Videos are incredibly popular on the internet, meaning that tools to quickly and easily create them have proliferated in recent years. This is great news for those interested in creating educational videos. Whether you want to record a presentation to shared it with a wider audience, demonstrate how to use a piece of software or online tool, or create a training video for coworkers, screencasting can be an ideal way to reach your intended audience when and where they need the information. This guide highlights some of the best tools for those getting started with screencasting and offers some tips along the way.
Want to learn more about the basics of Screencasting? Check out Lynda.com's Screencasting Fundamentals tutorial. (Note: All Harvard University staff, faculty, and students have access to Lynda.com.)
Screencast-O-Matic makes it easy to create screencasts without downloading software. It works on both Macs and PCs and can be used to create demonstration videos or to create video versions of your presentation. The free version supports videos up to 15 minutes in length and a pro version is available with additional features as well.
Jing is another free and easy way to create screencasts. Created by TechSmith, the makers of SnagIt and Camtasia, Jing is focused on making short videos of 5 minutes or less, but it makes creating and sharing screencasts very quick, particularly for those who are familiar with TechSmith products.
Currently only available for Mac, Screenmailer uploads your video as you are recording it to speed the process of sharing video. The service takes care of hosting the video for you and offers the ability to share videos either via private link or via email from directly within Screenmailer.
iMovie differs from the other free options in this guide in that it not a free online option, but rather a tool that is included on Macs. Versions are available for iOS devices, but it is not available for PCs. Apple Support offers documentation for getting started with iMovie, or you can watch the iMovie tutorials from Lynda.com.
Camtasia allows users to capture their activities on their computer's screen or record themselves using their computer's camera. It is a versatile program that includes robust editing features and many options for adding annotations and callouts to your video in post-production. It is available for both Mac and PC but the two versions are not compatible with one another, which can make editing content created on a different platform more challenging. They offer a range of tutorials to help you get started and there are further training videos available to Harvard users via Lynda.com.
The videos below introduce users to the PC version. Mac user? Check these videos out instead!
If you are already a fan of Adobe products, you may wish to try their screencasting software, Captivate. It is a popular tool that offers features for both simple screencasting and for those who want additional interactivity in their videos. The newest version has a focus on being ready for mobile learners, but retains the traditional features that have made Captivate popular in the past. The intro video below will give a sense of what Captivate can do. If you want more in depth training videos, Adobe offers several tutorials on Captivate as does Lynda.com.
YouTube is one popular option for hosting your videos. If you already have an institutional or personal Google account, you can tie your YouTube account to that existing presence. As an added bonus, YouTube recently added the ability to add a small clip that plays with all of the videos on your channel if you are interested in creating a cohesive "brand" for your videos. YouTube offers a number of training videos to help you with common tasks and also has a Getting Started tutorial if you are completely new to the platform. Lynda.com also offers training videos to get your started using YouTube. The video below explains the basics of uploading a video and how to then add closed captions to your video.
Vimeo is an alternative hosting option that offers a nice interface, particularly for mobile users. It offers many of the same features as YouTube, including the ability to share your videos on a variety of platforms, options for embedding videos on websites and tools for creating closed captions. They offer a guide to the basics about their product and you can also learn more about using Vimeo on Lynda.com.