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How to Produce Great Screencasts

June 21, 2012

I’ve been creating a lot of screencasts recently for the goal-based learning systems that we develop, so I thought I’d give screencastyou a run through of the equipment I’m using and the workflow I’ve adopted. The screencasts show users how to use the functions of the goal-based learning system.

Equipment:

  • Mac
  • Screenflow screen capture software (see Rob Reviews for a review of it)
  • Zoom H4N recorder used as a USB microphone

Workflow

  1. I begin by identifying the system functions that I want to cover and I also include a general overview of the system.
  2. I divide up the functions so each screencast is short. I aim for less than three minutes.
  3. I rough out a script, not word-for-word, but the main things I want to mention in the order they should be introduced.
  4. Then I capture screencasts of me using the system functions and talking my way through them.
  5. I do a few takes and use the one I’m happiest with. I generally aim to get it 80% right in the initial recording.
  6. In Screenflow, I then tidy up the timing and rerecord any of narration I’m not happy with.
  7. I then publish and upload to our video hosting site.

Tips for success

  • Use a decent mic – audio quality is important and you can get an excellent USB condenser mic for £100.
  • Record in a quiet environment – you don’t want background noise on your recording.
  • Don’t try to make them perfect – focus on making them easy to follow and don’t worry about the odd ‘um’ or ‘ah’ in your recording.
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