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How Do I Make My Screencasts Look More Professional?
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How Do I Make My Screencasts Look More Professional?

When I first started internet marketing, I watched a lot of videos and read a lot text/picture tutorials. I never really understood how someone could record their screen and take pictures of it; I always though I was missing out on some kind of software that was native to my operating system like Paint or Word. But I eventually found out that screencasting software was required, and shopped around a bit before settling on something that was, not surprisingly free.

But that left me with pretty plain-Jane 'here are the facts' videos. I was missing the perks like drawing, zooming, audio editing, highlighting, and of course cool transitioning. I wanted to make my screencasts look more professional.

Ouch!

I soon found out that legitimate, professional screencasting software was going to cost me a couple hundred dollars. This was the most expensive software I had ever looked at with regards to my marking campaigns, and I was very hesitant to invest the money.

Eventually the time came where I didn't have a choice, and I absolutely needed to upgrade from the freebie stuff to something that could reflect the quality of the written material I was producing. There are many types of software out there, but the most widely talked about one with the Windows operating system is Camtasia Studio from Techsmith. (Mac people tend to like Screen Flow, but there is a Mac version of Camtasia as well).

In My Experience

Here are some things that, in my experience, are not always necessary, but make the difference between an average screencast, and a professional-looking one.

1. Zoom

A basic, but cool feature. People don't need to see all your browser bars, running programs, and various other bits and bobs. Focus on the task at hand, and make small details clear to the viewer.

2. Drawing

Unnecessary if you do a good job narrating, but this is a nice feature that looks like you're teaching live. Circle the things you talk about, highlight the areas of discussion, and write or draw with a pencil to enhance the video.

3. Music

By adding a bit of soft music in the background, you can make silences less boring, and even drown out unwanted background noise or mistakes. Sometimes I speak too softly and have to increase the volume during editing, which increases white noise. Some jazz or guitar (no Van Halen please) makes it unnoticeable to the viewer/listener.

4. Transitions

I know people like 'jump cuts' in YouTube, and to do these, you'll need some good editing software. If you make a mistake or trail off and don't realize it till editing, you may need a way to transition without the video seeming to awkward. Of course, most viewers won't care that much, but we're going for the professional standard here, not the bare minimum. Screen fades, swipes, rotations and other page rolls look very cool.

5. High Quality

With professional screencasting software you'll get the ability to render and produce your videos in a variety of formats, qualities, and even include water marks and encode copyright information. Basically, you can create one video, but produce it in several ways to fit may different needs. For example, YouTube hates MP4, but this is the format of choice for the online business community I contribute to. AVI files tend to be more share-friendly, and mobile friendly videos can come in handy too

Summary

I hope you enjoyed these tips as well as hearing about my personal experience with Camtasia Studio. I know that leveraging video has increase my viewership, so the price was worth every penny, and I will not be giving it up any time soon. I am always striving for higher quality content, video included, so if you have any tips that you find useful, please let me (and other readers) know below.


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