by Pat Hammond on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
One of the questions I've been asked a lot lately is "How can I record a screencast?"
There are so many cool tools and apps out there for pretty much every device and budget, but most of them have some kind of learning curve and if all you need is a quick screen capture for a video tutorial or step-by-step guide for a client it can get overwhelming.
Which brings me to a hidden gem from the engineers at Microsoft's Tech Net Magazine called Screen Recorder.
Screen Recorder is an entry level no cost, no frills program for recording basic screen captures.
This little program is as basic as it gets. One small popup window for setup followed by an even smaller control interface.
Three buttons, Start, Pause and Stop.
If you need something that is going to let you do split screens, add captions, annotations or transitions this is not the program for you. You can, however, take the screencast you make in Screen Recorder and use a video editor to incorporate it into a larger video, but that is a discussion for another day.
Today we are focusing on the fastest, easiest way to do a screeencast on the fly using Windows, and for me that means using Screen Recorder.
The thing I like about this program is that it is truly no hassle. You don't need to download or assign a codec, you don't need to know what kind of video card you have and you don't have to worry about file format. All you have to do is open the program, choose from a few simple options like whether you want it to capture audio, give it a file name and click start. That's it.
Your video saves in standard Windows Media Video (WMV) format which can be easily uploaded to YouTube.
YouTube automatically converts WMV files to HTML5 for you, but if you're not using YouTube or you simply need a universal format you can easily convert the file to MP4 using a free online tool like Video.Online-Convert , or a desktop program like VLC.
So there you have it. An easey peasey free tool that makes recording your desktop a piece of cake.
The next time you need to do a screencast, try Screen Recorder. It may not have all the bells and whistles as the other programs, but it makes it really easy to do a quick screencast.
1. For some reason known only to the people who designed it, Screen Recorder defaults to a flashing red border around the window that it being recorded. While I can see a use for this feature, I can't imagine the average person is going to need or want it. Unless you want this outline blinking like a broken neon sign around your content do yourself a favor and get in the habit of automatically clicking the "No Border Flashing" box.