The best free/paid Screencast Software for Windows and Mac updated in 2017 by elearning supporter team.
What is Screencast Software?
Screencasting software is a tool which allow users record computer’s screen to create a videos for many purposes such as: making training tutorial, product demonstration or interactive e-learning content. For many users, a free screencast software is enough to use for simple work such as: record a short tutorial videos showing their friends, colleagues some pieces of information on their screen.
However, there are also many users looking for professional Screencasting Software (paid or free) which can help them in more complicated job such as: long training videos with annotation, highlight or product demonstration that need to be good quality, polished videos. In our today post, We would like to recommend to you top 5 best(paid/ Free) for 2017. We hope you will find this post helpful to you and recommend this list to others.
What Are You Looking For In Screencast Software?
- Easy to use? Professionals? Novices?
- Record videos & audio from your computer, Webcam, External Devices possibility?
- Record mouse movement?
- Built-in video & audio editor?
- Add instructional gesture into your videos?
- Export video to popular format and share online?
- Tutorial & technical supports are always available?
- Free, cost-effective software?
Screencast Software V.S Video Editing Software
- Video editing software can be a screencast software but it CAN NOT be Better than professional screencast software.
- Screencast software can be a video editors and even better if it can add in more effects
Okay! That’s enough for “go around”!!! Let’s go straight to the main issue now!
Top 5 Best Screencast Software in 2017
1. ActivePresenter – Best Screencast Software For Windows/Mac – Our Best Pick – FREE
Released by Atomi in 2008, ActivePresenter has been known as one of the best screencasting software in the world both free and paid version. It allow users to create perfect screencasting videos for multiple usages such as: making tutorial videos, making product demonstration or software simulation. ActiverPresenter can work on both Windows and Mac operating system. It is a stand-alone software that you need to download and install it on your computer to start using. Latest version of this software updated until the time I wrote this post is 6.1.2. Users often consider ActivePresenter the best alternative of Camtasia. However, in our opinion, it is even better in terms of features and cost-effective issue. Let’s take a closer look.
ActivePresenter’s User interface is quite simple and logical which offer a clear view of all functions which is grouped into some main features such as: slides, annotation, export, localize…etc.
Screen recording capability: ActivePresenter allows user to record full screen or customized area at full motion, high quality videos for later editing procedure. Recorded videos file is stored in specific location in appj format which you can edit and export to various output format type. What are the most interesting features?
- 4 recording modes allow you to choose the best suitable for your screencast. As you can see on the interface picture.
- Capture Area – Setting up your desire recording area or full screen.
- Adjust Screen resolution – You have wide range of choices here. From basic resolution such as 400×300, 800×600 or 1600×900 or 720p HD or 1080p Full HD feature.
- Audio input – ActivePresenter give you possibility record narration audio from external device and system sound as well.
- Video format – All recorded videos from AP is in appj format and can be edit in any video editor.
- Storage location – You can select specific place to store your videos/ project.
- Mouse cursor record: It is easy to record mouse cursor when it move.
- Customized Hotkeys setting: ActivePresenter default setting of hotkeys are ok for you to use. Anyway, you are able to customized hotkeys as what you need.
- Start recording notification – Yes, included.
- Pause recording: You may feel thirsty after a while continuous speaking. Break time is always important, right? You are able to pause your recording easily by hotkey in AP or Stop recording – By mouse click.
Screencast videos editing tools:
Built-in video & audio editing features available in Free Version.
- Audio & Video Editing: Edit audio and video instantly without quality loss. Supported operations inlcudes: cut, delete, crop, join, split, blur, change volume, insert freeze frame.
- Shapes: There are dozens of shapes to choose from. Changing the form and hotspot of a shape just by dragging mouse.
- Style (Color & Effect) Create polished and high quality screencast videos and training simulations with various line/fill/text styles and shadow effects.
- Interactivity The flexible event-action mechanism with rich event and action types allows defining different learning scenarios based on viewers’ responses at each step.
- Quizzes Create virtually any kind of assessments or surveys with 9 types of multiple choice questions.
- Slide Pool & Randomization Create professional random quizzes with slide pools & random slides to avoid viewers from remembering and predicting answers.
- Multiple Media Layers Insert multiple videos, audios onto a slide.
- Blur Hide the sensitive information in video or image with Blur effect
- Text To Speech Convert text in any shape/object or closed captions to speech using installed SAPI 5 Text To Speech engines on Windows. Add more voices to make attractive tutorials.
- Zoom-n-Pan Guide the viewer to different parts of the screen by using Zoom-n-Pan. This makes a smoother transition when changing focused area.
- Cursor Path: Emulate the cursor movement with flexible cursor path. Add more visual to cursor path with highlight and click sound.
- Closed Caption Provide more information, make audio transcriptions, support for people with disabilities with Closed Caption.
- Spotlight Draw viewer/learner attention to a specific region with Spotlight. It is possible to apply shape and style to a Spotlight.
- Image Editing: Built-in image editor with transparency support allows modifying any image quickly and easily.
