Creation of spoken tutorial using recordMyDesktop

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Title of script: How to use recordmyDesktop

Author: Nancy Varkey

Keywords: recordmyDesktop, screencast, linux
Slides of How to use recordMyDesktop (PDF)

Visual cue
Prepare a title slide for Talk to a Teacher, MHRD. Mention the title of Spoken Tutorial as “How to use recordMyDesktop”.(Slide 1) Hello and welcome to this tutorial on “How to use recordMyDesktop”.
(Slide 2) Slide text should read -
  • recordMyDesktop is a free and open source screencasting software
  • Works on the Ubuntu Linux operating system
  • For more information on Screencasting software,
    please watch the spoken tutorial on "How To Use Camstudio" available on this website.
recordMyDesktop is a free and open source screencasting software that works on the Ubuntu Linux operating system. For more information on Screencasting software, please watch the spoken tutorial on "How To Use Camstudio" available on this website.
(Slide 3) Slide text should read -
  • recordMyDesktop : version
  • gtk-recordMyDesktop: version 0.3.8
  • On Ubuntu 9.04/10.04
  • Refer to the Ubuntu spoken tutorials on
I have already downloaded gtk-recordMyDesktop version 0.3.8 and installed it on my PC through the Synaptic Package Manager. For more information on how to install software in Ubuntu Linux, please refer to the spoken tutorials on Ubuntu Linux available on this website.
Move cursor to Applications – then Sound&Video – then gtk-recordMyDesktop. Next move the cursor over the application window and then the point to the tray and move cursor over it slowly Once you have successfully installed recordMyDesktop, go to the Ubuntu main menu on the top of the monitor or screen. Click on Applications and choose Sound&Video. This will open the context menu in which you will find the application gtk-recordMyDesktop. Click on it. This will open the gtk-recordMyDesktop application window. The main application window serves the purpose of defining some basic parameters of the recording, while the tray icon is primarily used for runtime control of your recordings.
Point to the second red circle. Next point to the first red circle. Notice a new entry in your system tray icon - the red circle, representing the record button.
(Slide 4) Slide should have the following -

The system tray icon has 3 states:

  • Recording (the red circle)
  • Stop (the square)
  • Pause (two thin parallel and vertical rectangles)

Point to the red circle and right-click to show the pause mode and left-click to show the stop mode. (After the narration pause the first recording. Now stop the recording within the recording. Hit Cancel in the encoder window. Then resume the first recording to proceed with the tutorial)

The system tray icon has 3 states:
  • Recording
  • Stop
  • Pause

When recordMyDesktop is launched, the icon will be a record sign, i.e. the red circle. When one starts recording, the icon will change into a square which is the Stop sign. Observe there are 2 squares. This is because I am using recordMyDesktop to record this tutorial. To pause the recording, one has to right-click on the square and the icon will change into a pause sign - two thin parallel and vertical rectangles. To resume the recording, one has to click on the pause sign again. Inorder to stop the recording, one has to click on the square.

Right-click on the red circle icon to display the options. Next roll cursor over Select Area on Screen and click it to transform the pen into a cross-pen. Now draw a capture area on the screen just as you talk about it.

