There are a couple of situations where you may want to record part of or all of your desktop on video. Maybe you want to create a tutorial for others and upload it to YouTube when it is done, or record a video or audio stream for safe keeping, or just a video for your new web service.
Whatever the reason may be, the search for a suitable program to make that recording may take longer than expected.
The core reason for this is that there are not that many free solutions available, and while you can spend a couple hundred Dollars on Camtasia Studio for one of the best recording solutions on the market, free software gets the job done as well.
A recent entry to the niche is VSDC Free Screen Recorder. As the name suggests, a free program for the Windows operating system that you can make use of to record any part of your desktop, and yes, that includes full screen.
The installation should not pose any issues -- there are not any third party offers included in the installer right now -- and the program interface itself is streamlined as well to make things as easy as possible.
In fact, you can start recording right away with a click on the button to get started. The program uses the recommended settings in this case.
If you want more control, or at least check what those default settings are, you may do so in the same interface.
The first screen lets you select the desired output video format. It can either be native PCM or a custom MPEG4 format by default. You can change that selection with a click on the Settings button here as it displays a menu where you can select any installed video or audio codec for use in the recording.
Note: The output directory change does not seem to work right now. While it is possible to select a different location, recordings will still be saved to the default save directory (in the My Video folder).
Now that you have configured the video and audio format, you may want to switch to the video and audio sources tab to configure those settings as well.
Here you can select the monitor you want to record -- handy if you use a multi-monitor system -- whether you want the cursor to be visible in the recording, and if you want to use overlays. These overlays highlight whenever you click the left or right mouse button, and also may add click sounds so that viewers know about mouse activities.
The audio settings let you pick one of the connected capture devices and audio input levels.
Once you hit the start recording button, you will notice that a transparent rectangle is displayed on the screen. It depicts the recording area, and you can use the mouse to change the frame to customize it and make it fit perfectly.
The small icon in the middle of the rectangle is used to move the recording frame around in case you need to position it on the screen before you start the recording.
You can enable drawing options while you are recording. This lets you paint on the screen, e.g. display lines, text, or rectangles which can be useful to visualize certain screen elements.
I ran into no recording troubles during tests. The output quality was great and the program delivered exactly what I wanted to achieve.
The recording directory bug is the only issue that I noticed, and it is likely being fixed soon by the developers so that you can pick a custom directory for the video recordings.
VSDC Free Screen Recorder is one of the easiest to use free desktop recording applications out there for Windows. Highly recommended.
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