Ha! Got you with the title of this post, didn't I? No, screencasting's not heading downhill; quite the contrary. That's just me being witty, see, 'cause it's Fall, and there's lots going on with screencasting.
First up, both Adobe and Techsmith have new versions of their screencasting products out this month.
Adobe is now shipping Captivate 2. I recently attended a webinar they gave for the Education market, and while the webinar didn't really seem to be geared towards the education market to me, it did introduce some of the new features. See for yourself - the webinar is now available online. There were a couple of really nice features, and I hope to download the trial version for a looksee soon.
Techsmith has also polished off version 4 of Camtasia Studio, and it will be available for download on October 17th, also with a 30-day free trial. Techsmith has comped me a license key, so I have the full version now and have begun to play with it. I like it :-) There are lots of new features, including the ability to publish simultaneously to formats for the web and iPod, and you can just strip out the audio as an mp3 if you like. They've done a really nice job with a new audio enhancement feature, and this is one I've played with already. It strips out background noise, and equalizes volume levels. I had my mic set way too high on the first screencast I recorded and the before and after were very noticeable. Great feature. Lots of other stuff, but I'll wait until I've tried them before reporting back.
And finally, my incentive for trying the latest versions of these tools, along with those from Qarbon and the freebies, is my November 8 SirsiDynix Institute entitled Show and Tell the Easy Way - an Introduction to Screencasting. It runs from 11am-12 EST (8-9am PST) and will also be available after the fact as a recorded session and audio-only podcast. From the blurb:
This presentation will introduce screencasting, the software that is available to create screencasts, and the platforms on which they can be run. You'll learn how to plan a recorded procedure (the most time-consuming, yet often overlooked step) and get tips for making effective and engaging screencasts.
I won't be building screencasts during the presentation of course, but you'll reap the rewards of my preparation here as I report back on what I like and dislike about each of the products as I prepare :-) The SirsiDynix Institutes are free, but you do need to register ahead of time. See you there?