[Haskell-cafe] Making videos of your project

Claus Reinke claus.reinke at talk21.com
Tue Mar 24 14:46:19 EDT 2009

Perhaps the "make a video" slogan doesn't quite explain what is
intended - it didn't to me!-) Reading John Udell's short article

What is Screencasting?

gave me a better idea: the screen video part is the modern, animated 
version of manuals with screenshots, now with audio or text caption 
annotations (a canned demo). He also gives some tool references, 
and some suggestions for focussing the bandwidth on useful contents, 
editing, privacy considerations, etc. Almost certainly, this

>    2. type 'recordmydesktop'
>    3. do something with haskell
>    4. hit control-C
>    5. upload out.ogv to youtube

is not a useful recipe - screencasts need planning of the steps one
wants to demonstrate, editing out of aimless moving around or
thinking about what to show next, annotations that guide the 
viewer (text labels or audio track that explains what can be seen,
or what keyboard shortcuts are used, or what the plan is), and 
probably several attempts to get one useful result (minimal 
bandwith/length/.. with maximal "ah, that is how I do it" or 
"ah, that is how it works" or "cool, I want to install that" effect). 

But with a little effort, this could be very useful, more so than 
simple screenshots, lots of text, or combinations thereof, if the
focus is not so much on producing a video to watch, but on
showing potential users what they are going to see, and how
to work with it if they decide to install it. For instance, I'd now like 
to replace my old tour of haskellmode for Vim with a screencast.

As a windows user, I tried playing with CamStudio and that 
almost seems to do the job (capture, annotation, replay, conversion
of .avi to compressed .swf) but I don't like the resolution of the 
.swf it generates (screen text isn't as readable as I've seen in other
screencasts). Perhaps I'm missing an option to improve the quality, 
or can anyone recommend another free tool for windows, from
positive experience (wikipedia has a whole list of tools
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_screencasting_software )?

For the purpose I have in mind, it would be good to have
many small pieces of screencast, one for each feature, or even 
better, one continuous screencast with the ability to link directly 
to sections dealing with particular topics - a hyperlinked animation. 
Is that supported by some (free) tool?


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