Quickly Creating Screencasts with Peek
Although I hate to admit it, sometimes words just aren't enough. Every so often, you need to show and not just tell. Literally. And there are times when a screen capture, or set of screen captures, doesn't cut it either.
What you need is a short video. More to the point, a screencast. Unless you're doing something professionally, all you need is a quick and dirty recording. A great tool for doing that is Peek. Peek is simple, fast, and surprisingly flexible.
Let's take a look at it.
There are a few ways you can do that, including:
- Installing from your distribution's package manager
- Using Flatpak
- Downloading an AppImage file
- Building Peek from the source code
I leave it up to you to choose the method that works best for you.
Creating Your First Screencast
Fire up Peek. Its screen is an overlay that you can drag on top of the screen you want to record.
You can resize the overlay by clicking and dragging a corner of Peek's window to match the size of the screen you're recording.
Click the downward arrow in the top-left corner to choose an output format for the screencast:
- GIF – Creates an animated GIF
- APNG – Creates an animated PNG
- WebM – Creates a WebM video file
- MP4 – Creates an MP4 video file
When you're ready to record, click the Record as button in the top-left corner or press CTRL+ALT+R on your keyboard. Then, record what you need to record.
When you're done, either click Stop or press CTRL+ALT+R again.
I prefer to use the keyboard shortcut to stop and start recording. Doing that provides a smoother experience and you don't have bits at the end of a recording where you're clicking the Stop button.
When you stop recording, you're prompted to save the screencast.
In Ubuntu, at least, Peek saves the screencast in the Videos folder with the file name Peek-YYYY-MM-DD HH-MM — for example, Peek-2020-08-20 10-22. You can change the name and the location.
Simple, isn't it?
Peek doesn't have that many preferences. To change them, click the stacker menu in the top-right corner of the window and select Preferences.
The options that you might want to change are:
- The keyboard shortcut to start and stop recording
- The default output format
- The number of frames per second
- The number of seconds, if any, to count down before Peek starts recording
Peek is a great little utility for quickly recording a short screencast. It's easy to use and you don't need to do any complex setup and fiddling to get it to work the way you want it to. Just start Peek and start recording. What could be easier?