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How to create a screencast?

I've been looking for a tool to record my desktop for a long time. Someone recommended RecordItNow to me.But I found it is made for KDE, and tool sometimes crashes.

Can anyone recommend an application which is more suited to GNOME to record the screen in the form of video.

It seemed that if I choose the desktop for output, there will no files converted. So I change some using a bash script.


VIDEO=$(zenity --file-selection)
mencoder ${VIDEO}  -o ./output.avi -oac lavc -lavcopts acodec=libfaac:abitrate=128 ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=4000

errors:Audio LAVC, couldn't find encoder for codec libfaac.

Completed errors:

MEncoder SVN-r1.0~rc3+svn20090426-4.4.3 (C) 2000-2009 MPlayer Team
success: format: 0  data: 0x0 - 0xdf2a8e
[Ogg] stream 1: video (Theora v3.2.1), -vid 0
[Ogg] stream 2: audio (Vorbis), -aid 0
Ogg file format detected.
VIDEO:  [theo]  1440x896  24bpp  15.000 fps    0.0 kbps ( 0.0 kbyte/s)
[V] filefmt:18  fourcc:0x6F656874  size:1440x896  fps:15.000  ftime:=0.0667
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 22050 Hz, 1 ch, s16le, 90.0 kbit/25.51% (ratio: 11248->44100)
Selected audio codec: [ffvorbis] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg Vorbis)
Opening video filter: [expand osd=1]
Expand: -1 x -1, -1 ; -1, osd: 1, aspect: 0.000000, round: 1
Opening video decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg's libavcodec codec family
VDecoder init failed :(
Opening video decoder: [theora] Theora/VP3
VDec: vo config request - 1440 x 896 (preferred colorspace: Planar YV12)
VDec: using Planar YV12 as output csp (no 0)
Movie-Aspect is 1.61:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
videocodec: libavcodec (1440x896 fourcc=34504d46 [FMP4])
Selected video codec: [theora] vfm: theora (Theora (free, reworked VP3))

Ogg stream 0 is of an unknown type
[theora @ 0x24e8800]Missing extradata!
Could not open codec.
Audio LAVC, couldn't find encoder for codec libfaac.

There is a output file named output.avi, but it can't be played.Can the format ogv of output can be changed ?


3 Answers 3


gtk-recordmydesktop Install gtk-recordmydesktop

Adds an easy to use graphical icon on the GNOME toolbar to configure the audio and video capture and screencast application recordMyDesktop.

If you encounter issues with the produced video, like being all crazy after uploading to YouTube or when viewing on your desktop, then convert it to avi using mencoder. This is an issue that has been present since Lucid.

Here is a simple script that allows you to select the video to be converted (requires zenity and mencoder). The script will launch mencoder on a terminal and save the video in the Desktop as output.avi.


VIDEO=$(zenity --file-selection)

mencoder ${VIDEO}  -o ~/Desktop/output.avi -oac mp3lame -lameopts fast:preset=standard -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=4000

To install dependencies:

mencoder Install mencoder

zenity Install zenity

  • Some errors occurred.I have added errors to the question.
    – kit.yang
    Oct 23, 2010 at 2:25
  • @kit-yang I have updated the command. That should work. Oct 23, 2010 at 2:48
  • @kit-yang You are welcome. Oct 23, 2010 at 3:18

Byzanz -- (here's an Ubuntu Geek article about it)

This is going in a different direction from some of the other answers, and for certain puproses, I'd prefer those answers, but I do really like Byzanz. Rather than recording your desktop activity in a traditional video format, it records desktop activity as an animated gif. This makes the result very easy to share and post online, without worrying about complicated multimedia software or codecs; any simple web browser and almost any image viewer would be able to show the result.

  • Interesting. I saw such a "video" other day but I forgot which application was used to make it. This looks awesome for short videos. Thanks for sharing. Oct 23, 2010 at 2:23

istanbul Install istanbul

Istanbul is a desktop session recorder for the Free Desktop. It records your session into an Ogg Theora video file. To start the recording, you click on its icon in the notification area. To stop you click its icon again. It can make a screencast of the full screen or just of an area of the screen. It is even capable of recording audio from the default input channel.

  • I never tried this one tho, I use gtk-recordmydesktop Oct 23, 2010 at 0:35

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