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Screenflow and My First Screencast

Camera Screencast

Camera ScreencastI recently recorded my first screencast for Pro Theme Design showcasing the new features for my WordPress theme Elemental.

To make my life easier I purchased a copy of Screenflow for my Mac. Screenflow is designed specifically for recording and editing screencasts. It has a wealth of features and is really simple to use. It’s not perfect but is well worth the money and saved me a lot of time and effort with trying to make the changes with the sort of software I would normally use.

Below is an analysis of what I think went right and wrong with the screencast, but before that here’s the video I created.

What went right?

  • Planning. Before starting i wrote a bullet list of the things I wanted to cover, this made it a lot easier to give the video some sort of structure and meant that I didn’t stumble as much as I would have had I not had it.
  • Screenflow. I know i said i bought it for this, but Screenflow is really easy to use and made the recording and editing a lot less painful than it could have been. It also makes the exporting really simple, even integrating with YouTube for the video uploads.
  • Keeping things simple. I decided to keep everything as simple as possible. No flashy effects, or background music. I also tried to keep the demos as straight forward as possible to make the video easy to understand.

What went wrong?

  • Trying to do it all in one go. In hindsight I should have prepared more than I did. It would have been helpful to write a few more notes and them break down the recording into smaller parts.
  • Not enough ‘rehearsals’. For some parts I ended up doing a lot of takes – I hadn’t planned exactly what to say.

What I would change

  • Record video and audio separately. Whilst making the screencast i tweeted what i was doing and Marty Smith suggested I split the audio and video recordings. I decided not to this time, but next time I will definitely try it out.
  • Record Somewhere Quieter. That and speak a bit louder. I don’t like the ambulance siren near the start (I live near a hospital), and I think in general I probably come across rather quiet.

I’d love to know what you think of my screencast and if there’s anything I could improve? Any comments on screencasts you have done would also be interesting 🙂

6 thoughts on “Screenflow and My First Screencast Leave a comment

  1. Ben the video came out well, especially considering it’s your first screencast. It’s better than some I’ve seen by people who consistently make them. 🙂

    I’ve seen the advice to separate the video and audio before. Is the idea that you would capture the video and maybe follow along with the narration in your head without actually recording the audio and then go back later adding the audio while watching the video you captured?

    Also would you be recording the audio in a different program or in Screenflow?

    • Hi Steven – thanks for the kind words.

      What you said sounds about right. I think I would probably record the audio in Garage Band, whilst watching a playback of the video, and then import it into Screenflow once completed.

      • No need to thank me. I think the screencast turned out better than you probably think it did. I’m kind of in the same position. I’m still feeling my way around Screenflow and testing it here and there, though I’ve yet to create an actual screencast to show anyone.

        I hadn’t thought of Garage Band. I was thinking of Audacity, though either would work.

        One tip I’ve seen a few times, more for the audio part is if you do make a mistake that you’re going to want to correct, leave some silence after it. That makes it easier to find later when you’re scrubbing through the audio.

  2. This is actually pretty good for a first screencast. I’m impressed. My first screencast didn’t look like that. I assume that’s partially because I didn’t have a cool tool like ScreenFlow.
    (Just a case you’re wondering how I came here. I have a Google Alert on “screencast”, so I don’t miss any good screencasts. 😉 )

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