Constructive critique of ResolverOne’s BioPython screencast

ResolverSystems have just published a new screencast made by Jonathan Hartley (one of their engineers) showing how BioPython can be used from within one of their spreadsheets.  I’m going to give a brief critique here with two suggestions for improvements.  Here’s Jonathan’s screencast:

The Good:

  • The video is clear and the length is 3 minutes – this is a great length for a techy demo
  • The audio is well paced at a good volume – it is very easy to follow what’s being discussed
  • The use of PyMOL is great, the 3D molecular visualisation will stick in one’s mind long after the less visually stimulating spreadsheet elements are forgotten
  • At the start there’s a simple box diagram that shows the key concept – this is a nice way to easily show the user the high-level idea of the screencast
  • Some highlights are used, this is great for drawing the viewer’s attention to the areas being discussed
  • At the end we’re told how to get the files so we can replicate what we’ve seen – this is great if you’re interested in what you saw and you want to repeat the tutorial yourself
  • Feedback is also requested – again this is a great way to tell the interested viewer that they can talk back
  • The video is supplied via ResolverSystems, YouTube, Vimeo and ShowMeDo so it will get excellent exposure and it provides easy embedding options (I’ve used the YouTube embed option above)

Two suggestions:

  • The audio is a bit hissy.  I’m guessing that Camtasia Studio was used and that has a built-in de-noiser system that can remove the hiss.  Alternatively my Audacity tutorial for Camtasia gives further ideas for cleaning up the audio
  • There is an opening and closing slide but no email address (either personal or a more generic ‘info@’).  Some contact details might be nice if someone watched the video in YouTube or Vimeo

If you want to learn more about screencasting, check out my Screencasting Handbook.


To improve your screencasting knowledge you must read The Screencasting Handbook. The author (Ian Ozsvald) also blogs.
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