A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, typically carrying audio narration. Screencasting software takes a series of screenshots of a running application, recording the user’s actions, and creating a video file. The movies can be output in a variety of different formats such as Theora, Macromedia Flash (SWF), AVI, and Flash Video (FLV). This type of software was brought into prominence by the commercial Windows application Lotus ScreenCam in 1994.
Screencasts have a wide variety of uses. Screencasts with the desktop as the background, the mouse as the main character and a voiceover have become an integral part of electronic learning and form the basis of the computer-based training industry. This type of software is also often deployed to describe software projects, report bugs, and for evaluating technical skills.
As broadband has become mainstream and video-sharing websites are ten a penny, this has encouraged the development of a wide selection of free and open source screencasting tools. Not all of these tools follow the same method of capturing activity on the computer screen. Some use desktop sharing services such as VNC, others take a rapid succession of screenshots and join them together into a video. YouTube is full of recordMyDesktop screencasts showing all different kinds of captures.