Ian Ozsvald has created over 170 screencasts since 2005, from 30 second tours to 30 minute lessons. He co-founded the screencast tutorial site ShowMeDo in 2005 (used by 50,000 people a month) and founded the professional screencasting company ProCasts in 2008. He also blogs at IanOzsvald.com, encourages entrepreneurs at the £5 App event and occasionally lectures on Artificial Intelligence at Sussex University (UK).
Paul Pival has written a lovely short review of The Screencasting Handbook, his review is for Release 8 which came out in early April (Edition 1 should be Release 10 to come out around the end of April):
“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”
The Screencasting Handbook now stands at just over 120 pages (I’ll release this new version over the weekend) and the text is pretty much complete – you can buy it here.
Once the new release is out the price will inch up by another few dollars, to secure the current $33USD price get your copy quickly. The finished version will retail at $39USD, this will include a set of screencasts (which I’ll be recording before the end of the month).
I’ve just pushed out release 8 (April 2010) of The Screencasting Handbook, these are the new sections:
“Distributing your screencast” is now finished, it covers common sites like YouTube and Vimeo, how to self-host with techniques like FTP and Amazon’s S3+CloudFront and how to use off the shelf video players like FlowPlayer and the JW Player
“Common workflows” discussing ShowMeDo and my ProCasts workflows will give you ideas for efficiently producing your screencast
“Screencast software” lists all the major screencast recording and playback tools
I intend to finish writing the book at the end of this month, during the final week of April I will be recording a set of introductory screencasts for Camtasia, BBFlashBack, Camtasia Mac, and ScreenFlow along with some technique videos.
The price remains $27USD until this Monday when it will go up to $33USD – if you want to buy at the lower price you have a few days to buy the Handbook. As always I offer a “get your money back if you’re not happy” guarantee.
On January 27th here in Brighton I’m co-running a SkillSwap evening, I’ll spend 45 minutes teaching screencasting (based on a Mac) and Andy White will spend 45 minutes teaching podcasting. We’ll cover planning, recording, editing, distributing and mics between us.
Free and commercial tools on a Mac (and Windows/Linux if requested)
Recording your first screencast with Jing and hosting it on the Web
Planning your screencast so it meets the needs of your audience
The differences between a sales/marketing screencast and a tutorial
Using ScreenFlow to record, edit and produce a screencast and then upload it to YouTube
Hosting your own screencast and other distribution options
If you bring a laptop then I can get you started with the free Jing so you can walk away with a recording and hosting solution for Mac and Windows.
If you’re in Brighton then the event is free, see details in Upcoming and sign-up on EventBrite. SkillSwap has been running for years – cheers to Nat and James for finding a spot for us.
Madgex will be sponsoring beer and nibbles, the atmosphere will be relaxed and friendly. Nat is recording the audio for a podcast and I intend to record a video of the evening for distribution via Vimeo (but of course that won’t be the same as being there and being able to ask questions!).
As promised just before Christmas the next release of The Screencasting Handbook is now available. Release 7 adds “Export – which file formats do you need?” so you know how to export your screencast so it works for your own distribution and in sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
HD examples for Vimeo and YouTube (with links to video examples in both sites for various export settings)
Export settings for MP4, FLV, iPhones (using MP4)
Codecs vs File Containers with a summary of all the types you’ll find
If you don’t know whether YouTube is right for you vs hosting in your own site and whether a 4:3 normal aspect ratio of 16:9 widescreen is best then the new 17 pages and 10 demo videos will sort you out.
I’ve also extended the discussion about recording resolutions in the previous chapter (“Screen resolution and your recording area”) so you record at the right aspect ratio and resolution to fit your export format.
If this is your first time here then check out Paul’s review, he’s written a nice description of what’s in the book.
To get your copy either buy it (fully in the knowledge that it is 2/3 written but not yet finished) or join the notifications list. I offer a full refund at any time if you buy it and find that the Handbook doesn’t tell you what you need to know.
“…up until now there really hasn’t been a standard point of reference for those interesed in the concept or who wish to learn more. The Screencasting Handbook then is just such a guide, a comprehensive introduction to the world of screencasting…”
The book is currently at release 6 (release 7 is under way as I type), Paul notes this and is supportive:
Even in it’s incomplete form The Screencasting Handbook makes for very informative and engaging reading for those interested in screencast production. The book caters for novices and experts alike and even those who consider themselves well exposed to the concept should find something of interest here.
If you’re ready to get your heavily discounted copy of the Handbook, buy it here. If you’d like to be kept informed, visit the homepage and join the mailing list – it is a low-volume list where I send you updates telling you about the new topics that are covered (and warning you of upcoming price rises as the book becomes more complete).
I’ve just released the next update to The Screencasting Handbook – with this update the book has doubled in size to 77 pages. The current version is Revision 6, you can see the full table of contents on the homepage.
