OS X has a built-in screen capture function, but it is pretty limited. For example, Command-Shift-4 lets you define a rectangle to capture. Command-Shift-4 followed by the space bar will capture a window. You can also capture your entire desktop with Command-Shift-3, and other commands will save the result to your clipboard.
Sometimes, those basic features are not enough. Apple bundles a utility called Grab with OS X that adds more features, but it still falls short for many users. Enter Screenshot FX, a very handy US$1.99 utility (on sale now) that lets you capture irregular objects by clicking on points and then dragging those points to create a curve.
The app sits in your Menu Bar waiting to be invoked, or you can hit Command-Shift-5 to bring it up. When you have outlined your object, you click on the first point, hit Return and your screenshot is saved to a location you specify in the app’s preferences.
Once your points are selected, you can modify them, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to fine-tune the selection, either one or four pixels at a time. Any control point can be edited or deleted, giving you a lot of flexibility. The only negative is that all captures are saved as PNG files, the same format Apple uses. I’d like to see an option where I could save as a JPG, TIFF, BMP or GIF.
I tried the app with some difficult shapes, and it worked very well. I did have to refer to the built-in help to learn all the commands and key combinations, but it soon became second nature. In my work for TUAW I am constantly grabbing images like logos or screen shots of apps I am testing, so Screenshot FX is going to be a much-used item. There are similar apps around, like Screenshot Menu, which is free, but you can only draw a rectangle with it. Screenshots ($9.99) is also worth a look, as it has some nice features like sending directly to mail or iPhoto.
Screenshot FX is a handy little utility that I’ll use a lot. If you find yourself needing screenshots, and want more functionality than Apple gives you, this app is just the ticket.
Screenshot FX needs OS X 10.7 or later, and a 64-bit processor.
The straight forward ‘Print Screen’ presents the simply way to grab a whole screen or window however, has it’s limitations. If you have a non-standard keyboard, or simple want to grab a particular area of the screen, you’ll need to resort to a software alternative.
Using Screen Capture tools enables powerful, flexible and intuitive screen-capturing utilities to your system. It enables you to capture anything on the screen including windows, objects, full screen, rectangle regions, freehand-selected regions, and even scrolling windows/web pages.
Many Screen Capture software tools have innovative features such as floating capture panels, hotkeys, resizing, cropping, text annotation, printing, sharing, and more.
Examples of screen capture software are Skitch for MAC and Fast Stone Capture 7.6 for Windows.
The new iPad by Apple, a supersized version of the iPod/iPhone, is a tablet computer that features a 9.7″ display with multitouch touch screen technology, running at a resolution of 1024×768.
Recording the entire screen would come in very handy for development, troubleshooting, training videos, demos, podcasts, and even direct broadcasts from the iPad screen.
While a native software solution to iPad screen capture is either weak or nonexistent, there is an ideal and low-cost hardware capture solution that will allow you to capture the entire contents of the screen without slowing down or otherwise altering the functionality of the Apple iPad.
This solution consists of two things: the Apple iPad dock connector to VGA adapter (pictured below), available from the Apple store ($29) and the Epiphan Systems VGA2USB ($299).
The iPad to VGA dock connector currently allows you to add a VGA port to the Apple iPad and mirror the image on the iPad’s screen on the output. In the future, Apple will add support for applications to use this external output.
In order to record video from Apple’s iPad, we must begin by connecting the iPad to VGA adapter to the iPad, and connecting the Epiphan Systems VGA2USB to the VGA side of the adapter. A more detailed diagram is shown below:
The captured video from the iPad can be recorded on the computer using free software provided by Epiphan Systems, or any other video capture software that supports external devices, such as Adobe Premiere or VirtualDub.
Furthermore, the images and video from the iPad can also be broadcast using software such as Windows Media Encoder or QuickTime Broadcaster.
More information on the VGA2USB can be obtained directly from Epiphan’s website here: http://www.epiphan.com/products/frame-grabbers/vga2usb/
A first in the market of high resolution video capture hardware, Epiphan Systems has announced a new open source frame grabber – Epiphan Lecture Recorder.
According to the product page, shipping of the Lecture Recorder will start sometime in November. Epiphan Lecture Recorder, or ELR in short, has some promising features that, at the price tag of $2000, are unbeatable by similar offerings.
ELR’s Unique Features
Even though this product seems to be aimed at the educational market, Epiphan Lecture Recorder has some unique features that make it a perfect frame grabber for pretty much any application. Firstly, ELR supports not only DVI and VGA capture, but also has on-board inputs for composite video and stereo audio.
Furthermore, Epiphan Lecture recorder has a very generous 32GB of buffer memory, which is expandable via portable flash sticks, network drives, or external hard disks.
