One of the biggest marketing tools you have at your disposal is the power of video. If you don't have video on your site, you're missing out on a big opportunity to showcase your credibility. In the end, customers don't give a whit about your products or services. They want to know that they can trust you, and video goes a long way in establishing that expertise.
But what if you don't have fancy lights and video equipment?
You don't need fancy schmancy stuff. You can do very well with a simple screen video.
You know what a screen video is, don't you? A screen video (or screencast, as its sometimes called) is you sitting at your computer recording what's happening on your screen. You could be recording a presentation. Or demonstrating or teaching software features, seminars and other instructional information.
Yet at the moment you sit down to do this screen video you run into a logistical nightmare.
You have to have your slides/screen ready. You have to record your voice. You have to make sure the slides move ahead correctly. You have to hit the record button at the right time. And inevitably all this juggling leads to crappy screen videos. And only editing or a whole new recording will save the day.
Which as you can guess is a waste of time. And usually when there's a time waster, there's a time-saver. So let's look at way to not just save time, but make far more conversational screen videos as well.
So what's the best way to record screen video/slides?
Step 1: Record the video first.
Step 2: Record the audio next.
Step 3: Import the audio and place it at the correct spot.
Step 4: You've now achieved a video without juggling or the need for any edit.
Step 1: Record the video first
Most of us may balk at having to record the video first. This is because we're not sure how much time we'll need to describe what's happening on screen. And so what I use is a simple rule of thumb.
When you're recording the screen video, allow for about five-seven seconds. The brain takes about a second to recognise what's on the screen. Then it has to pay attention to the audio, and what you're teaching. So my rule of thumb is five-seven seconds.
So what do I mean by ‘five-seven seconds?'
When you are recording the video, let's say you move from slide 1 to slide 2. Let the slide sit on screen for five-seven seconds. Then if you have the next slide, let it sit for five-seven seconds. Then the next slide again for five-seven seconds.
When you watch the videos below, notice how that five-seven-seconds rule has been broken. So the slides seem to pop up so fast, that your brain struggles to cope. If on the other hand each animation/slide movement had about five-seven seconds, then you'd see the picture, listen to the audio and still have a second to absorb the information.
This is why it's important to have only ONE message per slide.
In the video below you'll see that rule too has been broken. Some slides have two and three messages. And it leaves your brain scrambling, because you're struggling to keep up at all times. So if you have just one message per slide, then the viewer has to concentrate on just one point. And both the reader and you get the breathing space to cover the point in adequate detail.
Which then takes us to Step 2: Recording the Audio
Now's the time to add the audio, and this can be easily done by attaching a USB microphone (Most USB mics are in the range of US$65-250). The advantage of recording audio later is two-fold:
1) You don't have to focus on several things at a time.
2) If you make a mistake with the audio, you don't have to stop the video, as the audio is being recorded separately.
So let's get down to how to record the audio to sync with the video
Just play the video. And then comment on what's happening on screen. Think of this commentary as if you were showing photos of your recent vacation. When you're showing your friends/relatives photos of your vacation, you simply comment on what they're seeing.
Use the same technique with your slides. Merely comment on what's showing up on screen. This commentary, as it were, will keep your voice nice and relaxed instead of the rush-rush voice that you hear on most screen videos.
But what if the video moves ahead and you're still commenting?
It's not a problem at all. In movies and TV shows, the audio often continues, even as the scene changes. Again, think of it as commentary on your recent vacation. If you were showing the photos to someone, you could easily move to the next photo, even as you were commenting on the previous photo. It's something we do every day, and as long as you have that five-seven second buffer, you should have a decent amount of time to say what you need and then move the slide ahead.
Step 3: Make sure the audio and the video layers are in sync
To record this video, you're either going to have to use a software like Camtasia (available both for Mac and PC) or Screenflow (Mac only). And you'll find that you can record the audio and video in separate layers (yes it's very easy to do it, believe me).
And then you can move the layers accordingly. So if you want the audio to start after some music, you can do that by moving the layers forwards or backwards. It's not rocket science and if you play with the software for just a little while, you'll get the hang of it.
Step 4: You've got a video that doesn't require enormous editing
Because you separated the layers, you don't have to keep re-shooting the screen video over and over again. If you make a mistake with the video section, you can clean it up before you get to the audio. And if you make a mistake with the audio, then you don't have to touch the video—all you have to do is fix the mistake with the audio.
But should each slide be just five-seven seconds long?
Not necessarily. Five-seven seconds is approximately what you need to get a simple message across, but a slide could be as long as eight-ten seconds long, depending on what you have to cover.
I'd recommend three-five seconds of course, but if you feel you need to speak longer on a specific slide, then use eight to ten seconds as your benchmark. As you play with your first video in this new first-video-then-audio format, you'll get the hang of what works for you.
You may not think this is a huge time saver until you get down to making a screen video. I've spent so many hours fiddling around trying to edit, that I had to invent something that worked simply and effectively. But don't take my word for it.
Try it out for yourself.
The advantages are simple:
1) Less editing time.
2) Nice, conversational commentary.
3) No longer having to do ten things at once.
Next Step: Want to learn more about Presentation Techniques? Find the entire presentation series in text, audio with cartoons!
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