Recording with a camera using VLC

Recording the screen with an external camera has the following advantages over recording with a screencast:

  • Recording a whole session, even if the user restarts Tails.
  • Saving the video directly to your computer and not relying on the computer used for the tests.

You can use a document camera. The Ziggi-HD Plus by IPEVO works fine from Tails.

  1. Move the AF switch of the camera to C to have continuous autofocus.

  2. Install VLC:

    apt install vlc

Prepare the camera for recording

  1. In VLC, choose Media ▸ Open Capture Device....

  2. In the Capture Device tab, select:

    • Video device name: /dev/video1
    • Audio device name: hw:1,0
  3. Click the Play button.

  4. Make sure that the microphone of the camera is captured as well.

  5. Adjust the orientation of the camera to capture as much of the screen as possible while not obfuscating the light of sight of the participant.

Start recording

  1. In VLC, choose Media ▸ Convert / Save....

  2. In the Capture Device tab, select:

    • Video device name: /dev/video1
    • Audio device name: hw:1,0
  3. Click the Convert / Save button.

  4. In the Convert dialog:

    • Select the Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4) profile.

    • Specify a destination file under ~/Persistent/.

Recording a screencast

Recording the screen with a screencast has the following advantages over recording with an external camera:

  • Better image quality
  • Lighter setup

Using Kazam

You can use Kazam from Tails:

  1. Install Kazam:

    apt install kazam

  2. Start Kazam and edit the Kazam preferences:

    • In the General tab:

      • Adjust the capture microphone
    • In the Screencast tag:

      • Lower the framerate to 10 to avoid data loss.

      • Change the file format to WEBM.

      • Enable Automatic file saving.

      The directory preferences is reset to ~/Videos every time by Kazam.

To autosave the recordings in persistence

  1. Create a Persistent/Videos directory.

  2. Then, either:

    • Temporarily, mount the Videos directory on Persistent/Videos.

      To do so, execute the following command:

      sudo mount --bind ~/Persistent/Videos ~/Videos

    • Permanently, map the Videos directory to Persistent/Videos in your persistence settings.

      To do so, add the following line to your /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/persistence.conf:

      /home/amnesia/Videos source=Persistent/Videos

Using GNOME Shell

Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R in GNOME to start or stop capturing a screencast.

The video is saved to ~/Videos/.

The screencast stops after 30 seconds. See #12723.

The screencast has no sound.