Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Presenting online with free screencasting program

Example 1: Screencast using Movenote



Example 2: Screencast using Screen_O-Matic



Example 3: Screencast using Present.me



I have benefited a lot from following people on Twitter. Recently I spotted a twit by Robin Good on using Movenote and present.me to produce a quick and simple screencasting. I followed the link to his Scoop.it! page. I watched his sample presentation and I thought, ah...I can try this! Both Movenote and present.me are free, very easy to use and the quality is reasonably good (but judge for yourself). Both programs have limited features compared to the more established Screen-O-Matic but I guess it's quite sufficient. I would add these to my selection of free screencasting program to present my PowerPoint or Keynote.

I have been using mostly Screenr for screencasting and recently I use Screen-O-Matic (for longer screencast up to 15 min). Unlike Screenr, though, Screen-O-Matic and Movenote allow you to capture your face using a webcam. I'm not particularly camera shy, so I thought maybe better to include a talking head in my presentation. Movenote tagline is “Presentation with emotion”. The website is neat and simple with very minimum information. For some reasons even the sign up link is not very evident. Movenote approach in screencasting is different from Screenr and Screen-O-Matic in that you have to upload the file to be presented in the screencast to the cloud (Movenote server). In this respect Movenote is not very flexible in terms of capturing anything on the screen.

Here's my first testing with Movenote (Example 1 above). I uploaded only one PowerPoint (2010) slide for this test. The slide contain 2 animations. Movenote convert it to image but somehow the animated objects (picture) messed up. In the second test, I converted the PPT slide to pdf and that solved the problem. For this test, I used my Samson COU3 USB microphone and MacBook Pro. Movenote placed the 'talking head' on the left hand side of the slide. No option to re-position it. On the other hand, Screen-O-Matic overlay the 'talking head' on the slide itself, thus cover part of the slide. I wish there was an option to re-position it. The bottom line is, for a simple and quick screencast of your lecture Movenote is quite useful. The output is also looks quite good

Present.me is also very simple to use but I think need some improvement. The quality of the 'talking head' is not as good as Movenote. As of this writing (November 2011) present.me is still in beta stage. Like Movenote, present.me is designed mainly for presenting documents such as pdf or PowerPoint presentation. The free basic account allows up to 15 minutes recording and up to 10 recordings/month (50 MB per upload). If you want to capture animation and transition in your PowerPoint presentation you have to sign up for the Plus account (not free). You can capture the presenter with the webcam. I notice, however, the quality of the talking head is not as good as Movenote or Screen-O-Matic.

What do you think of the result?