Screencasts are a great way to explain a process or demonstrate a concept. And with today’s simple and powerful tools—like Replay 360 and Peek 360—it’s never been easier to create and share screencasts. Regardless of which app you use, here’s what you need to know to record quality screencasts for your projects.
Before You Record
You might be eager to get started on your video, but you’ll save a significant amount of time and effort if you prepare yourself and your environment first. These best practices will help you get started:
- Plan your material. Write a script that walks through the process you plan to show and use it as you record. It’ll help you stay on track so you sound professional and prepared. It can also keep you from rambling or saying, “uh … um …” as you try to recall what you’d planned to talk about next.
- Get a good microphone. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment to record a good screencast, but a high-quality microphone is a must. Be sure to read reviews and ask for advice to find the best one in your budget.
- Minimize background noise. It’s hard to quiet all of life’s ambient noise, but you can reduce it dramatically. Close your door, switch off the phone ringer, and pick a time of day that’s usually quiet, so you have fewer distractions and a quiet space to record. See this article for more tips on recording quality audio: Audio Basics for Online Course Design.
- Clean up your screen. No one wants to see the random files, pictures, and folders on your desktop. Make sure your screen looks neat and clean before you start recording.
- Prepare your screens and applications. To avoid wasting recording time looking for your visuals, have them ready before you start. If you open and minimize your screens, you can launch them with one click.
- Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse your material so your delivery feels fluid and natural. You’ll be surprised at how your comfort level with the material comes through when you record.
While You Record
Once you’ve prepared yourself and your environment, you’re ready to hit the Record button. That’s great! Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you record your screencast:
- Stick to the point. Be respectful of your learners’ time and stay on point. Follow your script, speak directly and clearly, and smoothly transition your audience from point A to point B.
- Take your time. While it’s important to be efficient, you don’t want your screencast to feel abrupt or rushed. Remember to breathe and speak at a normal pace, as if you’re explaining something to a friend.
- Tell your learners where to look. Your learners aren’t with you in real time and can’t see you gesture to tell them where something’s located. So instead of saying, “Over there …,” be more specific and say, “Up in the right corner of your screen ….”
Another way to direct people’s attention on screen is with your cursor. However, be careful not to overuse it because it can become distracting if it’s darting across the screen as you talk. Use your mouse to move and click when it relates to your point, but leave it alone the rest of the time.
After You Record
Now that you’ve captured your video, follow these last few steps to finalize your screencast and get it ready for airtime.
- Review and edit your recording. Play your video and try to look at it with an objective eye. Should you trim the ends of your recording for a crisper start and finish? Does your audio sound clear and align with your video? Does it feel too long, too short, or just right? If it’s hard to evaluate your own work, ask a friend to look at it with you. Once you’ve given the video a thorough review, make the adjustments you need to give it an added level of polish.
- Pick a good thumbnail. Your thumbnail image sells your video, so pick one that will pique learners’ interest. Most recordings default to your opening image, but that’s not always your video’s best moment. Choose an image that tells your story or hooks your learners into your screencast.
- Share your video. Embed your video in a course or upload it directly to your Learning Management System (LMS) or intranet so learners can reap the benefits of your hard work.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. Your screencasts will get better as you do more of them. The process will become more natural and you’ll learn your own tricks over time. Before you know it, you’ll have a library of high-quality screencasts for your e-learning audience!
Want more tips on creating software training? Check out these helpful articles:
- The Difference between Screencasts and Software Simulations
- 3 Methods for Recording Screencasts
- 3 Steps for Recording Microphone and System Sounds Simultaneously
- 4 Tips on Creating Software Tutorials in Rise 360
- How to Decide Which Articulate 360 App to Use for Screen Recording
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