the screen itself? If you output it, chances are it will be at 640x480. The ATI Radeon cards to this. So do some Nvidia cards. You can get those under $100. What you could also do is record your monitor onto DV camera (if it's an LCD). Or, hook it up to a projector, then project that into one of those little boxes used to convert 8mm film to video. Or, (and I only know this with an ATI card) get a HDTV compnent out hookup for your video card, then you can hook that up to a DV deck (or something) that supports compnent in.
But, if you don't want real time video, you can use some screen capture apps.
When you say that you were disappointed in the resolution that you got after rendering to AVI what exactly were the circumstances?
I have used Camtasia to capture screen activity related to some PC programs and found it to work pretty well. The resolution of course is entirely dependant on the size of the the region you set to capture. So I am a little confused by your "disappointment" with the resolution.
Of course in the end... depending on what your <final> format will be.. .that resolution you captured at may be entirely irrelevant (if your end target is VHS then it does not matter that you captured your video from Camtasia at 1024x1024 as that will be far too high for the final format).
I don't doubt or question that you had an issue with Camtasia output. I just really want to learn what the specific reasons were that caused that problem for you.
You'll ALWAYS have problems capturing PC screen output to video unless it's HD video. PCs work at much higher res than video so something has to give. Lines and text that are only one pixel wide on a PC monitor will look woefull as video. We've captured video games and they look great but only because you can down res that type of image without it falling apart.
Switch the PC screen to no MORE than 800x600 is one solution, 640x480 is a better match to video res.
Thanks for the responses. I've found, for $24.95, a screen recorder called (what else) My Screen Recorder. I tried the demo out, and did a few moves through opening/closing windows, launching apps, playing music, and surfing the net.
It looks a little choppy, but overall acceptable. I haven't yet tested it out at lower resolutions to see if the choppiness disappears (I'm working on a dual monitor system at 2048x768), but interestingly if I import the recorded .avi into Vegas and use the Pan/Crop tool to zoom in on small portions of the screen the res is sufficient that it looks quite good.
As for my purposes -- I'm hunting down some contract work for DV just to add to the income, and figured putting together a demo reel would be essential. I've an idea about using screen recordings in the demo reel to demonstrate certain things, so the final output of this will be DV25, DVD and streaming Quicktime and Windows Media.
I'm looking into Camtasia but DAMN that's expensive.
I've tried camtasia and cam studio (nowadays not freeware anymore, called robosomething, if I'm not mistaken). I was disappointed too with both of them. I've tested both with P4 3.2 and Athlon Barton 400 cache 3.0+ since I was trying to capture some AVI shots from a screensaver named Earth 3d Space Tour.
Total disappointment. Atlhon as always performed much better than P4 for all tasks, except when trying to keep running 2 applications at the same time (P4 would be better for this - all say). But the final result was 100 % the same: a video with terrible resolution and no smooth movements on the screen at all.
If I can give an advice: rent a good mini DV cam (if you don't have one), kind of 3 CCDs and capture what you want tru firewire or even recording the screen from an LCD monitor. Just as simple as that. Let's wait a little to see how Camtasia (which is a nice software) works with Pentium Extreme Edition and Athlon FX.
I've had really good sucess with Camtasia. I'll capture the biggest file I can and then use the pan / crop tools to zoom in if needed. If you've got plenty of RAM and you're doing screen captures of a non-processor intensive app, you should be fine.
I think they've got a 30 day demo that will let you try the app.
Camtasia is designed to capture normal Windows style stuff, not full screen screensavers, or anything where the entire screen changes constantly. There are other apps designed for capturing DirectX accelerated games and movies and stuff like that. Those situations require a totally different approach. Camtasia is excellent for what it was designed to do. It's expensive but it has excellent Flash output along with other cool features that the cheaper ones don't have. Just depends on what you need.
I’ve been playing with CamStudio 2.1 and have been very happy with the output. I’ve been capturing the Vegas interface for a tutorial so it’s fairly static with just a cursor moving, a few drag and drops, and a voice over, but it seems to work well for that. Best part is it’s free.
In my experience the cheap scan converters are practically useless. Tried it... took it right back... got a refund.
In that particular instance I could not use Camtasia or the like as the app was processor intensive so I just captured the LCD screen by pointing my camcorder at it. I had some color balance issues but fixed that in Vegas afterwards.
Even one at the sub $100 mark? I guess I would love to know which one that is... as the one I tried was pretty bad.
In any case... my experience was valid for my situation as I am sure yours is for you. Depending on your specific needs you may find that Camtasia (or the like) is perfect... or that capturing the LCD screen via camcorder is perfect...or using a scan converter. Just depends I guess.