Capturing your screen with Istanbul

Making video recordings of your screen can be very useful. If you're trying to demo something to someone or just want to record something on your desktop, it can be an invaluable tool.

One such program for recording your Linux (or other X11-based) desktop is Istanbul.

Istanbul is very easy to use and creates open standard Ogg Theora files that will play back on any modern Linux distribution (you can also get Ogg Theora software for other platforms too) . After installation, start the application.

You will see a small red circle in your system tray. Left-clicking this will start recording with the default settings. Once you're done, you simply click the icon again to stop the recording.

It is probably best however to start off by right-clicking the icon. From there you can select options such the area to record (great if you want to point something small out and/or you're on a high resolution screen), select whether the mouse pointer is included, sound and more.

Istanbul menu

Once you're done recording, you'll save your Ogg Theora file. As I've said earlier, if you're sharing with other Linux users, the default format is fine as it will play out of the box. Most Windows and OS X users won't have Theora support installed, however, so you may then need to transcode your video. Also a handy tip - Google Video accepts Ogg Theora files (unfortunately YouTube doesn't), so uploading there will automatically get your video transcoded into Flash Video.

One downside to Istanbul is that it does take up quite a lot of CPU power when recording, so if possible you should try and keep the capture size fairly small and avoid recording other CPU-intensive processes such as games for the best results.

If you want more information about Istanbul, please visit the official site.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: Capturing your screen with Istanbul

  1. Prakash (guest)

    # Posted on 29 September 2007 at 08:52 PM

    Personally I find XVidCap( much better, since it saves directly into the more easily playable MPEG/AVI, Flash SWF/FLV files, Quicktime MOV files. Why transcode when we can directly save into a commonly playable format? Having said that, it would be nice if XVidCap could also save into Ogg Theora....

  2. kvz (guest)

    # Posted on 01 October 2007 at 04:23 AM

    This is another post not only explaining how to capture, but also how to convert it to flash video and integrating that video in your site just like youtube:

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