February 20, 2011
I recently put together a screencast for CloudPull. I thought I would share a few things I learned, with the hope of saving others some time.
I used these tools:
- ScreenFlow to record video and to do all the editing work. ScreenFlow sells for $99.
- QuickTime Player to record audio. QuickTime Player is included with Mac OS X.
- Audacity to filter background whitenoise out of the audio.
Recording Audio and Video Separately
I read several online sources claiming that one should not try to record audio and video at the same time -- that it is very difficult to do a clean recording of both simultaneously. It seemed pretty unlikely to me that this was true. I speak and use a computer every day, and had never attempted to edit audio and video before.
Several hundred takes later, I concluded that this was very true. It is really, really hard to speak clearly and perform the actions needed on the computer at the same time.
I settled on this workflow to record each segment:
- Decide what I was going to demonstrate during that segment.
- Type a transcript.
- Record audio of that transcript using QuickTime Player, ignoring any pausing that may be necessary to wait for something on the screen.
- Remove white noise from the audio using Audacity.
- Record video, ignoring any pausing that may be necessary.
- Edit, inserting pauses into the audio and freeze frames into the video as necessary.
My screencast is divided into three separate segments. I edited this as one 2-3 minute movie. My ScreenFlow workflow would have been much, much simpler had I edited each segment separately, and then imported the resulting video into one master ScreenFlow project.
It took me four long days of work to get this done. Now that I almost know what I am doing, I think it would take me only one full day to do the same screencasts again. I mention this because this was a much, much bigger time investment than I anticipated. I am very happy to have screencasts for CloudPull and happy to have a new skill. However, it is not clear that this was the best use of four days of time at this stage in my product's lifecycle.
I mention this not to discourage screencasting, but rather to help make an informed decision on whether it is worth the time investment.
I found this online course from lynda.com to be extremely helpful. I highly recommend it. The cost to subscribe to the course is $25/month. You don't need the "premium" subscription; you can sign up for one month and then unsubscribe when you are done with the course materials.
This set of instructions shows you how to remove whitenoise from an audio file using Audacity. This makes a huge difference in the sound quality. In addition, if you do not remove the white noise from the audio any pauses you edit in will be very noticable.