  • Thanks for linking, guys. Slipped my mind. Fixed now.

  • malikyte

    For those of you who wish to make a screencast without connecting through a VNC connection (i.e.: you can do all your work on your local machine) I’ve recently looked around for similar (free) software.

    If you need audio, you can use CamStudio ( If you don’t need audio, you can use DebugMode’s Wink ( I personally use Wink most of the time, but again, if you need audio, CamStudio works pretty well and also allows for compression rates (Wink auto-compresses, but can also use palettes). (Both of these programs can export to the SWF format.)

    vnc2swf would be very helpful too though, so don’t necessarily ditch it in favor for something else, you might need it one day.

  • I use captivate to make all our tutorials and things like that @ work.

  • Pat Rhodes

    I got FlashBack Express from a magazine cover- does the job. Not bad seeing as it was free ;)

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