Original Audio Version
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Hey guys. Me back again. I just want to do another quick review of a product that was a free product that I stumbled across in looking for a alternative to a paid product, so I was looking at Camtasia, which you might be aware of. It’s one of the sort of leading screen capture software, and they had a really good Black Friday sale recently, or maybe … No, it was Cyber Monday, sorry. Yeah, Cyber Monday sale, and unfortunately, I just totally forgot to place my order, and I missed out on this deal, and then their customer support weren’t particularly helpful in terms of saying, “Oh, well look. We’ll give you the deal.”
You know, I mean, I worked in a retail business here in New Zealand, doing marketing for quite some time, and we had a simple rule, that if someone missed a promotion, as long as they had a genuine enough reason, you want the sale. You know, if you could afford to sell it at 30% off on the Sunday and you can’t do it on the Monday, well, then you obviously couldn’t have afforded it in the first place.
So anyway, I was a bit annoyed about that. I’m still going to buy Camtasia, but I’m waiting for another special, because it’s just a bit too expensive for me at the moment, in terms of the recording I need to be doing. So I looked around for free options, and I came across Camstudio. So, I’m not going to give a long review here. This is going to be short, but look, what is Camstudio? It’s a free software for screen capture, so if you want to record anything on your screen, like a PowerPoint presentation, or record yourself using a piece of software, anything like that, well you can use Camstudio, and it’s totally free to download.
It’s a small download file. It’s fast to install. You do need to be aware of the fact that it will try to get you to install a whole bunch of freeware during the install process. I imagine that’s where the software makes its money back, is through bundled installers. There was about three or four different options I had to click no to, in terms of installers, so that’s a little bit frustrating, because obviously, I don’t really like having a software I don’t want forced on me, but look, just make sure you click out of that. I’ve never seen anything worth it that’s included in one of those bundled installer windows, so yeah, just be careful of that. Install it.
Look, as far as free software goes, it’s very functional. If you need to do basic screen recording, it is pretty good. I mean, I’ve used Camtasia in the past. I had it. Camtasia is the free … Sorry, the paid version. Camtasia is a paid product that costs about 200 US dollars normally, and Camstudio is free.
And in the past, I used Camtasia a lot, so I got used to how it works and how easy it was to work with, and when I had a Mac, two or three years ago, I used to use ScreenFlow as well. I think ScreenFlow is now a paid software. I haven’t had a Mac computer in quite some time. I wouldn’t mind one, actually, for some audio stuff I want to do, but ScreenFlow is not compatible for Windows, so it’s besides the point for me anyway, at the moment.
But yeah, look, Camstudio. What do I think about it? Because I want to keep this review nice and short. Overall, it’s pretty good, for free. I mean, if you just want to do some basic screen recording, it really does work. You know, you can select the whole window. You can select the whole screen. You can drag an area to record. Just getting a basic recording done is actually very simple with Camstudio. You’re not going to struggle with that too much.
The downsides of it from my perspective are firstly that there’s a lot of options that obviously you need to have a bit of an idea of what you’re working with or do some Googling or YouTubing of solutions, to get better results. What I’ve found is that the Camstudio files are simply too big, compared to what I would get with Camtasia. I mean, I’ve got a high resolution screen, so I suppose that’s a factor, but I recorded about a two minute video, maybe even less than that, a minute video of me scrolling through some webpages and clicking through some tabs on my computer, and the output file was enormous. I think it was, like, several gigabytes.
So, you know, if I was doing a 30 minute presentation or wanting to do a video review … The reason I want to get into screen capture is so that … At the moment, I write my reviews just by speaking into Audacity, a recording software that’s free, and then I have the audio transcribed by rev.com. I’ve pretty much stopped writing reviews just in text, or just in sort of Word and then copying them over to my blog. I much prefer speaking, but what I would like to do is actually kill two birds with one stone. I would like to make sure that every product I review, if it’s relevant, has a video version as well.
So if it’s a software, I’ll show you key things in the software. I’ll show you little tricks or tips I’ve learned. You know, if it’s an info product, well I’ll show you what you actually get with it, so that those flashy looking bonuses, if they’re just crappy, little eBooks, well, you know, you’ll learn that without having to spend the money. I mean, that’s my tagline, “I waste my money so you don’t waste yours.” And it’s a fun hobby for me. But look, I want to get into doing video screen capture, and then I’ll have the audio from that transcribed instead of doing a separate audio version.
So look, I thought Camstudio would be suitable, but my videos are going to have to be reasonably long, and even though I’ve got a good computer, you know beefy processor, lots of RAM, big hard drive, the other thing I’ve found about Camstudio is that it doesn’t feel that smooth. You know, I can remember Camtasia working very nicely indeed on maybe about five years ago, an older version of it, when I used it through a job I had, and I was running a pretty crappy machine. I think it was like a Core 2 Duo laptop, with four gig of RAM, and Camtasia felt pretty good.
The recording was smooth, and the playback of the video was smooth as well, whereas the Camstudio videos I’ve got, I’ve done, they’re a bit choppy, even though I’m playing them back on a fast computer. They don’t look particularly good. Fine for something really brief, but not good enough for what I want. I’m not happy with them.
But look, that’s probably just me not having the correct settings applied. There are all sorts of different codecs and things you can download, and you can pick different options, so I guess, to be honest, it’s probably more of a reflection on me and my lack of willingness to spend time getting used to using Camstudio.
I think if you’re in business, you know, the most important thing is optimizing the efficiency of your time. Obviously, you don’t want to piss money away for no good reason, but at the same time, you do want to be efficient with your time. Now, I could spend ages learning Camstudio, and working with it to get better results, but I know that if I spend 200 US dollars, plus tax, so about $400 in my local currency, which is a lot of money, but if I spend that on Camtasia, what I know is that I’m going to wind up with a software that does pretty much everything I need it to do, and it’ll do it faster, and it’s even got some pretty decent, but basic, video editing functionality in it.
So Camstudio, is it worth using? If you want to save money, and you want to record your screen, yes, I think it is. Just, you will need to allocate some time, and get stuck into actually learning how to maximize the results you get out of it. On the other hand, if all you want is the easiest option for recording a screen, and you just want a software that’s so straightforward to use and get good results with, well, no, either buy Camtasia, which I think works on Windows and Mac, or if you’re on Mac, you can also consider ScreenFlow as well. I found ScreenFlow very good to work with back in the day, and probably one of my biggest regrets of selling my old Mac Mini that was a great little workstation was that it had a free version of ScreenFlow on it, and it worked well for me.
So, yeah, Camstudio, it’s not amazing, but it is a solid, little free tool. Just make sure, firstly, you don’t accidentally install any crap during the installer process, and secondly, you will need to have some time spare to learn the ropes. Once you’ve done that, though, you should have a nice, little tool, and if you want to record videos off your screen, because you want to do tutorials, or info products, or anything, well it might be a good option, so it’s worth giving it a try.
Value For Money
Ease Of Use
Quality Of Output
Looking for a free way to record your screen for training videos, info products, tutorials or anything of that nature? Camstudio might be a good solution for you. It's certainly not the easiest bit of software to use, but it does get the job done with some tweaking. Well worth a look if you don't mind learning the ropes. Otherwise get Camtasia (or Screenflow if you have a Mac).