This book is now open sourced (June 2013)
Originally this PDF book was published in 2010. Some of the material is now out of date and I’m no longer working in this field. I’ve open sourced the PDF, you can download your copy under “Get your copy” near the bottom of this page.
According to the license I’ve chosen below you are free to make derivatives and commercial use of this book (without needing any further persmission from me) and you must give attribution back to this site (it would also be nice if you give additional attribution to my name “Ian Ozsvald” and my personal web site ianozsvald.com).
Make better screencasts
- Does it take you too long to plan, record and produce a screencast?
- Struggling with the features of Camtasia Studio, BBFlashBack and ScreenFlow?
- Not sure you’re using the best tools?
- Want to edit your Jing and ScreenToaster recordings?
- Could you be producing tutorial videos faster?
- Need better audio and narration?
- Want more confidence?
The Handbook is aimed at anyone who is making screencasts – including teachers, support staff and marketers.
The Screencasting Handbook was written to help you become a better screencaster. It will teach you how to:
- Understand the needs of your viewer
- Plan the screencast that will teach and convince them
- Efficiently plan, record and produce your screencast
- Host your screencast and distribute it to the right people
We have been producing screencasts for over 4 years – The Screencasting Handbook has all of our knowledge so you can make screencasts like ours. Through ProCasts we’ve produced screencasts for ShowMeDo, Crunch, BFGL, MockupScreens and more.
We’ve been through the trials of choosing (and discarding!) software and microphones, processes and techniques – we’re now boiling down our expertise into an easy to read handbook that will quickly help you improve your screencast and screencam skills.
As a novice screencaster, I found every section of The Screencasting Handbook enlightening. Particularly helpful is Ian Ozsvald’s coverage of microphone selection for improving audio recording quality. In my case, simply moving from an analog to digital input dramatically improved audio quality and reduced post-editing time to nearly nothing. I recommend The Screencasting Handbook to anyone wishing to learn about this technology or wishing to improve their screencasting skills. I believe every novice and most experts will find something beneficial in The Screencasting Handbook that will easily cover the cost of the book. – Darryl Pendergrass
The handbook covers tools like Camtasia Studio, BBFlashBack, HyperCam, CamStudio, ScreenFlow, RecordMyDesktop and Adobe Premiere for Windows, Mac and Linux environments. It also recommends hardware and microphones to fit your needs.
Ian is the main author, he is the co-founder of the screencast-based learning site ShowMeDo and founder of the professional screencasting company ProCasts, this is the kind of feedback he gets for his screencasts:
This is an excellent tutorial screencast. Not only is the presentation very professional and well paced, you’re also a very, very good teacher. … VERY, VERY good job, I’d say one of the, if not the best tutorial video and series available on ShowMeDo today – Lucas Holland
An outstanding service! ProCasts did a staggering turnaround within 1 week. Now it’s live it’s made a startling difference to bringing customers on board. If you don’t have a ProCast on the front of your website, get one now! In my view this is the only fast and coherent way to convey your product or service proposition in 3 minutes – Darren Fell Managing Director Crunch.co.uk
Lessons we’ve learned
By creating over 1,000 hours of screencasts we’ve learned an awful lot about how to efficiently plan, practice, protoype, record and produce a screencast that quickly and clearly educates the viewer.
“Ian starts with examples of using simple tools such as Jing and Screentoaster to create quick and easy screencasts, and then progresses through different tools and techniques working towards the type of screencast that might take as long as a week to fully create, edit and distribute. He’s got extensive experience with Camtasia Studio and BB Flashback on the Windows side, and ScreenFlow on the OSX side, so those are the tools he uses as examples” – Paul Pival
If questions like the following bother you, we can help:
- Could I plan this screencast faster?
- Am I using the right tools?
- Is there a faster way to do this with Camtasia Studio and ScreenFlow?
- Have I identified the best, shortest message for my viewer?
- Which short-cuts will help me record and produce faster?
- What’s the best way to export my screencast?
- How do I host the screencast online?
- How do I upload HD screencasts to YouTube and Vimeo?
- Can I get more exposure for my screencast with popular video platforms?
Inside ProCasts we use checklists to make sure we’re covering all the necessary steps (just like Pilots do!). We’ve created checklists for the Handbook so you can be confident that you’ve covered everything that is important.
