Posted by cayhorstmann
on October 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM PDT
I just learned how to make Flash screencasts on my Linux system and deliver them (with GlassFish) on a server that the computer science department received as a donation (thanks Sun!!!).
Why am I doing this? My publisher wants me to develop screencasts for my books, and I thought it could be useful for my students if I record my lectures. I use a smart board for the lectures, and a screencast that records the “smart” pen and voice works tolerably well.
On Windows, you can use Camtasia for making screencasts, and it works very nicely out of the box. In Linux, it is definitely “roll your own”, but you get a bit more control over the process. Here are the details.
Now on to serving the stuff to the public. YouTube isn't a solution for lectures—you can only upload 10 minutes worth of video. So, let's assume you have a server where someone else pays for the bandwidth :-)
- You need to supply a player. (This came as a suprise to me. I thought that Flash did this automatically, but what do I know...) I used the free JW FLV player . Really, I would like to supply a JavaFX player, being a Java guy, but I didn't have the time to fuss with it. I looked at this post , and the player worked fine on Linux, but it didn't do seeking. (If you move the slider forward, it doesn't jump to a later part of the movie until that part has actually been downloaded. This might be because the movie doesn't have the metadata, or because the player doesn't know how to seek. I'd like to know...) You really, really need seeking for lectures so students can quickly move past the dullest parts.
- You need to install a script to support seeking on the server, as explained here . I used our donated Sun server on which I run Glassfish. The canonical choice seems to be xmoov-php , but I was in no mood to install Apache just to run a PHP script. (Could I have done that in Glassfish? If so, I'd like to know how.) Fortunately, I found a translation to a servlet here , and now I am all set. Here is a sample screencast for my next book, and here is a sample lecture .