Jon Udell discusses using Windows Media Encoder for easily capturing footage of what's going on in an application to make mini-movies.
I've used Windows Media Encoder and while it's not bad, I know many others like to rely on tools like Camtasia or others. I use a variety of web conferencing tools, like Webex and iLinc and each of these tools also let you record your sessions for easy viewing. It's something I try to encourage our support people to do as well - so they can SHOW me when something doesn't work right.
The point Jon makes is a good one: "In the same way that blogging has radically democratized basic web publishing, I expect that Windows Media Encoder--along with counterparts that I hope become broadly accessible on other platforms--will democratize the use of screen videos. The medium needn't be available to professionals only. Lots of folks need to describe, demonstrate, or document the behavior of software, and this is a powerful way to do it."
Podcasting is already popular even with its 25MB files - the Channel 9 guys are also showing how you can easily put in video spurts into your blogs - now with just a few clicks, you can also document software behavior easily.
Try it out - Windows Encoder is available here. - BUT this is something that MS should seriously look at embedding directing into future versions of Windows. It's not enough to come up with MS Producer which converts Powerpoints into "live" casts - it has to be able to work with everything!
O'Reilly Network: Movies of Software