What if I told you that you’re a trainer and may not even know it?
Let me explain. Even though most of us don’t have the word “trainer” in our job title, chances are that at some point in our careers, we will have to show someone how to do something. Whether it’s a complex training series that might take hours to complete or a quick tutorial on how to use a software feature, most of us will have to train someone sometime.
And, there’s no better way to train than with video.
We know there’s a lot that goes into making a tutorial video, but even if you’re never made a video before, it’s easier than you might think!
In fact, I’m going to walk you through how you can easily create effective training and tutorial videos — no pro skills required.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The three questions you need to answer BEFORE you hit record.
- Why you should focus on one topic at a time.
- How Camtasia templates make creating tutorial videos even easier.
- Why clear audio is even more important than clear video.
The three questions you need to answer before you start recording your tutorial video
Making videos might be easier than you think, but that doesn’t mean you should jump right in. Just like any type of content, it works better with a little planning.
To start, you want to ask yourself three questions, which you’ll find at the top of the script template:
- Who is my audience?
- What specific problem will this tutorial solve?
- What will the audience be able to do after watching?
1. Who is my audience?
You want to develop an understanding of your audience’s general skills and get a sense for their comfort level with the content you’re teaching. You don’t want to make a tutorial full of advanced instructions and long-winded explanations if your viewers are just getting started.
Keep it simple.
2. What problem will this video tutorial video solve?
After you have a clear sense of your audience, focus on the specific problem the tutorial will help them solve. Each video should solve one problem. For example, if I want to show someone how to add a follower in our project management software, I don’t want to give an entire software overview. Keep it focused and to the point. This ensures the audience gets exactly what they came for.
If you have more subjects to cover, you can always make more videos!
3. What will my audience be able to do after watching?
Lastly, define the goals for the video. Write down what you want your audience to be able to do after watching. An example might sound something like this: “After watching this video, a user will be able to add a new team member to a project management board.” It’s clear, and the goal is simple. This goal statement will provide the foundation for the rest of your content.
When you’re finished with your goal, it’s time to move on to the next key step in making a tutorial: scripting.
Start with a script
Scripting lets you plan what you want to say, so that you can revise and improve the narration before you record. This might sound like a lot of work upfront — and it can be if you start with a blank screen. But you don’t have to start from a blank page! Download this script template and you’ll have a fill-in-the-blank script that you can use to quickly get it written.
But remember, this is just a place to start. After you fill in the blanks, read it out loud. If it doesn’t sound like something you’d say, feel free to go back and make it your own.
In our template, there are two columns. The left side is so you can note what will be on the screen during that part of the voice over. In the template, we’ve made it so that you can see the narrator at the beginning and end of the video. But the rest is mostly screen-recorded content. Adjust that as you like. Maybe you prefer being very specific about what you’re showing. This would be a great place to include those notes.
The right side of the script is for your voiceover. Starting with the obvious, your introduction, we cut past a lot of fluff to just immediately let your viewer know they’re watching the right video. No long backstory or autobiography needed.
After that, state the specific problem your video covers and explain how you will help.
That’s why you answered those questions at the top. You can show them very quickly how you’re going to help.
And then, help them! Go through each step of the process one at a time, writing down any pertinent details you want to include.
When you’re done, wrap it up quickly with a call to action — a link to get the product or additional resources that will help them achieve their goals.
What is their next step? Don’t make them guess.
Viewers want direct guidance on next steps, so if there’s more for them to do or learn, they’ll appreciate it when you spell it out clearly.
Record and edit your voiceover
With your script ready, it’s time to record. While you can record your screen and microphone at the same time, we find it’s best to record your voiceover first — especially for more formal or customer-facing tutorial videos.
If your video includes screen recordings, we recommend you record the voiceover for those bits first. You can leave the camera off so you can focus on recording a great audio track.
For recording voiceovers, we recommend TechSmith Audiate.
Audiate transcribes your narration as you speak, so you can edit your voice over like a text document! No more hunting through audio wave forms. Just find the words you want to edit and you’re good to go.
Plus, Audiate can find and remove all of your “ums,” “uhs,” and other hesitations for you! I use Audiate for all my voiceovers.
You’ll also want a decent microphone, especially if this will be a customer-facing video. Our recent study of video viewing habits found that clear audio was even more important to most viewers than clear video. Luckily, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end microphone. Even a pair of earbuds with a built-in mic will give you better audio than your computer’s microphone.
That said, if all you’ve got available is your built-in microphone, don’t let that stop you from making a tutorial.
When the time is right to upgrade your mic, a few options to consider might include the Blue Yeti (which is what I use in my home office), the Shure MV7, or the Rode NT-USB. There are plenty of other great mics as well, if you have one you love, leave it in the comments.
Once you’ve cleaned up your audio, export it into Camtasia. Then you can record your intro and outro with your webcam for that personal touch. Make sure to look into your camera as much as possible. It’s helpful to position your script on your screen as close to the camera as possible.
Record your screen
Once you’ve recorded all of your audio, the next step is recording your screen.
Start by minimizing distractions. Clean up your desktop screen by hiding your icons. Choose a neutral-colored background or branded wallpaper. Close any applications you don’t need and turn off any notifications that might pop up — including on your phone.
Then, open the software application for your tutorial and practice walking through the steps listed in your script. Practice until you can comfortably make it through the entire workflow with minimal mistakes or hesitations. This will make for less editing in the end and better recordings.
Then, open the Camtasia recorder and select the region or window you want to record. If your demo includes sounds from the software, select the System Audio toggle to on. If not, leave it off and hit Start Recording.
