Wednesday, October 20, 2010

About Camstudio

What is it?
CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)
Here are just a few ways you can use this software:
  • You can use it to create demonstration videos for any software program
  • Or how about creating a set of videos answering your most frequently asked questions?
  • You can create video tutorials for school or college class
  • You can use it to record a recurring problem with your computer so you can show technical support people
  • You can use it to create video-based information products you can sell
  • You can even use it to record new tricks and techniques you discover on your favourite software program, before you forget them
  • Don't like the sound of your voice? No problem.
    CamStudio can also add high-quality, anti-aliased (no jagged edges) screen captions to your recordings in seconds and with the unique Video Annotation feature you can even personalise your videos by including a webcam movie of yourself "picture-in-picture" over your desktop.
    And if all that wasn't enough, CamStudio also comes with its own Lossless Codec that produces crystal clear results with a much smaller filesize compared with other more popular codecs, like Microsoft Video 1.
    You have total control over the output of your video: you can choose to use custom cursors, to record the whole screen or just a section of it and can reduce or increase the quality of the recording depending on if you want smaller videos (for emailing to people, for instance) or you can have "best quality" ones for burning onto CD/DVD.
    But all of these features would be worthless if CamStudio wasn't easy to use ... fortunately that's not the case. CamStudio can be learned in a matter of minutes and comes with a comprehensive built-in helpfile, so if you do manage to get stuck, you can simply hit "Help" and get the answers you need.

    So where can I get it and how much does it cost?
    You can download and use it completely free - yep - completely 100% free for your personal and commercial projects as CamStudio and the Codec are released under the GPL (for more details on this license, click here.)
    There are no royalties or any monies to pay - although if you do use it for a commercial product, I wouldn't say no to a copy of whatever you produce

    Designed For XP - Windows Vista Capable
    Download Links
    CamStudio 2.0: CamStudio20.exe
    To manually install the codec, download the zipfile version, extract the contents to a folder, right click the camcodec.inf file and select Install.
    If you don't have a lot of experience or just plain can't be bothered with all that mucking around [grin], download the EXE version and double click it to begin the install process.

    CamStudio's History
    Over the last few months, quite a people have asked me about CamStudio's history and the confusion with the V2.1 that's around, so I thought I'd explain what the situation is, as I understand it ...
    CamStudio was originally released by a company called RenderSoft who were subsequently bought by a company called eHelp who used some of the technology in their program, RoboDemo ...
    Some time later, eHelp was bought by Macromedia who wanted RoboDemo (which was to become Captivate) ...
    Knowing that CamStudio did some of the stuff RoboDemo did for free (mainly export to streaming Flash), it looks like they released a newer version of CamStudio (2.1) which fixed some bugs but most importantly, removed certain features. Gone was the ability to create SWFs, added was the requirement to register to use it, and over time, links to the various webpages that had CamStudio and its source code, became broken.
    However, I've managed to find the earlier version 2.0 complete with the related CamStudio video codec (comparable to Techsmith's excellent TSCC), the source code for both and just put the website up so people can download them ...
    A number of people have mentioned having trouble viewing SWF videos generated by CamStudio. It turns out there's a bug which means you can't see anything if you try watching them with Netscape or Firefox (Internet Explorer works fine) ...
    The next update (2.5) will fix this but until then, here's a temporary workaround:
    Open the related HTML to the SWF you've just generated and look for the line starting with the "EMBED SRC" command ...
    Change the Width and Height values in this line to match values in the line starting with "OBJECT CLASSID".
    Save the file and you should be good to go ...
    I seem to be getting a lot of questions about a registration code ... the version of CamStudio available from this site (v2.0) doesn't require registration AND has more features, so uninstall v2.1 from your system, download and install v2.0 from here and you're good to go!
    If your computer's memory or virtual memory usage starts climbing rapidly when viewing a SWF authored by CamStudio to the point when your PC locks up so you have to reboot it, recreate the SWF from your source AVI file and in SWF Producer, make sure you select the Advanced tab and check the Memory Management tickbox (Manage Flash player internal memory). That should sort the problem out. Thanks to Ben Ward for the fix.

