CamStudio is a tool for recording screen activity into standard AVI video files. If you move the cursor, launch a new program, type some text, click a few buttons, or select some menus -- anything that you see on your screen -- CamStudio will be able to record all these and allow you to play them back later on.
You can use CamStudio to
· demonstrate features of a new software
· create movies used in user trainings
· track the progress of a program that executes for a long time
· record the sequence of steps that cause the occurrence of bugs in faulty software
· record a movie stream
· convert AVI files to Flash (SWF) files.
To start recording, click the red button. A rectangle will appear for you to select the area you want to record.
When you want to stop recording, click the blue stop button. A dialog will appear for you to name and save the file.
To pause a recording to adjust your screen, click the pause button. You can resume recording by clicking on the record button again.
Moving images impact our
lives heavily nowadays. A changing image speaks much more than a stationary
snapshot. Any one who has watched a movie understands how the power of
animation can immensely enhance the process of communication. By capturing the
moving action faithfully on your computer screen, CamStudio is essentially
putting this power right onto your computer desktop.
The video files created by CamStudio are saved in the standard AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format, which is used pervasively in many Windows applications that support video, including MS Office. (You can effectively paste an AVI file into an Office application just like pasting text.)
This ensures maximum compatibility with other software, and you can easily edit the output of CamStudio with a third party video editor.
(From the main menu, choose Regions->Region or Fixed Region or Full Screen)
You should set the Input Region before recording. This allows you to define the area and type of video capture. From the main menu, choose Region
There are 3 types of regions you can choose:
Before recording starts, you can define an arbitrary rectangular region with the mouse. The cursor turns into a pen on cross-hairs, which you use to define a rectangular region on your screen by click-dragging the left mouse button.
You can capture a fixed-size rectangular region. A dialog allows you to define the size of the region in pixels.
Before the recording starts, you can move the fixed-size region around the screen to determine where you want the input area to be. To cancel recording, you can click the right mouse button.
Recording will start immediately when the Record Button is clicked. The region of capture is specified by the Left, Top, Width and Height values of the dialog above.
The entire computer screen is captured.
When you record a movie using CamStudio, you are actually saving a sequence of bitmaps (known as frames), that, when displayed in rapid succession, exhibit motion.
If more frames are recorded per second, the resultant animation will also be smoother. However, this will also cause the file size of the movie to be much larger.
In the process of recording, CamStudio allows you to specify two video rates: the input rate and output rate. The input rate tells your computer how many frames to record per second. The output rate tells your computer how fast to play them back. Usually, these two rates are equal, so that the time of playback is equal to the time used in the recording.
However, these two rates can also be different. Normally, you do this only if you want to create a time-lapse movie. For example, you can capture a frame once every hour and play the frames back at 20 frames per second.
The default value is set at 20 frames per second for the output (playback) rate and 20 frames per second (corresponding to 50 milliseconds sleep time) for the input /capture rate.
There is also a third rate: known as the keyframe rate. When a frame is saved in an AVI file, they can either be saved as a full frame, or only as a difference to the previous frame. This keyframe rate specifies how often full frames are written to the AVI file. A high value means you can fast forward/rewind to a particular frame in your movie much faster. But it also means a larger file size.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Video Options)
Setting the video options allows you to optimize your video recordings by choosing between the file size, quality and frame rates of your video files.
Use the Auto Adjust settings to set the Key Frame Rate, Capture Rate and Playback Rate automatically through the slider. Shift the slider to the left to increase the frame rate and to the right to reduce file size. If the slider is situated at the right of the Time Lapse indicator, it means you are creating a time-lapse movie.
In Time Lapse mode, CamStudio will usually capture a frame only after a long period of time. (Example: after every 30 seconds). However, during playback, the frames will be displayed more quickly. (Example: at 20 frames per second).
The Compressor select-box allows you to select the encoder for your AVI file. An encoder compresses your AVI files to make them smaller in size and cause them to play faster. The default setting is the MS Video 1 compressor.
