Recording video calls in Ubuntu

Lately, I’ve been interviewing Launchpad users to learn more about how they work with Launchpad and what they think of new features we’re proposing.

Until now, this has been mostly face to face, either at the Ubuntu Developer Summits or Canonical’s London office. Talking in person seems to be the best way of doing this: as the interviewer, I can see exactly which part of a proposed page the person is looking at when they pull a certain face, for example.

However, doing it this way greatly limits who I get to speak to. Not everybody who uses Launchpad attends UDS or is within easy travelling distance of central London during the work day.

So, I’ve been looking at ways of doing this remotely. There are some important constraints:

  • pretty much anyone should be able to take part
  • no special equipment should be needed
  • it should cost nothing, or very little, to conduct.

Recording Skype video calls in Ubuntu

As it seems to meet my requirements, I’m going to give Skype video calling a go. And I say “Skype”, rather than anything else, for reasons that I’ll now explain.

I’ve spent quite some time trying to find a straightforward way to record video calls in Ubuntu. I’ve come up with nothing, so here’s one way that seems to work:

  • capture the audio using Skype Call Recorder
  • capture video using GTK-RecordMyDesktop (apt-getable)
  • splice the two together in a video editor.

Test calls have worked. I’ll post again with a report on how it worked in practice.