HOWTO: Recording videos of your screen (screen video capture)

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Recording videos of your screen (screen video capture)


This article explains how to capture videos of your screen (you might want to post a video on YouTube, for instance). The two applications I have used are XVidCap ( and recordMyDesktop (, both of which support audio recording as well as video recording so that you can create audio-visual tutorials and examples. Both applications are in Portage while only recordmydesktop is also in Entropy, both have Man pages, and you can also enter "xvidcap --help" and "recordmydesktop --help" in a Terminal window for information.


Enter "xvidcap" in a Terminal window to launch the GUI, which is self explanatory (hover your mouse pointer over the buttons to see the tooltips). I have some success with XVidCap but the Stop button often does not work and I have to click on the GUI's Close Window button to stop it recording. A file called e.g. test-0000.mpeg is created in my home directory; I can watch it using a multimedia player such as MPlayer, or convert it to another file format using ffmpeg.


recordMyDesktop works better for me. To install it you may choose one of the following depending on whether you use Portage or Entropy to maintain your system:


    # USE="encode" emerge -1v libtheora
    # emerge -1v recordmydesktop
    # emerge -1v gtk-recordmydesktop


    # equo install recordmydesktop gtk-recordmydesktop

You can use recordMyDesktop without a GUI front-end by launching it from the command line in a Terminal window (just enter "recordmydesktop", and press Ctrl-C to stop recording). However if you want a GUI, there are two alternatives: gtk-recordmydesktop and qt-recordmydesktop. You can choose to install either as both are in Portage. As you can see above, I plumped for gtk-recordmydesktop, and an icon gtk-recordMyDesktop was automatically installed under K Menu > Multimedia (alternatively you can launch it from the command line by entering "gtk-recordMyDesktop" in a Terminal window). The online user documentation for recordMyDesktop is good (see the URL above). recordMyDesktop creates a file with the default filename out.ogv in my home directory (you can select another filename with gtk-recordMyDesktop if you want). This file is an ogg container containing video encoded using the theora video codec and audio encoded using the vorbis audio codec. I can watch it using a multimedia player such as MPlayer, or convert it to another file format using ffmpeg.

Convert output file to other formats

To convert the output of xvidcap and recordMyDesktop to other video formats I use ffmpeg. For example, to convert the output file of recordMyDesktop to a Flash Video file I would use:

    $ ffmpeg -i ~/out.ogv ~/Desktop/SL_tutorial.flv

Read the ffmpeg Man page for all the options available.

[Article last modified by darthlukan on 22 August 2011.] [Article created by Fitzcarraldo on 22 September 2008.]