Screencasts on Ubuntu


I’ve been playing around with capturing screencasts on Ubuntu 12.04 and since I found the process slightly more complicated than expected, I thought I would document it here for future reference.  The procedure I followed was to start by downloading and installing the following software:

  1. recordmydesktop
  2. Arista Transcoder
  3. OpenShot Video Editor

There are numerous forums and tutorials available for the above-mentioned packages, but since all I really wanted to do was to capture tutorials to stick on YouTube, I didn’t want to delve into the more complicated aspects of video editing.  So after a bit of searching (and many, many recordings and a fair amount of cursing), I discovered a process that worked for me:

  1. Record your screencast with recordmydesktop.  The default output file format is “.ogv” and this particular format doesn’t seem to play nice with OpenShot Video Editor.  What I found was that, after I exported the project from OpenShot to video, the beginning of the video would be missing (this apparently has something to do with ffmpeg and other technicalities of the libraries used by OpenShot…anyway…).  In other words, the audio and video was out of synch.  Step up Arista Transcoder.
  2. I found Arista very easy to use and the little blue information and help buttons in the application was immensely useful.  For those of you who, like me, know very little (read “nothing”) about video formats and codecs, I recommend you see this page and this page for more information.  Anyhow, converting the ogv file to an alternative file format was easily achieved through the use of this excellent piece of software.
  3. Create a new OpenShot project.  Once again, I found myself completely stumped by the plethora of options available, however, this wiki presented a nicely distilled view of what I needed to get going.  Once the project is created, simply import the converted file (the one you created in Step 2) into the project and start editing away.
  4. Export your video to the final format you want or need (once again, see the wiki).
  5. Sit back and be amazed by your awesomeness!

I have also found that (1) it is weirdly unnerving to talk to your computer and (2) it is even worse listening to your own voice played back at you.  Unfortunately I have not yet discovered any software packages that can make me sound like I actually know what I’m doing…

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