This guide will help you get your computer set up and guide you through the process of making a screencast. There are many different ways to do this and different applications you can use. This guide will use as many default applications as possible.
Some setups will differ slightly depending on preference and what kind of screencast you are making. It is recommended you use a virtualization environment. In a VM you can record your screencast from a default install. This way your custom themes, icons and setup will not confuse a user. A VM allows you to save snapshots. This make it easy to go back to your VM setup before the demo. Ideal for rehearsing your screencast as well as making it easy to keep a standard default install. If the intention is to demonstrate application usage and/or the host configuration is sufficiently similar to a standard install a VM is not necessary.
VirtualBox (virtualization enviroment). Resources for help installing and setting up Virtual Box:
gtk-recordmydesktop (record the screencast video/audio)
audacity (recording audio separately)
openoffice.org (for titles)
pitivi (for combining video and audio together and re-encoding to some other formats)
Making the Screencast
Once the applications are installed It is time to make the screencast.
First step is to decide exactly what it is you are wanting to show. Keep the videocasts short and focused. Cover only one topic in each screencast. It is sometimes preferable to record the video first, and add in the audio later. If you're sufficiently able to multi task reading aloud instructions whilst doing them, then record audio and video together.
You will want to rehearse the steps you are going to take. Say or read the script while you so this and make sure they are working well together. Before doing anything you will want to save a snapshot of your VM so that you can easily go back to a clean fresh install.
- Start a virtual machine running the operating system and application which is to be demonstrated
- Go through the software and practice the steps to be demonstrated. You might need to do this a couple of times until you are comfortable with the steps and you know the script very well.
Record the Screencast
Once you are familiar with the steps you will be taking, it is time to record the screencast. If the demo requires the installation of additional packages then to save time it can be preferable to setup the necessary repositories, download the necessary packages without installing them, then remove the repositories. This of course assumes that you want to show how to enable repositories and install software within the screencast. To download packages and not install them use apt-get with the -d option: apt-get -d packagename1 packagename2 ...
Start a virtual machine running the operating system and application which is to be demonstrated.
Start a recording application to capture the contents of the virtual machine window.
With recordmydesktop the simplest way to record is to open the application and either left-click the icon in the panel or click the record button in the main window. For additional details on the Main Window see here,and the Panel(tray) Icon see here. If you do not want to capture the entire desktop there are three ways of selecting the area on which you will confine the recording.
- Using the preview thumbnail on the main window you can draw a window with the crosshairs.
- Using the “Select Window” button and then select a window on your desktop.
- Using the “Select Area on Screen” function accessed by right-clicking on the panel icon.
Additional details on defining an area for recording
Go through the software and execute the steps you rehearsed.
Watch the screencast to ensure all is ok.
Add a 'intro', 'outro' slides to the start and end of the screencast.
Again there are different ways to do this. I will show you one way. Open OpenOffice Presentation. Make a slide containing the graphics and text you want. Maximise the presentation of the first (header) slide within the virtual machine. You can do this by running Slideshow -> Slideshow(f5) in OpenOfffice. Using the same process as you did for the main demo record 5-10 seconds. Repeat for the [footer] slide.
If you are recording the audio separately now would be the time to do that.
Combine the audio and video together.
Ubuntu now has a movie editor, Pitivi, installed by default. You can get the Pitivi Manual here. Use the Import Clips button in Pitivi to bring your screencast and the header and footer video clips you did into the project. Then you simply click on the clip thumbnails in the upper left of your screen and drag them from the Clip Library to the Timeline. Do this for each clip placing them sequentially in the timeline. When you are ready to output the video, select 'Render Project'. In the Render Project Window click 'Modify' To adjust the size, frames per second, container, audio codec, vide codec, etc. For size we recommend 1024x768/1280x720 at 24fps.
Check the combined audio/video for errors/glitches/sync problems.
Optionally encode/compress screencast to other formats.
You Tube (recommended)
- Video Format: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred
- Aspect Ratio: Native aspect ratio without letterboxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
- Resolution: 640x360 (16:9) or 480x360 (4:3) recommended
- Audio Format: MP3 or AAC preferred
- Frames per second: 30
- Maximum length: 10 minutes (we recommend 2-3 minutes)
- Maximum file size: 1 GB
- Resolution: 320x240
- Video Format: MPEG-4
Upload screencast to webhosting.
Making the video available to others
Upload to Archive.org
Archive.org will automatically transcode the video to other formats including MPEG4 video. As a by-product of uploading the video, this can be useful as a transcoding service, upload the video, let them do the transcode, download the resulting files.
Upload to YouTube
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