- Transitions & Animations: Attract viewer/learner by applying effects to slides and objects. There are several transition effects to choose from: Fade, Fly, Wipe, and Peak.
- Backup Prevent losing data when the power failed or system crashed with backup capabilities.
- Protection Protect the project in the shared environment with a secure password.
- Spell Checker: Ensure the quality of content by using spell checking feature. It is very necessary when working with text.
Disadvantages of ActivePresenter
Although many fantastic feature like I said above, Activepresenter has some disadvantages that need to be improved:
- No webcam recording capability.
- Can not upload videos directly to online sharing channels.
- Free for none commercial use.
- ActivePresenter Standard: $149 for business and $99 for educational.
- ActivePresenter professional: $299 (for elearning purpose)
Learn how to create video demonstrations in ActivePresenter in this 6 minutes tutorial video:
2. Camtasia (paid only) – The Best Screencast Software For Professionals
No wonder that this screencasting software created by Techsmith is a great tool for making professional screencasts. Although it don’t have Free Version, but you can try it free in 30 days before making your purchasing decision.
Camtasia has logical, well-arranged interface which is very easy to use and learn even with beginners.
Screen recording and video editing capability: You are able to record computer’s screen in full or parts and set up pre-recording choice like many other screencast tools as following:
- Screen Recorder: Record any part of your screen, down to the pixel.
- Webcam: Webcam lets you add a personal touch to your video.
- Media: Import images, audio, and video up to 4K resolution.
- Multi-track Timeline: Build your videos quickly with multiple tracks for images, video, text, and audio.
- Annotations: Arrows, callouts, shapes, and more help you get your point across.
- Transitions: Add an intro/outro to the beginning or end of a clip, image, shape, or text.
- Animations Zoom, pan, or create your own custom motion effects.
- Voice Narration A great way to add context to what you’re showing.
- Audio Effects Add audio effects to recordings, music, or narration to enhance your video.
- Visual Effects: Adjust colors, add a drop shadow, change the clip speed, and more.
- Interactivity Add quizzes to see who is watching your videos, and how much they’ve viewed.
- Green Screen Put yourself in your video making it appear like you’re right in the action.
Disadvantages of Camtasia
- No Free version. Only free trial in 30 days.
- The price at 199$ for a screencast software is a little bit high now.
- 199$/ license.
Take a look at Camtasia price here: TechSmith Camtasia
3. Screencast O Mactic – Best Free, Online Screencast Software
This is one of the most wonderful online, web-based screencasting software that worth using. It is convenient, easy to use and allows many editing features (in paid version only) that are necessary for making a perfect screencast videos.
Screencast O Matic has an intuitive, easy-to-use. You can start making a screencast with some simple clicks. In order to start making a screencast, you will see the interface as per above pictures. Although, Screencast O Matic free version is limited to only screen recording capability, it is also highly appreciated by users about the ability to record computer’s screen, Webcam or both. A web recorder launcher will appear when you start recording.
Screen recording capability: Screencast O Matic allows users to record full screen or customized area. In free version, you can choose 480p, 720p or active window or full screen or record audio narration from your microphone (for system sound, you need to update to paid version).
It is a drawback of Screencast O Matic that it has absolutely nothing for editing screencast videos in free version. However, When upgrading to paid version, you will have full editing features. Share your video directly to Youtube or cloud after recorded is a good point.
Screencast videos editing features in paid version
It has good built-in video & audio editing tools in paid version where you are able to:
- Insert intro, outros, Mp4 videos or music in the recorded videos.
- You can also add shapes, blur effect, text caption, highlight to videos.
- Animation and 3D effect is one of good feature in Screencast O Matic.
- Zoom n pan, speed up/down of the video is also possible.
These are not all features of Screencast O Matic, but I believe these are the key points. For more features, click here.
- Limitation on recording time at 15 minutes.
- Not possible to record system audio.
- There is NO EDITING TOOLS in Free version.
- Free for recording.
- Go pro at 15$/year and 29$ for 3 year.
This tutorial video will show you how to create screencast in Screencast O Matic visually.
4. Screenflow – Best screencast software for Mac only.
Created by Telestream, Screenflow is a good choice for teachers and tutors in making screencasts. It is also suitable for gamers, marketers who want to record long, high quality videos.
- Highest Quality Recording: ScreenFlow has the best screen capture available – even on Retina Displays.
- New! Partial Screen Capture: Record any part of your screen or any open window by itself.
- iOS Recording: Record your iPhone or iPad screen* for high quality app demos. Touch Callouts mimic finger gestures (press, pinch, swipe) to help guide your audience. The App Preview export option ensures your file adheres to Apple’s specifications for Preview on the Mac App Store. New!Monitor your iOS audio while you record. (*Requires iOS 8 or higher + Mac OS X 10.10 or higher + lightning connection to USB)
- Edit Everything: Award-winning editing experience makes crafting incredible-looking videos easy!
- Easy to Learn, Easy to Use: ScreenFlow’s intuitive interface allows even those with no video editing experience to start creating epic content in minutes. Just record, edit and share.
