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I have a computer that's running VNC server. I would like to record a video of what's going on on this computer, if possible without installing additional software on that computer. Is there a program that can connect to the VNC server port and instead of displaying the screen save it to an (e.g. AVI) video file?

Background: One of our customers sometimes has problems with the software he bought from us when he's performing a complex procedure. To help him, we offered that someone (a service technician or programmer) watches what he's doing during that procedure to find out if he's doing something wrong or if there's a bug in the software.

Currently, this is done live via VNC. That has a few disadvantages:

  • The service technician has to be in the office at the time. As the customers are in different time zones, that can be in the middle of the night.
  • If the service technician forgets something or doesn't notice something, it's lost. There's no way to see what happened again.
  • Only a single computer can be watched by one service technician at a time.

I know I could install normal screen-grab software on the computer, but we're talking about an embedded system with limited RAM, CPU, HDD space, so installing something new is not an easy decision. And VNC is already there.

I could of course open a VNC client on some office PC and capture that PC's screen, but I can only record one remote computer that way. I often have to watch up to 8 screens in parallel. (And I don't think that screen-grabbing VNC would improve image quality, either.)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

VNC2FLV

Works Linux, Unix, Windows or Mac. It captures a VNC desktop session (either your own screen or a remote computer) and saves as a Flash Video (FLV) file.

This connects to a remote VNC server. The website is pretty unclear but I only installed a VNC server on my computer (Customer's in your case) and then installed the python scripts on my mobile computer (Your in-house computer).

I only monitor one VNC session but I imagine writing a script an running them with at or cron shouldn't be to tough.

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"Main system" here being the customer? –  Daniel Beck Jan 14 '11 at 14:29
    
Sorry about that. I will edit to be clearer. I place the server on the remote computer and the python files on my computer. So, yes to your answer. –  Stanley Williams Jan 14 '11 at 14:38
    
The problem with that, in the user's current situation is the following: "I know I could install normal screen-grab software on the computer, but we're talking about an embedded system with limited RAM, CPU, HDD space, so installing something new is not an easy decision. And VNC is already there.", probably referring to the customer's system. –  Daniel Beck Jan 14 '11 at 14:54
    
I was understanding the embedded system is the customers? If it is HIS computer then he should be running this through another office computer anyways. I see no reason why he can't utilize these scripts to record multiple vnc-sessions. I can't imagine location of the recording software is an issue. Plus "limited ram, CPU, etc" pretty much means ANY recording has to be done elsewhere. –  Stanley Williams Jan 14 '11 at 15:01
    
Ah OK. I see you changed your answer, I just remembered you writing about requiring x11vnc, which could have presented problems in this scenario. –  Daniel Beck Jan 14 '11 at 15:13
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