Faq

We have been asked many times about how we make screencasts and we have answered the question many times. Just like Inkscape, the tools that we use to screencast and encode video and audio are also free of charge and open source software. All of the tools used can be freely downloaded from the Interweb.

Screencasting:

Richard does not currently screencast in a Windows environment, however, heathenx does from time to time (if he’s desperate). The Screencasters prefer an all Linux environment when recording and producing screencasts but that is not a requirement. Our viewers may be on any or all three of the major operating systems, among others. Even though there might be a Linux bias the Screencasters try to put the emphasis on Inkscape itself and not the operating system used. 😉

The tool that heathenx uses most often to screencast in a Windows environment is CamStudio. CamStudio is freely available and is open-source software. Used with the free CamStudio Lossless codec, the video quality is outstanding at the price of a very large AVI file. There is also the very popular Camtasia and the cheaper sibling SnagIt but those applications are not free of charge.

In a Linux environment Richard and heathenx prefer to use RecordMyDesktop. No specific Linux distribution is required, although, some tools might work better on certain distributions. RecordMyDesktop does a very fine job of recording video and audio into the free Theora/Vorbis (OGV) format.

RecordMyDesktop is not the only Linux desktop video recorder. There are many. heathenx recommends Xvidcap as an alternative. Xvidcap allows for recording into additional video and audio formats whereas RecordMyDesktop only records into Theora/Vorbis.

Editing Video and Audio:

The tools that Richard and heathenx use to encode video and modify audio are the same on Windows as they are on Linux. Again, they choose to use tools that are cross-platform and open-source if possible. The brunt of the work is done by using either MEncoder , FFmpeg, or ffmpeg2theora in a shell or terminal window through the use of a series of scripts. We use quite a few switches in our scripts to get the resulting video just right. Grozdan Nikolov, the author of h264enc, has had a big influence on how we encode our screencasts and we feel like we owe much to him.

In addition to the utilities list above we also use Audacity , Avidemux or Blender for touch up work from time to time. Although Richard and heathenx are quite comfortable using shell scripts for everything, using a tool with a GUI is helpful. They’re not total geeks. Avidemux is useful for exporting an audio track, scrubbing that audio track for defects in Audacity, and then importing the track back into the video with Avidemux again.

MEncoder, FFmpeg and ffmpeg2theora are the utilities used most often. They allow the Screencasters to convert their original screencasts to the resulting Theora/Vorbis OGVs and Flash video formats.