A Thorough Look At CamStudio As An Effective Screencasting Tool

Tim Lenahan 05-02-2010

camstudio_logoScreencasts are those videos depicting a shot of a computer screen.  There are many applications for such a program such as tutorials and software reviews.  It is also often used to record video chat conversations.  There are quite a few tools for creating screencasts.  Today I would like to review another free screencasting tool that has actually been around for awhile.  It’s free, good at what it does and offers several key features.


The purpose of this article is to review some of those key features. So, buckle in and come along for the ride and see if CamStudio is the tool for your screencasting needs. I will touch on 4 different key features. When you try CamStudio, you will see that there are also other features and I think you’ll be pleased with them, but for the sake of this article I will be focusing on 4 key features of this free screencasting tool.




CamStudio allows you several different options when it comes to the region of your screen being recorded.  Choose “Region” from the Region dropdown menu and upon clicking Record, you will be able to draw out the square area you would like to see recorded.  Choose “Fixed Region” and you will be able to enter numbers indicating possition and size of the desired screen recording area.  Choose “Full Screen” and the whole screen will be recorded.


You also have the option to turn on autopan which will allow the recording area to follow the cursor around.


This will allow you to record a smaller screen area, effectively zooming in on what you’re working on, and still be able to use the whole screen.




One difficulty that arises while creating screencasts is the difficulty to see the mouse cursor.  CamStudio offers some options to combat this issue.


As you can see in the screenshot above, you have several options such as using a different cursor, highlighting the cursor, and even hiding the cursor altogether.




There are several options with this free screencasting tool when it comes to the audio.  If you are planning on adding some kind of audio later on, you can choose to not record any audio.  However, you can also chose to either record your voice through the microphone or record the sound coming through your computer.

Screen annotations


CamStudio also gives you the ability to add screen annotations, little memos, speech balloons, arrows, etc. that can be added to a screencast to bring attention to areas of the screen.  Creating the annotations is quite simple but there is a bit of a trick to adding them to the screencast.  Don’t worry, we’ll go through it to make sure it isn’t all that difficult.



Find the screen annotations option under the tools menu.  Choose something from the list and double-click it.  Right-clicking on the balloon, cloud, etc. will also give you some needed options such as edit text, edit image, edit transparency and resize.  There are also options to save and clone the annotation.  Unless you want to mess around creating these things in the middle of the recording, you may want to save them for quicker access.

If you want to add the annotation to your screencast, simply pause the recording, go to the annotation you saved, place it where you want it, and continue recording until you want it to disappear.

Camstudio runs on Windows only.

It’s your turn to give your opinion and/or advice!  What tools do you use for creating screencasts?  In what ways to you use screencasting tools?  What are your thoughts about CamStudio?

Related topics: Audio Editor, Online Video, Record Audio, Screencast.

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  1. skizon200
    March 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    hi my problem is that i cannot high the opacity of my cursor it is very low plz help me

  2. Annie
    March 28, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I've been trying to use camstudio but the files won't save. What am I doing wrong? I have Vista home basic. I think I;ll give up.

  3. eliminating the Cursor
    March 16, 2010 at 1:39 am

    I'm trying to capture a video and used the hide cursor option but somehow it doesn't dissapear! Can anyone help me with this? should i install a newer version?


    • Tim Lenahan
      March 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

      Not sure, try running a search with Google to see if anyone else is having this issue.

  4. lael
    February 10, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Use an x264 codec to reduce the filesize. Then use mediacoder etc to resize the video to a smaller size. works well with good legibility when you need to demo the whole screen. There are some tutes on vimeo if you want more details.

  5. heart
    February 7, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I use screentoaster.

  6. Alex
    February 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    i use camstudio and i have a creative external sound card so recording the sound from the speakers works fine. but my problem is that if you turn the resolution all of the way up and select a modest frame-rate the application won't save more than a few minutes of video. i learned this the hard way and had to re-record an interview over skype.

  7. Jack Cola
    February 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I was trying to use this program a few days ago. Recording video was great, couldnt get "Record audio from speakers to work" Tried it on 2 computers.

    Did you have the same issue?

    • pceasies
      February 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Windows Vista/7 have some sort of feature that disables recording audio out as you can use it to steal streaming music (among other ways)

    • Tim Lenahan
      February 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      I hadn't noticed the issue in Vista. Thanks for the note! I found a workaround that worked for me (Vista). Check out this link. I tried it and I still got the stupid error message but the recording DID work. Let me know:)