This post is a tutorial on creating web presentations with free software. The software used is CamStudio (http://camstudio.org/) and optionally a web camera software called Yawcam (http://www.yawcam.com/). Yawcam is a camera software which can “stay on top” while you are presenting your slides. It is capable of showing your face or whatever is in front of your web camera during your presentation. So the end result will look somewhat like picture in picture functionality. The tutorial is given in video format below as well as in written instructions format. Feel free to follow whatever suits you best.
CamStudio is a free, open source, screen recording software. It may be set to record your screen or parts of it and export a video of the recording in “.avi” format. The following notes intend to guide prospective users through the procedures needed to create an online presentation. The goal is to start a recording and reach the point where your computer screen shows the presentation slides in full-screen while your voice is being recorded from the microphone of the computer.
Step by step procedure
Download CamStudio and the lossless codec from the CamStudio website (see snapshot below) (http://camstudio.org/).
2. Installation – starting the program
After you have downloaded the programs you need to proceed to their installation. After installation open CamStudio. The CamStudio program interface will look like the image below:
By default the setting will be to record to AVI as shown by the red arrow. The other option is to export in “swf” format. The option may be changed back and forth by just clicking on the “swf” button shown by the small arrow.
3. Setting the part of the screen to be recorded.
Since the presentation slide is the only thing that needs to be shown on screen to achieve a professionally looking result it is preferred to set the CamStudio to record the whole screen. To do that you need to start the program and navigate to the “Region” dropdown menu. Select “Full Screen” as shown in the image below.
4. Setting up the sound input
The next step is to make sure that sound from your microphone is recorded. Go to the “Options” drop-down menu and select “Record audio from microphone” as shown in the image below.
After these basic settings you are ready to start recording.
5. Start recording
To start recording you need to click on the “record button” marked by the arrow on the left in the image below. This is a snapshot of the program window when the recording has already started. The “record button” has turned grey and the stats of the video recording appear (see area included in the red rectangle). The recording may be stopped by clicking on the blue “stop button” marked by the arrow on the right. After you click the “stop button”, the program will start compressing and preparing the video for saving. Subsequently a window dialogue will open and ask you where on your computer, you would like to save the video.
When you click record the CamStudio window may hide in the bottom-right taskbar. You may need to expand the open programs to see it (please see the image below).
It is advised that you have already opened the Presentation file you will present before you start recording. This is because the recording starts immediately when you click the record button. This means whatever else you do on your screen after that will be also recorded. Of course it is very easy to cut out the parts of the final video that are not useful. However it is better to reduce the “useless” part of the video as much as you can.
6. Start your presentation
The next step is to open the presentation file if you have not yet opened it and then put the presentation in full screen. You are now ready to start presenting the slides and narrating. When you are done presenting your slides you may stop the recording as described in step 4.
After you click the “stop button”, the program will start compressing and preparing the video for saving. Subsequently a window dialogue will open and ask you where on your computer, you would like to save the video.
7. Record your face or whatever is in front of your webcam while you are presenting (optional)
This is possible if you download a webcamera software which provides the option for the camera window to “stay on top” of other windows. Yawcam is a free software which provides this option (http://www.yawcam.com/). In order to do this you need to do the following:
A. Download and install Yawcam.
Start the program (two windows will open. One will be the settings window and the other will be the webcam window).
B. Set the program up to “stay on top”
Go to the “View” drop down menu and select the “Always on top” option as shown in the image below:
- Minimize the settings window in the previous image so that only the camera window remains on top.
- Now if you start you presentation in full screen you may keep a small webcam window on top of it in one of the corners. The result will look somewhat like the following:
The cursor needs to be out of the screen when you are recording the presentation. The slides may be changed with the right and down arrow buttons on the keyboard. However, the Mouse pointer may be useful in order to show things on the slides. But caution needs to be used to avoid a forgotten cursor on the slide for no reason.
The quality of the video will depend on the resolution of your screen. The higher the resolution the better the quality. The better the quality the bigger (in Mbytes) the video. In windows 7 and 8, You may change your screen resolution by right clicking on your desktop and selecting “Screen resolution”.
The next steps to make your video available on your YouTube account
Open the video with Windows Movie Maker (or Live Movie Maker in windows 7 and 8). After cropping the video to exclude footage before and after the actual presentation you may save the video in “.wmv” (windows media video) format. Select the High definition output so that you get the best quality possible.
The video may now be uploaded to YouTube. YouTube videos have the advantage that they are available in different resolution on YouTube. Also they may be embedded on a website very easily.