I have used Wink from debugmode.com for my basic presentation needs. I used this software to create flash videos for demonstrations and tutorials. This tool is free and it does the job well for small to medium duration presentation. I tried using Wink for Windows 8 and I found out that Windows 8 didn’t allow Wink to run. I will post that error later on. So I knew it was time to switch to another tool. I listed my requirements and they were coming to the following:
- The tool should work on Windows.
- The tool should be free.
- Doesn’t really has to be open source.
- There should not be any time limit on the recording.
- Watermarking is OK but it should not blur out any part of recording.
- Should allow me to record full screen presentation (my favorite mode).
- Audio recording should be allowed.
- System audio recording should be allowed (Only microphone recording doesn’t cut it).
- Capability to export video in HTML5 or Flash movie format
- Basic scripting support so that I can add controls like ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’.
- Some option to cut out unnecessary parts of video.
- Some effects like highlight and annotation is a bonus
My first few queries took me to a number of software which were either feature limited or time limited. So I decided to do some research on comparing the available software in the screen casting / presentation domain. I found this link to be invaluable in narrowing my research. I ultimately found out that ActivePresenter Free Version from Atomi Systems fulfilled all of my mandatory requirements as well as optional requirements. I decided on this tool based on the following points.
- Very easy to install and configure. A real no brainer.
- The performance of the tool was quite good. Although I didn’t like the non-cancel-able progress of video export. But it does the job well so I am happy.
- The tool itself can be hidden so while making a presentation I can hide the tool into the toolbar and keep it discreet.
- It records both microphone as well as system audio which is a mandatory requirement.
- The documentation and tutorial for the tools are available in plenty.
- There are sample projects on the website.
- There is a paid version of this tool for 99 USD which is a deal if I decide to upgrade.
I think it is better to use a tool which follows the ‘Freemium’ model so that when the need arises for more functionality one can simply upgrade the tool and re-use the existing experience with the tool. I am hopeful that ActivePresenter Free Version will work stable and I can continue to use it for some time to come. Thanks to Atomi Systems for a free tool that comes in as a drop in replacement for Wink.