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General

What is a screencast.

Production

Requirements

  • Microphone (Headset)
  • Recording Software
  • Quiet recording environment

Recoding Software

As described in the Documentation eLearning Do-it-Yourself Screen and Voice Capturing Using Windows Media Encoder the Windows Media Encoder can be used directly to record screencasts. Unfortunately you can only record the full screen or a maximum of 999 to 999 pixels. To have the possibility to create screencasts with a freely defined aspect ratio and resolution I recommend the OpenSource software CamStudio in combination with the Windows Media Encoder or the Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) .

Setup

  1. Get and install the current version of CamStudio
  2. Start CamStudio
  3. Open the video settings in CamStudio (Menu "Options"->"Video Options")
  4. Set the "Playback Rate" to 10 frames/second, by using the Slider "Time Laps" (10 fps are enough for a screen recording)
  5. Close the video settings
  6. Activate the microphone via the "Options" menu and choose "Record audio from microphone"
  7. Open the microphone settings via "Options" -> "Audio Options" -> "Audio Options for Microphone".
  8. Set the recording format to "44.1 kHz, mono, 16bit". (Good quality but does not wast an extra channel)
  9. Activate the check-box "Use MCI Recording"! (Important as the recording could get stuck otherwise)

Recording

Preparation

I would recommend to close all programs that can pop-up or distract the recording in any way (Chat Client, E-Mail pop-ups, Reminders)

Screen Annotations

CamStudio provide a feature to add screen annotations. This can be used to simply add a title at the beginning of your screencast.

  1. Open CamStudio
  2. Choose 'Tools'->'Screen Annotations' from the CamStudio Menu
  3. Double click on 'Plain' from the shape list
  4. You can change the text by a right click and choose 'Edit-text' on the shape
  5. Define your text (The font size can be changed in the text property windows by clicking the "Font" button)
  6. Switch to the tab "Layout" in the "Screen Annotation" window
  7. Do a right-click on a free space in the layout list and choose "Save Layout"
  8. Via the menu 'Options'->'Keyboard Shortcuts' you can define a personalized 'Show/Hide Layout Key'.

And now Action!

Now to the meat of the matter.

Take your time and a quiet room where you can speak loud and free. Rehearse extensively and get to know every functionality you want to show. So you know what can happen and react immediately during the recording. It also will ensure a good flow during the recording.

You will get the best recording when you do it in just one take. This recordings will be very lively and realistic. That's the reason why preparation is so important. Everything has to work 100% during the recording. Only if you do recordings that show very complex processes or take longer than 10 minutes you should think about recording in several steps.

Avoid reading the text word-by-word from a script. You know the matter so speak freely and in a friendly way. Imagine you demonstrate it to your team. The better you feel the more you can smile. You will hear this also in your voice.

And the most important rule for the recording: Smile! (smile)