Before Recording

Before Recording

Prepping for your screencast is the most important and beneficial step to the screencasting process.

Ironically, I learned just how true that can be while recording this video. Since this was the first video in the series, it took the longest to iron out. While this wasn’t the first time I’d tried my hand at screencasting, I had yet to create a screencast series like this one. There were numerous re-recording sessions and instances where I had to rewrite content to fit my changes. To see the final product, watch the video below:

Can’t see the video? Watch it here on YouTube.

The following tips are an extension of the tips found in the video with a sprinkle of advice from my own experience to help make your pre-recording process run more smoothly:

  1. Think ahead. This may seem obvious, but, foolishly, I didn’t think through all of the steps of the recording process beforehand which resulted in a waste of time redoing a majority of my screencasts. Think about screen resolution and dimensions in terms of where this video will be uploaded – YouTube? Vimeo? Your personal website? I ended up recording on PowerPoint for all of my videos, but I needed to upload them to YouTube. So, I needed to change the dimensions of my recording area as well as my slides.
  2. Write a script. Forethought is an important part of the script writing process. In your planning, pay careful attention to how well the text lines up with the content as well as the clarity and flow of the narration. Some sections of my script were unintentional tongue-twisters, forcing me to spend more time than I wanted in the recording booth.
  3. Practice. Go through your actions on the screen. Double check your applications and the actions you want to show. Make sure that windows open in the recording area and that any alerts are temporarily disabled to avoid interruptions.
  4. Be aware of your audience. This should be something you are doing throughout the screencasting process but especially before you even start recording. Whether you’re training employees or teaching students, you won’t present your information the same way. Pay attention to your cursor movements and narration audio too – both have the potential to distract and ruin the credibility of your video.

Preparing for a screencast is half the battle. Craft clear, direct instructions with complimentary visuals for your audience. Know who you’re talking to and what relevance the subject has to your audience. What would they want to know and what would be the best way to relay that information? The more work you do to plan out your screencast before recording, the easier recording and editing will be in post-production.

Read Other Posts in this Series

Kelly Turner

Kelly Turner is the Social Media Intern for TechSmith. She studied Professional Writing at Michigan State University with a concentration in Digital & Technical Writing. You can follow her on Twitter @wordscreateus.

  • She's passionate about obscure words, reading to all hours of the night, and the Internet.
  • In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, catching up on her Netflix queue, and eating.
  • Peanut butter and chocolate are her reasons for living.