How to use VNC & Camtasia to record presentations/demos from other laptops

Sometimes there is a need to record the content of another presenter or a group of presenters, and installing Camtasia on each and every laptop is not practical.

I’ve also seen this solved by using a “presentation” laptop, and often there are issues with the presentation & certain versions of presentation software or fonts or formatting.  I’ve done this once and at the end of the recording one presenter was confused with what was seen on the screen, did something and subsequently deleted the recording before I could get to the laptop to save it.

Another solution to this (and one of the more ideal) is through various pieces of hardware like VGA splitters and Frame Grabbers to go along with laptop and projector.  I’ll do a separate post on this later.

One of the more inexpensive solutions to recording content on a remote laptop is to use remote desktop software, in most cases I use VNC since I can connect to Windows, Mac, and Linux based laptops (it’s also free from, though this version does not have encryption).  My other choice when using Windows only is to use remote desktop.

All of this screen capturing is done over a wired or wireless TCP/IP network, and requires a fair amount of bandwidth on the local subnet.  If you were to do this across the internet or intranet, the latency of screen refreshes goes up which could impact the live recording and slow down the presenter.

Below is a little video I put together to summarize what I’ve done with VNC and Camtasia (PC & Mac setup/demos).  In addition I’ve included pictures of my wireless audio setup to capture the audio at the same time as the video.

The hardware pictured is of a Shure PGX wireless microphone system connected via a XLR cable to a Centrance MicPort Pro pre-amplifier which then connects USB to the laptop and appears to the system (and Camtasia) as a external microphone.

Enjoy the video!

– Dom

Direct link to video:

700 MHz Wireless Microphones

The FCC recently reminded people (on 5/28) in the United States that there has been a change in spectrum allocation to avoid interference.  On June 12, 2010, wireless microphones and monitors will no longer be able to be used in the 700 MHz band (specifically698 to 806 MHz).  Here is the PDF on the FCC website.

What this means, is those individuals/groups who use wireless microphones for audio capture for video, screencapture, or podcasting, in the above bandwidth will start to receive noise and non-ideal audio as new 4G consumer devices are deployed in proximity to the wireless microphone.

The solution for the vodcasters/screencasters/podcasters is to either replace the wireless microphone or work with the equipment manufacturer to get the wireless radio inside the transmitter & receiver changed out to operate on a frequency outside the 700 MHz band.  Some manufacturers have a trade-in or rebate programs to help people with this change.

Here is another helpful link on the FCC website which lists known wireless microphones in the 700 MHz band.

Now, if by chance you live on a Indian reservation away from any mobile or cellular phone service, your wireless microphone should work just fine after June 12, 2010.  🙂

– Dom