Finally, ELR features 5 USB ports for external devices and peripherals, meaning that you can create software that will allow you to connect external control devices such as IR remotes, CD/DVD writers, wireless modules, an so on.
As mentioned earlier, Epiphan Lecture Recorder will be an open source device. What this means for developers is that it is possible to access all features of the frame grabber. And, because the ELR is more of an embedded computer or internet appliance, many interesting applications can be written for it. For example, the ELR, as it has an Ethernet network interface, can function as its own server, as pictured below.
In a Nutshell
The Epiphan Lecture Recorder is more of a computer with on-board frame grabber and video and audio capture cards than it is an actual frame grabber. While this might not be the ideal device for the general public, the ELR could be used as a platform for a wide variety of applications.
A good amount of free web-based screen capture solutions exist today, many of which we regularily review on this site. Today, however, ScreenCastle a new web-based video capture solution came to my attention.
- 100% free
- It is possible to record fullscreen or to choose the part of the screen to record
- Unlimited fullscreen resolution recording.
- Audio recording (from primary audio recording device such as computer mic)
- Unlimited video length
- Unlimited maximum number of videos
- No registration
Features like unlimited resolution, length, and number of videos truly make this applet stand out from the crowd. There is also an API provided for developers who would like to integrate this technology into their own websites and applications.
As soon as you open screencastle.com, you will see the huge red button to the right. That is what needs to be clicked in order to begin the screen capture.
After you click the button, a security warning comes up, you must accept it for the recording to work, as ScreenCastle needs to gain access to your computer. After that, ScreenCastle lets you choose if you would like to record your entire screen or just a part of it. You are also able to record from your mic by ticking the checkbox in the lower bottom of the window. Once you are finished configuring the recorder, the arrow at the bottom must be selected.
You will now see a black bar at the top of your screen. Click on “start recording” for the recording to start, and then go back to the top of the screen and select “stop recording,” then “save” in order to save your video. This is where I was disappoined. I attempted to record a minute of HD video and even though it was recorded, the video was unable to proccess, thus making ScreenCastle not all that it is made out to be.
I then went ahead an recorded some simple internet browsing with some standard definition YouTube video (near the end of the video). That didn’t work either. I tried recording 10sec of browsing a text webpage, and although it did get to the uploading step, the video never actually proccessed. I am assuming this is a temporary problem with the site and will be fixed. Once it is, samples of video recordings will be added.
Finally, assuming the uploading and processing does work, ScreenCastle gives you several ways to share your video:
- Link to watch (YouTube-like streaming Flash video)
- HTML embed code
- BBCode (for posting video to forums and message boards)
- Direct link to media file
- Preview images (for linking to video)
ScreenCastle is a great idea, is easy to operate, and seems to work smoothly until you get to the final step. No matter what scenarios and resolutions were thrown at it, ScreenCastle would not let me upload any of my recordings. As such, ScreenCastle’s video recording quality cannot really be judged until that bug is fixed.
In hopes of fighting Internet fraud, some online banking sites make customers use “virtual keypads” — a method of entering passwords on the screen, generally with a mouse.The system is designed to thwart keystroke-logging programs that capture everything a user types. Now those virtual keypads appear just as vulnerable to snoops.
A Spanish security company, Hispasec Systems, has revealed details of “Trojan horse” programs that can capture video imagery of an unsuspecting person’s computer use. If the user enters a PIN on a bank’s virtual keypad, the dastardly program is a witness.
Like most Trojan horses, the ones detected by Hispasec are slipped onto users’ computers when they visit certain Web sites, often through spam links, said Hispasec researcher Bernardo Quintero. Often, users have no clue if they were hit. When Quintero’s group tested whether more than 30 anti-virus programs would block a recent video-logging Trojan, only six did so.
Gartner Inc. security analyst Avivah Litan said screen-capture programs that attacked virtual keypads emerged as early as 2003, when banks in Brazil fell prey. She said the technique has remained relatively rare because the programs consume a lot of bandwidth and storage, and there have tended to be a lot of easier targets.
But that may be changing. Quintero said Wednesday that a newly detected Trojan combines keystroke-logging and video-capture functions — and instead of recording the entire screen, the program just grabs images of the immediate area near where the user clicks the mouse. The spy receives a smaller file, making the attack easier to pull off.
All this points to an enduring security truth: No single measure — especially one that is apparent to fraud artists — is likely to guarantee safety.
Litan says banks would be wise to focus more resources on behind-the-scenes software that can analyze Web banking sessions to gauge their legitimacy.
“Banks should stop implementing patchwork solutions and get it right the first time,” she said.
source: The Associated Press