More organizations than ever before use video for communicating with customers and colleagues. But if you’re new to video, getting started can feel intimidating. What about cameras? Lighting? Microphones? Where do you even start?
What if there was a way to make incredibly engaging and useful videos for customers, coworkers, or anyone else who needs to learn something new without having to worry about all the gear and other technical issues that can make video so daunting?
That’s where screencasts come in. They’re fast and easy, and all you need is a computer with the right software.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- What is a screencast?
- What are screencasts good for?
- How do I make a screencast?
- How can I level up my screencast?
What is a screencast?
A screencast is a digital video recording of your computer screen that typically includes some sort of audio voice over. You can think of a screencast as the video equivalent of a screenshot. You’ll notice that screencasts are also often called screen recordings.
They can be informal one-off recordings or, for audiences like customer communications, they can be as polished as you need them to be.
What are screencasts good for?
Screencasts are one of the most simple and effective ways to show what you know. They’re great for teaching or sharing ideas and can be used for workplace communication.
For example, what if you have a new coworker who needs to learn to use a critical piece of workplace software. You could write out complicated instructions or go and sit with them at their desk (or on a Zoom call) while they learn, but that can be time consuming and inefficient.
Instead, why not record a video (or, for more complex topics, a series of short videos) walking your new colleague through how to use the software? Just record your screen and talk through the hows and whys of what you’re doing as appropriate. Then share the recording with them. Now, not only do they have the instruction they need, they can watch it when it’s convenient for them and go back and watch it to refresh their memory as necessary.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to screencasts. They’re also great for recording webinars, sharing data such as sales numbers, website traffic, and more.
One of our customers even uses screencasts to walk his employees through changes to documents and other content. They get the changes they need to move forward, plus they get insights into why he suggested those changes.
How to make a screencast
1. Choose your screen recording software
There are a number of screen recording apps out there and each has its pros and cons.
For most simple screencasts, I highly recommend TechSmith Snagit.
You can record your screen and microphone (and your camera if you wish), cut out the bits you don’t need and easily share to a number of the most popular destinations. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to create screencasts, even if you’ve never made one before.
Easily record your screen
Snagit is the easiest way to capture or record your screen with no experience needed!
2. Prepare yourself and your screen for recording
Snagit allows you to record your entire screen or just a portion. If you need to record your whole screen, it’s a good idea to tidy up your desktop a bit. Tone down any distracting desktop wallpaper, maybe clean up the files that are showing, and be sure to turn off notifications.
If your screencast is more than a few seconds long, I highly recommend writing a script. It helps ensure you hit all the important points you need to make and keeps you on topic rather than wandering off on a tangent. At the very least, a bulleted list can be incredibly helpful..
Finally, make sure to run through your process a time or two before you start recording. A little practice goes a long way in ensuring a good screencast. Plus, you can test your audio settings to ensure everything sounds good.
3. Record your screen
Time to record! Do you want to record your entire screen, or just a region? Choose what part of the screen you’d like to record.
It’s a good idea to do a quick sample recording to test the audio in your video. Make sure the audio device you want to use is on and connected.
If you find that you have low volume, drag the audio slider to increase the audio level.
If you make a mistake, just keep recording. You can always go back and cut out your mistakes later!
4. Make adjustments to your recording
If you recorded the perfect take, you’re lucky and get to skip this step. But if you didn’t (and most of us don’t) Snagit makes it so easy to cut out any mistakes you may have made.
5. Save and share your screencast
Finally, you’re ready to share your screencast! Snagit offers a wide array of the most popular sharing destinations, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Screencast.com, Box, Slack, Outlook, and more. You can also save it as an MP4 or GIF to your computer.
3 quick ways to level up your screencasts
If you feel comfortable with a quick and easy screencast with Snagit, you can try taking it to the next level with Camtasia. With Camtasia, you can take basic screen recordings and bring a more personal touch with things like callouts and notations, music, special effects and transitions, and more. And, even better, while Camtasia offers more editing options, it’s still incredibly easy to use.
1. Record your webcam
Adding webcam video can help add personality to your screencasts and increase engagement. Before recording
Want to add some personality to your screencast? Let ‘em see your face! Both Snagit and Camtasia allow you to recording your webcam along with your screen. This is especially useful for anything you may be sending to a customer. Letting them put a face to your voice is a great way to increase engagement.
2. Add some background music
Music can make even the most boring topic seem at least a little more interesting. Plus, it can help set a mood. Just be careful not to overdo it. Your music should never be louder than your voice over. Camtasia includes a library of royalty-free tracks, or you can import your own.
3. Add your own media – screenshots, images, videos, etc.
Want to add more clarity to your screencast? It’s easy to add screenshots, images, or different video footage.
For a great video walkthrough of how to make your screencasts look even better, check out the video below!
Screencasts are an easy and fun way to get started with video
Making your first video can be intimidating, but a screencast is a fast and easy way to get started. Plus, a screencast can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Best of all, there’s no experience necessary.
Start making your own screencasts today!
Ready to try your hand at making quick and easy screencasts for coworkers and customers?
Frequently asked questions
In some cases, yes! A screencast is a specific type of video. Screencasts are a type of instructional video that usually include audio narration.
With Snagit, sharing screencasts is super easy. Just go to the Share button in the top right corner of the application and select one of the many sharing destinations, or save it as a local file.