One good web app can often end the whole ‘which platform has better apps’ debate, and Screenbird is arguably one of those apps. It’s a screencasting tool that runs entirely in your browser and allows you to record anything and everything on your screen. Unlike most browser-based screen recording tools, Screenbird is not restricted to recording inside the browser window. The recorded videos can be saved locally and uploaded for sharing as well. The service’s free version allows you to upload up to 150 minutes of videos to the cloud. That isn’t Screenbird’s best feature though; it has a ‘do over’ feature whereby you can select any point in a recording and re-record from that point onward. The portion of the video before that point remains intact, while the rest is overwritten.
Screenbird runs in your browser, and requires the Java plugin to be installed and up to date. The controls might take a little time to load at first. Once loaded, a small controls bar will appear on your desktop. The bar can be minimized or closed. By default, it is set to record your entire screen, but you can limit it to record only a selected area. Screenbird will record audio from your mic once recording starts. A timer lets you know how long you’ve been recording, and you can stop or pause it at any time. Once you stop recording, Screenbird will load your screencast and allow you to preview it.
The preview opens in a separate window. Click ‘Play’ at the bottom left to start watching it. On the right, you will notice a ‘Finalize’ button. Don’t click it unless you’re happy with what you see. To redo a part of the video, move the seek bar to the point you want to re-record from, and click the ‘Record from here’ button that follows the seek point. Screenbird will enter record mode again; click the record button to resume recording.
When you’re happy with what you’ve got, click ‘Finish’. Screenbird will first encode the recording, and offer you to enter a title and description for it while you wait.
Once the video has been encoded, click the ‘Upload’ button to begin uploading it to Screenbird’s cloud. In the mean time, you can share the link to the video with others while it uploads. The video will be available as soon as it has finished uploading. If you just want to save a local copy of the video and don’t want to upload it online, click the ‘Save a Copy’ button. The video will be saved locally in MP4 format. Videos that are uploaded online can be set as public or private.
Quality wise, Screenbird records really well; the frame rate is perhaps not as high as you might want, but remember that this is a free app. A premium account with Screenbird will allow you to upload a total of 500mins of videos, and also post them to YouTube. The recorded videos can be played on mobile devices too. As per our tests, uploading is rather slow but the local version saved by Screenbird plays perfectly.