We’ve produced hundreds of screencasts
The team behind ProCasts (that’s Ian, Richard and Ellen, amongst others) have produced hundreds of screencasts in the last 5 years covering Tutorials, Product Tours and Tech-Support.
ProCasts has also won awards from TechSmith (the largest supplier of screencasting tools) for our creative use of Camtasia. Here’s a comment made by Betsy Weber, TechSmith’s Chief Evangelist, about one of our screencasts:
I liked this screencast for several reasons. The audio is high quailty – as you know audio is king! I also thought the opening animation was interesting and added a nice touch – it made the screencast seem professional and polished. And, ProCasts made great use of zooms, transitions and callouts. And, I also liked the storytelling aspect of the script for the screencast – Betsy Weber of TechSmith.com
Sample Chapters and Table of Contents
You can preview the chapter outlines and first few chapters in the Handbook Outline or through the preview below:
Monthly release history
- June 2013 Released as an Open Sourced (no longer commercial) PDF eBook – download a little further down this page
- May 2010 First Edition (Release 10) – Edits made based on user feedback from Release 9
- April 2010 Release 9 – Completed “How screencasting works” and “Microphone technique”, the Handbook is over 120 pages long now
- April 2010 Release 8 – Completed “Distributing your screencast”, updated “Screencasting software”, completed “Common workflows”
- January 2010 Release 7 – Added “Export – which file formats do you need?” and extended “Screen resolution and your recording area”. Approximately 33,000 words and 94 pages.
- December Release 6 – Merged “A deeper look at the techniques behind screencasting” into “Making a screencast in 1-2 days”, added checklists to the three “Making a screencast in…” chapters, added two new examples to “What’s the value of screencasting?”. Handbook has approximately 25,000 words.
- November Release 5 – Wrote “Make a screencast in 2 hours” chapter, added “Distribution” chapter to talk about YouTube, Vimeo, Screencast.com and ShowMeDo.com. Handbook has approximately 13,000 words.
- October Release 4 – Added ‘Making a screencast in the next 30 minutes’ chapter and screencast, started an outline of the “Make a screencast in 2 hours” chapter
- September Release 3 – Second release, added examples recordings to Microphones section, expanded the Other Resources list, expanded “What’s the value of screencasting”
- August 2009 Release 2 – First release, chapter outlines and early chapter drafts
Get Questions Answered in the Screencasting Discussion
You are bound to have some questions that are more easily answered by talking to other screencasters. We have setup a Google Group to discuss screencasting, it is available to everyone. If your question isn’t answered in the Handbook then ask about it in the Group and we’ll update the Handbook.
- Paul McGovern’s The Ultimate Screencasting Guide
- Darryl Pendergrass’ Screencasting Review
- Paul Pival’s Review of The Screencasting Handbook
- Stéphane Wattier’s Un guide pour vos tutoriels vidéo (English translation)
- Gabriel Hasbun-Comandari’s Review of “The Screencasting Handbook” by Ian Ozsvald
Get your copy (now Open Sourced)
In June 2013 I open sourced this book, it is freely available under a Creative Commons License. According to the license I’ve chosen below you are free to make derivatives and commercial use of this book (without needing any further persmission from me) and you must give attribution back to this site (it would also be nice if you give additional attribution to my name “Ian Ozsvald” and my personal web site ianozsvald.com):
You can download the full PDF here: The Screencasting Handbook (May 2010, Release 10)
Past praise for The Screencasting Handbook:
“The Screencasting Handbook then is just such a guide, a comprehensive introduction to the world of screencasting with exploration of many of the fundamental concepts and practical advice on the production of screencasts with a variety of leading screencast development applications.” – see Paul McGovern’s review
I thank the following for their invaluable feedback during the development of this Handbook: Colleen McGuire, Horst Jens, Ghislain Fabre, Fred Grover, Dai Butt, Jerol Harrington, Tim Bower, Bob Walsh, Gabriel Hasbun, Alan Pope, Phil Shapiro, Silvio Grosso and John S. Richards. Also I thank Andy White for acting as my accountability buddy, he’s working on his Podcasting Unleashed book as I’m writing this book.