If you have tried your hands in screencasting then you probably would have an idea that most of the screencasting applications cost money. TechSmith’s Camtasia and Macromedia Captovate 2 are some of the best out there but they is out of the reach of many people. The market is definitely ruled by the paid softwares but it doesn’t mean that there are no free applications for you. There are quite a few free screencasting applications which you can use without burning hole in your pocket.
Jing Project is the best free application ever made for screencasting. Jing Project has been created by TechSmith who incidentally also own Camtasia and thus you can be rest assured of the quality. I have been using this application since last few months and I am yet to face a single glitch. Jing is available for both Mac and Windows. Jing has recently undergone some changes which have improved its functionality and the user-interface. It is definitely not as feature rich as Camtasia but you shouldn’t forget that it’s free and does the basic task very well.
AviScreen is another free screencasting application which although is not as refined as Jing but a try can be given as it saves the screencasts in .avi file type which is compatible on most systems. It has a smart feature called “follow the cursor” which lets you capture a video of relatively small dimensions while covering all mouse activity over the whole screen area. The major drawback of this one is that it does not record audio. Windows only.
Copernicus is the free screencasting application for Mac which also doesn’t support audio. It can be used for taking screenshots while it also does the basic video capturing quite well.
xVidcap is a pretty classic application which also doesn’t support audio like the two applications mentioned above. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The screen capture is actually done by saving each frame as an individual image – this is then sent through a transcoder which produces a complete MPEG video file.
Windows Media Encoder is also a free application which can be used to capture both live and prerecorded audio, video, and computer screen images. The recordings are made in Windows Media format and can only work on Windows Operating Systems. Similarly Windows Movie Maker can also do the job.
Camstudio 2.0 is an open source application and like Jing Project, it can also support both audio and video. It produces screencasts in .avi file type which it can also encode to .swf file type. It also includes features like adding captions and videi-in-video.
Screencast-O-Matic is an online web service which provides you to make screencasts. It requires JAVA in your computer in order to run. Since it’s a browser based app so you can run it on any Operating System. It can record your desktop as well as audio.
Wink is the last free application that we could find capable of making screencasts. It is a cross-platform application which captures screencasts and the feature of adding explanation boxes, buttons, titles etc. further make it worth a try.
CaptureFox is a Firefox extension which can let you capture screen and record your sound. It makes the recordings in .avi file type while you may adjust its video quality as well. Free.
Cankiri is a free screencasting application originally made for Linux in Python. It can although work on other Operating Systems too.
If I have missed any free screencasting application then please tell us in comments.