We at Screen Capture News like to write about interesting software releases that allow us to do new things in the field of screen capture and recording. Screen Capturer, however, does nothing but the most simple operations, and we like that too. If you are still saving a lot of screenshots using the traditional PrintScreen button method, you’d know how annoying it is to open up an image editing application each time that you want to transfer it from a clipboard to a file (in Windows XP).
Screen Capturer is a 100% free application that is launched automatically whenever you press your PrintScreen button.
Screen Capturer allows you to:
- Capture your entire screen, part of the screen, or a window on your screen.
- Create an image file out of the screen capture in many formats, including BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and TIFF.
- Capture a video of your screen activity in .WMV (Windows Video) format.
- Send the captured image or video directly to the Windows clipboard, an Image/Video file, e-mail, or to print from the printer.
Of course, this program isn’t going to give you advanced editing or annotation functionality or provide you with many more options than what is listed above. Sometimes, however, all you need to get the task done is something simple, and Screen Capturer does that job perfectly.
EDITORS NOTE (27/10/2009): It looks like the program is no longer offered for free. Please have a look at our Software section for more similar free solutions.
Do you want to use your frame grabber, screen grabber or webcam with Windows Media Encoder to record or broadcast video? If yes, then this article will help you understand the ins and outs of working with Windows Media Encoder 9 Series and get the most out of this valuable tool.
Windows Media Encoder may be downloaded free of charge at the following address: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/encoder/default.mspx. The software may be used with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.
In this article, a simple VGA frame grabber, the VGA2USB, will be used to broadcast and record the screen of another computer.
Configuring Windows Media Encoder (WM Encoder) for VGA or DVI Broadcast and Recording
1. Open WM Encoder. The new session wizard should immediately appear. If you would like to broadcast AND record/archive at the same time or just broadcast the VGA or DVI output, select “Broadcast a live event”. If you would to record without broadcasting, select “Capture video or audio”. Click on OK.
2. You will now be brought to a screen within which you can select whether you would like to record video and/or audio, and from which devices. In this example, we will record just the video output from the Epiphan Systems VGA2USB, which is a low-cost external USB frame grabber. If the frame grabber is connected but not appearing in “video” list of devices, it may be because it does not support 3rd party software or the drivers are not installed properly.
3. Now that you’ve configured which devices you’d like to capture from, the network and connection settings must be selected. In the Broadcast Method step, you must indicate whether you are planning to use an external Windows Media Server to broadcast your video, or if you want to simply use your computer. For simplicity, we will use our own computer. Thus, “pull from encoder” must be selected.
4. You must now select the network port that your broadcast is going to be sent through. If you are not sure which ports are free on your computer, simply click on “Find Free Port”. VERY IMPORTANT: Write down the 2 URLs that are given to you in this step. You will need them later in order to give to your viewers so that they can access the webcast.
5. Now you need to select the bandwidth/quality for your webcast. This depends on how much of your internet connection you want to consume for the webcast, but 700Kbps+ seems to be the norm these days for average quality video.
6. In the Archive File step, you may select a location on your local hard drive to save the broadcast to. That way, you may access it (and even re-broadcast it) at any time after the original broadcast has been made.
7. Here, you may put some details and copyright information about your broadcast. Your viewers will be able to see this information as it will appear if they click on “file properties” from their media player.
8. That’s it! You have now configured your first Windows Media Encoder VGA or DVI broadcast! Click on “Finish” to complete the wizard.
How can my viewers open my webcast?
Your viewers can find your webcast by going to the address that was provided for you in step 4.
I gave the address to my viewers but they still cannot access the broadcast.
Are you behind a local firewall, switch or router? Disable any firewalls that might be blocking the communication between you and the client machine. If you are on a home/business network and want to broadcast to the Internet or outside of your LAN, then you must setup port forwarding to your computer on the router. This is done by going into the router’s control panel and forwarding the HTTP port provided in step 4 to your machine.
My video has both high frame rate and bandwidth settings, but is still not of sufficient quality.
You might have to modify the video processing options. Stop your recording and click on the “Properties” button that is located at the top of the main WM Encoder window. From there, navigate over to the “Processing” tab and select “YUY2″ as the pixel format.
What makes software packages like Adobe Connect Pro, Cisco WebEx, and Microsoft Live Meeting useful is the ability to broadcast anything that is visible on the computer screen as long as you have one of these applications installed and running. However, there are situations where one cannot install a web collaboration/presentation software on a computer but still needs to broadcast the image from it. It is also possible that you are using a device or operating system that is incompatible with your favorite webcasting software. Perhaps you would like to broadcast from a document camera pod with a VGA or DVI interface.
Some situations where an external frame grabber is useful:
- When a network connection is lost, the presenters screen is still being recorded.
- There are not enough system resources to run Connect Pro, or the computer does not allow the installation of Adobe Connect Pro.
- Switching layouts- Once a layout has been switched, the computer sharing the screen in the previous layout needs to be activated again.
- Audio – When working with demos, the demo machine’s audio needs to have the Connect Pro audio installed, but muted (through the voice and camera pod) otherwise the session’s audio will echo.
- Bandwidth – Each demo computer needs to be logged into the Connect Pro meeting. When many computers/devices are connected to a Connect Pro meeting, too much bandwidth is “eaten up”.
- Unsupported devices – Since Adobe Connect Pro is normally only compatible with Windows and Mac OS X, adding a frame grabber allows you to use Connect Pro on any device with a VGA or DVI port.
In order to accomplish this, you would need to use a frame grabber connected to a Connect Pro capture computer. You would then launch the application that comes with the grabber on the computer with the VGA grabber and share it with Connect Pro. As long as the VGA source is connected to the grabber itself, then you’re ready to broadcast the image from it!
What frame grabber works best with Adobe Connect Pro?
There is no universal answer to this question and it really depends on what your capturing needs are. If you are looking for something cost-effective and do not need to broadcast an image with as lot of movement, then the Epiphan Systems VGA2USB will be enough. However, if you need to broadcast an HD or other high-quality imagery, then we suggest to look into the NCast DCC3.1, Epiphan VGA2Ethernet, or DVI2USB Duo.
For a detailed comparison and description of the most advanced high-resolution frame grabbers on the market, please refer to our frame grabber comparison table.