Making a Screencast Video Using Ubuntu

I recently made my first YouTube video using my Dell Vostro V13 laptop running Ubuntu GNU/Linux. It wasn’t that hard to do, but I thought I’d just write a quick post describing what I did; I had to do a little sleuthing on the Internet to find out what settings to use in order to get it to work on YouTube.

I created the animation and slides using LibreOffice Impress, the Powerpoint-like presentation program that is part of the open-source LibreOffice office productivity suite. Powerpoint, or any other presentation program, would work just as well.

I recorded the screencast using the application recordMyDesktop. RecordmyDesktop produces a .ogv video file. My laptop has a built-in camera and microphone, so I just had to make sure the microphone level was high enough to record my voice. One thing I did find was that when I used the space bar to advance the slideshow, the clicking noise was also recorded. By using an external mouse button instead, I was able to keep the clicking noise to a minimum.

After recording the screencast, I edited it using the movie editor PiTiVi. I was satisfied with video and sound quality of most of my screencast, so the only thing I did was crop out portions at the beginning and end of the movie that had no meaningful video.

The tricky part was exporting (i.e., “rendering” in PiTiVi lingo) the PiTiVi-edited video into a format the YouTube would accept. Here are the settings I used (copied from this Ubuntu forums post, written by the forum member theSuperman):

  • Container: MP4Muxer [mp4mux]
  • Audio Codec: Ffmpeg ALAC (Apple lossless Audio Encoder) encoder [ffenc_alac]
  • Video Codec: Ffmpeg MPEG-4 part 2 encoder [ffenc_mpeg4]
  • Video codec bit rate: 10300000

I uploaded the resulting MP4 file to YouTube and, voila, Hollywood, here I come! (One thing I didn’t know is that once you upload the video, you have to wait around 30 minutes for YouTube to do conversion of the video. But that’s all automatically done on their end.)