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Increase Your Productivity
with Screen Capture Software
Will McCrary, eLearning
Why do you (yes, you!) use screen capture software?
What are your preferences? Why do you hold them? Think about your use case.
Working smarter means using the right tool (software) for
the job.
Using “too much program” is a waste of time and energy.
Techsmith makes three products for screen capture!
When should we use
screen capture?
To show exactly what we see on the
screen, with system audio
To show exact steps, down to the
mouse movements
To add audio narration to a process,
and even video narration
Embeddable anywhere
When is screen capture
not useful?
Capturing video from the desktop (in
Capturing huge amounts of screen real
estate (multiple screens, unusual
Extremely in-depth material that
requires lots of explanatory text
Best practices near the end
Hardware: Microphone
and Camera
Camera: can use the webcam you
probably already have (many built into
laptops, otherwise inexpensive
Logitech such as the HD Webcam
Mic: don’t need anything expensive,
but a good microphone is best if doing
screen capture often (ex. Blue Yeti)
Easy to use
Record audio narration
Great quality (varied in the past, but no
longer an issue)
Things to note
File type
File size
Jing (Techsmith)
Cost: Free!
Easiest and simplest software
Save locally or on
Smooth fade in and out
Flash only, no other formats. Not
accessible with screen readers.
Jing logo on all videos.
Not possible to edit after recording
unless transferred to Camtasia.
Snagit (Techsmith)
Cost: $29.99 education pricing, with 15
day fully functional trial
Easy to use, with more options before
recording. “Autoscroll” web page
capture function.
One-touch send to Word or clipboard.
Save locally or on
Simple editor – can trim, and capture
frames. Can add effects to images.
Save as standard .mp4 video for easy
editing and uploading.
Other export options: Youtube, Google
Drive,, FTP
Camtasia Studio
$179.99 for a full license, with 30 day
free trial.
Can capture simultaneous webcam
Captures at full frame rate, fine for
video and animation
Full-featured video editing, nonlinear
like Final Cut or Premiere.
Can zoom and pan, add effects directly
to video
Camtasia Export
Many export options, can specify the
exact resolution, file type, etc.
For best results, use “Original Quality”
Can also export to Youtube, Google
Drive, and
Captivate (Adobe)
Part of eLearning or Creative Cloud
suite, otherwise $999.99 or monthly
Editing features as good as Camtasia
Zoom and pan, add highlights, import
audio and video
Export to YouTube, also has presets
for iOS formats (iPhone, iPad)
Captivate is powerful
Part of a larger Powerpoint-style
program, but uses simpler “Video
Demo” interface to only capture video
Captivate itself is powerful! But we
don’t need the “real” interface just for
screen capture.
Mouse path editor
You can adjust (or remove) the path of
the mouse after the fact
Useful for quickly pointing to
something, removing extraneous
mouse movement, etc.
Jing is free, but disallows editing.
Must export to Flash.
Snagit is cheap, more powerful, with
limited editing.
Camtasia is more expensive, with
powerful editing and effects. Webcam
recording is possible, with many
options for export
Captivate is most powerful, but very
expensive unless part of a suite. A
part of a larger presentation program,
but we can stick with the simpler
screen capture interface. Great editing
features, mouse path adjustment.
Best Practices
Script it out
Reduces stumbles and pauses.
Even if you know the subject inside and out.
Enumerate all steps in order
Causes confusion otherwise
You know the process, but the user doesn’t
Speak out and describe all actions clearly. Say what you’re manipulating.
Don’t take unnecessary actions
Mouse moving, clicking – all of it is captured
When capturing audio and video, set up the environment
Check for extraneous noise, have plenty of light when shooting video
Do a test before the real thing
Keep it simple
If it’s too long, consider breaking the presentation down into pieces
No longer than a few minutes (5 at absolute max)
Export in original resolution quality when possible
Lower resolution reduces details, especially in text.
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