Wikipedia:WikiProject Screencast/How-to

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The power of screencasting.

There are many approaches to creating a screencast. You'll want to choose an approach that fits your topic, and your preferred work style. In some cases, you might record in a single-take, by just clicking "record" in a screencasting program, and start talking about a subject you know really well. In other cases, you'll want to do some careful thinking ahead of time, write a script, and prepare some visuals to support your demonstration.

Collaboration can work well for any aspect of the process. Or the work can be done in 20 minutes by one person!

Below is a basic outline that will apply to most screencasting projects.

Screencast production tutorial[edit]

How to produce a simple screencast. (script)

The basic workflow is as follows. Some steps are optional, but all are recommended!

  1. Script
  2. Practice
  3. Record
  4. Edit
  5. Process
  6. Publish

Script[edit]

Create an outline and script for the screencast, that you can follow as you record it or put the pieces together. (tip: do not record while speaking off the top of your head; a script helps avoid having "um" and "uh" throughout the screencast)

Audience

Determine your target audience. Are you demonstrating basic information to new users, or showing advanced tools to experienced users?

Writing

A script is important for many reasons. It helps to: avoid the danger of "um" and "uh", it makes later translation easier, and it gives the option of providing captions for the deaf (or people without speakers).

  • Keep your script focused on the key points that you want to teach (1-6 points max)
  • Be concise
  • Try to avoid tangents.
  • Use conversational style

See a sample script at Wikipedia:WikiProject Screencast/Intro. To create a script table like this, add {{subst:Template:Screencast script table}} to a page, and click save.

Storyboard[edit]

Assembling material. (script)
Create a storyboard, graphically outlining the components and order of the screencast.
  • Identify images, screenshots, and other material to include, whether as slides or as running video (tip: if uploading the screencast to Wikimedia Commons, keep in mind the free licensing requirements)
  • Organize visuals into the storyboard and align with the script
  • If using a narrated slidecast format, include headings and subheadings (they may also be appropriate for screencasting)

Core components[edit]

Our suggested style includes these elements:

  • Title card. (eg File:Screencast template.png)
    a few words to summarize the topic, held for 2 seconds without audio.
  • The screencast itself
    1-5 minutes, depending on which audience, and what depth wanted.
  • Wrap-up
    Summarize the points covered, to remind and reinforce.
  • End credits
    Creators names, date, CC-licence (e.g. File:Cc3.png), final shortcut-pointer.
Tip : Practice

Practice your speech timing and mouse movements. Speech should be at a measured pace. The mouse cursor should move smoothly, and with purpose – avoid small twitches that move the mouse.

Pre-production[edit]

Simplifying your recording environment. (script)
Computer environment

Simplify the screen that will be recorded, ideally starting with a clean slate.

  • Wiki-user - Close to default settings and interface-appearance. Either create a new user account, or simplify your user account preferences (gadgets, user.css, etc)
  • Browser - Remove any extra toolbars, extensions, and add-ons, that are visible. If using Firefox, setup a separate user profile, which has default settings, no add-ons, etc. [1]. (same can be done in other browsers)
  • OS - Close any unneeded programs, especially any that might make any noises or eat up excessive memory.
  • Window size - Reduce the recorded area to 800x600 (to fit just this image). (To fit on smaller screens, to be visible at reduced sizes, and to avoid overwhelming real-estate)
Physical environment
  • Choose a quiet place to do the screencast
  • Silence your telephone and anything else that might interrupt

Record[edit]

Hardware and software for screencasting. (script)
Demo of how to record a screencast using Camstudio. (script)
Software

Decide which programs you want to use. See our guide at WP:WikiProject Screencast/Software, for advice.

Test your hardware and software

Before recording the entire screencast, be sure to test the individual components. Record a small segment of speech, then listen to it to check the volume and sound quality. Record a small video clip, then watch it to make sure you're only recording the parts of the screen that you want.

Experiment with the screencast-program settings, to find configuration with not so much compression that the video is fuzzy, but not too high quality that the file size is excessively large.

Record

Record your screencast. It may take a few attempts to record something you are happy with.

Edit[edit]

If you're assembling a screencast from component pieces – separate video clips, sound files, image slides – this is the next step. Programs such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker can be used to assemble your parts.

Process[edit]

  • Save the movie, and if necessary convert it to the destination format. (Note: For upload to Wikimedia Commons, the video needs to be in Ogg Theora (.ogv) format.)
  • Watch the video, from end-to-end, checking for any quality issues.

Publishing and placement[edit]

Uploading and placement. (script)
Publish

Upload your completed video to Commons (and/or YouTube, Vimeo, and elsewhere).

Placement

Embed your video in the relevant help or project pages, and add it to our gallery.

See WP:Creation and usage of media files for advanced options, such as specifying the video-frame to be displayed as the thumbnail (e.g. "...|thumbtime=3..." for 3 seconds in).

Advanced options[edit]

(Insert links to more specific approaches)

Or try creating a mobile screencast!

Tips[edit]

Simplify. Don't try to address too many points. Short is sweet, and memorable.

External links – general tips
Videos
Lists of tips
Larger tutorials