- Powerful Editing Tools: Add professional touches to your videos with built in transitions, annotations, text, audio & video filters, New! multi-channel audio mixing, chroma key, screen recording highlights, callouts (mouse, window, freehand) and much, much more.
- Professional Animations & Motions Graphics: Animate graphics, titles and logos with powerful new effects like Spring, Gravity and Pulse.
- Better tools for Software Tutorials: Use effects to help direct attention to your onscreen demo or tutorial. Add mouse click effects, adjust the mouse pointer size, and display any keys pressed during your screen recordings.
- Streamlined Media Management: With dynamic update of imported media, direct access to your iTunes and iPhoto libraries, as well as easy ways to organize your media such as nested clips, multi-track editing, markers, and color labels on clips, editing in ScreenFlow is easy and fun.
- Closed Caption Support: Add closed captions to all your movies. Use ScreenFlow’s caption editor tool to add, edit and publish ADA Compliant soft subtitles as caption tracks to your MPEG-4 movies (suitable for playback with an iPhone & iPad) and YouTube videos. Caption tracks can be created in multiple languages and can also be exported separately as an SRT file. Also import SRT files for use in the caption editor.
- Share videos or Export directly to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and more.
- New! Animated GIF Export: Create animated GIFs right from the timeline. It’s easy to export great looking short animations for the Web, memes, tutorials or social sharing.
- ProRes, MP4 Encoding & More ScreenFlow comes with a number of preset export settings for optimal quality (such as Web, iPhone and iPad). Now you can export the quality and settings you need. New! ProRes 422 and 422LT added.
- New! Telestream Cloud Publishing: Publish and encode directly to Telestream Cloud for even more encoding formats like HLS, MPEG-DASH, WMV and more!
- Started at 99$ per month for Screenflow.
- Screenflow super pak: 143$.
ScreenFlow Super Pak + Premium Support: 175$
Lear more how to create screencast with Screenflow in below video. This is a 20 minutes video created by Technologyguru with very detail how to make screencast in screenflow. Hope you are patient enough to see the whole video.
5. Bandicam – Free & Paid – Stand alone screencasting software for Windows
Bandicam is one of the most advanced reocording software for screen, game and webcam capture which allows users to record gameplay which use the DirectX/ OpenGL/Vulkam graphic technologies and upload directly to YouTube or Vimeo. You can record 2D/3D games with 4K UHD Video and capture up to 144 FPS video. Like Screencast O Matic, Bandicam allows you to record external video devices such as Xbox/Playstation, smartphone, IPTV. The output file are in AVI and MP4.
It is also possible for you to draw on the screen while recording like Screencast O Matic
Screen recording capability: Being one of the best free screencasting software for years, especially for gamers, Bandicam allow user to record in 3 modes: Game recording mode, Screen recording mode and Device recording mode. In each mode, you will have multiple setting options as you can see in the user’s interface. More features of Bandicam recording capabilities are:
- Select Area and Record: Select the area of screen you want to record and start recording right away.
- Record high-quality online games like Fraps in 4K Ultra HD video at resolution up to 3840×2160 and HD video with max 144fps.
- Real-time drawing: Draw and outline you video or sreenshot in real time is possible.
- Record webcam in Device recording mode.
- Mix your voice in is the recording is a unique function of Bandicam.
- Add logo to video.
- Add mouse effects and animation while recording.
Disadvantages of Bandicam
- Lack of video editing tools.
- Output file is limited to only AVI and MP4.
- $29 for paid version which has no more options like other free screencasting software is a drawback of Bandicam.
- Free (unregistered version)
- Paid in 29$/ 1 PC.
Watch tutorial about Bandicam here:
How to start creating a screencast in 3 steps?
I will take Activepresenter as an example to guide you through how to create a screencast for Free.
Step 1: Visit Atomi website and download ActivePresenter to your computer. The download package is very light and you can easily install it on your computer. After the installation finished, a shortcut of the software will appear on your screen. Now you can start creating your screencast. The interface appears as per blow picture.
Step 2: Start creating your screencast by choosing New Project. Choose one of 4 recording modes. It will open a new Recording set up Windows as you can see in below picture. Click Red button on the right to start your screencast or look at more setting on floating bar or more setting in “very small arrow at the left corner”
Step 3: When you finish recording, you can open your screencast and edit it with amazing features. The output format is set default to appj file. After editing, you can save the videos in any output format file you want such as: MP4, FLV, AVI, WMV, WebM, MKV or PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Adobe PDF, HTML.
Example of a screencast created by Activepresenter
For more visual, take a look at these tutorial videos which you can easily access to Atomi’ Youtube channels.
With a professional screencasting software, you are able to create amazing tutorial videos, product demonstration or amazing marketing videos that can help you earn a lot of money. Therefore, We suggest you pick up one of the above mentioned tool and start creating wonderful things.
Editor’s notice: We have to update this post in 2017 due to recently changes, updates of listed screencast software.
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