My uncle Andy is a carpenter, and has been for all his working life. As children, my brother and I were occasionally allowed to help him when he came over to our house to carry out some work that extended beyond my father’s considerable do-it-yourself abilities. I was always amazed at the number of specialized wood-working tools Andy kept in the boot (or trunk) of his old blue Ford Escort Mk 1.
[As an aside, I know that if you’re Irish or British and of a certain age you’ll be having a moment of nostalgia at this point; for every one else, here’s a picture]:
Ford Escort Mark 1
During his apprenticeship and the years of his professional life, Andy acquired a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of saws, chisels, planes, screwdrivers, drills, augurs, squares, gauges, and awls. His toolkit was one of the things that separated him from even the most enthusiastic amateur DIYer; we’ll come to the other thing at the end of the post.
Now read read on…
We’re building an open source e-learning development toolkit at the moment. and I’m not going to highlight the obvious analogy too much, except to say that having the right tool for the job substantially increases your chances of carrying out the work successfully.
In this post, I’m looking at open source software (OSS) and free-to-use tools that enable you to capture on-screen demonstrations and external video, and to edit and render the media into a format that’s easily distributable to learners.
In a departure from my previous suggestions for OSS tools (where I discussed one application in depth) today I’m going to detail a number of these tools for you: for just as there are many types of saw for use in carpentry (Tenon, Hand, Dovetail, Coping, Fret, and so on), each one of these tools carries out a specific function in a certain circumstance, and on a different operating system.
|Open Source Tools|
|CamStudio||Windows||CamStudio records on-screen video and audio activity as AVI files. It outputs to ShockWave Flash (SWF) using its internal SWF Producer feature.|
|Virtualdub||Windows||VirtualDub is a video capture and processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It does not have the editing power of a non-linear video editor like Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear video processing. It has batching capabilities for processing large numbers of files, and can be extended with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is for processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and sets of BMP images.|
|Wink||Linux (requires GTK 2.4 or higher) |
|Wink is tutorial and presentation creation software package, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software. It enables you to capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, and titles, as well as to generate a highly effective tutorials for your learners.|
|XVidCap||Linux||XVidCap enables you to screen capture videos from X-Window Linux desktop. Based on Xvid, (the OSS implementation of DivX – Xvid/DivX – geddit?) it is based on the accredited MPEG-4 standard.|
Mac OS X
|FFmpeg is a complete, cross-platform command-line solution to record, convert and stream audio and video.|
|Screen Toaster||Linux |
Mac OS X
|A web-based screen capture application. Records screencasts, tutorials, demos, training, and lectures. Screen Toaster enables you to share and stream videos online in Flash, as well as embed content on blogs, web pages, e-mail, and of course, YouTube.|
|HyperCam||Windows||HyperCam is an AVI-based screen capture utility. It supports text annotations, sound, and screen notes.|
|Freez||Windows||Freez is a suite of screen capture and media rendering applications. As well as recording content, you can output you media to a range of formats including AVI, MPEG, WMV, and FLV.|
|Free Screen Recorder||Windows||Free Screen Recorder is an easy-to-use screen recording program to capture screen activities and sounds to standard AVI video file.|
|ScreenCoder||Windows XP||ScreenCoder streams and archives video screen captures. It is robust and flexible enough to suit a broad variety of needs. It supports a range of outputs including record to file, push and archive to a Windows Media streaming server, stream directly from the encoding machine.|
Mac OS X
|Vnc2flv is a cross-platform screen recording tool for UNIX, Windows or Mac. It captures a VNC desktop session (either your own screen or a remote computer) and saves as a Flash Video (FLV) file.|
|TechSmith Jing||Mac OS X |
|Jing enables you to capture static screenshots and motion-based video screen captures. Content can be shared over the web, and via IM and e-mail.|
|Windows Media Encoder||Windows||Windows Media Encoder is a powerful tool for content producers who want to capture audio and video content using the many innovations in Windows Media, including high-quality multichannel sound, high-definition video quality, and support for mixed-mode voice and music content.|
|TipCam||Windows||Record your screen and voice in a flash video (FLV format) and share it instantly at uTIPu.com|
Oh yes… The other thing that differentiated my uncle the carpenter, was that he knew how to use the tools correctly.