LiveScribe Pen Review: Don’t

Update: See comments below

I recently bought a Livescribe pen with the aim of creating “Pencasts” – videos of pen writings aimed at online tutorials for demonstrating calculations, annotating diagrams etc – effectively screencasts on the fly.

Unfortunately, someone who makes decisions in Livescribe has decreed that the pencast (the video and audio) output will be a proprietary format. After recording pencast, they can be exported to a PDF (final visual only), or uploaded to a space on the Livescribe website. I wanted to be able to export the pencast raw file to Camtasia to do a bit of post-production, incorporate the pencast into a more complete resource. Not possible. I tried cracking the pencast but couldn’t get it done. This renders it useless for this application.

I just can’t understand why Livescribe don’t allow an .mp4/avi type output. The only way around it is to play the pencast using the proprietary software and record the screen using Camtasia—but that’s just one step too many.

So now I have a pen that records what I write and makes a nice PDF—so if you want to have a page of written material electronically without the bother of scanning it in, then Livescribe is for you. If you think you can spend €180 more wisely, then avoid it. An extra negative is that the pen is quite bulky, and sore to write with after a while. I would put up with that if it produced a video output I could use, but I have a feeling this particular gadget is going to gather dust in my drawer.

5 thoughts on “LiveScribe Pen Review: Don’t

  1. Michael I have a livescribe pen that exports in mp4 … It defaults to pencast but there is a drop down to select mp4? hope this helps

  2. Also, you can do overlays with your pdf file to allow you to merge your existing pdf worksheet that you may have copied onto the dot paper and then create a complete interactive pdf. Sinead is correct – you can export as mp3 or mp4 file. Our Livescribe/Camtasia guru is Tim Fahlberg: and he would be happy to help you in any way. He has used both extensively. Hope this helps. It is a great tool and I think if you get past this hump you will love continuing to create for your instruction.

    1. I still can’t get mp4 out of it. No option to select it; just .pencast.

  3. Thanks Sinead, Donna – I will check that out! Thanks for the information – I think if this is possible it would definitely increase its usefulness.

  4. I’m with you on this, Michael – mine has sat gathering dust in the drawer for the last year! Could be more of a reflection on me than the technology, though…

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