Screen shots vs. Screen Recording for software simulation

I build a lot of simulation courses, and have almost always used screen shots to develop the click-by-click actions. This allows for narration, recorded separately, that matches exactly to the content and for users to pause to think before making the next click. 

I need to remake a long course (it's very long) because the user interface underwent a significant change. It use to be blue and is now green. If I plan to use SL screen recording:

  1. Will I lose image quality?
  2. How long/short should a screen cast be? Two minutes? 5 minutes? 10?
  3. Since the overall process is long, are there any tips for lining up subsequent screen recordings so that it appears to be a single recording?
  4. I'd be using "try" modem but without any text overlays (unless I want to add them later). Can that be done using layers, or would it be slide after slide? When using screen shots, I'm able to use layers and hot spots very effectively. 

As much as I'd like to break the process down into a series of shorter modules, the process from end to end is done all at once.  It takes the new user about an hour to get through it, hence the length of the course. I'm trying to talk myself into using the screen recording function this time around. 

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

3 Replies
Allison LaMotte

Hi Joyce,

I definitely think it'd be easier for you to use the screen recording feature instead of taking each screenshot one by one, inserting them as images, and adding the buttons yourself.

Here are my answers to your questions:

  1. Will I lose image quality? You shouldn't as long as you follow these tips for recording high-resolution screencasts
  2. How long/short should a screencast be? Two minutes? 5 minutes? 10? I would try and break the process up into multiple steps, even if in real life the person will be doing it from start to finish all in one go. If you don't, your learners may give up before they reach the end. I'd try to keep each step as short as possible (2-5 min is a good target range). Here's an example of a software simulation that's set up that way.
  3. Since the overall process is long, are there any tips for lining up subsequent screen recordings so that it appears to be a single recording? If you split it up into sections, you shouldn't have this issue because any minor differences won't be noticeable if you have a title screen between the recordings. That being said, if you really want it to line up exactly from section to section and the software you're recording is a web app, you can use a browser extension like this one to set the size of the window to an exact amount of pixels. For a desktop app, you could try adjusting the size of your browser using the extension linked above and then lining up the desktop app to it.
  4. I'd be using "try" mode but without any text overlays (unless I want to add them later). Can that be done using layers, or would it be slide after slide? When using screenshots, I'm able to use layers and hot spots very effectively. When you insert your screencast in try mode, it converts it into slides, so you can work with them as you would any other slide.

I hope my responses are clear enough. If not, please let me know! :)