Are you looking for a screencasting tool for Windows that doesn’t cost a dime but can still help you create high-quality screencast videos? Read on.

Microsoft Expression Encoder is essentially seen as a tool for developers to encode video files for the web with Silverlight. What you may not know, however, is that Expression Encoder comes with an impressive video screen capture application that is quite easy-to-use and offers more features than most other free screencasting solutions.

screen capture window

The program, known as Expression Encoder Screen Capture, is easy to learn and master and it won’t bore you with any of the technical jargon that is associated with video encoding.

To get started, simply select the area of the desktop screen that wish to capture as a video. The application has built-in presets for standard capture sizes, like 1280×720 for 720p or 1920×1080 for 1080p, or you may drag the red boundary to manually select an area. You can also perform full screen captures with Expression Encoder.

The default frame-rate for video screen captures is 15 fps but you can increase it to 30 or even 60 fps if you are recording, say, a video game walkthrough or even Google Earth.

You can toggle the microphone icon on the recording toolbar to add audio narration to the screen recording. Expression Encoder also supports “Picture in Picture” style video recording with your web camera, a feature that you are less likely to find in most other free screencasting tools.

Once you’re done with the recording, it’s time to edit and publish the video.

Expression Encoder offers a basic set of editing tools to help you fine-tune the recording. For instance, you may trim the boring parts or you can import external video clips and images (like an intro) to merge them with the main screencast.

If you would like to brand your screencast video with your own logo, just choose the “overlay” option and pick a location over the video where you want to place the logo. There’s support for sub-titles as well in case you would like to produce accessible screencasts.

The free version of Expression Encoder will let you publish screencast videos in Windows Media format and the maximum length of individual video screen captures is 10 minutes. The software supports Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

To give you an example, the above screencast video was recorded and produced with Expression Encoder. See more on screencasting software and online screencasting apps.