As you will soon learn, I've become a bit obsessed with screencasting lately. I just find it an extremely convenient way to learn. Screencasts are amazing because of the amount of information they convey. With screencasts, the primary lesson is oftentimes only the tip of the information iceberg, because in addition to the primary lesson, there is an incredible amount of peripheral information you can glean that text-based articles cannot convey.
While watching other web designers work, I've picked up a number of useful habits that have transformed the way I write code, which has led to a rapid increase in productivity in certain areas. I've learned minor tricks about Photoshop I had missed or misunderstood that have greatly helped my workflow. And while not technically screencasts, I've also been learning the Ukulele in my spare time. The Ukulele! All of this information information is best conveyed in video form.
Screencasting should be seen as a tool, however. It cannot replace reading, and in many instances (and for many people) reading is a much more efficient means of conveying and receiving information. But if it is a tool, it should be an efficient one. And I think I've just found the most efficient screencasting tool out there: Screenr.
Recording a screencast with Screenr
This is ridiculously simple.
- Go to the website http://screenr.com/
- Click the Yellow "Record your screencast now"
- Screenr will quickly install a plug-in and present you with some recording controls
- Set the area of the Screen you want to record
- Press Record
- When you're done, it'll take you to a page to review and post it.
- It's built to work with Twitter, so you can choose to tweet the video as well, as I did on my feed: http://twitter.com/brianegan
- Extremely quick and easy to use.
- Great quality screencasts, the video looks crisp and clear
- Nice integration with Twitter
- Great iPhone interface
- No need to install and license third-party software
- Works well on Mac and PC
- Currently Free
- Max 5-minute videos. This simply isn't long enough for some lessons.
- I'm sure that 5-minute limitation will be fixed with a "Pro" version, and therefore it may be smarter to just use freeware and Blip.tv
- No Editing Interface - no audio, no video, no captioning, can't even edit the description of the video once it's been entered.
Screenr vs Desktop Apps + Blip.tv
Getting the Blip.tv solution up and running last week only took me a few hours, but Screenr got me screencasting almost instantly. While I really liked the ease and quality of Screenr, for longer, more in-depth tutorials, it's unfortunate, but it still makes more sense to use desktop screencasting software. This allows you to edit the video to your liking, which is handy in many instances, and also frees you from an arbitrary 5-minute limitation.
That said, Screenr is very young, and as it matures could become a robust solution for making screencasts. I hope to see that happen!
Here are a couple of screencasts I made this weekend with Screenr. The first is a quick demo of my dmMonocle Viewer. The second is my entry into the #Nettuts screencasting competition with Screenr. It was a fun competition and a good excuse to keep honing my screencasting skills!