Click this button to configure the parameters of your selected compressor. The parameters for each compressor is different and some settings will cause CamStudio’s performance to degrade or behave unpredictably. For some compressors, clicking this button will not have any effect.
The quality setting determines how nicely your picture is saved. A lower value means a lower picture quality but also a smaller file size. Only some compressors use this value.
This setting specifies the keyframe rate. When a frame is saved in an AVI file, they can either be saved as a full frame, or only partially as a difference to the previous frame. The keyframe rate specifies how often full frames are written to the AVI file. A high value means you can fast forward/rewind to a particular frame in your movie much faster. But it also means a higher file size.
Capture Frames Every
This field determines the input frame rate. It dictates how long the CamStudio will ‘sleep’ after capturing each frame. One millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.
If you set this to a large value (for example 1 hour, or 3,600,000 milliseconds), you practically create a time-lapse movie. CamStudio will actually ‘sit and watch’ for activities on the screen that takes a long time to occur and take a snapshot (say, only once every hour).
This field determines the output frame rate. It specifies how many frames are played back per second. A higher value means a smoother playback. Typical values of 20 – 30 frames per seconds are adequate for most purposes.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Cursor Options)
The cursor will be hidden during screen capture
Use Actual Cursor – The actual shape and position of the cursor will be recorded during screen capture.
Use Custom Cursor – Replace the recorded cursor with a customized one.
Use Cursor From File - Replace the recorded cursor with a cursor that is loaded from file.
When this option is selected, the recorded cursor will have a highlight area around it. This helps in calling attention to the movements of the cursor. You can set the shape, size and color of the highlight area.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Record audio from microphone)
You can add a soundtrack to your movie by selecting this option. When enabled, CamStudio will record your voice input from the microphone while it is capturing video. You need a sound card with an attached microphone to use this option.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Audio Options->Audio Options for Microphone)
Compressed Format -- This is the format that will be saved with your movie file. You can click on the “Choose Compressed Format” button to select another compressed format. After recording your movie, CamStudio will attempt to convert your audio from the recording format to the compressed one.
Your choices for the compressed format are determined by the recording format. If you change your recording format, the compressed format will also change automatically.
Interleave Video and Audio – Interleave your audio and video for smoother playback on a slow device such as CD-ROM. This will also allow better synchronization of your video and sound content. The interleave factor determines the amount of interleaving in your movie. Normally, this value is specified in number of frames. A value of 1 frame will mean full interleave. Larger values will mean less interleaving.
You can also specify the Interleave factor in milliseconds. If you choose to Interleave a movie every 100ms for a movie with a capture rate of 200 frames per second (Capture Frames Every 5 milliseconds), the Interleave factor will be equivalent to Interleave every 20 frames.
Volume - Use this to adjust the input volume of your microphone if your recorded audio is barely audible. If CamStudio is unable to locate your volume control, you will need to adjust the volume manually through Start : Programs : Accessories: Entertainment : Volume Control.
Please note that some configurations of the Recording and Compressed format will result in the audio recording becoming choppy or inaudible.
Some sound card disallows your system to record while another application is playing sound. In this case CamStudio will issue an error when you attempt to record with the “Record Audio” option being enabled.
If you set this checkbox, CamStudio will use certain system commands (MCI commands) to perform the recording of audio from your microphone. This method is more stable and may give better sound quality in some systems.
If you experience low audio quality when recording from CamStudio, but managed to obtain high quality recordings from your system's Sound Recorder, you may want to consider setting this option.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Record audio from speakers)
By selecting this option, CamStudio will record the output from your speakers while it is capturing video. This is ideal for recording a gaming session or a movie stream. You will need a sound card with speakers attached to use this option.
Please note that not all soundcards support this function. (Most modern and branded soundcards usually allows you to record from your speakers)
(From the main menu, choose Options->Audio Options->Audio Options for Speakers)
Most of the time, you only need to adjust the Playback Volume and Recording Volume.
The Playback Volume controls the volume of your speakers. The sound signals going to your speakers and can originate from a variety of sources. Examples include sound from CD, Microphone, MIDI playback and Wave playback.
