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Screencasting Tip: Self-Dub the Audio

Dec 26, 2010 • general

One of the most difficult elements of screencasting is getting good audio. I implemented a technique in my last video that I thought worked quite well. I'm calling this the Self-Dub technique. Here's what you do. Whether you write out a script beforehand or not, it doesn't really matter. Just record the screencast while simultaneously narrating. After the screencast, proceed through each of the sentences and dub over them.

For example, listen to about 10 seconds of audio, then silence the selection. Re-record that sentence with a new voice narration and add insert it there. It sounds tedious, but you can make your way through a three-minute screencast in about 30 minutes. You can voice-dub everything, even the parts that sound good. This may allow for a more seamless replacement. (If the audio you're dubbing sounds seamless with the existing audio, then you can only dub the parts you want.)

When you're done, you'll have a bunch of little 10 second audio clips strung together. In Camtasia Studio, go to File > Produce Special and export the audio. Then clean up the audio a bit and reimport it back into the screencast, deleting all the little 10 second audio clips. The result is a clean audio script that perfectly fits the timing of the screen actions.

The seamless match with the timing is main advantage of using this method. If you weren't recording a screencast, this technique probably wouldn't make much sense. But screencasts, at least the software tutorial kind, have intricate timing between the mouse actions and the voice. The voice has to describe exactly what you're doing on the screen in the moment you're doing it. This Voice-Dub technique allows you to preserve the timing while simultaneously cleaning up the audio.


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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.