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VMWare Movie Capture & Conversion

On a PC, I want to be able to easily capture screencasts for the products we use at work. The ulterior motive is to be able to show a video rather than repeat the demo hundreds of times.

VMWare gives a tantalizing option: Capture Movie

It is under the VM menu in the menu bar. Prompts for a filename and you’re away.

Slight catch. Playing back the movie that is recorded leads to not much but trouble. Turns out that VMWare encodes the movie into a non-standard video format. Details of it are here. (It is using the VNC protocol to encode the video with some VM specific headers)

If you’ve installed Workstation, the decoder for the codec is included. Otherwise, you can download the codec here. I found you need to use Microsoft Media Player to actually play back.

That still leaves the problem of editing the video. With the video recorded and the codec installed, you can convert the video into a suitable format. I used Prism’s conversion program to produce an AVI that can be read by Final Cut Pro.

Final Cut Pro took a bit of effort, but produced a very slick result. You can use simpler options for the video editing piece.

The result is that I can now capture video of demonstrations that are run in a VMWare environment, and re-mix them into various screencasts.