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Screencasting

Screencasting is recording your screen, a slide presentation for example, whilst talking. The recorded movie file can then be uploaded and shared. We asked our Artist-in-Residence, Tom, to offer some advice.

Before you start screencasting

The tool you choose depends on what works best for you:

  • Do you want it to be very easy and quick?
  • Do you want to create high quality video?
  • Would you like your image included for a more personal connection?
  • Do you want to block out your background?

These questions will help you decide which is best for you.

Top screencasting tips

#1

Tidy your desktop. Often it is much easier, if jumping around between windows, to just share your whole Desktop rather than one window, but you don’t want certain file or folder names shared inadvertently.

#2

Turn off notifications. Nothing spoils a great video like a pop-up from a friend mid presentation.

#3

Get your audio as high quality as you can. An external mic, or USB headset with mic can really help with audio clarity, as can being a room with soft-furnishings, curtains etc so that the sound doesn’t become too boxy just because of the acoustics.

#4

You are not the BBC. It is better to record, and be yourself, leaving mistakes in simply because whilst editing videos, adding credits, creating effects etc is possible it is a very slow and arduous process.

#5

Do a test first. Bitter experience has taught me to always do a test first because there is nothing worse than giving a 10 minute presentation to discover it is video only.

Video editing

When you've made a screen recording, you might need to do some video editing or add subtitles. Here's our video editing Skills Guide:

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Screencasting tools

Here's a selection of tools, and what Tom made of them:

PowerPoint

You can create narrations for PowerPoint slides and export the result as a video. You can also record your screen into PowerPoint (along with audio) and save that as a video too.

If you already have Powerpoint decks they are familiar to work with and the tool works well. If you have Google Slides and work on a PC, you can download your slides as Powerpoint and create your audio-annotated presentation video.

Google Slides – not recommended

Google Slides have the ability to insert audio files into each slide but is cumbersome to work with. To be effective, you would have to separately use a tool like Audacity to record voiceovers for each slide. Most mobiles have very good recording tools, but you are then faced with the issue of how those audio files are uploaded to Google Drive.

Zoom   (← My Recommendation)

The tool I am most impressed with for screencasting is Zoom because it is very easy to start, has green screen abilities (you can block out your background), and it automatically has picture-in-picture, which I like.

I have the ability to Save To Cloud or Save To Desktop. This means I can “record and share” quickly, or record and on my own computer edit it. The choice is mine. I like being able to make minor edits, but prefer not to.

Once you Leave The Meeting, the file is saved to your computer and I can then upload that video to YouTube, like I did here:

Equally, one would be able to create a presentation with a colleague, or even to have a number of people involved in a recorded presentation.