Eee 701 Planetoid

2009/10/26

Recording a VNC ‘screencast’

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , — Tim @ 18:28

Amongst the features I’m hoping to add to this blog, are ‘screencasts’ (“desktop movies”, or “animated screenshots”) made with my Eee 701, to demonstrate how to perform certain actions, show off applications, and so on.

I’m looking at various ways to achieve this, and the method I’d prefer is to run a VNC server on the Eee (probably using the “krfb” screen-sharing app, which I understand is based on VNC), then connect to this from our Mac and record the output, if possible adding an audio commentary as I go along.

However, I’m writing this post mainly to ask: does anyone know of a Mac application which can record screencast movies from a remote VNC session, and do so with a nice easy-to-use GUI?

I’ve searched quite extensively for such an app, and to date have only found two which come even close. The first is vnc2flv, a cross-platform program which can capture a VNC session to an FLV (Flash movie) file. This program is available for Linux and Mac, and comes with a script which can combine the movie-recording with a simultaneous audio track.

Whilst vnc2flv would certainly do the job (and may have to), it’s console- instead of GUI-based, and looks as if it could become quite fiddly, particularly if using the script to record an audio commentary simultaneously. As a result, I wondered if there was a more “polished” Mac application with the same features (and hopefully more).

The only other candidate I’ve found so far is ScreenToaster, a screencasting app which can capture output from a VNC session. I’ve yet to try it, but apparently it runs on Macs, it can record the output of a VNC session, and it’s free.

What’s not to like? I don’t know yet, but on the face of things: it’s Java-based; the movies are Web-hosted, so I don’t yet know if/how easily I can export them; and I have to see if it can work within a home LAN.

I’ll come back here and post further details when I have them, but ScreenToaster could turn out the most “polished” screencasting/VNC solution I’ve encountered… or perhaps the only one!

(Updated 27/10/2009, to reflect the fact that I found ScreenToaster as I was writing the article, but didn’t update the earlier section of vnc2flv to reflect this. Oops.)

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