The Recording Volume controls the volume of the recording line.
Important: For a good quality recording, it is important that both the Playback Volume and Recording Volume are not set too high.
Recording Line Configuration
In order for CamStudio to record sound from your speakers, it has to search your soundcard for the appropriate line to use. Failure to find the line simply means that CamStudio is unable to record from your speakers. Some soundcards do not support this capability.
The searching is usually done automatically when you click (Options > Record Audio > Record from speakers). However, if that does not work, you will have to use one of the two methods provided by CamStudio below to carry out additional searching.
By clicking the Automatic Search button, CamStudio will play a few tones and attempt to automatically detect the line.
If you select the Manual Search button, CamStudio will ask you a few questions on whether you have heard a tone when a particular line is used. You will need to turn on your speakers and listen carefully.
For most users, the Soundcard Device will already be pointing correctly at your soundcard. However, if it isn’t or if your system has more than one soundcard, you will need to set it to the correct one.
If the soundcard device is changed, the recording line will no longer be valid and you will need to perform a manual/automatic search for the line
(From the main menu, choose Options->Enable Autopan)
If this option is selected, the capture area will follow the cursor to wherever it goes during recording. This has the effect of making the screen capture to occur at the region with the most action.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Autopan Speed)
Use this to control the maximum speed at which the capture area follows the mouse. The value is measured in screen pixels.
(From the main menu, choose Options->Program Options)
Use the program options to customize the way the program behave when it starts/stops recording. A tick beside the menu items indicates that option is enabled.
Minimize program on start recording
Hide flashing rectangle during recording
Save Settings on Exit
Capture translucent/layered windows
Play AVI file when recording stops >>
Temporary directory for recording >>
Name of AVI >>
Save Settings on Exit
The Save Settings on Exit option allows you to save the program settings when you exit. These settings will be loaded the next time you launch CamStudio.
If you run CamStudio and find that it does not work as well as in previous sessions, most likely your saved settings is not tuned very well or is corrupted. You may want to reset your settings by turning off the Save Settings on Exit option, exit CamStudio, and launch CamStudio again.
is minimized to the system tray instead of the taskbar. To restore CamStudio,
double click its icon in the system tray.
In here, you can choose to
Capture translucent/layered windows
In Windows 2000 or XP, there are certain windows that are translucent/layered and cannot be captured without turning this option on. An example is the Office Assistant in Office 2000.
Temporary directory for recording
CamStudio creates temporary files while it is performing recording. These temporary files can become very large and crash your system if your system ran out of disk space.
You can set the directory for placing your temporary files by selecting one of these:
If you are using the User Specified Directory, you should always choose a directory that resides in the drive with the largest free space.
Some programs, when set as the active window, use the system resources so heavily that they cause CamStudio to be unusable. The frame rate in these cases drop to 0 - 5 frames per second (even if only a small region is being captured). Examples include some DirectX games or CPU intensive simulations.
To improve the performance of CamStudio at the expense of these programs, you can set the recording priority of CamStudio to Highest or Time Critical. However, doing this may also affect the performance of your whole system (For example, Windows may not respond to some mouse clicks on your Desktop). Therefore, for most cases, this option is best left at Normal.
With auto-naming, you can now avoid giving a name to every AVI you record. The name of the file will have the following format 1422003_1520_26.avi and is saved in CamStudio’s installed directory.
The name is formed using the system’s date and time of the recording.
1422003_1520_26.avi means the file is saved on 14th of February, 2003, 3.20 p.m (1520), at the 26th second.
This dialog allows you to diagnose and resolve some problems. Currently, it can handle the following:
For other problems please refer to our FAQ at
(From the main menu, choose Options->Keyboard Shortcuts)
You can also set your keys for displaying the Next Layout and Previous Layout. For more information on layouts, refer to the section on Screen Annotations below.
(From the main menu, choose Tools->Screen Annotations)
The Screen Annotations feature allows you to add captions to your screen during recording. An example of a screen annotation is shown below:
You can display the Screen Annotations dialog box by clicking on the icon or
choose Tools->Screen Annotations from the main menu.
