So you want to make a screencast, but where do you start? What app is best for screencasting? That’s a good question. Creating screencasts has become a very popular form of sharing information and knowledge. Many people and company’s are using them for how to’s, demos, and other types of tutorials. In fact the popularity of screencasts over the past several years has risen greatly making them one of the most common types of videos you will find on video upload sites like YouTube. There are many great applications to create screencasts — it really depends on your needs.
Here are six (6) of my favorite screencast applications. What’s even better is that many of them work on both Windows and Mac (one even works on Linux), so no matter which platform you use, one of these will work for you.
1. Screenflow (Mac only) – Priced at $99 it may seem a bit expensive but Screenflow is one of the premier screencast applications. It features fully functional screen recording with the ability to integrate video from a webcam into your production. In addition, Screenflow offers several effects such as different cursors and click tracking. However, Screenflow isn’t just a recorder, it also has an editor built right into the application–allowing you to edit your video and upload it directly to YouTube.
2. Camtasia (Windows & Mac) – Priced in at $299 for the Windows version and $99 for the Mac version, Camtasia by TechSmith is probably considered the top contender in the screencast software category. Camtasia allows users to easily record, edit, and upload videos to services like YouTube and Screencast.com. One of the nice features Camtasia offers is SmartFocus, a proprietary technology created by TechSmith which automatically will zoom in and focus on the part of the screen that is being utilized without any manual editing.
3. iShowU (Mac only) – Starting at $29.95, iShowU HD provides similar functionality to other screencast applications including webcam integration, but also offers really neat features like built-in presets for Final Cut, real-time GPU scaling, and instant capture which lets you share your screencast right away (no need to export a video).
4. Jing (Windows & Mac) – The Jing project is free, however, does offer a Pro version for $14.95/year which allows you to upload straight to YouTube and also uses a better recording format. That being said, if you’re on a budget the free version works very well and allows you to instantly share screencasts on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr as well as TechSmith’s own Screencasts.com. Jing also provides the ability to take and share screenshots in addition to screencasts.
5. CamStudio (Windows only) – Free and open source project CamStudio is one of the first screencast applications that I learned about. I heard about it several years ago and have been recommending it ever since. The easy and straight forward to use program can create high quality screencasts that are comparable to the applications I listed above. It doesn’t come with any of the other nifty features though. It’s just a screen recording application.
6. Screencastify (Windows, Mac, Linux) – I only recently found Screencastify — it’s a simple screencast app designed for Chrome. All you need to do is press record and the content of your tab, webcam or desktop is recorded. It’s a really great app for creating screencasts for video tutorials, presentations, etc. One of the best things about Screencastify though is the fact it does not depend on any plugins (like Java, Flash or others), and can run on all platforms that run Chrome (Linux, Windows, OS X) or Chrome OS (Chromebooks and Chromeboxes). There is a free version which has a 10 minute recording limit and puts a watermark on your recordings or you can pay a one-time fee of 20€ to remove the watermark and unlock unlimited recording time.
Do you have any other screencast applications worthy of a mention? Let us know in the comments!