Spoken Tutorial Technology/Creation of Spoken Tutorial using Camstudio/English

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Name : Nancy Varkey
E-mail id : nancyvarkey@iitb.ac.in

Hello friends. On behalf of CDEEP, IIT Bombay, I welcome you to this Tutorial. This tutorial will help you master CamStudio through a step-by-step process. Learning is more effective when animation and narrations are presented simultaneously. Audio-video demonstrations can illustrate features with maximum clarity. CamStudio is a screen-recording software, that records all activities which you see on your computer screen and allows you to play them back later on. Which means that you can use CamStudio to -

  • demonstrate features of a new software
  • create audio-video tutorials for schools and colleges
  • create video movies used in user trainings
  • show how to perform an activity
  • convert AVI files to Flash (SWF) files and many other uses.

The uses of this little known software are limitless.

CamStudio can be used with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000 or XP versions. All you need is a 400 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM and 4 MB of hard-disk space for program installation.

Camstudio is an open source software and can be downloaded free of cost from the internet. Go to the site www.camstudio.org. This will open the CamStudio website. Scroll down and click on the link to download. Follow the instructions and you will have downloaded CamStudio on your PC.

Once you have installed CamStudio, double-click on the icon to run it. This will open the CamStudio dialog box. You will see the Main Menu right at the top of the window. Under File, you have the option to Record, Stop, Pause and Exit. You will find the corresponding buttons in the dialog box as well -the Red button to record, the Grey button to pause and the Blue button to stop the recording.

It is recommended that you set the capture region before recording by defining the area of capture. Under Region, there are 3 capture options. If you select Region and click on Record, then you can draw a rectangular region on your screen within which the capturing will occur. If you select Fixed Region, then you can specify the capture region in pixels. If you select Full Screen, then the entire screen will be captured.

The Enable Autopan feature is a unique feature of CamStudio. If this option is selected, the capture region will follow the cursor wherever it goes during recording. This has the effect of making the screen capture to occur at the region with the most action. You can also set the speed of panning here.

Under Options, you have Video Options where you can select a compressor for the recording so that the video file size is small. By default the compressor is Microsoft Video 1. But you are free to choose any of the compressors or codecs given in the drop down box here. Alternately, you can even download the codecs from the internet depending on your requirement. Setting the video options allows you to optimize your video recordings by choosing between the file size, quality and frame rates of your video files. To set the values for Key Frames, Capture Frames and the Playback Rate, first uncheck the Auto Adjust button. Now, you can set the values according to your requirement. To record this tutorial, I have used Microsoft Video 1 as the compressor with Key Frames set to 5, Capture Frames set to 200 and Playback Rate set to 5. I have reduced the quality to 50. By trial and error and various permutations and combinations, I have personally found these values suitable in terms of output quality and file size.

Setting cursor options can help focus on the activity you are recording by drawing attention to the area where the action happens. Under Options, click on Cursor Options, in which you have the choice to either hide or show the cursor. By default Show Cursor is checked. There are 3 choices of cursors here – the actual cursor, the custom cursor (you can select from the drop-down box here) or you can load the cursor from the cursors folder present on your computer. Next, you can highlight the area around the cursor by checking this box. You can set the size, the shape and the colour of the highlight. Click on OK. You will not see any change in your cursor but the recorded video will have a custom, highlighted cursor. Let me demonstrate this for you.

By default, CamStudio does not record audio. You can record audio from the microphone – a very powerful feature to make audio-video tutorials – by checking this option. You will need a sound card with an attached microphone to use this option. You can also record audio from the speakers attached to your computer by checking this option. There are other options like Program Options which have these sub-options. Use these options to customize the way the CamStudio behaves, when it starts/stops recording. Ideally check the option to Minimize program on Start Recording. This will minimize CamStudio onto the system tray which is at the bottom RH Corner of the screen. Right now, you will see 2 CamStudio icons on the system tray. That’s because I myself am recording this tutorial using CamStudio. Record to Flash Options, has these sub-options. Keyboard Shortcuts is where you can set the HOT KEYS for record, pause, stop and the rest. You are free to choose any of these.

So I hope I have given you sufficient information to get you started on CamStudio. Use this software to make audio-video tutorials and online visual learning modules of your own. Once you have mastered the basics of CamStudio, you may want to watch the next edition on its Advanced Features. Till then, this is Nancy from CDEEP, IIT Bombay, signing off. Thank you for watching.

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