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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Screenshot and Video Captures: How To!

This post is for those who are interested in learning how to take screenshots and video captures of cam footage. Please remember that images and videos are property of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (or Ferris, or Karels, etc.)


A good resource for screenshot instructions is This site will help you regardless of what platform you use (PC, Mac, iPad, etc.) 

However, below I will go into some of your options in more detail.

STEP 1: 
Get the Picture Onto Your Computer 
(or a web service like dropbox)

PC Instructions:

Option A: 
Use Print-Screen Button and Photo Program Other than Picasa
(Picasa is discussed in Option B)

  1. Find the Prt-Sc (Print Screen) key on your keyboard, usually in the top right hand corner somewhere. It may be called Prt-Scr or some variation thereof.
  2. Be aware that some keyboards require you to press something else AND the Prt-Sc key at the same time. On my HP keyboard I have to press Fn and Prt-Sc. If you try Prt-Sc alone and it doesn't work, do a Google search on "How to Use the Print Screen Key on ____", filling in the blank of course with whatever your computer model is. Seriously, that's how I found out I had to press Fn and Prt-Sc on mine. 
  3. sebourne reports that she uses the web service dropbox; it puts any Prt-Scr content into a "Screenshots" folder, nicely named with a date and time stamp. It's then easy to pop it into Flickr or other photo-sharing site. If you are NOT using dropbox, proceed to item 4 and then scroll down to instructions to upload your photo and share your link. I have not used the dropbox method personally yet but it sounds easy enough to be "highly recommended."
  4. When you use Prt-Sc, your computer will store the image in a temporary buffer. You can then paste it (Press Ctrl-V at the same time) into any image program (Paint, Photoshop, Picture Manager, etc.) From there, you can edit it as you like and save it where you like on your computer.  

    Option B: 
    Use Print-Screen Button and Picasa


    1. Download Picasa at (free download)
    2. Launch Picasa and keep it open.
    3. Whenever you use Prt-Sc, Picasa will automatically save the capture for you. 
     Picasa tutorial from Nomibird:

      Option C: 
      Use Snipping Tool
      Recommended only if you are not concerned about the speed of the capture, i.e., I wouldn't use it for a cam shot because I think it takes too long to drag that square around.

      1. There is a Windows tool called Snipping Tool that you should be able to access through your Start menu.
      2. When you launch that you can just drag your mouse around the area you want to capture and then save that capture wherever you like. 

      Option D: 
      Use Other Screen Capture Programs
      Not Recommended

      Some people like these programs (such as Howie's Funware), but for the most part I have found them to be clunky and bloated.

      Mac Instructions  (Courtesy of Nansel)
      1. For a screen shot on a Mac hold down at the same time: Command, Shift, 4
      2. The pointer will turn into a crosshair that can be dragged across the area to be captured. When you let go of the mouse key, it makes the capture.
      1. Command, Shift, 4, spacebar
      2. The cursor will turn into a little camera
      3. This will capture the entire window you click on.

      There is also a Picasa version for Mac here:

      STEPS 2 AND 3:
      Upload Your Photo and Share Link

      Ok, so now you have the photo on your computer. Now what? You will want to upload your photos to a free photo sharing account such Flickr. Once you have uploaded your photos, you will be able get a link to the photo for sharing in chat, etc. Flickr is recommended because it will allow you to share your links in the Cornell Lab Bird Cams pool.


      PC Instructions: 

      For those interested in video capture software, the best program I have found so far is BB FlashBack (PC only).  There is a free version that you can download from The free version has limited export and editing options but still works. You can download it here.

      If you decide you don't like BB FlashBack, there are other options you can try, Click on the cnet logo below to see some.

      Mac Instructions:  (Courtesy of Nansel)

      Quicktime has a Screen recording feature.
      Launch Quicktime (found in the Applications folder or a free download from Apple.) Under the File menu, there is a selection for "New Screen Recording". That will bring up a small dialog. You click the Red button, then a message will come up telling you what to do next. After getting the recording, then the file will need to be exported to be saved.

      Next Steps:

      After capturing your video and processing it into a video standard format (e.g., .mov, .flv, .avi, .wmv), your next step will be to upload the file to YouTube. Once uploaded, follow the same directions for sharing links in chat as with the screenshots.

      Incidentally, you will almost always have the program option to do still photo exports from your raw video capture file.