Screencasting Tools

Market overview of recommendable tools for creating software demos (so-called screencasts). Software demos are not only used for marketing purposes on web sites, but also as standalone tutorials or embedded within online help files and other sorts of software documentation.

Tip: Also see the checklist in Choosing a Screencasting Tool.

 

Captivate

If there’s anything like a Swiss Army knife among the authoring systems for software demos, then it’s Captivate. The program offers a scope of functions that’s by far the largest, especially with regard to quiz functions and branching scenarios. Among its strengths are flexible customization of the output, smooth translatability (XML export and reimport), and attractive results. Currently Captivate is the only screencasting tool that comes with text-to-speech voices. On the downside are Captivate’s poor documentation and slow update cycle.

Price: approx. €900; also available on a monthly subscription basis and as part of the e-learning Suite and Technical Communication Suite

Demo Builder

Lying hidden behind an uncluttered user interface are more features than you’d guess at first sight. Despite the affordable price, there are hardly any requirements that DemoBuilder doesn’t meet. Texts can be exported to Microsoft Word for translation and then be reimported. DemoBuilder is straightforward, simple, and efficient to use. Another key advantage is that it’s particularly easy to update existing demos when there is a new version of the demonstrated product.

Price: approx. $199

Camtasia Studio

One of the most popular screencasting tools. Its approach is purely full-motion based, which makes it somewhat difficult to update existing movies. Camtasia supports a large number of output formats and is available for Windows and for the Mac.

Price: approx. €280

ViewletBuilder

ViewletBuilder was one of the first screencasting tools on the market, and is. It’s one of the few programs that are available for Linux and Mac as well. All important features are available. Comprehensive event control. Text can be exported to XML for translation and then reimported again.

Price: approx. $399 (“Professional”) and $599 (“Enterprise”)

BBFlashBack

Follows a completely full-motion based approach, which makes it difficult to update existing demos. The built-in autoscroll function can automatically ensure that regions where interaction is happening are displayed in the center. Easy to use.

Price: approx. €62 (“Standard”) and €139 (“Professional”); there’s also a free “Express” version available that lacks editing and annotation features

Mimic

Unlike the other products listed here, Mimic focuses very specifically on the needs of technical documentation. Unique features are the possibility of using variables while working with texts, and the possibility to use individual scenes several times over, even in different projects.

Price: approx. $299

TurboDemo

Simple to use, however lacks some important features. The Enterprise version lets you record (not edit) demos on MAC OS and Linux. Didn’t have any significant updates for several years.

Price: approx. €200 up to €500, depending on version

DemoWorks

One of the few tools that can produce movies in Java format as an alternative to Flash. Also exports to Flash, WMF, AVI and animated GIF.

Price: professional version approx. $195; there’s also a free “Community Edition” available to create demos with a maximum length of 30 seconds

Scate Ignite

Provides a rich set of features and creates demos with good navigational aids.

Price: approx. $200 (“Standard”) and $500 (“Professional”)

ActivePresenter

Presentation tool to create Video or Adobe Flash interactive simulations. SCORM compatible.

Price: approx. $299 (“Standard”) and $399 (“Professional”); there’s also a free version available that exports image files and video files, but not any interactive content.

Gif Recorder

Basic screencasting tool dedicated to the GIF format. Comes with a jQuery implementation to start and stop the animations and to play audio files in sync.

Price: approx. $30

Wildform Flair

General Flash-based presentation software. PowerPoint slides, videos and animations can also be integrated.

Price: approx. $50

ProfCast

Records live presentations (PowerPoint or other) and transforms them into screencasts. Available for both Windows and Mac.

Price: approx. $60

AllCapture

Full-motion based. From the same manufacturer as TurboDemo.

Price: approx. €169 (“Basic”) and €249 (“Enterprise”)

Flash Demo Builder

Price: approx. $80

FlashDemoStudio

Price: approx. $119

Game Cam

Screen cam designed to work especially with video games that use DirectX and OpenGL.

Price: approx. $30

ScreenFlow

One of the market leaders for the Mac.

Price: approx. $99

iShowU

Another well-known audio and video recorder for the Mac.

Price: approx. $60 (“Pro”)

ScreenRecord Studio

All-in-one screen capture production suite.

Price: approx. $30

Screenium

Records desktop and video and lets you add audio and text captions.

Price: approx. $40

Screenflick

Basic screen recording software.

Price: approx. $29

BTV Pro

Video display, capture, editing, and animation software.

Price: approx. £20

Snapz Pro X

Records anything on your screen and saves it as QuickTime movie or screenshot.

Price: approx. $69

Screen Mimic

Screen recorder that can save to Adobe Flash (SWF), Flash Video (FLV), and QuickTime (MOV) files.

Price: approx. $65

Reflector

Wirelessly mirrors an iPad or iPhone to a PC or Mac so that you can take screen captures.

Price: approx. $13

Wink

Produces screencasts exclusively in Adobe Flash format. Editor lacks a timeline, therefore the flexibility is limited.

Price: free (freeware)

CamStudio

Records screen activities to AVI and Flash. Hardly any options to edit the movies. No interaction and no animation possible.

Price: free (open source)

Webinaria

Creates Flash recordings of the desktop and lets you add voice commentary, webcam videos, and text.

Price: free (open source)

LICEcap

Doesn’t create full-featured screencasts but small animated screen captures (animated GIF).

Price: free (open source)

Jing

Available for both Windows and Mac.

Price: free (freeware)

Debut Video Capture

Records from webcam, screen, or video input device. You can also add text captions.

Price: free basic version for noncommercial use; “Plus” version approx. $30

Screencast-O-Matic

Works from your web browser without installation.

Price: free (adds watermark); “Pro” version approx. $15 per year

xvidcap

Basic screencasting application for Linux.

Price: free (open source)

Krut

Basic recording software written in Java. Saves to the QuickTime MOV format.

Price: free (open source)

recordMyDesktop

Basic screencasting tool on Linux.

Price: free (open source)

vnc2flv

Cross-platform screen recording tool for UNIX, Windows, and Mac. Captures a VNC desktop session (either on your own screen or on a remote computer) and saves as a Flash Video file (FLV).

Price: free (open source)

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This page was last updated 07/2014.

 

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