If you have ever tried recording a screencapture on your computer, you know that finding the right program for it (especially if you’re looking for something that’s free) isn’t easy. Even if you manage to record a decent quality video, chances are you’ll bump into problems when trying to upload it online (YouTube for example). In this guide we will show you step-by-step how to record a video using the best free software available online, preparing it for uploading to YouTube and finally – uploading it.
What you are going to need:
- Windows XP/Vista/7 OS
- Decent amount of disc space (depends on the length of the video that you want to record)
- CamStudio 2.7 (Direct download or via official website)
- Windows Movie Maker – if you do not have this program installed by default, download it here.
First, let’s start off by downloading the most important program for what we want to do – CamStudio 2.7. This 100% free, open source software will allow you to record everything that’s happening on your screen. Or only a part of it. Or only one window. The customizability is the beauty of this program. Also, your videos will have:
- Unlimited Length (unlike many ‘trial’ versions of other screencapturing softwares)
- No watermark
Head over to http://camstudio.org/ and scroll down the page until you find a big green button ‘Download’. You can’t miss it. Click on it and the download will start. Note – watchout what you accept. When installing CamStudio you will be asked (several times) whether you want some extra applications/plugins etc. Unless you want a ton of useless crap – decline those offers.
Alright, hopefully you have now successfully installed CamStudio. Incase you haven’t done so yet, download Windows Movie Maker (click here).
Ready to start recording your first screencapture video? Great! Well, let’s open it up.
This is what’s great about CamStudio – it’s very simple, easy to use and has a ‘clean’ interface. Let me describe the most important stuff:
- I think it’s fairly obvious that the 3 big, colored signs on the left right under ‘File’ ‘Region’ etc. are for recording, pausing and stopping.
- To choose what part of your screen you want to record, go into ‘Region’. Fixed Region will allow you to record a chosen part of your screen (try clicking on the option and you will see for yourself). Window will record only what you’re doing in the currently opened program. Full screen is pretty self-explanatory.
- Lastly, ‘Options’ – here you can change your audio and video settings. You can play around with the quality of the video under Video Options. Ofcourse reducing the quality will improve performace/frame rate but the video won’t be as good. It all depends on your machine.
As you can obviously see there are a lot of other options, but these are by far the most important and critical to know about. If you want to learn to use all the other options and truely master this nifty little screen recorder, check out this video.
So, now it’s time for you to record your video. It will take a couple of tries – unless you have a state-of-the-art computer, you will probably have to (atleast slightly) reduce the quality of the recording so that it’s more ‘fluid’ and less choppy.
Once you have finished recording, save the video file to your chosen directory (I always save it to my desktop for easy access). Note – do not worry if (for example) at the end of the video there are 2 or 3 seconds of unwanted footage. You can easly cut it out in Windows Movie Maker.
Now, it’s time to open up your Windows Movie Maker. Using it is even easier then CamStudio. First, add your video by either clicking on ‘Click here to…’ and choosing the file or by simply dragging and dropping it inside.
This is approximately what you should see:
This isn’t a Windows Movie Maker guide, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here – however, let’s talk about the most useful options inside this program.
- Adding a Title/Caption – This will allow you to add text to your video. You can format the text (size/color/font etc.) as well as where and when it is displayed.
- Adding sound/music – To add music to your video simply drag and drop it under the video. You will be able to choose when the music start playing and when it stops.
- Adding photos – Just like with music and text, simply click on your chosen image and drag it into Windows Movie Maker to add it to your video.
- Cropping/Cutting the video into parts – This is very useful if you want to cut a part of the video out or for example add a picture. To access these options go to ‘Edit’.
These are the basic functions of Windows Movie Maker that you might find useful.
Now that your video is ready, let’s upload it to YouTube. First, click on the blue button to the left of ‘Home’ (top left hand corner of the screen). Now hover your mouse over ‘Save Movie‘ (NOT Save Project) and choose either ‘For Computer’ or ‘For High-Definition Display’. The HD Display option makes the video file larger but the quality is much better. Save the video file to your desktop or your chosen directory.
Congratulations! You have a brand new, YouTube-uploadable high quality video (created in what, 15 minutes?). Now all you need to do is head on over to YouTube.com and upload the video. I am sure you know how to do that.