How can I make a video of my SVPCA talk?

September 2, 2013

Every year I invest many days’ effort into preparing a 20-minute talk for SVPCA. Then I deliver it to maybe 80 people, and that’s the end — it’s over. It seems like a terrible waste of effort, and it occurred to me that I should make a video of this year’s talk, Barosaurus revisited: the concept of Barosaurus (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) is based on erroneously referred specimens (which at the last minute I retitled Barosaurus revisited: the concept of Barosaurus (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) is not based on erroneously referred specimens).

But I don’t know how to do that. What I want is a simple program, for either Ubuntu GNU/Linux or MacOS, which will record both the video of my screen (as I step through PowerPoint slides) and the audio of the microphone (as I give the talk), resulting in a single video file that I can upload to YouTube.

Can anyone recommend such a program?

Update 1

I got an almost immediate suggestion from @Stephen_Curry that I use ProfCast. I downloaded the trial version, but it insists on running official Microsoft PowerPoint, which I don’t have. (I prepare my talks using OpenOffice’s low-rent PowerPoint-alike.) Rats.

Update 2

@emckiernan13 cleverly suggested that I do a Google hangout (on air, recording to YouTube) with me as the only participant. So far I’ve not been able to get this to work. It won’t start a video hangout unless I have at least one other live person on the call; and although I can make it go in and out of capture mode, I can’t find a way to get hold of the captured stream.

Has anyone done this successfully?

Update 3

Seven years later, I finally figured out that QuickTime Player, which comes as one of the core apps on a Mac, can do this.

13 Responses to “How can I make a video of my SVPCA talk?”

  1. Hey Mike, it’s only just occurred to me that we can do this via Palaeocast, I think. We’ll make an effort to be at SVPCA next year to record things!

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    It would be great if this was done by default for all SVPCA talks!

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hmm. From the presentation, SlideCast looks terribly cumbersome. All this synchronising the audio and video after the event. I want to just give my talk into the computer, like I would to an audience.

  4. TF Says:

    The Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society has been using camtasia to do podcasts of talks at their meetings (ppl can opt out when there’s IP issues). Camtasia has a ppt plugin, but I think it also has a screen-capture facility, where you could give the talk using OpenOffice’s presentation mode, while recording yourself talking.

  5. steelgraham Says:

    This wee tutorial is more on the live-streaming front, but might help on the G+ front

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Argh! Third try also fails, because Camtasia demands MacOS 10.6 upwards while I am running 10.5. How can this be so hard? Why isn’t it a trivial thing that everyone does all the time?

  7. Squiddhartha Says:

    I’ve used commercial software in the past for this, specifically iShowU from However I see that their current releases also require 10.6 or up. Is there a reason you can’t, or don’t want to, upgrade from 10.5? I’m able to run 10.7 (but not newer) on my 2008-vintage MacBook…

  8. Squiddhartha Says:

    Actually, digging deeper on their site, you can still download a build from them that will work on 10.5! Look at the lower right of the page

  9. Google Hangouts on Air, as suggested by Erin, should work. There is an address displayed at the top of the screen (I think you need to click on a button), this is the invite address needed to show it live to others. Then, you can use your webcam, or installing Google Hangouts Tools, you can display your current computer screen or any PPT window.

  10. emanuel Says:

    for a future talk only, if you use prezi (, which is flash-based and online, there’s the possibility to record the talk online

  11. I use Screenflow which is not free and not incredibly cheap (but not horrendously expensive either) because its relatively easy to use and gives you some good editing capabilities after the recording. It was worthwhile for me because the free stuff at the time I bought it wasn’t so good and I was doing quite a lot of these recordings.

    If you’re willing to do a little post production then one option would be to just record video from your (or someone else’s) webcam, convert your slides to images, and use something like Mozilla Popcorn maker to put it together. But I don’t know of a free tool that is good at grabbing both slides and video. It’s also a classic situation where if something goes wrong it will lock up your computer and make things difficult so there is some value in capturing the live video separately even if it does mean more work later.

  12. Mike Taylor Says:

    Note to self: this may help me to find a way to use Google Hangouts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: