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The Secret to Screencasting with Ubuntu and Free Software

April 12th, 2007

Beth Kanter has asked me to write a little on how I prepare my screencasts under Linux, using only free and open source software. There’s little information available on line already but here’s how you can easily create a screen cast using Ubuntu.

Unfortunately the recording software I use, xvidcap, doesn’t come included with Ubuntu but there’s a Debian package available which worked just fine for me. It’s not as sophisticated as many of it’s Windows counterparts but you could be able to use the accessibility features of your desktop to compensate for features such as magnification. I’ve created a short meta-screencast giving a brief tour of xvidcap.

Once you’ve finished with xvidcap you’ll be left with an MPEG video file which you could upload straight to YouTube or another hosting service. I’m happy with this informal style of short screencasts as single takes but the video editing software Kino comes with Ubuntu for your basic editing needs.As is usual for free software there are many alternatives, this was the selection of software that worked best for me as a complete beginner to screencasting and video in Linux. You might also wish to look at ffmpeg and Istanbul for screen capture and Cinelerra and LiVES for editing.Take a look at the WordPress screencasts I’ve produced, or read about how to use WordPress for web publishing.

James Davis Articles, Wordpress Screencasts

  1. July 31st, 2007 at 02:57 | #1

    Do you record your audio afterwards or along with the video? How do you get the video so smooth? Are you running a really fast system?

  2. James
    July 31st, 2007 at 09:28 | #2

    The sound is recorded at the same time. You can record it separately but I wanted to improve my speaking. I haven’t done anything special with the video to make it smooth. All the work was on an AMD Athlon 2800 based system – nothing especially fast but not too slow.

  3. January 28th, 2008 at 02:25 | #3

    Nice how to, thanks.
    I found other software call “wink” and it working on linux too.

  4. Rebecca
    October 21st, 2008 at 21:42 | #4

    Does this work on Xandros(eee pc) PLEASE CHECK AND EMAIL ME ON::
    becca099@hotmail.co.uk

  5. ed
    January 30th, 2009 at 00:00 | #5

    Does this work when trying to capture output from an opengl app? I have tried xvidcap but it hangs somewhere in the first few frames everytime I try to capture my xwindows opengl app.

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