A pencast is a video clip of a hand writing text, formulas or making a drawing, coupled with audio commentary. There are different formats. A Kahn style pencast, for instance, is a format shows a black background with different colors writing; a writing-on-paper pen cast, shows a hand writing or drawing on a sheet of paper paper. A pencast may be live streamed or recorded. A recorded pencast can be a plain video or an interactive video; all depending on the combination of hardware and software that you use.
For a writing-on-paper pencast as well as a Kahn style pencast you can use:
- A digital pen coupled with paper (for instance Live scribe) or a Pencast tablet with a digital pen (i.e. a Wacom pencast tablet)
- Drawing software
- Screen capture software
There is an abundance of free drawing and screen capture software.Tablets offer a greater variety of brush style and background colours but take some practice to use. Digital pens are easier to use but are more limited in design colour and layout. On this page we combine hardware and software tools with tutorials on creating pencasts.
Note. If this all seems too complicated, you could opt for a more low tech solution, where you simply film a close-up of your hand writing or drawing on a piece of paper. In that case you just need a camera and editing tools.
How to make a pencast with a tablet and software
This tutorial describes the creation of Kahn style pencast, using a Wacom tablet, Smoothdraw, and FrontCam. Note that you can use the same tools to get a pencast with a white background: a writing-on-paper pencast. By the same token, you can use any combination of drawing and screen capture software, with your Wacom to get the same type of pancast.
How to make a writing-on-paper pencast using a digital pen. In this case a LiveScrbe pen
Smoothdraw is an easy to use drawing application. It allows you to customize your brushes, background and text colour. Only for Windows (free).
Krita is a drawing application that is a bit more advanced in the sense that it has more functions lets you create layers. It is nevertheless fairly straightforward to use.
Camtasia Studio 8 or 9
Camtasia Studio 8 or 9 let you create screen recordings, audio recordings, voiceovers, and webcam captures. Since Camtasia Studio is also a video editor, recordings are easily made into a complete video. Camtasia is suitable for creating screencasts, Kahn-style pencasts and webcam captures (ca. €170,-). Screendraw is a Camtasia Studio 8 drawing feature. Watch the tutorial below to see how to use it. Official website | Tutorial
CamStudio open source
CamStudio is free screen capture software to record all screen and audio activity on your computer.
Livescribe smartpen for interactive pencast videos
With this smartpen you can create interactive videos; you write on dotted paper and the small camera inside records the pen strokes and a microphone inside records your voice. The dotted paper can be purchased or printed with a laser printer. After recording Livescribe Pencast is saved as a Livescribe-PDF, an interactive document with notes and audio recordings. The viewer can click on a word or formula and play back the audio for it. A Livescribe pen and its software are sold together.
Livestream pencast, Anoto Pen Presenter
With an Anoto Pen