Screencasts

How to Make Screencast Videos

Screencast video is perfect if you’re an introvert…

…and if you want to grow your brand, following, and business.

You:

  • Don’t have to be on camera
  • Don’t need to pay for video equipment or tools
  • Don’t spend a ton of time creating them

I think screencasts should be part of every blog, business, or social media marketing strategy.

These create a powerful way to use visual storytelling to connect with audiences and increase sales. Or, show your expertise while creating trust and all the goodness that happens from being an authority.

This post is about creating screencasts.

Note: There are a couple affiliate links in here meaning I’ll get a commission helping me fund the blog and content creation. This doesn’t increase the price, though, and helps a ton!

Screencasting 101: A Basic Guide to Creating Screencasts

There are two tools you’ll want to use:

Camtasia is a premium screen recording software but worth the money because it’s easy-to-use. There’s not a lot of configuring to get it working. And, it comes with a built-in video editor so you’re not spending extra money on programs like Adobe Audition, Sony Vegas, and the like.

Camtasia

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is an open-source video recording software – obviously free and a solid Camtasia alternative. Many people use this to do YouTube or Twitch streaming. You can use it to record your screen if it’s configured (which isn’t too hard – though requires a bit of ingenuity).

OBS

Personally, I prefer Camtasia Studio because it’s the first Screencasting software I learned.

Either is good for our screencast creation – and I’m covering both.

How to Record Screencasts with Camtasia

This, by no means, is a complete guide to using Camtasia – there’s tons of documentation in the software. And, plenty of free and paid courses covering every little detail.

I want to focus on using the screen grabber software for our purpose of creating simple videos for blogs, business, and social.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Install Camtasia Studio

You’ll receive a download link after you’ve purchased the software. Else, you can download a free Camtasia trial from the TechSmith website. The trial gives you 30-days to mess with the software.

Step 2: Open Camtasia

You’re greeted with a prompt to register the program. Else, it’ll boot to the following screen.

Open Camtasia - Splash Screen

Step 3: Create a New Project

Click on the ‘New Project’.

Start New Screencast Project

You’re presented with this screen.

Start a Screen Recording with Camtasia

Step 4: Configure the Recording Options

Click the ‘Record’ button on the top-left of the Camtasia screen.

Press Record to Begin Screencasting

This will display a recording option on the bottom-left of your computer.

You’ll notice there’s a guide stretching around your computer’s screen – this is the recording space.

The Camtasia Recording Options

You’ll notice a few options:

  • Full Screen – Selects the full screen as the recording area
  • Custom – Sets custom aspect ratios and recording areas
  • Camera – Toggle your webcam on/off if you want to be in the video
  • Audio – Toggle your microphone on/off if you want voice over
  • REC – Click this button to begin recording your screencast

Leave this as-is to record your entire screen and leave the audio on to capture your voice. A podcast microphone (here’s the one I have) is highly recommended as audio is ½ the interactivity and value.

Step 5: Record the Screencast

The first screencast you’ll create is trash – I’m telling you now.

But… you’ll get better and comfortable with creating them.

Hit ‘REC’ on the recording prompt to begin.

Recording the Screen, Countdown

What now?

Well… do what you had planned.

Create a tutorial showing how to use a product. Or, how you’d use it.

Get into teaching mode covering the topic as if a student is sitting next to you —  Walk them through the process stopping to explain the details.

How to Record Screencasts with OBS

I could get into recording screencasts with OBS but, honestly, there are tons of great videos by awesome content creators. This is the exact one I watched and followed to get OBS Screencasting.

OBS Studio gives you full configuration with screen recording. This creates exceptional video quality but does take up a lot of space on your hard drive when recording full 1080p or higher. I recommend you get an external hard drive (the 4TB WD one is perfect).

Screencast Editing: Video Editing Basics for Screen Recordings

We’re not going for anything fancy here.

All we need to do is the following:

  • Trim the opening/closing
  • Trim long pauses and goofs
  • Add titles and call-outs

I recommend you’re creating tutorial-style screencasts when first exploring this video marketing method. This content type is easy because it’s step-by-step – you’re not deviating and rambling.

