Product: FastStone Capture
Overall Ranking: 85/100
Support: Good. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me start off by saying I have no affiliation with this product and I do not make any commissions if you decide to buy it.
Is This Really Free?
It’s extremely hard to find a reliable free screen capture program, I have however found a very cheap one that is perfect for beginners. Yes, your Faststone Capture free download is free to begin with, but like all other programs, you will have to pay for it eventually. Whilst most screen capture programs will cost on an annual basis, this little ripper of a program, is only $19.95 for a lifetime, hardly breaking your budget.
FastStone Capture will offer you a free trial period of 30 days, after this time you will be required to buy the licence to run the program.
FastStone Capture Quality
I will detail how you can use this program here so you can make up your own mind if you think it’s worth the cost.
Firstly, I’m sure you’d like to see the quality of the screen capture. Well, all of my video’s to date are done using this software, including this example.
Example of Quality:
As you can clearly see, the capture of the screen is easily viewable. You must keep in mind that my screen is double the size of this video, so when it’s reduced to a 640 x 480 size, it will blur slightly.
(By the way, if you’re interested in how you can create a free website, like in the above example, click here.)
I also have my quality set on ‘Good‘, other options are ‘Better‘ and ‘Best‘. You can also change the frame rate for even better quality. The reason I have mine set to ‘Good‘, is to keep the files size at a minimum. I still find it quite acceptable.
This program is very lightweight and simple to use. When opening up FastStone Capture, you’ll find the following toolbar.
Most of these options are to do with still image capture. I’m going to concentrate more on the Screen Recorder, so as to teach you how to add video to your website or YouTube.
Using The Screen Recorder
The dialog box to the right, is what will appear when you click on ‘Screen Recorder’. Here you can choose the area that you require to be recorded. I generally use Rectangular Region, which will allow me to pick my own rectangular area.
As you can see, there is also a check box to add or remove audio to your video.
Under the ‘Options‘ button, you will find another dialog box where you can change your quality and audio settings. You can also change the mouse pointer settings, which by default look like this.
When you hit the record button, a cross hair will appear for you to choose a rectangular area to capture. Go ahead and choose an area of your screen.
Once selected, you will be presented with this dialog box. At the bottom you will notice a check box for inserting a ‘Title Clip‘ at the beginning of the video. A field will appear when this is checked, for you to fill in if required.
When you are ready to begin capturing your video, simply click the start button. Once you’ve finished, just save it to a file.
Now that you’ve mastered capturing a video, let’s have a look at how you can edit your video.
Editing Your Video
Looking back at the first dialog above, click on ‘Edit‘ and you can open up any of your video’s. Once chosen you will be prompted to edit the original size or a smaller size of your video. I generally choose the original size. The video editor will now open up, looking like the image below.
To add such things as text and arrows to your video, simply click on the ‘Draw‘ button. You’ll notice your editor change to the following.
Notice the drawing and editing tools down the left hand side of the editing screen. This is where you can add your arrows, text, shapes, number stamps, highlighted areas and more. Options will become available at the bottom of the screen for the type of editing you are doing.
For instance, you may notice that the video you’ve taken, has a password or a username that you don’t want shown. If you add a highlighted area, you can then simply blur it out with the highlight options.
Thoughts and Conclusion
My thoughts are that for the little cost of under $20 for a lifetime, it’s hard to find anything else that will produce results this good. There are no fancy bells and whistles with Faststone Video Capture. just a great reliable, easy to use program that is not going to break your budget.
If your’re new to video capturing, I’d certainly recommend this program, at least until you become more advanced in this field. If you find yourself making more and more videos on a regular basis, and need a few more options, sure, look at other video capture programs that are available.
Until then, go for this little beauty.