Examining…Video Presentation and Screencasting Programs

A month or so back, I wrote about presentation software that focused on non-video methods.  I promised that in a few weeks, a post about video presentations would follow.  Guess what?  It’s that week.

Graphic by Betsy Weber from Flickr Creative Commons

Graphic by Betsy Weber from Flickr Creative Commons

Just like with slide shows, Prezi, and the SMART Board/Promethean Software, video presentations and screencasts can be effective methods for presenting ideas in multiple settings, including libraries and classrooms.  Shorter ones can introduce topics in-person or online while longer videos are best for teaching outside of the classroom (ex. inverted/flipped classroom) so projects can be the focus when the class meets.

Before I begin examining the programs/applications, there will be one difference with this post.  Some pf the programs/applications will only be available to teachers and never students.  These will be noted.  Also, I am focusing on programs meant for educational use or which are widely available and can be adapted to such use, not specialty programs meant for those majoring in the video or graphic arts (ex. those listed here).  As we will see, many of these for educational use programs also use screen capture technologies.


Camtasia is a screencasting software used by many education institutions.  Both a Windows and Mac version are offered.  It is widely used for its screen capture capabilities to build instructional videos and tutorials.  These same capabilities allow the recording user to show videos, photographs, slideshows, and more with voice over narration.  The software can also be used as a traditional video editor and offers a video recording mode.  Offered within the software are a plethora of visual effects, animation transitions, a media library, assessment quizzes, and other similar extras.

After a video is created, there are many ways to share it.  The video can be exported as FLASH or HTML5 viewing environments, uploaded to YouTube or Screencast.com, or embedded in a website, blog, etc.

While I have only seen Camtaisa demonstrated, those I know who use it on a regular basis love this tool.  When the same people compare it to the other major educational program, Tegrity (see below), it wins hands down for greater capabilities and ease of use.

Camtaisa is a purchased program mainly used by teachers, professors, librarians.  That said, students could still acquire the product but costs start at $299.99.


iMovie is Apple’s default video editor.  As such, it is available on all Apple computers.  iMovie offers the ability to import videos from iProducts, camcorders, and digital cameras  (yes, some offer video modes).  Once imported, the clips can be stitched together, custom tagged, and filtered by predetermined means.  Video clips can be dragged and dropped into place and any music in ones iTunes account can be used for soundtracks.  Photos can also be added.  Editing tools include transitions, fix shaky video, timing adjustment, color adjustment, audio editing, and templates.  Final products can be uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, CNN iReport.  The highest possible resolution is 1080p HD.

As I do not own an Apple computer, I have not personally used this program.


Jing is a freely available  screencast software.  One selects a region of the screen to record and then has the option to mark up the image with text, arrows, highlights, and more while providing the option to add voice over recording.  Each Jing made video is limited to five minutes in length.  Once completed, the videos are uploaded to Screencast.com and can be shared via IM, e-mail, social media, etc.

Jing is great for simple, short videos or a series of such video.  While I have not used Jing, I have seen several Jing made videos and they turned out quite well.  Since this is a free program, I think I do need to explore it a bit more.

Microsoft Movie Maker

Movie Maker is the default video editor on all Microsoft computers and tablets.  Like iMovie, is offers the ability to import videos from multiple devices, stitch the clips together, and insert photos.  Transitions and effects are added automatically, but are easy to change to something that better suits the video.  Videos can be split, have the timing adjusted, and have the audio clips adjusted, but lacks the ability to tweak the color (ex. saturation, brightness, etc.) like iMovie does.  Completed videos can be uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, and SkyDrive.  Just be forewarned, Windows made videos are outputted in files that will not run on Apple products unless it is uploaded to Facebook or YouTube or is placed through a converter program to run on another site.

I’ve used Movie Maker before.  It’s great for simple editing, but truly lacks features anything advanced.  I’ve also encountered the export as a .wav problem and had to use a converter to send the video to others who had Apple products and could not view the file.  Prism Video File Converter is the best free program I found to solve this dilemma.


Tegrity is licensed educational program.  While mostly utilized by educators, it does offer the options for student use.  It can record video or be used as a screen capture software.  Benefits include the option to pause a recording, live broadcasting, adding files to the recording, and the fact is that it does not require an internet connection to record (unless one is planning to demonstrate something online).  Recordings can only be uploaded to course websites, such as Blackboard, for students within that specific course.

I created two videos using Tegrity while I served as a graduate reference assistant.  The program works well for demonstrating search techniques and other on-screen items and offers some basic tools, such as an on-screen pen and highlighter.  I had one problem with the program:  if I made a mistake, I had to begin from scratch.  I could not rewind slightly and begin again.  I have also seen professors record videos of lectures using Tegrity.

Final Thoughts

As a last option, remember webcams come with a basic recording software and can also be used to record videos.  This method is best if all one wants to do is talk to an audience without visual aides, such as slides or screen sharing.  And remember, if you opt to use this method, if you make any mistake, you will have to return to the beginning unless the video can be imported into a program to edit.

Does any one have any questions?  Or perhaps another program to suggest?  I don’t know every program of this kind on the market, so I chose to focus on the ones I’ve commonly seen used in libraries and schools.

Addition 10/24/13:  Check out the additional programs, Screencast-O-Matic and Screenr, mentioned in the comment below by Amanda Richards.  She says both a free and easy to use.  Her comment provides more details.


12 thoughts on “Examining…Video Presentation and Screencasting Programs

  1. Hi Amy!

    Great post. How is your new job going? Hopefully great.

    Just wanted to see if you had a chance to work on an abridged version of the post we talked about? I’ve been pretty busy myself, or I would’ve written earlier. Let me know if you can still send something, please, and meantime, wishing you the best!

    Take care, Louis.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Hi Louis,

      Thanks about the post. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      The new job is going fine. It’s in a library and offers experience, though I’m still looking for a full-time professional-level position. And congrats of your new position as well; I saw that on LinkedIn!

      I sent a copy of the abridged post on October 1. Did it not make it to your inbox? Let me know and I can send it again, if needed.

      Thanks again,

    • Your welcome! I’m glad to help. Do you have any tech topics you may want to know more about for a future post? If I either know enough about it or can research it, I could base a future post on it/them. I do have a few more ideas, but I’m always open to more!

      • This may seem naive, but when I left the archives business, I was fascinated by some of the new document software I was seeing. Has it improved since the late 90’s? I’ve been away so long, I really have no clue now.

        • I would hope document software has improved since the 1990s, but since I don’t know what they were like back then I can’t say for sure! All I have experience with is a bit of ContentDM (digital collection management system) and that’s still more user side than professional side. It’s something I can look into more; might be a while before I post on the topic, as I’ll need to see what softwares/systems are worth mentioning and research them.

          Let me know if my definition of document software is different than yours.

  2. I have also used http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ which is free and doesn’t require you to download any new software to your computer. You can do voice overs and there is the option to have a halo around the cursor so the viewer has an easier time following the mouse. You can upload it to your Youtube account or to 2 or 3 other places online, as well as download to your computer. However the screen resolution seems to be lacking.

    Another free one I have used and love for quick and easy tutorials is http://www.screenr.com/ and I like it a lot. I generally use it when I have a reference question (usually for friends or family who are having a hard time figuring out something) although I imagine you can give a link to a patron… Again, this one is free and there is nothing to download. Super fast to use.

    I love screencasts 🙂 They make life so much easier!

  3. Pingback: Two Year Anniversary! | Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

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