Screen Captures

One of my much beloved colleagues recently expressed surprise that I knew how to do a screen capture, so in the spirit of sharing tips, I thought I would make quick post on a couple of easy ways to capture images and video.

If you are using Firefox, the easiest way to capture images is through a free add-on called Abduction! – Webpage Screenshots Screen Capture 3.0.16. Click “Add to Firefox” and follow the instructions.

Here  is a YouTube video explaining how it works:

Sometimes the selected area function is a bit sticky, but in general the add-on works great.

For capturing video (“screencasts“) of what I am doing on the screen, I use Jing, another free software. (You can also use Jing for capturing images, though the Firefox plugin is faster.)  I use Jing for creating webinars.

I use webinars both on my database website for guiding visitors, and in the classroom for teaching technologies to students: I can demonstrate in class a million times how to add a named anchor to a wiki page on our class moodle and get very few results, but if I link in comments to a webinar I made on the topic, the students actually seem to be able to replicate the process.  (Realistically webinars are how I usually learn technology these days as well:  when I couldn’t figure out my kids’ new MEEP! from the paper instructions, I went to YouTube.  Three hours later–voilà!). Likewise when I wanted to explain to students the fastest way to find the gravestones they wanted in the Farber Gravestone Collection and how to integrate the images into their page, I used a webinar. That way if they forget what I said after class ends, they can go back and see it happen again and again.

If you need help with Jing, there are numerous tutorials.  I have found the sound quality from recording on my laptop isn’t so great, so I recently got a Blue Snowball and this has improved the sound quality dramatically.  In case it isn’t obvious, I use a Mac, but I know Jing works for regular PCs as well, as I believe my father used it for his NESCent Academy Workshop in Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics, (August, 2012) in Durham, NC.