So you think you don’t need a screen recorder…?

June 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can usually capture that special moment with friends or family using your smartphone or camera.

But suppose you couldn’t?

Yet this is exactly what most people accept when they sit in front of their computer screen: the events that take place on screen are transient, gone or changed with a mouse click. Only the things you can download or save to your hard drive remain indelible after the session watching your screen is over.

Increasingly, the time we spend in front of the computer is leisure time on social media, using messaging or a webcam to chat via Facebook or Skype, for example.

So what, you might ask? The important point is that people spend a significant part of their lives sitting in front of their computer monitors, either working, or surfing the net, or connected to friends and family, or playing some console game.

In fact, recent Ofcom data shows we now spend half our waking lives on a computer or smartphone – working, socialising, playing or shopping.

We’re also using several types of media at the same time – with the average person cramming 8 hours 48 minutes of media into just over seven hours during the average day.

Young people have shown the biggest changes in how we use media – particularly using different media at the same time.

And the divide between younger and older people’s use of technology is narrowing, as older people are getting online and finding their way around email, online stores, or cut price holidays.

Any wonder then that just occasionally we feel the need to record the activity on our computer screen to a hard drive to share with others or to keep for posterity?

People might want to record their screens for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps to show others what we see on our screen when things go wrong, or how to do something correctly – from using an online service to using software. Or perhaps to record a presentation to post or use at a later date; or create a tutorial to post online; or to make a permanent record of an online conversation – the possibilities are truly endless.

Some entrepreneurial individuals even make a living by posting videos on YouTube that attract the website’s advertising machinery (the top 10 highest grossing YouTubers on the Partner Program all make over $100,000 per year in advertising revenue).

What has all this to do with screen recorders? Well, pretty much everything, because a good screen recorder can be used to do everything mentioned so far.

A good screen recorder allows you to create computer screen based video content cheaply, quickly and without the need for any particular specialist skills.

Once a screen recorder is started, it usually runs in the background – recording everything you see and do on the screen of your computer – until you stop the program. The recording can then be saved as a movie file for sharing, or it can be edited first – by tidying frames, adding transitions, annotations, various effects like zoom, webcam footage, a soundtrack or voiceover and so on – before converting to a movie file of your choice.

If you’ve never used a screen recorder – and there’s no excuse for not trying one out as there are plenty about that you can trial for free*, as well as some excellent free to keep versions** – chances are it’ll become an essential piece of kit once you see just what you’ve been missing.

Which screen recorder?

So which is the best screen recorder for you? You can find plenty of reviews online, such as

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_screencasting_software
http://webdeveloper.econsultant.com/screen-recorder-software/
http://www.top5freeware.com/screen-recording-software-for-windows
http://www.ilovefreesoftware.com/27/featured/5-best-free-screen-recording-software.html
http://www.webresourcesdepot.com/10-free-screen-recording-softwares-for-creating-attractive-screencasts/

Examples of Use:

Khan Academy
If you’re a teacher, or work in education, then you’ve probably heard of the Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/). The Khan Academy is an organisation providing free world-class education to anyone anywhere, through the use of an extensive website video library, which currently stands at around 2,600 videos.

The videos cover anything from kindergarten spelling to finance and history, or science topics, such as biology, chemistry or physics. Each video is a digestible chunk of knowledge, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.

If you’re interested in creating Khan Academy style videos and need a screen recorder to start the ball rolling, remember BB FlashBack Express is free to use and ideal for making simple screen recordings.

Cyber Crime
Computer forensics is a demanding field, requiring a high level of rigor to ensure the correct procedures have been followed.

Commonly, a cyber-investigation examines how a digital resource like an app, a hyperlink or a Web search box works.

It is the job of an investigator to record what he sees and hears in such a way that it can be used in court to show what the resource did at the time of the investigation.

Without a recording, valuable evidence can disappear. A Web page or a Facebook wall, for instance, may display one thing now and something different five minutes later.

http://legal-beagle.typepad.com/wrights_legal_beagle/2011/04/credible.html

Recording a Prezi
Prezi is a cloud-based presentation tool, but some screen recorders are capable of recording fast-moving images to create packaged Prezi presentations (if you’re not familiar with the Prezi presentation tool, check out http://prezi.com).
http://vimeo.com/29306710

Recording Webinars
Web conferences – also called webinars or webcasts – provide a way to present information in an interactive manner to a group of individuals. They are great for increasing business productivity, offering presentations to clients and business partners, holding online training, or for sharing computer applications all online.

Webinars allow thousands of people to ‘attend’ at any one time, and unlike conventional real-world conferences, the cost is a fraction of what it would be if you had to arrange a venue, seating space etc. to bring a large number of people together in one place.

A good screen recorder can make a permanent recording of a webcast which you can play back later – capturing both the PC sound and microphone at the same time – to show everything that happened, including your own contributions to the discussion. Export the recording into a format most convenient to you, for sharing internally with colleagues or publishing to the Web.

Sales and Marketing
Screen recorders can be used to produce professional, self-contained video demonstrations of software, for sales and marketing purposes.

Pre-recorded video software demonstrations are a valuable resource. They can illustrate the capabilities of an application or website in a way that static words and screenshots cannot match.

IT Training
A screen recorder is great for showing students software in action and how to perform complex tasks on a PC.

Teaching in school
Because a screen recorder can record exactly what is done on a computer screen, what a user says, and how they interact with any Windows-based application or website makes it an ideal tool for teaching. In a school or learning environment, screen recorders can be used:

• To demonstrate an application or service.
• To produce ‘how-to’ films (for example, how to use a specific feature in a computer program).
• To create narrated demonstrations – this is particularly useful as software becomes more complex, allowing users, reviewers and developers to share their understanding.
• By teachers and trainers wanting to develop engaging tutorials
• By students needing to evidence coursework
• Home PC users who want to distribute on-screen content and record creation of computer art, photo and design projects

The big advantage of using a screen recorder in teaching is that it can dramatically improve the reach and effectiveness of a teacher when dealing with larger class sizes.

For example, in a class of students at all levels of ability, a screen recorder allows the same lesson to be differentiated for each child because they can go over it in their own time and at their own speed.

*BB FlashBack Pro – http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk/BBFlashBack/Home.aspx
** BB FlashBack Express – http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk/BBFlashBack_FreePlayer.aspx

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