Guest Posting: Screencasting with Jim Carrillo

Following my recent trip to the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference in Detroit I created a listing of 108 “top tweets” from the event – tips, suggestions, ideas and topics which people found noteworthy.

Now, I’m as guilty as the next person of attending conferences and workshops, getting all fired up with ideas and suggestions, and failing to follow through and implement any of them. So, in the spirit of implementing at least some of these ideas from Detroit, I plan to examine some of the tweets in more detail.

Top Tweet: learn Screencasting

The first tip, which came out of Shel Holtz’s seminar at the event, was “Use Camtasia Studio to create audio “screen-casts” of apps – embed in departmental websites as training aids. Create animated preso library.”

I’ve asked my National Speakers Association colleague and uber-geek, Jim Carrillo, to explain in detail how screen-casting can be accomplished. His explanation includes a screen-cast – of course!

Screencasting – the Fourth Dimension in Communication

by Jim Carrillo

You may have seen Screencasting, or screen recording in its generic name, when you’ve watched online training snippets for some popular websites. Screencasting is a name coined by Jon Udell, and is a digital recording of a computer screen’s output that usually contains voice narration.

Before diving in to how you can use it, let’s start by explaining the fourth dimension concept. Communication is the backbone for all we do. The best form of communication is when we’re face to face with our counterpart, which I consider our first dimension. Unfortunately, one of the worse forms of communication is written, or email, which we use far too much. With email, we lose the tonalities of our voice, the excitement in our gestures, and the other forms of visual and audio interaction; this would be the second dimension. The third dimension of communication would be recording ourselves for distribution to a single person or an audience. Recording has been around for quite some time, and with voicemail, or HandyCam video cameras, we’ve all become accustomed to the word “recorded message”. It’s clearly either a video or audio recording of a communication (or both).

What do you call a video communication that doesn’t involve a camera though?, a communication that brings in a new element of reference that both the presenter and receiver can focus on? With the explosion of the integration of the computer screen in our daily lives, bringing this medium into the focus of the communication has become natural. Screencasting is exactly that. It’s a recording of a communication with the focus on the computer screen, not the presenter.

Oddly enough, Screencasting is one of the easiest methods of recording. Bypassing the Video or Audio recording industries, screencasting was born out of the computer generation. Ease of use was top of mind in creating this technology.

Don’t be misled though, just because something is easy, don’t expect professional production ready results. To give an analogy, many people know how to type in a word processing application, but it doesn’t make them an author. Everyone can learn how to create a Screencast in minutes, but don’t start calling yourself a producer just yet.

You can try it right now! The best out of the box (and there is no box), get your feet wet Screencasting system I’ve found is Screen Toaster (www.screentoaster.com) . Screentoaster is completely web based (meaning no software to install), and it’s FREEEEE! What a beautiful word isn’t it? FREEEEE.

Considering becoming a director or producer in Screencasts for a more professional production? I’ve tried many, and with much reluctance, I finally gave Camtasia Studio (www.techsmith.com) a try. The price is inexpensive for professional use (only $300), and is not only packed with features, they’ve made it very simple to use. The simpleness is what brought a tear to my eye.

Interested in seeing a demonstration? In this Screencast, I’ve created both a simple Screencast showing you how to create your own Screencast in about two minutes (ouch, that circular explanation hurts my brain every time I write it). I’ve also added three examples of Screencasts that I often produce. Screencasting is part of my daily communications, and professional marketing services. Not a day passes that I’m not recording my cursor fly by.

Screencast

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Here’s a nice screencast of an animated Google search.



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