According to the The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW), when Adobe Captivate 5 is released in June, for the first time there will also be a version for OSX. Captivate is one of the heavy hitters in the Windows screencasting world, the other being of course Techsmith's Camtasia Studio, which is my preferred tool.
As I'm wrapping up my preparation for my screencasting workshop next weekend at CIL2010, I finally got around to reading my copy of the forthcoming book, The Screencasting Handbook, by Ian Ozsvald, and thought I'd provide a quick review.
Ian's releasing this book in stages; it's not done yet, though you can buy it at a discount and get all updates until it is finished. I have no affiliation with Ian, and get no kickback if you buy.
First off, this book is written with internet product marketing in mind. There's not a lot geared towards planning for strictly educational screencasting, though there are several mentions of best practices for creating tutorials to help users learn a commercial product, so that can work for those of us in library-land. Ian starts with examples of using simple tools such as Jing and Screentoaster to create quick and easy screencasts, and then progresses through different tools and techniques working towards the type of screencast that might take as long as a week to fully create, edit and distribute. He's got extensive experience with Camtasia Studio and BB Flashback on the Windows side, and ScreenFlow on the OSX side, so those are the tools he uses as examples.
New screencasters will find his early chapters on how to prepare to screencast useful, but it was the later chapters that I found valuable. Specifically the legwork he's done on HD recording dimensions, distribution tools (apparently TubeMogul allows you to upload a single screencast or video which will then be simultaneously published to a couple of dozen partner sites, including YouTube), and microphone selection suggestions.
Ian's got an easy style to read, and if you can get past the irony of reading a book about how much better it is to produce video tutorials (to be fair, there are many many links to follow included in the PDF copy), you may find this a valuable purchase. Especially if you can't get to one of my workshops :-)
The other week a colleague pointed me towards a website called MURALS, which appears to be a collection of library-related screencasts you can buy for your library. I have a few problems with the site.
I applaud the initiative of the anonymous librarian (?) behind MURALS; I'd love to figure out how to make more money on the side, but I don't think this is the way...
Just my $0.02
Registration is now open for Computers in Libraries 2010, to be held in Arlington, VA, April 12-14. I'll be reprising my Screencasting preconference workshop, and am looking forward to 1) incorporating feedback received from my last workshop at Internet Librarian, and 2) having a smoking-fast machine upon which to demonstrate this time :-). I haven't been to CIL since 1994 (my first and only visit), and am really looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!
Another press release at Library Technology Guides: Serials Solutions partners with Springshare LibGuides.
I'm not entirely sure what this integration actually means, but as a customer of both LibGuides and Serials Solutions I have a query in, and will let you know what more I find out.
TeleRead has a great post on The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook. It's written by one of the developers of Calibre, a program for managing ebook collections, and as such touts Calibre as pretty much the perfect tool for handling your conversion needs. What's really nice is the concise summary of the different formats, and a discussion of DRM and ebooks.
Over the holidays I decided I'm now going to be e-reading exclusively on Stanza for the iPhone, which seems to support pretty much all the e-formats. I'll probably take a look at Calibre as a tool for keeping all my e-books in one place though. As an aside, I got to take my first look at a Kindle over the holidays. I didn't actually read anything on it, but did poke around with the interface for a bit. Bleah. Personally I haven't had any issues reading on the iPhone for hours at a time. Maybe it'd be even easier on the eyes on the Kindle, but I found the interface very unintuitive. I didn't like the flash as the e-ink turned pages either. No Kindle for me!
Techsoup.org is hosting the following videoconference on Wednesday, November 18:
Wouldn't it be great if complicated technology concepts were explained in a simple way that's easy to understand? Imagine how something like this could assist you in training sessions for patrons or staff. Well look no further, Common Craft creates explanatory videos "In Plain English" that cover topics like green, money, society and technology.You can register for this free event here.
In this free webinar, Stephanie Gerding from TechSoup will interview Lee LeFever, from Common Craft to learn more about their videos and how they are created. We will also hear how Mary Beth Faccioli from the Colorado State Library and Carolyn Blatchley from Cumberland County Library System in Pennsylvania are using these videos to support the needs of their community.
I don't think it will have any real implications for screencasting in the library world, but the YouTube blog reports that starting the week of November 16 they'll support video resolution up to 1080p.
A new site all about Mac Screencasting launched today. Not a whole lot of content up yet, but what's there is solid and professional; it's going to be an excellent resource for all screencasters, and Mac screencasters in particular. Be sure to check out the link to the whitepaper over on the right. Looking forward to great things Scott!
Screenflow 2.0 came out earlier this week, so I now have production copies of it and Camtasia:mac. I hadn't planned to do a head-to-head, but the opportunity arose today, so I took it. Below you'll find copies of the same screencast I did to introduce Summon to our community. The first was done in Screenflow, the second in Camtasia:mac. Overall verdict? Tie. Screenflow got 1 point because it had easy mouse focus (dimming the background), but Camtasia's Smart Focus, while it needed a little tweaking, made the zooms easier to throw in. Had I spent a few extra minutes I could've made the timing on the Camtasia zooms a little more uniform. I understand Screenflow has a few audio extra features, but I didn't do anything with audio processing for this one. Both were really quite simple to edit, chop out dead space, and add the closing text. I don't think you'll go wrong with either one.
Screenflow did do a better job with the automatic upload to YouTube; it asked if I wanted to upload as HD, while Camtasia didn't, and the result with Camtasia's upload was quite a bit fuzzier. I went back and used Camtasia's advanced export feature to export at 1024x720 H264, then uploaded manually to YouTub and the results were much better. I also didn't do an equal job on the cropping and zooming, so they won't be identical in dimension.
Incidentally, I also ran across this collection of links on the Screenflow blog of other reviews of Screenflow, including some comparisons with Camtasia.
While I have copies of Camtasia:Mac and iShowU HD and a demo copy of Screenflow, I haven't made the time to do a comparison of them. John Basile at Scrast.net has taken a fairly comprehensive look at Camtasia:Mac and Screenflow though. No clear winner is the ultimate conclusion (except maybe for the end-user :-)