How I Make The Hacking Illustrated Videos

Folks ask me every now and then how I create the Hacking Illustrated videos on my website. All of the software I use is Open Source with one exception (Flash MX). Here I'll provide links to help others do similar videos to mine. If you make any give me a yell, I'd be interested in seeing them. Hell, I may be able to find a place to host them if you like.


The first tool I use is CamStudio from RenderSoft. It's a piece of Windows software that lets you make videos of what's happening on the screen. It use to be completely Open Source but has since gone commercial (I think it's called RoboDemo now and is owned by Macromedia). CamStudio 2.0 seems to be the last Open Source version, you can download the compiled software and the source code from my site:

CamStudio 2.0 Binaries

CamStudio 2.0 Source Code

While you are at it you may want to get the lossless codecs that were made for CamStudio, they are great for screen capture videos:

CamStudio 2.0 Codecs

If you decide to take the code and continue development please let me know. CamStudio can save videos out as Flash files or AVI, since I import my videos into Flash 2004 MX and have had memory problems with imported SWF files I usually set CamStudio to export as an AVI. My normal settings export using the CamStudio lossless codec and set it to capture at a frame rate of five frames per sec.


Since I want to make my videos as small as possible, and have them viewable at most resolutions the web browser may be running in, I try to capture at a resolution 0f 640x480. XP won't always let you set the screen resolution that low (depends on what monitor and video card you are using), so I use a VB app I wrote called Squint to set it that low:

Squint Binary


I capture and edit all of my sound in Audacity. You can download it from the following site:


In case you are wondering how I capture Linux or Mac OS screen videos with CamStudio here's how. I just export the display using VNC for the target platform then connect to it from a Windows client. Then all that I need to do is capture what's showing on the Windows VNC client. You can find VNC for all sorts of platforms here:


If I have to edit the AVIs I make with CamStudio I use VirtualDub. Download it from:

Flash MX 2004

This is the only piece of commercial software that I regularly use to make my videos. You can buy it from Macromedia:

That about it, hope it helps some of you to make informative videos. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll update this site.