Keep in mind that you can edit the recording after you finish, so if you make a mistake, simply pause and then start at the place in your script right before the mistake happened. Removing mistakes is simple and quick with Camtasia, which leads us to the next key step in making a tutorial: editing the video.
Edit your video (don’t worry, there’s a template for that!)
WHOA. Editing a video? You might be thinking, “But I’ve never even made a video before! I’m not a video professional! All is lost!”
I’m here to tell you that all is not lost. In fact, Camtasia is so easy to use you can create professional-quality videos even if you’ve never made a video before! AND, it gets even better! We have this free template that makes it even easier! All you need to do is fill in the blanks. Check out the video for more!
We’ve built in placeholders for your footage, title cards, lower thirds, and more.
Everything in this template is customizable. From the duration of each section to the colors and fonts used. Don’t like the music? Right-click and convert it to a placeholder, and you can bring in your own royalty-free song that will retain all of the properties for fading in and out that we’ve included (which again, are still totally customizable).
You can add your video clips to a placeholder and select Ripple Replace to let your clip fit naturally into the space provided. If some of the other placeholders and graphics move, no problem! Just click and drag to adjust them as needed.
To change the colors, click the group that contains the graphics. Open the Properties panel to change colors, or you can apply your own pre-saved theme to replace all of the colors at once.
See those blue tick marks at the top of your timeline? We’ve included those to indicate when you move on to the next step or topic in your video. These are great for videos that will live on YouTube. When you export your video, check the box that says “Create Chapter Index from Markers” and your viewers will be able to navigate to the section of your video they want just by clicking the chapter markers.
If the template itself is a little overwhelming to look at, don’t worry! Here’s check out the tutorial below to learn more about editing in a template. But for now, let’s move on to editing your video.
But what does it mean to edit video? Video editing encompasses several things, mainly:
- Removing mistakes and extra footage from the screen recording.
- Syncing the voiceover with the video so that what you say lines up with what’s on screen.
- Adding animations and other call-outs to focus viewers’ attention to on screen elements that are important.
- Customizing graphics, as well as the intro and outro, lower thirds, and any other finishing touches you want to make your own.
Remove any mistakes
Let’s start with removing mistakes. Once you’ve added your screen recording to the template, hover over the front of that mistake with the playhead and click cut. Move to the end of the mistake, and select cut again. You can do this as many times as you need, and if you make a mistake while editing, simply click undo. To remove mistakes or trim off extra footage from the beginning or end of your recording, click and drag the end of the clip in.
Cutting and trimming this clip probably won’t adjust the other assets in your template, leaving gaps, but that’s ok, just make sure to tighten everything back up when you’re finished cutting.
Sync audio and video
Now, let’s focus on syncing your audio and video. Start by clicking and dragging your audio narration to the timeline lower placeholder (cleverly labeled “Audio Narration”) and drop. Since you recorded the voiceover and screen recording separately, it’s likely they won’t line up perfectly. But don’t panic!
You can use Clip Speed and Extend Frame to sync the video to your audio. To extend the frame (essentially pause the video to allow the audio to play out), split the video clip and click Option click on Mac or Alt click on Windows and drag it out to where you want it to end. Or, if you want to speed up a part of your recording – maybe you’re showing a longer process that you want to sum up quickly – from the Visual Effects bin, add Clip Speed to a piece of media, then drag the handles of the effect in to speed it up.
Once you have your audio and video synced up, let’s work on focusing your viewers’ attention.
Add callouts and other enhancements to help focus your viewers’ attention
Callouts can help you show your viewers where to focus so they don’t miss something important. You can zoom in on smaller elements or use arrows and text to highlight vital information.
For example, let’s say you want to show some information that’s a little hard to read. Just add an animation, make sure the playhead is after the animation arrow, then scale up in the properties (essentially zooming in) to show more detail.
You can also add a highlight annotation and adjust it to point directly at the setting you want to highlight. Do this throughout your video when you need your viewer to focus on something important.
As I said before, all of the graphics in this template are totally customizable. If you start with the Intro Transition, just click on the group, and the Properties panel show you that all of the colors can be changed. In fact, if you are a regular Camtasia user and have your brand colors saved as a Theme, just click the dropdown to choose yours and bam! Custom branded intro transition.
It even has a place for your logo! Simply click the x in the Properties panel to remove our placeholder, then click the “Import File” button that is there now, and find your image.
Click the group next to it, “Intro Title Card,” and you’ll see similar properties appear. If you used a theme to replace your colors, you can do that again, or hover over the last graphics you chose, and use the eyedropper tool to match them up.
Change the text to actually have your video topic and subtopic. Don’t have a subtopic? Leave it blank.
Do this for the lower third steps and your name and company card, again changing the colors as needed (you’ll quickly see why having a theme makes this so much easier). By the way, here’s a link to a tutorial for how to easily create your own themes in Camtasia.
At this point, your tutorial video should look pretty good. That said, editing gets easier the more you do it, and to help you along, we have tons of free tutorials like the ones I’ve already linked to. Make sure to check out those playlists if you really want to level up your editing.
Save and share your video
Once you’ve finished editing, you’re ready to share! Think about where you want this video to live, and either choose a share destination like YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Drive, or choose to save the video as a local file on your computer.
Tutorial videos made easy
Making tutorial videos doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right software and some good templates, you can create incredibly engaging and effective videos without a lot of hassle.
Like with anything, you won’t be an expert after the first video you make. But with a little time, practice, and patience, you’ll continue to improve your skills and your videos.