IMHO, one of the best things about the Internet is having access to online tutorials. Whether you need to advance your PHP skills, discover what Google Analytics is all about, or learn how to customize your Twitter profile, it seems that there are video tutorials for nearly everything these days.
If you’re looking to create an online video tutorial (also called a screencast), you’ll need some tools to allow you to capture your actions and audio. These are the top screencasting tools I recommend:
JingProject (Windows and Mac)
If you’re new to screencasting, you simply must try out Jing. It’s free and very easy to use- and it records your audio as well (which is something other free software I looked at don’t do). Once you’re ready to get more serious with screencasting, their Pro version is just $14.95 a year.
Many professionals swear by TechSmith’s Camtasia, and it’s easy to see why. This is powerful screencasting software, which takes you from recording to editing to publishing all in one place- and it’s used by some very big names (e.g. Google, IBM, Stanford University…). If you’re on Windows, this is definitely one to look at- they have a free 30-day trial, and after that it’s $299 for a single-user license.
Until I discovered ScreenFlow, I was suffering from some serious Windows-envy (see Camtasia, above). But ScreenFlow, also a commercial application, is an amazing piece of software- and it’s made for Macs (specifically Leopard). It’s got gorgeous titling support, and the latest version allows you to produce WMV format recordings and create custom cursors. Little things that mean a lot. The app costs $99, and they offer a free trial as well.
iShowU HD (Mac)
shinywhitebox’s screencasting app, also made for Macs, might not be as snazzy-looking as ScreenFlow, but is powerful in its own right. There are two versions of the app, iShowU HD ($29.95) and iShowU Pro ($59.95), and it’s a good idea to view the feature comparison before selecting one. With features like on-the-fly scaling, full-screen OpenGL app support (World of Warcraft, anyone?), and the ability to embed watermarks, this is definitely one to look at.
Adobe Captivate (Windows and Mac)
Finally, if you’ve got the bucks, be sure to check out Adobe’s screencasting application. They call it “eLearning authoring”, and it really does seem to be targeted more for education purposes, giving you the ability to create quizzes with scoring among others. This is definitely for the serious screencaster, and also costs the most at $799.
Have you tried screencasting? What software do you use?