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Document 360: #1 Knowledge Base Software

Upcoming Webinar on Screencasting

by Tom Johnson on Dec 14, 2009 •
categories: technical-writing

This weekend my wife and I had dinner with some of her blogger friends. As I was getting to know the family, one of the children (age 12) showed me some of the stop-motion videos he'd put on youtube. He also had a string of video tutorials he made for Starcraft as well, which he created using Camtasia Studio.

The videos aren't the work of a young film genius -- they're simple little screencasts on how to do certain things in video games. What struck me is his natural movement towards this visual, dynamic format when he wanted to communicate technical instruction.

Can you imagine him -- instead of creating screencasts -- writing long pages of text that explain Starcraft tasks and strategies? Yet this is ultimately what we do when we hand customers a thick manual.

In my upcoming webinar on screencasting this Wednesday, I'll outline ten steps to get started with screencasting. The approaches and techniques you could use to create screencasts vary widely, but I plan to focus on simple strategies for technical writers with documentation scenarios.

Here are my ten steps to create a screencast:

  1. Write a script or outline.
  2. Practice the steps.
  3. Find a quiet place.
  4. Set up your microphone.
  5. Set up a video camera.
  6. Set the recording dimensions.
  7. Record the screencast.
  8. Apply post-processing.
  9. Produce the video in the right format.
  10. Publish the screencast.

For users completely new to an application, a short video that helps them get a basic grounding -- where they can see how to do a task -- can be a lot more helpful and enlightening than written text.

We'll have a lot to talk about in an one hour. If you're interested, sign up for the webinar. It's at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 16. You can contact me with questions as well. My blog is I'd Rather Be Writing, and I cover the latest trends in technical communication.

Screencasting webinar on Dec. 16
Screencasting webinar on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. EST
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