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[Review] Recordzilla Screen Recorder

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Recordzilla Screen Recorder [1]

Version reviewed:

v1.0

Software description as per the developer:

Recordzilla is screen recorder software that lets you capture video, audio and pictures of anything you see on your computer screen and save it as video AVI, WMV, Flash SWF, or Flash FLV.

You can use Recordzilla to record the entire desktop, active windows, any portions of the screen, mouse cursor’s movement, menus, games, and even video with sound. You can also use Recordzilla to record from microphone to add narration to your recordings, or record what you hear from the computer speakers. Advanced features includes time stamp your videos, schedule a recording, hotkeys, adjust video resolution, size, and frame rate. Recordzilla is useful for creating training videos, presentations, demos, recording streaming video eg. Youtube, recording webcams from AIM, Skype, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or capture movies from TV card, DVD, VCD.

Download size:

13.2 MB

Supported OS:

Windows XP and higher

Price:

$29.95 (USD)

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{rw_good}

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{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”6″}Recordzilla itself isn’t a very complicated program; you select the recording region, set video settings, set audio settings, set output settings, and record. However, the bugs in the program will make you want to pull your hair out while using it… especially the one where users cannot click inside the recording region. Good thing I just got a haircut.
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{for=”Performance” value=”4″}The video quality of the videos Recordzilla records will vary depending on the video settings you set, but in general the quality is excellent. However, Recordzilla has a lot of bugs and it is missing out on some features like highlighting mouse cursor and mouse clicks.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”5″}Hit or miss usefulness – some people will need to record screen, while others won’t.
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{for=”Price” value=”5″}Asking $29.95 for a basic video recording is asking too much. At best, this program should be priced at $20.
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{for=”Final Score” value=”4″}
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{rw_verdict}[tdown]
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As the title of the program may imply, Recordzilla Screen Recorder is a screen recording program that allows users to record screen activity and export it as AVG, WMV, SWF, or FLV videos.

This is what Recordzilla’s main program window looks like:

[2]

Using Recordzilla is not too complicated; in fact it is fairly straightforward:

[3]

Users are allowed to either record full screen, or a custom region. A custom region can either be a window (you select a specific window) or a literal custom region that you select using a freehand rectangle tool.

If you decide to record a custom region, you have the options of

  1. Outlining the selected region with a red rectangle, so you know what you have selected (Show Selected Area);
  2. Showing that same red rectangle while the video is being record (Show Recording Area during Recording). The rectangle does not appear in the actual video; it is just there to remind you of the area you are recording.

[4]

You can save recorded videos as AVI, WMV, SWF, or FLV formats. For AVI you have the ability to select the video and audio codecs/compressors that will be used and the frame rate; for WMV you have the ability to select the “profile” (aka quality) and the frame rate; for SWF and FLV you have the ability to set the bitrate and frame rate.

Furthermore, Recordzilla has the ability to resize output videos to a specific size (i.e. if the recording region is 800×600, Recordzilla can resize it to 400×200 if you tell it to) or leave it at its original size (i.e. the recording region size).

Lastly, Recordzilla allows you to pick if you want your mouse cursor to be included in the video or not, and if you want to insert a date and/or time stamp on the video:

[5]

[6]

The audio settings consist of you selecting

  1. If you want to record audio or not;
  2. What type of audio do you want to record;
  3. The audio quality.

Recordzilla has the ability to record audio from your microphone (i.e. whatever you say into the microphone while the video is being recorded), or the audio from your speakers (i.e. the sound you would hear). The Audio Device and Record Audio From are the two settings that allow you to select the source of your audio, with Audio Device being the “the sound card capturing device on your computer” and Record Audio From being the “recording source you would like to record from”. (The quoted text are word-for-word descriptions of these two options found in the program’s Help file.)

[7]

Recordzilla gives users the option to manually recorded files (i.e. you select the output location and file name after you are done recording) or to have Recordzilla automatically save recorded files. For automatically saving recorded files, users need to set the output location, and how the files should be named (a base + date and time stamps or a base + sequential numbering scheme).

[8]

Aside from using the hokey, users can right-click on Recordzilla’s system tray icon to stop or pause recording. The same relation to automatic/manual saving settings applies with the system tray icon menu entries as the hotkeys.

Aside from the already mentioned, there are two other features of Recordzilla:

[9]

[10]

[11]

In particular, take note how via Options you can tell Recordzilla to enable/disable screensaver and hardware acceleration.

In regards to performance, Recordzilla performs well in two areas: Output video quality and recording audio from microphone. Output video quality and audio from microphone quality will obviously vary depending on the quality settings you set, but generally speaking Recordzilla makes excellent quality videos and the recorded sound is crystal clear. In other areas, however, Recordzilla fails… hard.

As already discussed earlier in this review, Recordzilla has the ability to record audio from microphones or from speakers. However the ability to record audio from speakers is bugged; Recordzilla cannot properly record audio from speakers. In fact, the option to select speakers audio is not even available from the previously discussed audio settings. Now the reason for this problem definitely is not that my computer hardware does not support audio recording from speakers because my computer does allow it; BB Flashback Express [12] is able to record audio from my speakers flawlessly. The reason for this problem is probably that the developer of Recordzilla did not properly program Recordzilla to work with the many different sound cards out there, hence I am unable to record audio from speakers. (Other users can be able to record audio from speakers, depending on if Recordzilla is programmed to work with their hardware or not.)

Another major bug I found with Recordzilla is in regards to the recording region. As previously discussed, Recordzilla has two options for highlighting the recording region: Show Selected Area and Show Recording Area during Recording. These two options make it so a red rectangle appears around the region that you select and the region that is being recorded, respectively. Turns out that when either of these two options is available, users cannot click inside the red rectangle. In other words, if you have Show Selected Area enabled, you will not be able to click on anything that is inside the red rectangle while you make your region selection; if you have Show Recording Area during Recording enabled, you will not be able to click on anything that is inside the red rectangle while you record. (Keep in mind these two options are mutually exclusive, meaning you can turn one on and not the other. So potentially you could show the red rectangle while selecting a region – and not be able to click inside the region while selecting – but turn it off while recording and be able to click inside the region; and vice versa.) This bug is extremely annoying and essentially is a deal-breaker, rendering this program half-ish useless. The non-clickability problem does not occur when there is no red rectangle, i.e. you when you have one or both of the options turned off.

Furthermore, there are quite a few other bugs I have encountered too, although they are not as major as the previous two bugs and are fairly arbitrary in regards to when they occur:

[13]

I had to mouse over the buttons to make them appear. Fortunately, this bug only happened to me once but with Recordzilla’s track record in buggy-ness, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again.

[14]

Going to the right of the divider made the mouse cursor disappear. I had to close and re-open Recordzilla to make this problem go away.

Similar to the previously mentioned bug, this only happened to me once but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again.

Finally, although they are not bugs, the following are areas where I feel Recordzilla can be improved:

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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BB Flashback Express [12]

Ashampoo Snap 3.50 [15]

Screencasting tools [16]

Jing [17]

CamStudio [18]

Wink [19]

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{rw_verdict2}Even if Recordzilla was 100% bug free and all its features worked as they should, I still wouldn’t recommend it because Recordzilla is a mediocre, basic screen recording tool; most freeware programs can do what Recordzilla can. As it stands, though, Recordzilla is not even 100% bug free; so I have no choice but to give it a thumbs down. If you need an excellent video recording tool, I highly recommend BB Flashback Express [12]. BB Flashback Express is a terrific freeware video recorder, with many useful features; it wipes the floor with Recordzilla.
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