To support the introduction of a new capability for an enterprise project management system at Motorola, I took a dive into creating a series of screencasts that provided overviews and examples of the capability.
I started with some open-source offerings but after two days purchased Camtasia Studio from TechSmith. The speed to produce the screencasts increased dramatically as did the overall quality. Initially, one of the big hurdles was audio quality. I used several products in an attempt to clean the audio to an acceptable level of quality but soon discovered the importance of digital audio input. I was using an analog microphone input, which is very susceptible to electronic noise. Switching to a USB microphone immediately raised the audio quality to acceptable levels.
I also purchased an eBook from Ian Ozsvald called The Screencasting Handbook: Teaching you to become a better screencaster. The book is a work in progress that is nearing the initial release. Ian addresses many topics of importance to those new to screencasting. Some of the topics covered in the book follow.
- Actual examples describing the uses and benefits of screencasting.
- Steps for creating simple screencasts to more sophisticated screencasts
- File formats
- Screencast distribution
- Screencasting software
- Audio hardware and recording techniques
- Video and audio editing applications
- Support tools and links to additional material and resources
While I am far from a professional screencaster, I did successfully produce four screencasts with favorable customer feedback and had some fun at the same time. In future posts, I’ll cover some of my lessons learned.