Saturday, October 8, 2016

My Favorite Tools for Creating Screencast Videos - Updated

Creating a screencast video can be a great way to show your students and or colleagues how to do things on their computers, phones, and or tablets. Screencasting can also be a quick way to create a short, flipped video lesson. At least a couple of times a week I'm asked about the tools that I use to create the screencasts that I share with teachers. Here's a run-down of the three tools that I use more than any others for creating screencast videos.

I use Screencast-o-matic to record on both Windows and Mac computers. There is a free browser-based version of Screencast-o-matic and a paid desktop version ($15/year). The free version is great for most situations. The desktop version offers some editing tools and longer recording times. Both versions include a highlighted circle that follows my cursor around the screen to help viewers see exactly where I am clicking and writing on the screen. 

Nimbus Screenshot:
Nimbus Screenshot is a free extension that allows you to capture screen images and create screencast videos. I use Nimbus screenshot when I want to create a screencast video on my Chromebook. Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

AZ Screen Recorder:
AZ Screen Recorder is a fantastic free app for creating screencasts on your Android phone or tablet. Unlike a lot of Android screencasting apps AZ Screen Recorder does not require you to have root access to your device nor does it require you to mirror to another device to record. To create a screencast with AZ Screen Recorder on your Android device simply install it then open it and tap the record icon. You will see a three second countdown timer appear on your screen and then you’ll be recording. You can talk over your recording to explain what you’re showing on your screen. When you’re done just tap the stop button and your recording is saved on your device. You can share your recording directly to Google Drive, YouTube, or any other file storage service that is connected to your Android device.

Other tools & methods for creating screencasts:
These are tools that I've used at various times for creating screencasts, but I don't use them on a regular basis.

There is no shortage of iPad apps that will let you create whiteboard videos in which you draw and talk. But recording yourself demonstrating how to use an app or how to complete a workflow process on an iPad requires something outside of a stand-alone app. If you have a Mac, connect your iPad to your Mac by using the Lightning cable (the cable that came with your iPad). Then open QuickTime on your Mac. Next select "new movie recording" from the QuickTime menu. You can then choose the name of your iPad and click record. When you're done recording your new screencast will save to your computer as a video file that you can then edit in iMovie if you want to cut out portions of it or lay a music track under your narration.

If you have a Windows computer and you want to record your iPad's screen, you will need a third-party service that allows you to mirror your iPad to the screen of your Windows computer. Air Server is the service that I recommend for mirroring an iPad to a Windows computer. Air Server includes a recording tool that  you can use to make a screencast video of your iPad's screen. With Air Server running you can just tap record and instantly start capturing your screen and your narration. The video will save on your Windows computer where you can then edit it and or upload it to your favorite video hosting service.

The simplest way to create a screencast on a Mac is to use Quicktime. Apple offers step-by-step directions for recording a screencast through Quicktime. The shortcoming of making a screencast this way is that it lacks a highlighter for the cursor on your screen.