Screencast 101 – windows media encoder

I have recently learned quite a few features of the NCBI site which were hardly obvious to me. In the screencast below I explore two of these features. The History feature to combine searches and the “CDS” and “Reverse complement” feature to get at the reverse complement of a genbank ORF (open reading frame) record .

The screencast was made on my macbook-pro laptop running parallels and Windows Media Encoder 9.0 from Microsoft (WME) on Windows XP Pro. WME is very easy to use and FREE software. The wmv file it output was sufficiently small (1.60 MB) and needed no additional tinkering. Sadly the Mac and OS X does not come with any free tools to make screencasts. I did give IshoU for Mac a shot, but the movies were very large files (10 plus MB) and I needed quicktime-pro to compress them. Both ISHOWU($20) and quicktime pro($30) are not free software unlike WME. It will be great if Apple adds some screencast support into its OS X.

In any case you can see my test screencast here. This is a wmv file simply uploaded to a webserver. You can shift click the link , save it to your computer and view it using windows media player or suitable *.wmv player. This video is the best quality but needs to be saved to disk before viewing.

* Following a brief from Jean-Claude Bradley I have uploaded both MAC and PC versions of the videos onto YouTube and Google video . The video quality on both is barely passable once processed by either service. The uploaded mac video started from 27 MB and the wmv started at 1.56 MB but both end up quite hazy and unclear. This is work in progress.

Google Video :
Mac screencast with IshowU and the Windows WME screencast :

YouTube Video:
Mac screencast with IshowU and Windows WME

Addendum: I am convinced on the utility of using youtube to share screencasts. The screencast below is the same as that mentioned above and made in windows media encoder. The text quality is quite poor , but the ability to embed these videos with just a simple tag from youtube adds a whole new dimension to blogging

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5 responses to “Screencast 101 – windows media encoder

  1. Cool!!! Next step, embedding the screencast

  2. When I click your link on my Windows XP PC with Firefox I just get wacky characters. As long as your videos are streaming the file size issue is not that critical (my lectures are one hour with Flash file sizes of 50-100Meg and have usually no problems with students). I don’t know what your options are on the Mac but uploading your screencasts to YouTube or Google Video is pretty convenient. Google Video has the advantage that the files can be exported in mp4 format to play on video ipods.

  3. I know it is annoying that the quality is not that great for screencasting the web. A way around that is to change your screen resolution to make text look bigger.
    Keep populating YouTube with science!

  4. Don’t forget, there’s always HTML.

    Here’s an example: BLAST for beginners

  5. Pingback: Screencast bases Books- Video from oreilly Safari Online « Codeitch- a non coders attempts at writing code

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