Before setting any parameters, let me give you an important information. Right-click on the red circle system tray icon. Here you have the options to show or hide the main application window. When you start a recording session the main window will hide itself by default. One can also choose to show the main application window by selecting this option. “Select Area on Screen” is a way of defining the area that you wish to record. Choosing this option will change the cursor into a crosspen with which one can draw the capture on the screen. Notice the capture area on the screen. Whatever is within this capture area will be recorded.
Press Esc. Again right-click and roll cursor over Quit while talking about it. “Quit” option exits recordMyDesktop, exactly like the button on the main window.
Point the cursor to the display panel. Coming back to the application window, you will find the display panel to the left with a small preview window. It depicts a scaled version of your desktop, which can be used for defining an area of recording.
Point to the Video Quality and Audio Quality options. Point to 100 for both. To the right of this panel you will find the options to increase or decrease the Video Quality and Sound Quality. By default, both Video and Sound quality are set at 100. This setting gives very good playback video quality as well as audio quality. The trade-off, however, is a larger file size. For creating Spoken Tutorials, one does not need to have 100% Video quality as it increases the file size. Experimenting a bit with these parameters will allow you to get an optimum file size with reasonably good video and sound quality.
Tap on the bar till you reach 50. Check the box. I will set the video quality to 50 and audio quality to 100 respectively. This is because the size of the audio stream will occupy only a small part of your resulting file. By default, recordMyDesktop does not record audio. To enable audio capture, check the box to the left of Sound Quality.
Move cursor to ADVANCED button. Click on it. Point to the Advanced Window. Point to the 'X' on the top RHS corner. Roll cursor over the 4 options Notice the button ADVANCED. Lets click on it. This will open another dialog box as seen here. Visit the ADVANCED window at least once, in order to better customize the behavior of the recordMyDesktop. All options in this window are saved and applied when you close it. There are 4 options in the Main Menu of this window.
Move cursor to Files option and click. Roll cursor over the 2 options. Point to the small white box on the RHS. The first tab is Files. It has two options. There is also an option to overwrite existing files, bearing the same filename in the same location, with the one you chose for your recording. By default this option is turned off. Hence the existing files are not touched at all. Instead the new one is saved with a number postfixed at it's filename. So, if you choose to save your recording as recording.ogv, in your home directory and there is already a file named like that, the new one will instead get saved as recording-1.ogv. If recording-1.ogv exists too, the new file will be named recording-2.ogv and so on.
Click on the white box. Roll cursor over the "/tmp" text Let me open the Advanced tab again . If the “Overwrite Existing Files” option is turned on, existing files are deleted without any prompt. So, one has to be careful with it. The “Working Directory” option is the location in which the temporary files are stored during the recording. This applies only when you are not performing encoding on the fly.
Point to Performance and click. Roll cursor over the options. Point to "Frames per second". Roll cursor over "Encode on the fly" slowly as you narrate. The next tab is Performance. Here again there are 5 check-boxes. Be sure to set the “Frames per second”. 2 frames per second is a good setting for this parameter. However, for high animation videos, set any number between 15-20 frames per second. The “Encode on the Fly” option causes recordMyDesktop to encode during the capture. By default, it is off. This is useful when you don't need a high fps, or you are capturing a small area. But if you need a smooth recording of a not-so-small area, you should turn this option off. As mentioned earlier, when using this option, both audio and video quality must be set to 100%.
Point cursor to Zero compression, roll and point to the box, Quick Subsampling, roll and point to the box. The “Zero Compression” tab controls the compression of the cache. “Quick Subsampling” deals with the quality of the colorspace transformation. We will leave them as they are.
Point cursor to Full shots...., roll and point to the box. “Full shots At Every Frame” enables full captures. By default, it is turned off.
Point cursor to Channels, roll and point to the box. The third tab is Sound. The “Channels” option sets the number of channels in the resulting audio stream. It can be 1 (mono) or 2(stereo). When recording from a microphone, selecting more than one channels is completely unnecessary and will only increase the size of your output file.
Point cursor to Frequency, roll and point to the box. The “Frequency” setting, is probably the most defining factor for the audio quality of a recording. The default is 22050, which is more than enough for speech, but if you are recording music, you might need to use 44100.
Point cursor to Device, roll and point to the box. Delete DEFAULT and type plughw:0,0. Delete this and type 'default' in the textbox. The “Device” should be set to “plughw:0,0” in order to have precise control of the channels and frequency values. Only then will the audio play smoothly, without any hitches or jumps. Typing “default” in lowercase alphabets also works.
Roll over the text and point to the box. If you are using an external jack for recording, then check this box. The channels, frequency and device fields will be disabled. These settings are now provided by the Jack server. Before enabling Jack capture, you should make sure that a Jack server is running.
Point cursor to Misc, roll the cursor down. Point to Follow Mouse option. Check it. The last tab is called Misc. There are various options here which are meant to be used less frequently. An important option here is the Follow Mouse option. When checked the capture area will follow the cursor wherever it moves on the screen. When unchecked, the capture area remains stationary inspite of cursor movement. I will give you a demo of this soon.
Click on 'X' in the top RHS corner We will close this window now. Remember, all the settings will be saved as soon as we close this window.
Point to the display panel preview window. Draw a capture area on the preview window. Centre the rectangle slowly. In the preview window of the display panel lets draw a capture area for our sample recording. Click on the left-mouse button and drag. Release the button. You will find a small rectangle in the preview window and a larger rectangle on your screen. This is the actual capture area. All activities within this rectangle will be captured in the demo recording. Now, lets do a demo recording.
Click on the Record button in the second recording. Narrate. Click on Applications - Office - wordprocessor. Click on Stop. I will click on the record icon. Hello and welcome to the demo recording using recordMyDesktop. This is a demo recording to demonstrate how easy it is to create a spoken tutorial. Click on Applications - Office - Lets choose wordprocessor. Let me type DEMO. Stop the recording.
Point to the encoder window recordMyDesktop is now encoding and producing a movie in 'ogv' format.
Point to the recordMyDesktop window again. Point to Places >> Home Folder. Point to the out.ogv file. Right-click and play with VLC-Player. The encoding is complete and the movie is now ready. Lets check it out. We will find the output 'ogv' in the Home Folder. This is the default name of the output file. Lets play the recorded movie. Right-click and play with VLC-Player.
(Slide 5) Display Slide similar to the title slide with credits to project and script-writer. So, I hope the information given in this tutorial will help you to use recordMyDesktop on your computer. Install this free and open source software and use it to create audio-video tutorials and online visual learning modules of your own.

Spoken tutorial activity is the initiative of the ‘Talk to a Teacher’ project coordinated by, developed at IIT Bombay. Funding for this work has come from the National Mission on Education through ICT, launched by MHRD, Government of India. For more information, please visit

This brings us to the end of this tutorial. This is Nancy from IIT Bombay saying Goodbye and Thank you for watching.

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