ah yes, i see your point about removing frames making the cursor not match up - that is a very good reason for being able to edit movements after you've done the recording.
i'm pleased you've still got camtasia in the list of four. i would have to say, though, that the final quality of the output screencast movie and it's related file size ought to be a priority deciding factor on what is 'best' regardless of how it was made.
i shall do a few longer, more colour intensive and animated screencasts to compare camtasia's swf output alongside the others to see if the small sizes were a fluke.
the truth is, i've been downloading and watching video tutorials for years (downloaded from www.lynda.com
and vtc.com on a 56k modem) and non of these are created using flash. they are usually quicktime at 5 frames per second and seem the standard way of doing things to me. so that is perhaps why i don't share the same bias against video encoded screencasts.
there is also the ability to resize video to a lower resolution to reduce the final file size even further (i know this blurs the image but sometimes the result is more than good enough).
i've been back to test captivate and i'm not impressed with the file size output. it also seems to be a little slower in doing the compression.
i've also found a way of doing free xvid screencasts with sound using free utils which i'll mention after your conclusive review on monday.
mouser, if i need to persuade you about xvid screencasting or using camtasia to produce swf output all i can say is: so far they have produced the smallest file sizes with little detriment to the quality of output. i think quicktime and wmv are a waste of time as they take far to long to encode - xvid encodes fast enough for me to find it usable and, like i say, the image quality is more than good enough.
believe me the xvid results i'm talking about aren't blocky pixellated rubbish.
there is a perhaps a flaw in all of my testing though and that is i've been doing things within a 800x600 area - but i would have thought this about right for most things (i'll do some 1024x768 tests to be sure).
if the final winning screencaster can produce swf files smaller than xvid then i'll be a happy bunny whoever it is made by. if it can't then i won't really be able see the point of the flash based screencasters other than they can produce 'streaming swf output' so you can begin watching as you download. okay, i agree, i'm an idiot - that is a very good reason for using swf over xvid.
i've lost the plot. i'll let the judge and the rest of jury decide.
i'm now going to investigate 'viewlet cam'...