Video, Video, Video is the hot Content Ticket at the minute. That said like a trendy new bar it is a busy place. Lots of video is being created on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. So if our content is going to be seen and generate engagement it has to stand out. On the plus side most video being created is dull, uninspiring and quite frankly boring.
If you want to create video, play to your strengths. If you are not good on camera, don’t be on camera there are other ways you can create great video content.
One great option is screencasting. What do I mean? Using a video recording tool to record your screen and add great audio commentary to your video. Maybe you could record powerful audio to accompany your latest presentation. You could even create a video style brochure showcasing your latest products and services. Or even a quick video that demos your latest software. The options are endless. These videos are likely to be more interesting and valuable to a viewer than you on camera looking like a rabbit in a headlights.
The best tool out there for Screencasting in my opinion is Camtasia. However its price tag (around €300 for pc version and €100 for Mac version) can be a turn off. No doubt Camtasia will be a future cool tool, but for now I want to introduce you to a cheaper alternative.
Now before the drumroll I want to flag this week’s tool is only available on the Mac. Sorry Window users :(
Okay drumroll this week’s cool tool is Screencast Maker.
Screencast Maker is available in the App Store. There is a free version where you can create screencasts of 2 minutes or less, but a mere €4.99 will get you the full version. That is little over the price of a pint.
Screencast Maker is simple to use. Just open the app and select the size of the screen which you wish to record. (You can record the whole screen or just part of it).
Should you wish to include yourself in your screencast you can include a webcam frame in your video. This can be a good option if you have a good quality webcam and you are shooting a longish video.
Finally just select the output you would like to produce ((eg for HD select 720p) and hit the start button. (NB. I would not recommend any other output other than the HD 720p option)
As soon as you hit the start button the recording will begin. I would suggest waiting 3 seconds before talking just to make sure you don’t jump the gun.
When your finished recording just hit the screencast maker icon at the top of your screen.
Your video will automatically produced in seconds. It is produced in .mov format, which is supported by 3rd part sites such as Facebook and YouTube. However I would prefer an option to produce in mp4.
Tip – If recording screencasts make sure you have great sound. If your internal mic has seen better days consider purchasing a good quality external mic. I like the Snowball mic from Blue Microphones.
5 Ways you could use Screencast Maker
- Record a business interview on Skype: Video interviews make great content. Rather than have a telephone or skype call with your subject, why not hit that record button and turn it into an engaging bit of video? Oh and make sure you tell the other person you are recording;)
- Tech support/Trouble shooting/Customer Service: If you have customers that have questions or problems with your software, website etc. Why not create a screencast answering and addressing their questions.
- Sneak Peeks: Why not create a video showcasing new products and services prior to official launch? Maybe you could also add a nice call to action at the end inviting viewers to pre-order your products?
- As previously mentioned turn your static brochure into video with powerful audio commentary. Don’t make it too long, but a shot screencast can really bring your brochure to life.
- Rather than write a brief for a client that they may misinterpret, show them with a video. Eg. If I was a web designer I might create a video showing my client a demo website and talk through what you propose to build for them and why.
Screencast Maker Drawbacks?
One issue with this tool however is that it offers no editing abilities. It would be nice to be able to add in an intro and end video clip to the screencast and maybe even embed a company logo. However this is not an option.
As it is Mac only – Screencast Maker won’t suit everyone. However if you are thinking of screencasting for your business this is a very simple tool and is an ideal option for SMEs on a shoe string budget. However, if you start producing a lot of video Screencast Maker may end up being a stepping stone to Camtasia.
What are your thoughts on screencasting? What tools do you recommend?
Thanks for reading – Greg