Lights, Action, CameraMan

by Anna Morgan - GUI Computing

CameraMan 2.0 (Motion Works Int.) is a Screen Recording Utility which records up to 30 frames per second and includes AVI movie editing capabilities.

To operate CameraMan you simply capture your working area (otherwise you may let the recording follow your cursor), hit a configurable Hot Key, and listen for a beep which informs you that the camera is rolling. No problem if you don't have any audio facilities, as a shadow of the recording frame is there to guide you. This is as easy as most still screen capture. When you have finished recording, CameraMan presents an action replay. All recorded files are automatically saved into a destination path as an AVI file.

Screen Snap of CameraMan Edit

These can then be opened into CameraMan Edit where you can go through your takes, setting your own screen size and presentation speed, and provide mark-in and mark-out points to the frames you wish to edit. This makes it possible to cut and paste your film, combine it with your other AVI movies, compress it and add simultaneous sound effects (depending on your own audio capture hardware).

Screen Snap of AVI Take

At 30 frames per second, two minutes of film is comprised of approx. 3,600 frames, thus a lot of manipulation can be performed within your presentation. Of course the down side is this can take up a lot of disk space. But then, you don't often need either 30 frames/sec or two minutes playback.

The only problem I had was opening an application, or utilising a tool, whilst recording, as it produced quite lengthy delays. However, as it can automatically drop any frames in which delays are present, this isn't a major issue.

As everything that you can see on your screen is available for playback later, CameraMan is an ideal tool for VB (or any other) developers who provide CBT or product demo material as part of their applications. It produces standard AVI files, which can be played back using the MCI control and are thus readily accessible and distributable. An indispensable tool if that's the sort of development you do.

CameraMan is available in both Windows ($107) and Mac. For an special introductory offer (until August 31st, 1995), phone Jenton Software on 61- (049) 543 480.

Written by: Anna Morgan
August 1995

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