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Software Review – Free Screen Recorder

The Free Screen Recorder is a great little program from NBX Soft http://www.nbxsoft.com/download-screen-recorder.php. Don’t be fooled by the name – the program is only free for a trial of about 10 screen captures, after this, you must register the program – at a fee. The registration fee is around $30 US (or was when I registered it a year or so ago), so it’s not an amount to get too stressed over.

It’s quite simple to use and set up, the program comes with default hotkeys and has the option to record sound from your microphone. This makes it perfect for creating your own tutorials as it captures mouse clicks and generally what ever is on your screen.

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The Interface

As you can see from the screenshot, the interface is quite simple and fairly intuitive. The red button to record, blue button to stop, the gear for settings, video for output, microphone for sound input settings, cursor for cursor capture settings, keyboard for hotkey settings.

Record Function

The record function, the red button, is set by default to F8 for a Hotkey, this of course can be changed if you prefer using the hotkey settings. Once you click record, the size of the screen selected in General settings will appear as a green flashing square allowing you to select the specific are you wish captured. Simply click the screen to begin the recording process.

It is recommended to set the General Program preferences first!

The Stop Button

The blue stop button simply stops the recording and brings up the SAVE AS dialog box automatically, by default the save location is a folder inside the installation folder such as Program Files / Free Screen Recorder, but you can change this save location during the SAVE AS dialog.

The program will then reformat your video according to the video output setting chosen and will play using your default video player when complete.

The General Settings Button

This button controls the screen layout for the recording process, here you can choose to set the size of the screen to be recorded to a set size in the number of pixels, or full screen, or a number of other options. By default, the screen size is set to 320 x240 and is a fixed region. If you wish to change this size and/or the recording location, click the SELECT FIXED REGION button, this will allow you to draw the size and location required.

Note: This selection will only remain for the duration of this session, if you close the program it does not remember your settings.

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The Video Output (Codecs)

The program comes with a variety of codecs pre-installed for you to select as your output. By default, the Microsoft Video 1 codec is selected, you may switch to a different codec if you prefer using the drop down arrow.

Other options here include

  • Frame rate
  • Playback rate

I’ve found the program works best at the default settings, this seems to have a reasonable file size with watchable quality.

Audio Options

Clicking on the microphone icon will open the audio options. This will allow you to select if you wish to record sound or not. By default this option is turned off, you will need to tick the RECORD SOUND box if you wish to record sound from your microphone.

Again, you can make additional changes regarding the output used if required.

Capture Cursor Options

The blue button displaying a cursor allows you to select if you wish to capture the computers cursor or not

Under Show Cursor, you have additional options such as the default to use the actual cursor on your computer, but you can choose a custom cursor such as those installed on your computer, or another custom icon that you may have installed on your computer.

What might be helpful for trainers is the HIGHLIGHT CURSOR option, which allows you to choose between different shapes

  • Circle
  • Ellipse
  • Square
  • Rectangle

And also different colours, clicking on the COLOUR button will display a pallete that you can choose from, or you can create your own custom colour using the hex codes by adjusting the RGB values.

Keyboard Hotkeys

This final option allows you to select your own keyboard hotkeys. This is pretty intuitive, simply click the drop down box and select the key you prefer. Click OK to confirm.

Summary

In summary, this program is great if you want to record something that’s happening on the screen  such as a tutorial on how to perform a certain task on the computer. The recorded sound output is not great, it tends to be far quieter than you would expect, so if recording your own voice, be aware you will have to speak loudly and clearly.

The file sizes can tend to be large, depending on the size of the video captured and the codecs used in the output. You may like to fiddle with the settings to find something that is suitable for you, depending on what you are going to use the outputted file for. The files may be too large to place on the internet, but may be fine for recording onto a CD or DVD.

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