User Review: CamStudio – free streaming video software

As a web site operator, I found a major hurdle while creating a site tour was recording screen images. Govind suggested that he try Cam Studio’s freeware CamStudio to create such tours without capturing the video, then learning Flash and processing the videos as Flash movies.

CamStudio is a screen capture program that records all screen images and audio as either .AVI or .SWF files. camstudio.org redirects the download link to Sourceforge. And I downloaded both the executable file and its companion lossless codec. At the time I didn’t know what a lossless codec was 🙂 but I figured “why not.”

CamStudio arrived zipped with one file. I clicked on it and it installed flawlessly in about 10 seconds. An icon was installed on my desktop.

The lossless codec required being extracted from the zip folder, right clicking the camcodec file and selecting install. I only found this out after clicking on the readme file.

Other Reading

CamStudio FAQ
CamStudio Helpdesk
CamStudio Blog

I later found a helpful CamStudio tour on installing the application (created naturally in CamStudio) that demonstrated downloading and file. Windows gave a message indicating something about maybe or maybe not wanting to install the file (Govind tells me its the necessary legalese to alert uninformed users that their actions may cause Windows to crash). But I pressed “continue anyways.” The file installed, I think, but no new icon appeared on the desktop or in the start menu. A quick Google search told me that a lossless codec is a compression technology and I figured it must run automatically in the background and I moved on to other things.

I didn’t even try to look for directions and went right to work, opened CamStudio, and pressed “record”. An active window opened. I assumed it was recording what was on the screen and I then scrolled over and pressed Stop. It automatically opened up a “save” prompt in a movie format. I gave it a name and saved it. I then played it and it worked flawlessly.

CamStudio is a really slick and simple program. I found features that allow selecting screen size or selecting the area of the screen that is recorded particularly useful. The software would be particularly useful for creating training tours for software.

I haven’t launched my tours yet, But there’s nothing like hopeful anticipation for visitors 🙂

Patrick Kelley

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