Animated Voice Over Guide

Using the “vnc2swf” tool you can record your interactions with a desktop, or single window, and share them to other people. To create your own movie you need two things:

  1. A VNC server of some description.
  2. The VNC2SWF program, and supporting Python libraries.

If you wish to add audio it is better to install the “Audacity” and “Lame” packages. (apt-get install command works with installing Audacity and Lame)

When LAME is installed, we need to tell Audacity about it. The first time you go to export to an MP3 Audacity will ask you where is located. You can simply point it to the “” file, normally in the “/usr/local/lib” folder, and click OK and you should be all set.

Getting vnc2swf

vnc2swf isn't contained inside the Debian repository yet, so for the moment you must download it from the internet. You can find the current release here:

Download the python version of the software, (currently this is pyvnc2swf-0.6.4.tar.gz), and unpack it:

wget [[]]
tar -pzxvf pyvnc2swf-0.6.4.tar.gz
cd pyvnc2swf-0.6.4/

As the software is written in the Python scripting language there is no need to compile anything, you just need to have the relevant Python libraries installed upon your host.

To make this package work upon a Debian system you'll need to install python-tk, and python-pygame packages, which you can do with this command:

apt-get install python2.3-pygame python2.3-tk

Once that has been done you're ready to move on to the VNC server setup.

VNC Server Setup

For the VNC server it is better to use the “xllvnc” package. This package allows you to create a VNC server sharing either your whole desktop, or just a single window. The latter is ideal for creating a simple training video. Install the package with the following command, as root:

apt-get install x11vnc

If you wish to create a movie of your complete desktop you can run it as follows:

x11vnc -localhost -viewonly &

If you'd rather share a single window run:

x11vnc -localhost -viewonly -id pick &

This will allow you to click upon the window you wish to share with your mouse - after you have done so your selected window will be shared and made available.

Make Your Movie

Now that you have a running VNC server upon your local host you can create the movie. To do so execute:

./ -nowindow -o myoutput.swf localhost

This will immediately connect to the VNC server you have running upon the localhost, and start recording a movie of anything that happens to that window. The output will be sent to “myoutput.swf” - and a HTML file will also be created called myoutput.html. You can use your own file name rather than “myoutput.swf”.

If you wish to add audio to your movie run “Audacity” and “vnc2swf” symaltaniously After capturing the screen stop the vnc2swf and then export the audio file as MP3. In the example I have used “mymovie.mp3”

Adding Sound

If you have an appropriate MP3 file you can add it to your movie file as follows:

Put the MP3 file to the directory where the myoutput.swf file is located.

./ -a mymovie.mp3 -o output-with-audio.swf myoutput.swf

Here we add the audio file mymovie.mp3 to the file we've just created (myoutput.swf) and save the combined movie as output-with-audio.swf.

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