How to Create Video Tutorials Using Vokoscreen

Record your Linux desktop and broadcast it over the web

vokoscreen screenshot on Debian

Have you ever wanted to create a video tutorial to share with your friends or to share with a wider community such as YouTube?

This guide will show you how to create screencast videos of your Linux desktop using Vokoscreen.

How to Install Vokoscreen

Install Vokoscreen on Linux Mint

Vokoscreen will probably be available within the GUI package manager provided by your chosen Linux distribution whether that is the Software Centre within Ubuntu, Software Manager in Linux Mint, the GNOME Package Manager, Synaptic, Yum Extender, or Yast.

To install Vokoscreen from the command line within Ubuntu, Debian, or Mint run the following apt command:

sudo apt install vokoscreen

Within Fedora or CentOS, you can use dnf as follows:

dnf install vokoscreen

Finally, for openSUSE, you can use zypper as follows:

zypper install vokoscreen

The Vokoscreen User Interface

Vokoscreen screen settings

Vokoscreen has a user interface with five tabs:

  • Screen settings
  • Audio settings
  • Video settings
  • General settings
  • Webcam settings
  • Help

No matter which tab you're on, you'll find the same thing at the bottom of the screen, the recording controls. To actually record the video, you'll use those five key buttons:

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Pause
  • Play
  • Send

The Start button starts the recording process, and the Stop button stops the recording.

The Pause button pauses the video, which can be resumed using the Start button. It is a good button to use if you lose your train of thought or if you are recording a long process that you wish to skip such as a download.

The Play button lets you play your recording back, and the Send button lets you mail the video. 

How to Adjust the Screen Settings Using Vokoscreen

The screen settings tab controls the actual recording of videos.

The first thing you need to decide is if you are going to record in Fullscreen, a single application Window, or an Area on the screen which you can select with the mouse.

We found that windowed recording had the nasty habit of cutting into the chosen window. If you are recording terminal commands, you would lose the first letter of each word.

If you want to really focus in on an area of the screen and make it bigger you can turn on Magnification. This will cause Vokoscreen to zoom in on the area where your pointer is, while you record. You can choose how large the magnification window is from 200x200, 400x200 and 600x200.

Then, you can show the keyboard keys you're pressing on screen with the Showkey option. This one's perfect for tutorials involving hotkeys or the command line.

Similarly, Vokoscreen lets you highlight your mouse clicks with the Showclick option. It will highlight a circle around your mouse pointer whenever you click, making it easier for viewers to follow what you're doing on screen.

Finally, there is the option to have a countdown timer which counts down to the start of the recording so that you can set yourself first.

How to Adjust Audio Settings Using Vokoscreen

Vokoscreen audio settings

The second tab on the screen (denoted by the microphone symbol) allows you to amend audio settings.

You can choose whether to record audio or not and whether to use PulseAudio or Alsa. If you choose PulseAudio, you can choose the input device to record from using the checkboxes provided.

The Alsa setting lets you choose input devices from a dropdown list.

How to Adjust Video Settings Using Vokoscreen

Vokoscreen video settings

The third tab (denoted by the film reel, play button, or similar symbol) lets you amend the video settings.

You can choose the number of Frames per second by adjusting the number up and down.

You can also decide which Codec to use and which video format to record in.

The default codecs are mpeg4 and libx264.

The default formats are mkv and avi.

Finally, there is a checkbox that lets you turn off the recording of the mouse cursor.

How to Adjust General Vokoscreen Settings

Vokoscreen general settings

The fourth tab (denoted by the tools, a gear, sliders, or a similar symbol) lets you adjust some general and output settings.

On this tab, the Videopath option lets you choose the default location for storing videos.

You can also choose the default video Player which is used when you press the play button.

The defaults on our computer were Avplay Banshee, Totem, and ​VLC.

One setting that you will probably want to choose is the option, Vokoscreen minimized when recording starts. If you don't, the Vokoscreen GUI will remain active throughout.

Finally, you can choose whether to show Vokoscreen in the system tray.

How to Adjust Webcam Vokoscreen Settings

Vokoscreen webcam settings

The fifth tab(denoted by a camera symbol) covers your webcam settings.

If you have ever seen the Linux Action Show or the Linux Help Guy videos, you will notice that they have their webcam images displayed on the screen. You can do this using Vokoscreen by selecting the webcam options.

The webcam tab lets you select the Webcam option and set the device you'd like to record from.

Summary

Vokoscreen information

The final tab (denoted by the triangle, letter i, or similar symbol) has a list of links about Vokoscreen such as the homepage for the website, the mailing list, support links, developer links, and a donation link.

When you have finished creating videos, you can use a video editing tool to format them for the web or other purposes.

How to Record With Vokoscreen

Once you've configured your settings, you're ready to finally record your screen.

  1. To start recording your video, press Start at the bottom of the window.

    Vokoscreen start recording
  2. As soon as you press Start, Vokoscreen will begin recording. Everything you do from here out will be part of your video.

    Vokoscreen recording
  3. Should you want to temporarily stop recording, press Pause. When you press Start again, Vokoscreen will pick back up where it left off.

  4. When you're done recording, maximize the Vokoscreen window again, and press Stop.

    Vokoscreen stop recording
  5. Now, if you'd like to see what you've just recorded, press Play in Vokoscreen. It will launch the application that you set for playback in under the Video tab and begin playing your latest recording.

    Vokoscreen play previous recording
  6. You can safely close Vokoscreen at any time, and your recording will be located in the folder that you configured under the Settings tab.

What Next?

After recording your videos using Vokoscreen it is a good idea to edit them using a tool, like Openshot, which will be covered in a future video guide.