The use of video is continually rising, but it can also be an intimidating medium for beginners. Thankfully, screencasts make creating videos more approachable. If you want to use more video in your presentations, trainings, or even emails (and I highly recommend you do), screencasts are a great place to start.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through each step in the process. Then, once you feel comfortable with how to easily record a screencast, I’ll go over some bonus tips for how you can level-up your screencasts.
But before we jump in head first, I think it’d be a good idea for us to talk about what exactly a screencast is and go over some ways you can incorporate them into your everyday workflow.
What exactly is a screencast?
A screencast is a digital video recording of your computer screen that typically includes some sort of audio narration. You can think of a screencast as the video equivalent of a screenshot. You’ll notice screencasts are also called screen capture videos or screen recordings.
Screencasts are great for teaching or sharing ideas and can be used for work or play. If you’re looking to start using screencasting at work, try to record a webinar, create a quick how-to video or video tutorial, or send a personalized sales video.
Best of all, these videos benefit both creators and the viewers. The creator can record a process or instruction once and without repeating themselves.
The viewer also benefits because they can watch the video whenever it’s most convenient for them. This is especially helpful when you create instructional videos because learning can happen in real-time—right when it’s needed.
Now that we get the gist of what screencasts are and what they can do, let’s dive in!
How to make a screencast in 5 easy steps
Follow these quick steps to make your first high-quality screencast!
1. Choose your screen recording software
To get started, decide what software you’re going to use to record your screen. I suggest getting a screencasting tool that also has a built-in video editor. Using a screen recorder and editor together makes creating screencasts much simpler.
I highly recommend TechSmith’s Camtasia because it’s easy to use for both simple videos and larger projects.
Plus, you can record on-screen video, import existing media, and edit videos all within the same product. You can download the 30-day free trial here.
2. Prepare yourself and your screen for recording
First and foremost, tidy up your screen if you’re going to be showing it off in your recording. You may want to get rid of a distracting desktop wallpaper and make sure to turn off any notifications. You’d hate to have your email notification chime go off right in the middle of you talking through an otherwise perfect demo recording.
If your screencast is more than a few seconds long, it’s a good idea to script what you’re going to do onscreen and/or what you’re going to say.
3. Record your screen
It’s showtime! Time to record your screen. Do you want to record full screen or just a region? Choose what part of the screen you’d like to record.
The system audio and microphone are recorded by default. To record the audio, click the audio dropdown to select your microphone or audio device.
It’s a good idea to do a quick sample recording to test the audio in your video. First, make sure the audio device is on and connected.
If you find that you have low volume, drag the audio slider to increase the audio level.
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) you shouldn’t be intimidated by the video editing process. If you accidentally said “um” too many times, start your recording a little early, or let it go too long, no worries. It’s easy to trim unwanted parts out of your recording.
If you’re wanting to spruce up your audio, you can do that, too.
5. Save and share your screencast
Now, you’re ready to share your screencast! You can choose to send your video straight to the web or produce it as a local file (mp4 file) to your computer.
If you’re not sure where to share your screencast, check out our blog post on the which best online video platform is best for your screencast.
3 Quick Ways to Level Up Your Screencasts
If you’re feeling comfortable with a quick screencast, it may be time for you to step-up your screencasting game. Adding some personal touches to your screencasts can make them stand out and give them a truly personal touch.
1. Record your webcam
Adding webcam video can help add personality to your screencasts and increase engagement. Before recording your webcam footage decide if you want it to appear at the beginning of your video or if you want it to appear over top of your video, like picture-in-picture.
To record a webcam, click the dropdown to select the camera device. Then, choose your audio recording options.
2. Narrate your screencast or add some background music
It’s easy to demonstrate an onscreen process with a screencast, but you can make instruction even more clear by talking through the process as you show it.
The audio quality in your video is even more important than the screen content. Make sure you have a good voice-over recording to provide the best instructions.
You can also add some music to your screencast to set the mood of your video—just make sure it’s not too loud if you’re also narrating onscreen activity. 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, your own images, or different video footage.
Screencasting makes it easy to dip your toe into video. It’s a great tool for anyone that wants to communicate clearly by showing and not only telling.
Start screencasting today (with your free trial of Camtasia)!