To instantiate the shape Orange Gradient, simply double
click on it or drag it out of the Screen Annotations dialog box.
To instantiate the shape Orange Gradient, simply double click on it or drag it out of the Screen Annotations dialog box.
Screen annotations consist of two main components: Shapes and Layouts.
A shape is just a floating window that will appear on top of all other windows on your desktop. An example is shown below.
To create the shape above, simply double click on the item Orange Gradient or drag it out of the Screen Annotations dialog box.
To edit the shape, right-click on it to display a context menu
The Clone command allows you to create a copy of
the shape. The Resize command lets you change
the width and height of your window. The Anti-Alias command lets you adjust the rendering
quality of the shape. A higher quality shape will take more time to draw. You can make the shape semi-transparent by choosing Edit Transparency You can edit the shape’s text (message, font color and font
style) by choosing Edit Text You can edit the shape’s image (background, border and
cutout region) by choosing Edit Image
The Clone command allows you to create a copy of the shape.
The Resize command lets you change the width and height of your window.
The Anti-Alias command lets you adjust the rendering quality of the shape. A higher quality shape will take more time to draw.
You can make the shape semi-transparent by choosing Edit Transparency
You can edit the shape’s text (message, font color and font style) by choosing Edit Text
You can edit the shape’s image (background, border and cutout region) by choosing Edit Image
· When you have finished editing the shape, you can save it with the Save command.
· The Close command will close / hide the shape on your desktop.
· The Close All command will close all shapes on your desktop.
· The Refresh command will redraw the shape.
· The Save Layout command will save all the shapes and their arrangement on your desktop into a layout. Please refer to the Layout section below for more information.
Select Edit Text from the context menu to change the text of the shape.
Notice the text is surrounded by a dotted rectangle
after you have chosen the Edit Text command. You
can move / resize the dotted rectangle by dragging it with your mouse.
Notice the text is surrounded by a dotted rectangle after you have chosen the Edit Text command. You can move / resize the dotted rectangle by dragging it with your mouse.
Select Edit Image from the context menu to change the text of the shape.
The cutout / transparent region allow you to create non-rectangular windows. It refers to the region that allows the background to show through. There are two methods to create a cutout region.
1) By Transparency Color
All areas of the image with the specified transparency color will be made transparent.
For example, if the transparency color is Black, the image
will be transformed into
2) By using a predefined shape.
Currently, the predefined shapes are round-rectangle, ellipse and rectangle.
For example, a round-rectangle cutout region for the image
will be something like
For a predefined cutout region, you can add a border, and set the color and size of the border.
You can set the Background color for a shape if the shape does not have an image.
Otherwise, you can click the Load New Image button to change the background image to a new file. The file formats that are accepted are bmp, gif and jpeg.
Select Edit Transparency from the context menu to change the shape’s transparency. This feature is available only in Win 2000 / XP.
Note that recording a transparent window will cause the frame rate to drop significantly. You will also have to enable the Program Options ::Capture Translucent / Layered Window setting for the shape to be properly captured into the AVI movie.
Select Resize from the context menu to resize the shape.
Note that a shape with a large size will be drawn and displayed very slowly.
In the Screen Annotations dialog box, right click on an item to display a context menu for managing and creating shapes.
You can create a new shape by choosing the New Shape command. Right click to display the context menu. You can Copy, Paste or Remove shapes in the Screen
Annotations dialog box using these commands.
You can create a new shape by choosing the New Shape command.
Right click to display the context menu.
You can Copy, Paste or Remove shapes in the Screen Annotations dialog box using these commands.
· You can also rename a shape by choosing the Edit Shape Name command or selecting a shape and press F2.
1) Save all your existing shapes into a file
2) Load a shape library file into the Screen Annotations dialog box and
3) Create a new (empty) shape library
Note: In the event your default shape library file CamShapes.ini gets corrupted and is unable to load on startup, you can restore the default shapes by opening the file default.shapes in the installed directory of CamStudio.
