Loom is a desktop tool and chrome extension for screen capture and audio/video recording app with easy sharing features.
It's worth noting: Loom is probably the tool here I'm most excited about! I used it a lot during this project (to make all the videos, and to talk to Chana), and I think basically everybody who's doing video or text messaging in a professional capacity should consider using Loom. It's very straightforward, and it just works.
When can Loom be Useful?
- Summarising forum posts you think are important (to save people time)
- Walking through scientific papers
- Explaining software tools
- Talking through a model you made
- Cutting a zoom meeting with a supervisor down to a 5 minute video explaining how your work is going
Loom have a 'getting started' page which has (unsurprisingly) good video introductions, but leans sales-pitch-y. The tool is quite intuitive, so it would also be reasonable to just download and start using it to get maybe 70% of the value.
Loom is available as a desktop app or chrome extension. The key interface has a number of recording settings; you can use loom to record your screen (full screen or a specific window), video, and audio.
Once you start recording, this interface will disappear and loom will become a smaller interface at the left of your screen. If you hover over each button a keyboard shortcut for that command will show.
When you click 'stop recording', loom automatically opens a webpage with your video on it. By default, loom plays videos at 1.2x speed.
Note that some features (videos >5min, screen drawing) require an $8/mo subscription.
- "Summaries are underrated" forum post summary
- "A Mathematical Framework for Transformer Circuits" walkthrough of a scientific paper
- Guesstimate tutorial
- Explanation of a squiggle model estimating $ value of changing the forum karma system
I found loom really useful as a tool, and I can see myself using it a lot when I'm trying to explain things quickly, remotely, & asynchronously; I used it during this project to communicate with colleagues!
It's pretty intuitive, and the workflow is very smooth. It's mildly irritating that you can't (so far as I could spot) make videos save locally by default, and therefore need an active internet connection to record. It's also worth noting that the automated transcriber is pretty good, and it's easy to correct; I recommend people use them if they have any trouble hearing.
It's also easy to download videos and upload them to youtube, as was done for the above video.
Try it Yourself!
Take something you've written recently (e.g. a forum post, a long message to a colleague) & try recording a loom summary of it. Alternatively, you could explain how to use something on a computer (an excel function, an app you think is neat, etc.). Share your experience of using Loom in the comments and (if appropriate) link to your video!
Join us at 6pm GMT today in the EA GatherTown to discuss Loom and do a short activity together!
Tomorrow, I'll be discussing Excalidraw, a drawing tool. The event for Excalidraw will be 6pm, Monday the 30th.
Have you ever tried ShareX? Based on this post I'm not sure about the full capabilities of Loom, but ShareX can also take and draw on and share screenshots, take and share video and gif recordings, and has a ton of other features, too. Maybe it's a less user-friendly but more powerful (?) version of this tool? In any case, it's free and open-source, but only available for Windows. Also see my comment writeup here.
For an example of how I use this tool, I make a lot of bug reports on LW and elsewhere, and usually accompany them with screenshots or gifs recorded and uploaded via ShareX.
ShareX does look like a more powerful (for some use-cases) version! I think the key benefits of Loom are it's extreme ease of use & its automatic upload of the video, which makes sharing feel very streamlined.
Unfortunately, I'm on macOS currently, so I can't test ShareX myself.
Re: auto uploads: For anything you capture with ShareX (like a screenshot, video, file, text, or URL), you can configure an automatic upload workflow to any number of services, e.g. my screenshots and gifs are automatically uploaded to imgur (and the URL of the uploaded image is copied into my clipboard); and videos can similarly be set to auto-upload to Youtube or file hosters like Google Drive or Mega.
That said, there's no point in a tool if it's not available on your platform =(.
I've just found a macOS-compatible potential Loom alternative in CleanShot X, though I can't test either myself. Plus it's not free, costing either $30 one time, or $8 monthly.
I was confused for a moment, thinking you meant this loom.