How To: Record a Screencast Using Camtasia or ScreenFlow

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ScreenCast ScreenShare for Course CreationA screencast, also known as video screen capture, is a video recording of the activities on your computer screen that may or may not contain an audio background with you as the narrator. It is a great tool for creating and promoting online courses, since it requires little to no start-up cost for high quality video resolution, and looks very professional. A screencast may contain slideshows or full motion presentations. You can easily highlight the most significant contents in arrows or circles.

Screencasts have numerous benefits when it comes to promoting and creating online courses.

  • As long as you’re familiar with what you’re teaching, each lesson takes only as long to record as it takes you to talk about it and demonstrate it on your computer.
  • When it comes to promoting your product, screen casting makes it easy to create video sales letters, which many find easier to create than long-form copy (and just as persuasive!)
  • Coupled with a good quality audio recording (which can also be done for free or cheap), a screen capture looks and sounds expensive (even though it’s not!) and high quality, which positions you and your brand as “premium”

You can choose from a lot of applications if you want to screencast. If you want entirely free apps, you can use Jing or Screenr. But if you want apps with advanced tools and features, you can invest higher-end apps like Camtasia Studio or ScreenFlow.

Camtasia Studio is the highest costing app for $299, and works on Windows and Mac operating systems. It allows you to edit and tweak the video and audio. You can create the video and audio separately then fuse them into one movie later on. You can also save it in different layouts or upload it on YouTube directly from the software. Camtasia Studio also offers additional features such as captions, themes, and transitions.

Screencasting can help hearing impaired people and even those whose first language is not English. Through subtitles, they can read what you are discussing. Camtasia Studio is the perfect app if you want your videos to be comprehensible by everyone.

ScreenFlow is the next popular screencast app after Camtasia for a price of $99. But, it works for Mac only. It can simultaneously record the video from iSight or a video camera and the audio from a computer microphone or speaker in high definition. After recording, Screenflow offers the edit options for both video and audio. It offers almost the same features to Camtasia except that you cannot add captions or subtitles.

How to produce superior audio?

When creating a screencast, the audio is as important as or even more important than the video. Unclear voice and noisy backgrounds can distract your viewers. Thus, choosing a microphone is one thing you should highly consider. There are four common types of microphone used in screencasts:

  1. Integrated microphones (lowest quality)
  2. Peripheral microphones (better quality)
  3. Headset microphones (better quality still), and
  4. Desktop microphones (best quality)

One of the favorites among those that demand the highest quality recording at the best price is the Blue Yeti desktop microphone. It comes with a stable, positionable design. It is comfortable to use, and it can filter background noises for an excellent audio quality. Blue Yeti costs around $150. If this is too expensive for you, you can start at the bottom of the spectrum (built-in computer mic) and work your way up as you make more sales.

If you get a good mic and still find it impossible to record without unnecessary and annoying background noises, you can use a reflection filter – a portable device that allows you to isolate your microphone from the bouncing sound waves. Some of our spur-of-the-moment screencasts have even been recorded in an un-soundproofed closet to avoid the reflecting sound waves that would be present in a larger room.

How to record a quality screencast?

Here are more basic tips for creating a high-quality screencast:

  1. If you are a beginner, do not get frustrated easily if you are not able to generate good screencast right away because it takes time before you get it right. Practice is the key, and patience is a virtue.
  2. Mouse movements and cursors may seem too fast in the video, so practice slow shifting.
  3. Most screencast apps including Camtasia will record everything on your monitor. Before starting recording, clean your browser and desktop. Choose simple wallpapers to avoid distracting your viewers.
  4. Turn off pop-up windows and IM sounds.
  5. They say practice makes perfect. And yes, it’s true with creating videos. How long and how often you practice have a great impact. So, take time and exert effort in moving the cursor correctly, positioning the browser windows properly, etc.
  6. Complete multiple “takes”, and replay them a hundred times to evaluate and see if there are glitches. Through these, you can see ways on how to improve the videos, and you’ll eventually achieve a professional-looking video.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article on how to record a professional-quality screencast. Hopefully it leads to your creation of an awesome video soon!

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