Need an awesome (and free) video capture/screen recording tool? Try BB FlashBack Express.

I am sure most of you have seen the videos that I have begun to incorporate in some of my reviews; for those videos I used a video capture tool called Debut. For the longest time Debut has been my favorite video capture tool – it is simple to use and gets the job done. However recently I was introduced to a different software called BB FlashBack. BB FlashBack is a professional video capture/screen recording tool like Debut; however I found BB FlashBack to be very nice and it is quickly replacing Debut as my video capture tool of choice. So I thought I should share the wealth. :D

A little background before I delve into why I find BB FlashBack to be a very nice video capture tool: BB FlashBack comes in three versions – Express, Standard and Pro. Express is the free version, Standard costs $89 and Pro costs $225. True BB FlashBack Express is a bit stripped down when compared to Standard or Pro but it still has very nice features and is extremely easy to use. The version that is the topic of this post is Express.

So why exactly have I taken a liking to BB FlashBack Express? Because with BB FlashBack Express you can:

  • Record a video by capturing the whole screen, choose a specific window or select a custom region with a rectangle tool (if you have multiple monitors BB FlashBack should detect them and allow you to choose which monitor to record).
  • Record your webcam while recording your screen/specific window/custom region and embed the webcam recording into your video.
  • Choose to either not record sound, record sound from your microphone, or record sound from your sound card (the sound you would hear from your speakers). You also have the option of recording both sound from your mic and sound from your speakers.
  • Set a “mouse marker” so people viewing your video can follow your mouse and know when you click with your mouse.
  • Temporarily hide your desktop icons (they return after you are done recording).
  • Temporarily change your desktop wallpaper to a simple black (it changes back after you are done recording).
  • Export your video as either a FLV, SWF or AVI video.
  • Export only a specific range of frames.
  • Upload your video directly onto YouTube.com, Blip.tv, Coggno.com, Revver.com, Viddler.com, an FTP server or a location on your LAN.
  • Save an individual frame of a video as a BMP image file.
  • Assign hotkey to start recording, stop recording, pause recording and a few other things.

Here is a quick video created by the developer to demonstrate how to record videos with BB FlashBack:

2009-04-22_211101

To view the video click above. If you have JavaScript disabled you will not be able to view the video by clicking above so instead click here.

The video is actually of BB FlashBack Professional so towards the end of the tutorial you will see it mention how you can “edit videos” with BB FlashBack. In the Express version the video editing features are disabled so ignore the part of the video that talks about video editing; everything before the part where the video editing is mentioned still applies though.

In Express after you record a video and open it in BB FlashBack Player you won’t be able to edit a video but you can:

  • View/playback the video.
  • Export the video as FLV, SWF or AVI (“File” -> “Export”).
    • When exporting, you can choose to omit frames from your video. For example, if the last 20 frames of your video were garbage (i.e. not related to the content of your video), you can choose to omit the last 20 frames of your video when you export it.
  • Upload the video onto YouTube.com, Blip.tv, Coggno.com, Revver.com, Viddler.com, an FTP server or a location on your LAN (“File” -> “Upload”).
  • Save an individual frame of a video as a BMP image file (“File” -> “Save Frame…”).
  • Enable/disable the mouse marker (“Effects” -> “Highlight cursor”).
  • If you set it to record your webcam you can move around the webcam recording (click + drag) or remove the webcam recording (double click on the webcam video).

Overall, all things considered, BB FlashBack Express is an excellent video capturing software. Yes it has a few annoyances…

  • Only being able to export as FLV, SWF or AVI videos (use FormatFactory if you need to convert the videos to any other format).
  • Having to register to attain a license key (registration is free).
  • By default BB FlashBack Express is set to “send back anonymous statistics” to the developer. I turned it off (you can leave it on if you want but just be aware this is happening). You can turn it off by opening BB FlashBack Player, going to “Tools” -> “Player Options” -> “Update”. Uncheck “Help us improve…”.

…But it is still a great free video capture tool. If you agree with me you can download BB FlashBack Express from the following links:

Version reviewed: v2.6.0 Build 1103

Supported OS: Windows 2000 and higher

BB FlashBack Express homepage [direct download]

Thanks Junn!

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19 comments

  1. janaltus

    I’ve been using Replay Video Capture for ages (free version limited to two minutes!) but BB Flashback beats it, hands down! High quality video and sound and the ability to trim frames at the beginning and end. Many thanks for the intro, it is true, it is awesome.

  2. AlexSJ

    I have been using Democreator from Wondershare ever since it was first offered on GOTD, which is priced at $100. However after a recent re-format I don’t have it on all pc’s, so this freeby comes in handy. Thanks!

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Jackson,

    First of all you can’t steal “knowledge” (knowledge such as knowing about a software product). Knowledge is a commodity freely available and spread via person to person.

    Secondly, all my work is 100% original; however sometimes the source/inspiration for my article may be a third party in which case I always source/credit.

    Thirdly, when did I “steal your idea”?

    Hope that clears up any misconceptions.

  4. MCHAL

    Hi, Ashraf:

    I am so much sorry for this. I went back there and I see now it’s not anymore. However, I can tell for sure it used to be! Well, and the price is too high really… I posted it here because, although the captured animations cannot be edited as in BBFlash Back, they are impressively small!

    Sorry for kind of being a bit off-topic, but, talking about small animes, have you ever heard about SCREAM? It’s an animation program that produces very tiny animes WITH SOUND and that are way smaller (I mean MUCH SMALLER indeed!) that those produced within the Macromedia Flash environment! Unfortunately, the program only run on Win95/8 machines and its dev is stopped. You can find it here if interested:

    http://www.deelong.com/Scream/GetScream.htm (a pity really it’s not developed anymore – it could sure beat Macromedia Flash hands down if its dev had continued to these days)

    Back to capture stuff. Certainly you’ve known about Wink already? If not, here it is where it’s available from: http://www.debugmode.com/wink/

    Also, try this: http://mcdalmnit.googlepages.com/ZDSoftScreenRecorder.7z (DON’T PUBLISH THIS PARTICULAR download LINK, please!- it used to be free, but it seems it’s not anymore – IT OUTPUTS VERY SMALL PROPRIETARY CAPTURE STUFF, SMALLER THAN FLASH FILES!)

    Again, sorry and my kind regards,

    MCHAL

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    MCHAL,

    How is Demoforge free? This is what I see on their website:

    Free download

    Please feel free to try an evaluation version of DemoForge Studio:
    http://www.demoforge.com/trial/dfstudio.exe
    Disclaimer

    This trial version is for your evaluation only. You are not allowed to publish, distribute or otherwise make any commercial use of the demo clips produced by this evaluation version.
    Pricing

    A single, royalty-free license of DemoForge Studio is $295.

  6. David Roper

    Where has this program been all my life? (insert cute phrase here)
    Seriously, this is the best piece of software for Free I have seen in a decade of looking. If one gets to use it much, it certainly would cause the other versions to be purchased.

    Thanks so much, as usual. 6 stars today.

  7. Andrew

    It is a pity video editing feature is disabled in that free version, I was quite impressed while watching tutorial. Anyway gonna download and give it a go, and thanks man for the reveiw.