1) Name of the new shape
2) Image of the new shape
3) Size of the new shape and its
4) Initial text
A layout is just the arrangement of one or more shapes on your desktop. An example is shown below
You usually prepare all your layouts before recording starts. When you start recording, you will click a hotkey / shortcut key to cycle through the layouts to display the appropriate captions at the proper time.
You can mange your layout by clicking on the layout tab of the Screen Annotations dialog.
The Layout Library command lets you 1) Save all your existing shapes into a file 2) Load a shape library file into the Screen Annotations
dialog box 3) Create a new (empty) shape library You use the Copy Layout, Paste Layout and Remove Layout commands to
copy, paste and remove layouts in the Screen Annotations dialog box. Right Click to display the context menu. Layout Tab
The Layout Library command lets you
1) Save all your existing shapes into a file
2) Load a shape library file into the Screen Annotations dialog box
3) Create a new (empty) shape library
You use the Copy Layout, Paste Layout and Remove Layout commands to copy, paste and remove layouts in the Screen Annotations dialog box.
Right Click to display the context menu.
· You can rename a layout by choosing the Edit Layout Name command or selecting a layout and press F2.
You instantiate a layout by simply double click on the layout item or drag it out of the Screen Annotations dialog box. By doing so, all the shapes that are saved into the layout will be displayed on the desktop in their correct order and position.
To save a layout, first, arrange your shapes in their correct position and order. Right click on any of the shapes to bring up a context menu, and select the Save Layout command.
You can cycle through the layouts by clicking the Next Layout key in the Screen Annotations dialog box. Every click will close all existing shapes on the desktop and instantiate a new layout. Alternatively, you can use a hotkey / keyboard shortcuts to perform the cycling. To customize the keys for navigating the layouts, you can choose Options->Keyboard Shortcuts from the main menu or Objects->Layout Shortcuts from the Screen Annotations menu.
The keys for cycling through the layouts are
Next Layout Key – key for displaying the next layout
Previous Layout Key - key for displaying the previous layout
Show / Hide Layout Key - key for showing / hiding the current layout
(From the main menu, choose Tools->Video Annotations)
This feature requires a webcam to be installed on your system. The Video Annotations window is essentially a webcam window. By placing a webcam window on your desktop, you can record its content along with other screen content when the webcam window is inside your recording region.
The Video Annotation window does not only stream video content to your desktop. You can also add a text caption, make a cutout region, or set transparency values (Win 2000 / XP only) to the video annotation just like you did for screen annotations. To do so, right-click on the webcam window to display a menu like this
The refresh rate indicates the number of times (frames) CamStudio will attempt to capture an image from your webcam and display it on your screen. The actual rate will usually be much lesser, especially for large sized images.
· Setting a high refresh rate will degrade the recordings of CamStudio considerably. This is especially true if transparency is turned on. It has been observed that some dialog boxes will not appear when they are selected when the Video Annotation window is shown. To stop the blocking of these dialog boxes, you will need to close the Video Annotation window first.
· The slowdown in the recording rate will be observed even if the Video Annotations window is not inside the recording region. In fact, the presence of the Video Annotations window will even affect the performance of other programs in your system. Therefore, it is highly advised that you close the Video Annotations window when it is not needed.
· Sometimes, especially on slower systems, the video of the webcam images will appear to be slightly behind the audio track on playback. This is because the acquisition of an image and its display on the screen is quite demanding on your system resources. The computer will take some time to process the acquired image before showing it on the screen. This latency problem can usually be resolved by
1) Choosing a smaller dimension for your video format or
2) Shifting the video track slightly to align it with the audio track. More information can be found in the section Audio and Video Synchronization below.
You can use the video source dialog to select your webcam or video source for the video annotation. You can also set the brightness, contrast, gain, exposure and other settings related to your webcam video.
The video format dialog is used for selecting the dimensions of your webcam or video source image. You can also set the pixel depth and compression (e.g RGB24, RGB32) of your video.
