my vote for best screen recorder
After downloading and evaluating a dozen or so of these products, I finally purchased Abra from Sentry Works which you can get from their website at http://www.sentryworks.com. You can also download a free version (personal edition) from download.com, but the version on download.com seems to be a bit older and missing some features that can be found from their website.
Here are some of the best features in my opinion:
1. You can export to either FLV or SWF. When you export to FLV, the product generates an HTML launcher file that can be used to launch the built in Flash Player for playback. The playback is done at fullscreen so it looks identical to the way it was recorded rather than all scrunched down.
2. The product includes a scheduling program which is a neat feature that no other product seems to have. You simply tell it when you want to start recording a computer, you can even record daily, weekly, or monthly or just start recording now using the scheduling program. The best part is that you can automatically export to FLV and then have the recording sent directly to an FTP site. This makes it easy to just record what you want and then the FLV and the HTML launcher are transfered to the host. You can simply click on the HTML file and bingo you are viewing the recording immediately on the web in Full Screen exactly as it was recorded.
3. You can also use the Screen Recorder Editor that comes with the product to crop the exact portion of the recording into a new recording so that only that area shows. You can do this through Edit->Crop.
4. You can also resize a recording in the editor using Edit->Resize if you want to cut the size of the recording in half. For example, you can cut a 1024x768 recording into a 512x384 size with little distortion if you select the best option for resizing. These options are very useful, and the product is great for building recordings that can be played on youtube.
5. I liked Camtasia but found the product very buggy especially when recording things running on the computer that caused a lot of screen updating to occur. I don't know how Sentry Works does it, but the performance is definetely the best of any product that I tested and appears to be very stable.
6. The Screen Recorder Editor is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. It is especially easy if you have ever used Windows Movie Maker since it looks very much like it.
7. You can add audio from a microphone very easily using the Editor. I would highly recommend getting a good USB mic with a preamp. The cheap desktop microphones with no preamp result in poor sound. You can also add picture in picture although I have not tried that yet.
8. The price is definitely right at $99 for the Professional version which you can only get from their website. This is much cheaper than Camtasia or Adobe Captivate or other comparable products. The professional version appears to be the same as the free version, but the free version only allows you to save 20 seconds of a recording in the Screen Recorder Editor.
You cannot beat this product for price, performance and features. It gets my vote for best screen recorder.
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