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Freeware of the Week! [CamStudio]

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Taking screenshots is all very well and good, but a screenshot is just a picture. When demonstrating a process, at certain points a movie would be an easier option. You could always rig up a camcorder to film the screen while you work, but that doesn’t guarantee that others would be able to see what is going on. Luckily, for those wanting professional-quality movies of their screen activity, CamStudio is up to the task.

CamStudio can record all of your screen and audio activity as an AVI file which can be played back later. For those of you who might want to stream the video from your website, the program also has a handy tool to convert the files into SWF files. This means that you can record software demonstrations, tutorials and the like without having to grapple with any complicated equipment or software.

The program allows you to decide on the quality of the video recording, and also whether you are going to record the entire screen or just a portion. There is a facility to annotate your videos with comments or timestamps, and the to include your webcam as a separate insert (for instance, if you wanted to include your reaction to a video).

CamStudio doesn’t have everything and is far from complete. There is no video editor (I’m promoting one next week) and it only supports AVI and SWF. There are obviously other commercial programs with far more bells and whistles. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy solution for screencasting, CamStudio is simple, intuitive and doesn’t require hours of boning up on a manual to use. If you’re in the market for some screencasting software, try it before you spend your hard-earned pennies on a commercial product.

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