Making screencasts for Youtube with CamStudio

Yesterday I needed to find a simple and robust solutions for recording a screencast. It turned out to be not as easy as I thought.

To get a similar workflow as with my other video editing I wanted it to work like this:

  1. Record a 1280 x 720 section from my screen to a high quality format
  2. Open and edit the recorded file in Sony Vegas Platinum 8
  3. Render it from Vegas to a lossless format
  4. Re-render it using HandBrake
  5. Upload the file to Youtube

Record with CamStudio

I started out with the latest beta of CamStudio. It a nice, simple and easy tool that does what I need.

My first attempt was to save an AVI file with the included Microsoft Video 1 codec. The quality was pretty low so I tried to use the CamStudioCodec (from their web site). I got a nice looking AVI. However Vegas didn’t really like this file. It worked, but it was very slow.

Then I tried to use the Huffyuv codec that I had installed recently when I optimized my HDV workflow. It created a BEAUTIFUL HUGE file that I could work with in Vegas. I edited the file, normalized the audio and rendered the video almost exactly the same way as I render all my other videos (described in my HDV workflow). I just lowered the resolution from 1440 x 1080 to 1280 x 720.

Re-render and upload to Youtube

I opened the file in HandBrake and selected the High Profile. I exported the file the same way as in my normal HDV workflow. It created a good looking file. I uploaded it to Youtube. Everything went smooth. Until I looked at the video on Youtube. It came out gray. No video at all. I made a test upload to Vimeo. No problems. I tried with different codecs and settings. Both in Handbrake, Vegas and CamStudio. All came out gray on Youtube.

I tried really hard to understand why this didn’t work but I couldn’t get it to work so I resorted to Avidemux. I opened the file in Avidemux. Selected the MPEG-4 ASP (Xvid) codec for video and MP3 for audio (I increased the quality on both). I exported the file and boom. It worked fine on Youtube.

I’m not sure what went wrong. Or why. And I ended up yet another tool in my belt. But I almost reached my goal of having similar workflows so I’m pleased.