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How to Screencast for Free

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Screencasting is the act of recording your onscreen actions while occasionally incorporating audio as well.  While typically done in advance and then published to the internet, screencasts can also be shared live.

In this tutorial I will show you three different ways to screencast completely free. The first two methods will involve recording, editing,  and then posting online. While the last method will be a live stream.

The tools I will demonstrate are:

  • Quicktime and YouTube/Vimeo
  • Quickcast
  • Google Hangouts

Screencast

Quicktime and YouTube/Vimeo

To begin recording your screencasts, launch Quicktime. Then go to File and New Screen Recording. If you need to include audio with your screencast, click the down arrow and choose the input device you would like to use.

Starting a new screencast with QuickTime

Once you have your audio configured, click on the red Record button to begin recording. You will be offered the option of recording your full screen, or selecting an area that you would like to record.

When you are done recording, click the Record button in the menu bar to stop the recording. You will be shown the screencast you just created. If you need to remove some of the video from the start or end, click on Edit from the menu bar, then click Trim. Use the yellow sliders at the bottom to adjust your beginning and end points. Then click Trim.

Trimming your recording.

Now you can either export your video to your Mac's hard drive by clicking File then Export. Or you can publish your video directly to either YouTube or Vimeo by clicking File then Share and choosing the service you wish to share to. With either service, simply enter your credentials and some details about your video. Your screencast will begin uploading immediately!

Quickcast

Quickcast is a fun new startup that encourages you to record and share simple three minute screencasts.

Once you have downloaded and installed Quickcast from the Apple App Store, launch it. Click the icon from within your menu bar and and choose Record.  A dialog box will appear that allows you to set your preferred recording area, and the use of a microphone or camera. 

 You will also have the option to change where your QuickCast will be saved on your hard drive. Set all of your preferences, then click Record QuickCast.

There will be a timer in your menu bar ticking down to let you know how much time you have left. When you are done, press Command-Option-Control-Q. You will be shown a processing screen. If you are satisfied with your screencast, click Save. Login to your Quickcast account, fill in some information about your screencast, and publish it to Quickcast's servers. They will host it free of charge! 

If you want to send that same video to YouTube or Vimeo, you may do that as well. It is stored on your computer in the /Movies/Quickcast directory, or wherever you specified when you started the recording.

Uploading your Quickcast for online viewing

Google Hangouts

If you have a google account, you can use just about any computer to become a live, screencasting ninja. To install hangouts on your computer go to Google Hangouts and click on the computer icon. If you aren't already using Google Chrome, you will be prompted to install it as well as the Hangouts plugin.

Setting up a Google on-air hangout

Once you have Google Chrome with the hangouts plugin installed, go to https://plus.google.com/hangouts. Click the blue button labeled Start a Hangout On Air

Complete the title, time, and description of your hangout.  A new event will be created based on the date and time from the details you provided.  To share your hangout, click the Links icon in the event page.  

Sharing your Google Live hangout with the world

At the appropriate time, start the hangout.  You are now live and broadcasting to the world. You will be sharing your microphone and camera by default, but you can easily start sharing your screen as well.

From within the hangout control panel, you can share your desktop, do a live Q&A, chat, and so much more.  Google Hangouts is awesome!  As an added bonus, at the end of the hangout, a recording of your live screencast will automatically be posted to YouTube as well. So feel free to share away!

Conclusion

Whether it's to show off a technical issue you are having or a full blow tutorial, screencasting can be valuable skill. In this tutorial I showed you two great ways to pre-record, then share your screen as well as one great way to do it live. 

 The best part of all these techniques? They are 100% free! At that price point, you can't afford not to dive in!

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