Application Topic
   >  Screen Capture using KDEnlive
   >  Using RecordMyDesktop
   >  Using Istanbul
   >  Using FFMPEG


Using Istanbul to Capture your Screen

Introduction to Istanbul

Istanbul is a Gnome-based utility, similar to RecordMyDesktop (-which has a GTK based front end) which allows you to record what is displayed on your screen. However, unlike RecordMyDesktop, Istanbul will only record at a frame rate of about one frame per second. The quality is good - and the encoding time (-and resultant file size) is greatly reduced. However, you have to remember to slow your actions down to at least one second - and this is not practical for videos where you are showing the mouse moving across the screen, for example.

In general, if your PC hardware will run RecordMyDesktop, then that is probably what you should use. However, Istanbul is slightly easier to use and is less resource-intensive: in the end it comes down to if you can live with the low frame rate!

Installing Istanbul

If you are running a Debian based distro, such as Ubuntu, then Istanbul can be installed from the command line by typing:

sudo apt-get install istanbul

For Fedora, then Istanbul can be installed using the command:

sudo yum install istanbul

You can also search your Software Centre for it and install it from there!

Running Istanbul from the Command Line

Istanbul can be run from the command line using the command:


For example:

$ istanbul
** Message: pygobject_register_sinkfunc is deprecated (GstObject)

Running Istanbul from the Desktop

Alternatively, you can invoke Istanbul directly from desktop the same way you would any other application - for example, in Fedora, you can search for it in the Activities area:

Instanbul Icon

Unlike RecordMyDesktop no dialogue box is displayed. Instead, a "Record" button icon will appear in the Gnome notification area/"system tray" (-for example, this appears when you hover the mouse over the bottom right corner of the screen in Fedora):

Instanbul Record Button

Left-click this button to start recording - or right click it to access the configuration menu - as shown below:

Instanbul Config Menu

During recording, the "Record" button will change to a square "Stop" one, which can be clicked to end the recording:

Instanbul Stop Button Menu

When you click the "Stop" icon, the video encoding will begin (-note this stage is considerably faster than the same stage for RecordMyDesktop) and the following dialogue will display once complete - allowing you to specify the final output file:

Instanbul Completed Dialogue

The resulting video can then be opened and edited in a video editor such as KDEnlive or uploaded directly to the web!

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