How to make an effective sceencast

A screencast is a video of onscreen activity. It is a helpful tool to show technical tasks, or to illustrate technical concepts hard to explain in words. It might take the form of a formal narrated presentation, a software demo, or an informal walk-through of a particular concept. It can be readily distributed by blog posts, RSS feeds, tags, and social media video hosts like YouTube. These media enable users to share screencasts with a distributed audience, and people can get portable training with podcasts.


But, how to make an effective screencast?

Some important tips from Microsoft to prepare your computer for screen recording:

To improve your computer’s performance during the screen-capture session, especially if you plan to capture the entire computer screen, reduce the screen resolution and color quality. You can set your computer according to the following screencast:


If you plan to capture full-motion video during your screen-capture session, disable your computer's hardware acceleration. That will make your computer runs more smoothly when in recording. There is another screencast to show you the steps:

Then, close the unneeded programs. This helps clear the clutter from the screen and reduce problem of device of resource conflicts.

When everything is ready, just make a compelling screencast according the following tips.

1. Develop an audio narration for your screencast.

Write voice narration scripts for the screencast. The best scripts are written word-for-word to ensure the audio track is never silent. It doesn’t mean that there must be narration for the entire screencast - musical transitions might be appropriate. Now screen recorder like DemoCreator allows user to import music as the background audio to enhance the demonstration.

A solid script will follow good marketing and sales techniques. So ensure that your script doesn’t just explain how to perform a task, but ensure it properly highlights the features and benefits of the product/service being demoed. By continually pointing out the features of the product/service and then going further to explain why they’re beneficial to the audience you make a more stunning screencast.

2. Rehearse the video recording

Practice delivery while moving the mouse. In the task you will handle, how much time will be spent describing an operation, what will you say to highlight a feature, and when will you zoom on an area for details, you should get a feel for controlling the timing. During your rehearsal, ensure that you are speaking clearly and slowly.

3. Record the Screencast

Launch the screen recording software and select the area on the screen, then start your screencasting. When the recording is over, preview your screencast. You can edit or rerecord the audio and modify the video, or rerecord the screencast or audio narration until you are satisfied. Just record the minimum area, that will make your publishing files smaller.

4. Edit the screencast

Now the editing features come to be popular in screen recording software.You can delete unnecessary video and audio content as you wish. Also, you can insert new video, graphics, or audio clips to decorate the screencast.

For example, you can add zoom and pan effect to show the specific area in details, you can spotlighting an area of the recording, and you can put a clickable button to direct users to your website. In one word, users can decorate the movie by adding the objects to make the illustration explicit.

5. Publish your screencast

There are some publishing options:
For widely sharing, publish your video as .avi or .wmv file and upload the file to the Youtube.com or Vimeo.com web service.
Publish as a Flash movie and generate HTML files to be uploaded to a website for access by web browsers.
If you are going to send your screencast to another, EXE format could be a good option. It is an executable format can be run without any player.
And you may create SCORM or AICC compliant demo packages for being uploaded to LMS like SharePoint, Moodle or Blackboard.

Screencast Tools


What screen recording software you need depends on your utility and what effect you want to achieve. Here are some tools which are widely used in making software tutorials and website demos.

Camstudio: A freeware that records all screen activity from your Windows Desktop into AVI or Flash movie files for use in software demonstrations
and active presentations, but with no editing features.

DemoCreator: A powerful screen recorder to create software tutorials, online software training and presentations by capturing screen
activities and editing the recording.

Camtasia: Easily record onscreen activity. Edit for
professional polish, enhance for emphasis. Share multiple video formats
conveniently.

Captivate: An e-learning tool for Microsoft Windows which can be used to author software demonstrations, software simulations, branched
scenarios, and randomized quizzes.

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Tags: recorder, recording, screen, screencast, screencasting, software, tips

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