Note: You are advised to choose a small dimension (e.g 160 x 120) for the video format, as a large sized format will slow down your system significantly.
The video source and video format dialog boxes will vary on different systems. Its implementation will very much depend on the vendor of your webcam.
(From the main menu, choose Options>Audio Options->Audio and Video Synchronization)
CamStudio creates a movie by sampling the screen on fixed-time intervals. If this sampling frequency is too slow, it may not be able to pick up some cursor movements if the mouse moves too fast. The result of this will be that the cursor will appear to jump, become jerky or even cannot be seen in the recorded movie. It is thus advisable to slow down your mouse movements during recording.
This sampling problem can also happen when you are recording a fast animation. If CamStudio cannot record much faster than the changes in the animation, CamStudio will miss out on some important data and the playback will not be smooth.
The speed of your computer will directly affect the performance of CamStudio. A slow CPU will unquestionably mean slower frame rates. For the best performance, use the fastest computer available for recording.
Apart from CPU speed, the following factors will also affect the performance of the recording:
An AVI file usually has a very large file size, especially for those lengthy and detailed videos. This is due to the fact that a video file has to pack hundreds and thousands of images into a single file. It is thus very common to have size exceeding one megabyte.
To reduce the size of the AVI file, you can do the following:
CamStudio allows you to produce Flash files in two ways
To record directly to Flash, simply click the button to toggle the recording mode to .
After that you may proceed in the same way as you record an AVI file.
There are a few options that you can adjust prior to recording to Flash. These are accessed with the Options :: Record to Flash commands in the menu.
The Preview SWF File upon completion instructs CamStudio to display your Flash movie in a HTML file when the production is completed.
The process of recording to SWF actually involves multiple steps. CamStudio in fact record your screen activity to an intermediate AVI file first, before converting it to a Flash (SWF) file. The Delete the intermediate AVI file upon completion setting thus instructs CamStudio to delete the intermediate AVI file when the conversion is completed. You may want to preserve the AVI file just in case you’ll like to edit it in an AVI editor, but that will take up plenty of space on your hard disk, as the format of the AVI is saved with minimal compression settings.
The production an SWF file is affected by many parameters in the SWF Producer. These parameters are, by default, hidden from users, but may be revealed if you turn on the Display conversion options before generating SWF setting. For a full description of these parameters, please refer to the section on “Conversion Parameters” in the SWF Producer help file.
The CamStudio distribution package includes a module known as the SWF Producer that is able to convert an AVI file to SWF. This is actually a separate program that can function independently of the CamStudio Screen Recorder.
The SWF Producer is launched by selecting Tools :: SWF Producer from the menu.
You can also double click the Producer.exe file in CamStudio’s installed directory to launch it.
While the SWF Producer works best with the AVI files recorded with CamStudio, it is in fact capable of converting most AVI files created by third party products. Normally, Flash files generated by the SWF Producer results in a much smaller file than the original AVI. For a full description of the usage of the SWF Producer, please refer to the topic on Standalone mode in the SWF Producer help file.
The Camstudio v2.1 player (playplus.exe) can be launched from the command line (DOS prompt) with the following options:
This will launch playplus.exe and load the AVI file (filename.avi) without playing it.
playplus -a filename.avi
This will launch the AVI file (filename.avi) and play it automatically.
playplus -x filename.avi
This will launch the AVI file (filename.avi) and play it automatically. The player will exit when the playback is completed.
CamStudio is an Open Source product. You may obtain its source code at:
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you have more questions regarding the use of CamStudio, please refer to the following page:
This product uses code from certain individuals. The authors of this product would like to express their heartfelt thanks to:
We will also like to thank the following individuals.
If you support CamStudio and will like to see more improvements, you can help by donating
This will be used to offset our
o Web Hosting cost
o Development Tools
o Support Time
To donate with your credit card, please click the link below
o Advertisement Space
o A link or recommendation on your site
o Email to your friends
o Success Stories. If your company/organization has installed multiples CamStudio and find it useful, please send us an email so that we can show it on our site
The link for CamStudio is