I have to admit that I am more of a fan of podcast, screencast, and vodcast consuming rather than podcast and screencast creating. Each recording takes a lot of work—no wonder creators often cease production after a short run. My experience with creating a screencast this week was a little….frustrating. I certainly have a lot more to learn before I record my Cool Tools episode.
Since I was using a PC, I was able to use Camtasia. The instructional videos produced by Camtasia are excellent (as they should be for a screencasting product). I particularly like that Camtasia provides links within sections to show you how to use particular tools (for example, the “voice narration” tool). I played around with the various features for awhile, until I decided which ones I wanted to use and how to best record my screencast.
I decided to record my screencast without sound and add my audio later. In retrospect, this was probably not the best choice and it might have been wise to follow Lynne’s advice on the wiki to record a second audio track and fade out the first track when needed. In a test run, I noticed that my microphone picked up a lot of surrounding sound—particularly my keystrokes and movement as I navigated the screens. I wanted to leave these sounds out as well as provide clear, clean audio. Recording the video first, I tried to allow myself enough time to talk about each section. If the video moved too quickly, I knew that I could click on the “suspend video” button to talk more before the video moved on. This ended up being more complicated than I expected as I had to become very familiar with my video in order to get the timing down right. This required take, after take, after take, after take. There were moments when I had to quickly slow the video down to fit in all of my audio, and other moments where I needed to string out my audio to match the pacing of my video movements. The result is a mish-mash of fast-slow-fast that doesn’t work exceptionally well. I did try editing out slower portions of the video, but I wanted to stop and start the audio in the same way I did with Audacity. I’m sure there is a way to do this, but perhaps it requires that I use multiple audio tracks? It is definitely something I would like to learn more about before I move ahead with my next screencast.
Another problem I encountered was that Camtasia seemed to apply SmartFocus to my screencast automatically, requiring me to remove and/or adjust many of the zooms. I still think I may have left too many in there. While taking a closer look is certainly beneficial in a screencast, I have seen a few videos that left me dizzy as they zig-zagged across the screen. I did consider adding a call-out and/or captions to my screencast, but with the zoom feature, I felt I did not need them.
I had additional problems when I went to export the file. While it worked perfectly on my computer, when I uploaded it to our server, the video would not play. It was there, I could see it, but it would just not play. So I “published” the file again. This time it seemed to work. All that being said, here it is finally….my screencast on bookmarking with diigo.