(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
Ok, I think it is now a good time to start up with a new category in my weblog dedicated to the wonderful world of screencasts. Yes, those computer outputs that lots of people have been talking about and which become really effective when you want to demonstrate something in your computer to then show it to a specific audience. Screencasts have been very popular ever since they entered the world of Learning and Education as one of the most powerful methods to educate and deliver content to people without the need to be at a classroom with a teacher. Thus the purpose with this category is to basically share with you some of the different tools that I have been using all along and also to share with you some of the screencasts that I have enjoyed the most of the last few months and that would be related to Knowledge Management, Collaboration, CommunityBuilding, Social Networking, etc. etc.
At the same time that screencasts are a popular innovative way to deliver information to a particular audience, so are the different options available in order to create those screencasts. Indeed, there are quite a few programs out there that people could use in order to produce some of the best outputs put together. Of course, some of them are shareware, like Camtasia (One of my favourites from the shareware side) but there are some others that are freeware and although they may not be as featured rich as the ones with the license fees they still provide an incredible value.
Such is the case from Wink.
Wink is just a relatively small application (A 1.9 MB download) that allows you to create your own computer output and then convert it into a Flash movie that you can upload into a web server or just e-mail it to whoever needs to watch that screencast. Here you have got an excerpt of how it actually works:
“Wink allows you to record desktop action or application windows and create smooth, animated Flash demonstrations from the result, which can be saved in SWF format or as standalone EXE file with integrated playback. Simply press a keyboard key every time you want to capture a frame; when you are finished, you can annotate each frame, using a variety of comment shapes. You can also include Next and GoTo button, allowing the viewer to navigate the animation or jump to specific frames. The frames are then rendered into a smooth Flash animation that can be played in the user`s browser or the standalone EXE file with viewer. Wink is easy to use and lets you create quality Flash demos with no further experience needed.”
Not bad, eh? I know that some folks out there would say Wink does not have the possibility of adding sound to the recording like with other much more expensive software programs, but there are certainly workarounds that people could use to add that audio file. In fact, if you go into the following Wink forum link you will find a tutorial, with step by step instructions, that would show you how to make it work. Yes, I know it may be a bit cumbersome, but then again you have got to think that this is freeware and as such there are always going to be some limitations although I have read somewhere as well that there would be an upcoming version of Wink that would include audio support as well. So we may not need to wait for much longer.
And I guess that whenever that happens we will be witnessing a major transition from folks using some expensive software to Wink because I doubt there would be a similar, so easy to use (Yet so much more effective), offering in order to record your screencasts. So now you know, if you are looking for some inexpensive piece of software that would allow you to create your own screencasts with little effort and great results, Wink is what you are looking for. Yes, yes, indeed, *I know*, simple is more !
For those folks interested in some additional reading regarding screencasts and the different tools available to reach the best results I would suggest you take a look into the Wikipedia article on screencasts or this superb, and thorough, article about the best screencasting tools available out there. Both links are worth while a read if you are not sure yet what to use or if you would want to have a look into what is out there that could help you improve your remote coaching and learning skills by creating some state of the art screencasts.