The important additions are:
New “Making a screencast in 1-2 days” chapter, it is 30 pages long and contains a lot of my hard-learned experience from the last 5 years
Addition of 3 sets of checklists for each of the 3 “Making a screencast in …” chapters, these will ensure that you never miss an important step before you invest time making your screencast
Addition of 2 new examples in the “What’s the value of screencasting?” chapter
File export settings to follow and then more tutorial screencasts
In the first week of January I’ll release another update that covers file export formats and discusses how to export crisp screencasts in the right format with a small file size.
After the January update I’ll begin work on a new set of screencasts that show you how to use Camtasia (Win), Camtasia (Mac), ScreenFlow (Mac) and RecordMyDesktop (Linux) to record and edit your first full screencast.
Buying your copy
I’m releasing an update every month, the intention is to finish the Handbook early in 2010. The current price is $27, this is almost a 1/3 discount from the price of $39 that will be in place when the book is finished. Visit the homepage and join the mailing list to get a purchase link to buy your copy now.
Why must you join the mailing list?
I’m very aware that people normally buy books that are finished and this Handbook is a constant work in progress. I want purchasers to be on the mailing list (you can of course get off of it at any time!) so they get my update emails and they know that I’m releasing improvements every month.
I’m having a problem with .FLV video recording on Mac and Linux machines using vnc2flv and vnc2swf. I’m playing with automated screencasting ideas and I like the idea of using VNC-based tools. I can generate .SWF files without a probem, .FLV output from both programs causes a weirdly flashing screen.
Update – problem solved. The underlying problem was that VLC wasn’t playing the .FLV video correctly. Using other video players (e.g. ffplay, MPlayer, SWF and FLV Player) the .FLV renders correctly on both Ubuntu and Mac. Thanks Brian.
Update – I’ve added some notes on the far more successful Windows test at the end.
I’ve recorded the problem for both programs (including an example of correct behaviour for SWF output):
I’m using the most recent versions of each program:
x11vnc 0.9.9 as the VNC server (it exports localhost:0 for the two recorders)
vnc2flv is an update of vnc2swf which just exports an FLV video. The command line I use is:
For vnc2swf I change the output filename (using -o) to switch between FLV and SWF output:
./vnc2swf.py -n -o test.swf localhost:0
./vnc2swf.py -n -o test.flv localhost:0
As you’ll see in the video for the FLV output I get a weirdly flashing screen (it flashes the screen, then black, then the screen, then black…). For SWF output the results are fine.
This behaviour is the same on my MacBook and on two Ubuntu 9.10 machines (one with an ATI card, the other with an NVIDIA card).
Via vnc2swf I can convert the SWF to an FLV using edit.py. This converts the SWF into an equivalent FLV (with no flashing nonsense), so presumably the underlying FLV encoding library is working.
Does anyone have any ideas as to what I’m getting wrong? The author of vnc2flv has a demo video which shows it working fine on a Linux machine using x11vnc but otherwise I don’t see many posts about the tool and none that address my problem.
Update – compiling on Windows:
To compile vnc2flv on Windows you need to install MingW32, add the path (probably c:\mingw32\bin) to the system PATH and then compile using this line (which is different to the line it suggests you use when you first run ‘python setup.py install’):
This post accompanies the Internet Marketing Podcast post, I was interviewed by Andy White on the hows and whys of screencasting for software marketing. These are the links that were mentioned in the podcast.
My interview runs for the last 20 minutes (from 0:37:00 to 0:52:00):
To see how you could make your first screencast watch my ‘Making a screencast in the next 30 minutes‘ tutorial. It uses the free Jing and I’ve embedded the resulting screencast (via screencast.com) so you can see what the result looks like.
If you have screencasting questions do come and join this Handbook’s Google Group. The Group is free to join and we have 100 screencasters (on Mac, Windows and Linux) with different levels of experience and tools.
This is a quick post (see the longer post on my personal blog: Open Sourcing “The Screencasting Handbook”). I have just open sourced this eBook as a free book (it has been commercial for 3 years) as some of the content (mainly relating to software packages) is looking a little old now. The techniques and […]
I’ve just started a three part guest post series on Freelance Advisor, the first entry is “Communicating more effectively with screencasts“. The goal of the first post is to show freelancers how they could use screencasts to improve their business, in particular: Avoid meetings by sharing progress reports with screencasts Communicating more effectively with clients […]
Some of you know that I built my professional screencasting company ProCasts during 2009 into the UK’s largest screencasting agency. I’ve decided to move away from professional screencasting (don’t worry – I’m still working on this Handbook!) and so the business of ProCasts is up for sale. If you’re building your own professional screencasting brand […]
Hello everyone, I purchased the Screencasting Handbook about three months ago, and am finally digging in. I was hoping for a more detailed section on workflow as there are so many ways to go about it. I have a small recording studio in my home, so I separately record the audio and video to