If you want to show off your Android goodies and you have a Mac, it’s absurdly easy to make a decent-quality screencast; the tooling will cost you $29.99.

I made a couple for my recent Open Keychain 3 piece; you can see them on YouTube, Sending a message with OpenKeychain and Receiving a message with OpenKeychain. If you need better production values than that, stop reading now and go elsewhere.

Tl;dr (for experts) · Buy QuickTime Pro from Apple. Grab the screen with adb shell screenrecord and the audio with QuickTime. Use QuickTime 7’s “Edit/Add to Movie” thing to paste the audio onto the video.

What you need ·

  • A Mac.

  • An Android.

  • A USB-to-micro-USB cable; most Android chargers let you unplug the cable from the outlet adapter, and that’s the cable you need.

  • The Android SDK, so you can get the “adb” command.

  • A Quicktime Player 7 license, which is $29.99 US.

The recipe · This assumes you can use the Terminal a little bit. The only problem I can see happening is that the video recording is going to end up sitting in the folder that the Terminal happens to be in when you type the “adb pull” command below, which will be your home folder unless you maneuver the Terminal somewhere else using the “cd” command.

Whenever I say “QuickTime” from here on in, I’m talking about “QuickTime 7 Player”, not the other “QuickTime Player” (with no number) that’s already on your Mac.

  1. Install the Android SDK and make sure you can issue the “adb” command.

  2. Put your Android into Developer mode, and under Developer options, select “Show Touches”; this will make what your fingers are doing more obvious in the screencast.

  3. Connect the Android to your Mac with the cable.

  4. Fire up QuickTime, and hit File/New Audio Recording. A little window will pop up with a red button.

  5. Open up the Terminal app and type this…

    adb shell screenrecord --verbose ./sdcard/my-movie.mp4

    … but don’t hit Enter just yet.

  6. Hit Enter in the terminal and the red button in QuickTime as close to simultaneously as you can. Wait a second or two before you start.

  7. Do your screencast! Notice, no microphones or anything, I just used natural speaking volume and talked to my Mac.

    When you’re finished press control-C in the Terminal window and the black square button in Quicktime to stop things.

  8. What almost certainly happened is that halfway through the screencast, you said the wrong thing or hit the wrong button or had an awkward lengthy pause. Don’t worry. Just kill the QuickTime Window and go back to Step 4. Then repeat steps 4 through 7 until you think you’ve got a nice clean flow.

    I’d prefer not to admit how many times I repeated those steps.

  9. Go back to the QuickTime Window and listen to the audio. If it sucks, go back to Step 4. If you’re happy with it, use the little white pincer thingies below the timeline to select any dead space at the beginning and end, then use Edit/Cut to clean that up.

  10. Now go back to the terminal window and type this:

    adb pull ./sdcard/my-movie.mp4

    It’ll pull the screencast out of your device and onto the Mac where Finder can see it.

  11. Now go back to QuickTime and use File/Open to open “my-movie.mp4” which will be sitting in your home folder.

    The movie won’t have any audio yet. Watch to make sure it looks sane and reasonable and you didn’t have anything embarrassing lurking on your screen. You might be heading back to Step 4.

  12. Figure out where the audio should start (probably right at the beginning, but maybe not) and position the QuickTime progress slider right there.

  13. Flip back to the QuickTime Audio recording, hit Command-A to select the whole thing and Command-C to copy it.

  14. Flip over to the video, and use Edit/Add to Movie. Hey-presto; your screencast has sound!

  15. If there’s dead space at the beginning or end of your movie, you can chop it off with the little slider controls just like you did with the audio.

  16. When you’re happy, use File/Save As to drop your masterpiece into the folder where it should live.

  17. Now, if you want to use iMovie or Final Cut or something to add an intro, polish things up, and export at just the right size, so that you can upload to your very own video-hosting setup, be my guest. Alternatively just upload the sucker to YouTube like I did.

  18. Next time you see your Mac desktop, you’ll notice it’s covered with lots of files with names like “Audio 5.mov”; it turns out that every time you ran the audio-record function, it dropped a copy there.

Congratulations; you’re a screencaster! Fame awaits.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Tim (Oct 02 2014, at 22:01)

Janne - You can set it up to work with 2-factor on PCs, e.g. Gmail, on WIndows & Mac, it does TOTP. It’s got a LastPass integration as well on mobile, too.


From: Marco Fabbri (Oct 05 2014, at 03:33)

Hi Tim, you can get rid of the key/mouse hitting combo with a little of scripting and AppleScript (which will become eventually Javascript on Yosemite) https://gist.github.com/mrfabbri/9cd3e31c108cb10cc234 (the script works with QuickTime Player X, for 7 just substitute "QuickTime Player 7").


author · Dad
colophon · rights
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October 02, 2014
· Technology (90 fragments)
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