Ubuntu Screencapture


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Ubuntu Screencapture
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Screencasts and Desktop Recording

Several utilities allow you to capture your desktop (and then create a screencast from it).

FFMPEG with x11grab

FFMPEG includes x11grab, a module for screen capture. This method gives the best results for screencaptures and is one of the most flexible methods, allowing a variety of audio inputs and audiovisual output formats. FFMPEG must be installed first (sudo apt-get install ffmpeg). See here for more details. In brief, an example command to capture to an .avi file using the X264 video codec and lossless 16-bit sound would be:

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 2 -ab 192k -i pulse -f x11grab -s 1024x768 -r 30 -i :0.0 -acodec pcm_s16le -vcodec libx264 -vpre lossless_ultrafast -threads 0 /home/user/capturedvideo.avi

recordMyDesktop (Desktop Session Recording)

recordMyDesktop is a desktop recording utility, which has both pyGTK and a pyQT4 GUI frontends available. Recordings are saved in Theora video/Vorbis audio files. Only the Gtk version is available from the repositories (but it works well with KDE/Kubuntu nevertheless). To install with the gtk GUI:

sudo apt-get install gtk-recordmydesktop

Using recordMyDesktop with PulseAudio

  • If you have not installed Pulse Audio Controls and Volume utility, they are useful for monitoring your pulse audio devices:
sudo apt-get install pavucontrol paprefs padevchooser
  • Change the recordMyDesktop settings so that the capture device is the one you select through pulse audio:
gtk-recordMyDesktop -> Sound Quality (ticked) -> Advanced -> Sound -> Device: pulse

This sets recordMyDesktop to use whichever input device(s) are selected through pulse audio. If you have several input devices, all of them will be recorded. This is an easy way to mix inputs.

Istanbul (Desktop Session Recording)

Istanbul is a desktop recorder for the Gnome desktop. It records your session into an OGG Theora video file.

sudo apt-get install istanbul

xvidcap (Desktop Session Recording)

xvidcap is a utility to capture your desktop as a video. Install:

sudo apt-get install xvidcap


WebCamStudio creates a virtual webcam that can mix several video sources together and can be used for live broadcasting. See the website for installation instructions.

Wink (Presentation Editor)

Wink is a open source tutorial and presentation editor. It allows you to capture screenshots and use them for presentations. Download the .tar.gz source package, install using these instructions, and follow one of the user guides.

wget -O winkcurrent.tar.gz http://www.digital2b.com/mirror_wink/wink15.tar.gz

Note: Wink is a 32-bit application. If you are running a 64-bit system, make sure ia32-libs is installed first:

sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

Freeseer (Presentation capture)

Freeseer is a utility to capture output from a projector or other display device (including another computer). See these installation instructions.

Screencast Demos

rtmpdump (Capture streaming video)

Rtmpdump allows the capture of many types of streaming video. Current installation instructions are at the website.

  • Here are old installation instructions:
sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall libssl-dev
wget http://rtmpdump.mplayerhq.hu/download/rtmpdump-2.3.tgz
tar xvf rtmpdump-2.3.tgz
cd rtmpdump-2.3
make SYS=posix
sudo checkinstall
sudo ldconfig

When prompted during installation, name the package rtmpdump.

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