Most Mac users are familiar with the ability of OSX to perform instant screen captures of either the entire screen or a designated portion of it. I use this so much I have reset the keyboard shortcuts on my desktop to the F14 and F15 keys.
But have you ever wanted to download a video or music file and been frustrated because the site doesn't support download capabilities? That problem has been solved by iShowU HD. (http://www.shinywhitebox.com/ishowuhd/main.html) This $29.95 program permits you to capture anything that appears on your monitor; video and audio, either full-screen or a user-selected portion of the screen.
It doesn't matter what the format of the original is, .flv, .mov. a web cam, or anything that displays on your screen, audio or video can be captured.
You can select audio from the system microphone or the audio from the computer itself, such as on the video or music file. Before collecting the file, you can select video only, or just the audio portion of a video. You can also start or stop recoding at any time including restarts while the file is playing.
Captured files by default are stored on your hard drive under Movies/iShowU HD. Through the iShowU Preferences users can also choose to store collected files on any storage device attached to your system. External hard drives, thumb drives, I even stored a short video on my laptop as an experiment via an airport connection. OK, I was showing off. :)
After a file is captured, iShowU takes a short time to compile it. Then you can right-click it to view in QuickTime. If you are not happy, you can also select to delete it immediately and try again.
iShowU is totally independent of format, web site, or anything else. It will hide itself while recording if you choose and be started and stopped via keyboard shortcuts.
As most of you know, after you have the video in QuickTime it can be exported into many different formats such as .wmv. .wma. .aiff, and others.
Another bit of good news is the developers are very serious about customer support. They have always been very prompt in responding to questions and, in two times I had a problem, they were able to determine that were both my fault. In one, I had a setting selected incorrectly. In the latest, I had upgraded to OSX 10.6.7 without upgrading iShowU to the latest version (2.1.5) Mea culpa, mea culpa. :D
So what if you have a windows system? Is there an iShow U for Windows? Not at this time, but do not despair. Growler Software as a program available that will do essentially the same thing for Windows. (http://www.growlersoftware.com/)
As with iShowU, technical support is prompt, effective and free. It works very well for Windows systems and it is clearly the best of those I have tried for Windows.
No matter what your platform, you will be very pleased with either of these fine programs.
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