What makes a good screencaster?

Dec 03, 2012

Howdy Heroes -

Just received a question from a hiring manager who needs an instructional designer who can create screencasts. Tom has a great post on using Screenr and another on creating screencasts. Those weren't quite what she wanted.

Specifically, she's looking for characteristics of those who are good at screencasting. They need some way to evaluate candidates equally and are trying to put some type of checklist together.

This seemed like a good question, but too subjective for only one person to answer.

So what do you think?

How do personality, voice, audio, duration, stable cursor movements factor into evaluating what a makes a good screencaster?

5 Replies
Jeff Kortenbosch

Howdy Dave,

I'd say the following is important:

  • talk as if you care about the subject (even if you don't). You are trying to explain something, at least it should sound like you feel it is worth explaining.
  • Hands off the mouse when talking... otherwise you (I) will be tempted to move it about the screen. I tend to tell what I am about to do and then do it. Clear and simple.
  • Prepare... Know what will be happening when you create your screencast. If it is about a topic I know little about I'll even script it together with someone who does.
  • I've set my mouse pointer to the extra large one that comes with windows. That way it is easier to see where that little thingy is going.
  • Smile when you are talking... it really makes a difference
Steve Flowers

Hey, David - 

I'll agree with Ethan that a sample of work is the way to go. As for the elements I'd look for in the screencast:

1. Personality / character. Does the caster have a charismatic and warm quality that makes it easy to keep watching? This one is the hardest to develop and the toughest to find, in my opinion. 

2. Pace / Voice. How does the caster sound? Again, it goes back to easy to listen to. Do they read too fast, too slow, or just right? There's lots of overlap with personality / character here. How smooth is the cast? Does it seem natural or scripted? 

3. Clarity of explanation. This is a reflection of both planning and ability to improvise. Are the ideas scaffolded well? Does the caster use just the right dose of enhancement of the procedure to bring it home? 

I'd ask for 2 different examples. 1) Deliver as if your audience doesn't have audio capabilities and 2) Deliver as if your audience can hear you. A good screencaster will have no trouble with either of these challenges. And in each case, I believe the best casters will make you feel like the screencast was made just for you.

Beth Worthy

As what I have come across here is that screencasting is a new form of communication. Its actually the recording of one's computer screen and turning it into a movie so for sharing.Moreover it allows people to create engaging communication network videos, train and sell. For the purpose of carrying the screencasting activity, a good screen-caster should  perform as per the screencasting designed plan,source the multimedia content effectively,record, edit and then export the screencasts as per the strategy designed and implemented.

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