    AudioFlash is free audio recording software that will record you speaking via your computer and put it on your website with some nifty SWF control buttons.
    Just wanted to let you know, I've released another tool called Podcast Autocue, which you can download as well from here: Podcast Software
    There's now a "proper" blog for CamStudio where I'll post all the latest information, including updates on CamStudio V2.5. Click here to go to the blog

    CamStudio Update List
    If you'd like to be notified when I have some news related to CamStudio, signup using the form at the top of this page and you'll be "in the loop" ...
    Obviously, I won't be spamming you and your details won't be sold, given, traded or hired to any other third party under any circumstances.
    Enter your details here to add yourself to the CamStudio Users Update List
    Spread The Word ...
    I'd love to get CamStudio into the Top 10 Most Popular downloads at SourceForge ... for no other reason than ... um ... I'd like to, so tell as many people as possible ...
    If you'd like to link back to this site, here's some example code you can use:
    CamStudio - Free Streaming Video Desktop Recording Software
    A Plea For Help ...
    I've got big plans for CamStudio and want to continously improve it and the Codec as well ... but I'm not a programmer.
    The potential for CamStudio to be used as a professional training and support tool is huge and not just in the information technology and internet marketing arenas, but also in diverse markets and tasks like home eduation, recording online geneological research, keeping a video record of special offer prices on your favourite snowboarding (or whatever) website - you get the idea ...
    It doesn't matter if you're at home in Las Vegas or on an Alaskan Cruise - if you've got a laptop or PC you can use CamStudio.
    So if there are any Visual C++ programmers out there that have Flash, video encoding and codec experience who'd like a challenge, please get in touch.
    So, at some point in the near future I'd like to start accepting donations so any coders that work on this project will get some kind of financial reward in addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling they get from helping to resurrect this cracking piece of software ... so if you're feeling generous, please get in touch at the email address above and let me know.
    I'd also love to get your feedback on CamStudio ... what you liked, what you thought sucked and what you think is missing.

      By the way...

    You can use VirtualDub (free!) to change the frame-rate for playback to anything you like.

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - in either "Full Processing" (you're changing compression also) or "Direct Stream Copy" (you're just changing the frame rate) modes, under the "Video" menu select "Frame Rate"
    Step 3 - Under "Source Rate Adjustment" select the second radio button, "Change frame rate to (fps) and enter the desired frame rate. For time-lapse recorded stuff, selecting a slow frame rate of 1 frame per second or so will produce slide-show-like results. Move to higher numbers to speed up the playback.
    Step 4 - Process all frames. Click "OK"
    Step 5 - Under "File" select "Save as AVI" and re-save the video with the new frame rate for playback with a different descriptive filename (filename1fps, for instance)

    Now you'll have a time-lapse movie that outputs nicely. For really long intervals (like 10 minutes between frames), you can instead opt to output each frame as a separate "movie" to be loaded into an editor to allow cross-fading between every frame. VirtualDub does not have support for adding in transitions - I've only done such a thing in Windows Movie Maker.

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - Under "File" select "Save Segmented AVI"
    Step 3 - Check the box "Limit number of video frames per segment" and enter "1" there.
    Step 4 - Set "File segment size limit in MB (50-2048) to 50.
    Step 5 - select/create a folder to hold all the created segments.
    Step 6 - Click "Save"

    Or, alternatively, you can output all your frames as bitmap, jpeg (recommended), png or Targa images to use in Windows Photo Story 3, Quicktime Pro or another slide-show creation program to create a slide-show with transitions.

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - Under "File" select "Export ==> Image Sequence"
    Step 3 - Under "Filename" enter a base filename - each frame will add a number to that base filename
    Step 4 - Click on the radio button for the format you want to export the frames as and, if applicable, set the quality slider all the way to the right.
    Step 5 - click the box with three dots ... and select your target directory (this directory must already be created).
    Step 6 - Click OK

    Now the folder of images can be imported into Photo Story 3 or dropped into Quicktime Pro with transitions added.

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