Let’s jump back to Camtasia for the video editing.

Understanding the Camtasia Studio Editing Interface

These items are what you’ll mostly use with basic editing:

Camtasia Editing Screen

The main things to look for include:

  • Annotations – This lets you add call-outs, arrows, and animations to the video
  • Transitions – Transitions moving between scenes (let’s stick to either fades, swipes, or cuts)
  • Cut (tool) – This lets you slice and chops the video helping to cut out pauses and goofs

You can slide the left and right sides of your video (parts) to trim the video. Slide each cutting out unnecessary parts. Or, deleting them and pulling the video together.

If you can record your screencast in one take that’s great — less editing. If it takes you a few times, go with your best take and import & stitch parts that were better from other takes.

Camtasia 101: Recording, Editing, Producing, and Sharing

You know what? Techsmith uploaded a full Camtasia tutorial to their YouTube playlist.

Check it out to learn the basics of Screencasting with Camtasia.

If you don’t have the time, follow this screencast editing process:

  1. Record the raw video
  2. Trim the beginning if you paused before jumping into the topic
  3. Trim the end as you finished the screen grab
  4. Use the ‘Annotation’ -> ‘Callouts’ -> ‘ABC’ to add text overlay emphasizing parts
  5. Optional: Trim space and use the ‘+’ to ‘Add Media’ importing your title card (logo and/or brand)
  6. Optional: Add transitions between trimmed/cut sections
  7. Export the video using ‘Share’ -> ‘Local File’ or ‘YouTube’ (if you have a YouTube account)

This six-step process is very barebones, but you’ll get the hang of it.

How I’d Use Screencasting to Improve My Brand, Business, and Content

The whole reason you’re creating screencasts is one (or all) of these:

  • Branding – Present your expertise and grow your authority
  • Business – Use the screen recording to promote products or use as documentation
  • Content – Sharing something neat better explained through video

Screencast Content Types You Should Create

  • Blog Content – The screencast becomes a great blog piece when optimized for its keywords. You should include a transcript of the voice over creating written content for the page. And, so it’s easier indexed in search engines.
  • Supporting Content – The screencast becomes a supporting piece for an already published post. This lets you explain a topic with visual elements. It’s especially great if it’s a tutorial post. The video adds extra “weight” and value to your content.
  • Reviews – The screencast is a review of a digital product or app. This lets you show users how it’s used and the neat benefits and features. People follow along learning about it while picking up suggestions to buy the product.
  • Documentation – The screencast becomes helpful tutorials for your team. You can explain how to do business tasks through a visual medium. This makes it easier for your team to understand the concepts. Or, helps explain your needs when forwarding tasks to outsourced talent.

How to Promote Your Screencast Video Content

  • Social – Get it shared on social media channels like turning it into a Facebook video. Or, having it hosted on Twitter, Instagram, and other video-supporting platforms.
  • YouTube – Leverage YouTube creating a channel for your business. Upload the videos so they’re indexed and appearing in Google. Fill in description and details including a link to its blog post or a product page (if doing a review).
  • Rotation – Put the video as part of your normal content sharing rotation. Do your typical social media sharing but include the video in the mix. This adds a new dynamic to what you’re sharing.

All these are part of what I’d do for a business growth strategy.

Make Screencast Video Work for You

I hope you enjoyed this Screencasting tutorial.

I know it’s a bit fast-paced, but I believe you’ll get the hang of it after an hour of playing with the screencasting tools. The recording is super simple using Camtasia. Basic editing doesn’t take long, either.

Think of the possibilities now that you’re exploring video marketing:

  • Old posts become new, visual content
  • Topics are told through storytelling
  • New ways to get ranked for keywords

You may find creating screencasts easier than writing content.

If so, push for it because people are watching an hour of videos on Facebook and YouTube weekly. This will keep growing – I bet TV will die (even Netflix in some ways) as people shift to brands’ online videos and creator channels.

How will you use screencasts for business, blogging, brands, and sales?