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How to: Make a Screencast!

By Brian Egan on September 24, 2009 4:50 PM | Permalink

A few weeks ago I wrote how cool I thought it would be if the libraries began to use video more for instruction, tutorials, and even inspiration! Well, in order to kick things off, I thought I'd make a screencast of my own!

Alex and I are releasing some of the software we programmed for the Howard Hughes and Boomtown Digital Collections, and in order to help adoption, I thought it would make sense to create a screencast for how to install the software I designed.

To see how it turned out, check this out:


What I did to make the screencast

I have to be honest, most of this I'm just repeating from a Nettuts+ Tutorial, if you want a more in-depth explanation as to some of these parts.

The steps I took were as follows:

  1. Installed Camtasia Studio on my Windows Machine, reportedly the best screencasting software for recording and editing. You can use Camtasia Studio in the Media Lab, where we have a licensed copy. I simply used the fully-functional 30-day demo on my own machine.
  2. Grabbed a Microphone from the Media service desk. I just used one of the basic Logitech models.
  3. Wrote a script for my tutorial and practiced the tutorial off camera a couple of times so I knew where the problem areas would be, and which concepts would be difficult to explain so I could clarify those better.
  4. Set my monitor resolution to "1024x768" within the Display Settings
  5. Recorded the tutorial (I didn't edit it much at this point as I felt there weren't any major mistakes because of my practice rounds).
  6. Exported the video as a .FLV file. See the NetTuts+ tutorial for a screenshot of the setting the author uses, or get in touch with me and I can help you export the video in the proper format.
  7. Created an account on for the University Libraries. apparently offers the best quality, and the players are easily branded. (Contact me if you would like the info to upload your vids!). In the future, when I have a bit more time, I would like to use our Flash Server instead of, but was certainly quicker in the short-run.
  8. Uploaded the video, provide it with some basic metadata (description, tags, etc).
  9. Embed and share using their easy-to-generate links.
  10. Done!

All in all, it took me about 6 hours to do the whole thing. Now that I know what I'm doing, I imagine it will take me less than half that time to create another screencast.

I think it'd be great to create a full repository of helpful library tutorials students can refer to for instruction. That way we can help them virtually when we're not available physically, and cater to a wider variety of learning styles!

Screencasts are but one kind of video we can begin using, but I think they have the potential to help students in a lot of ways. Try your own! Be creative, have some fun teaching!

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