Camera-Shy No More: Creating Screencast Videos for Your Business

Video is hot these days. Your clients love them, your prospects love them, Google loves them (when they’re on YouTube, anyway!).

Video HTMLcodeBut what’s an introvert to do? How can I have video on my website if I really really don’t want to be on camera? Or if I don’t own a video camera?

Easy. Create a screencast video instead!

It’s not that I’m shy about being on camera or up in front of people.  And in fact I’ll be adding video-of-me (called full motion video) to my website in the near future. But for my first foray into creating video, I didn’t yet have a camera. And even now that I’ve got one, since we’re currently renovating the blazes out of our house (and I work from my home office) it’s a rare day indeed when I don’t have contractors tromping through and making all sorts of interesting and loud and distracting noises during the day. So if I want to record anything, I have to do it at night – which is fine for audio, but tough for video unless you have a full studio with lots of lights. Which I don’t.

To get started, then, I created a screencast video instead. Think of it as a pre-recorded webinar! It was a way to get across a chunk of content, by using slides with voiceover.  Here it is:

I used Camtasia from TechSmith. They have all sorts of tools and services to help you create, use, and integrate video into your business. You can even get started with quick little screencasts by using their free tool Jing.

You can do voiceovers in PowerPoint (part of Microsoft Office), and likely in whatever the native presentation app is for Mac and in OpenOffice. But I’ve never had a lot of luck getting the sound and slides to sync up.

Camtasia is screen recording and video editing software. There are other screen recording software apps available – you could even use one of the online screensharing or webinar sites to record the presentation. I like Camtasia because it can do so much more!

I created my slides in PowerPoint. Actually, I already had most of them done, as this video is an excerpt from a longer presentation I’ve done live a number of times. I wanted to keep it shorter for online viewing.

Once my slides were done, and I had my notes ready to go, I practiced a few times to make sure I could coordinate changing the PowerPoint slide, turning my notes pages, working my microphone. I do use a good mic that connects to my computer, not the mic in my webcam. The sound is far better from this mic: Audio-Technica 2020USB.

Then I set up Camtasia to record my screen. I played with that a little to get the size and aspect ratio right. I knew I wanted to create a video of a certain size for posting to YouTube and possibly including in my own site. So I set the Camtasia recording window to that size, and then resize the PowerPoint slideshow to fit into the space.

And recorded!  Because I talk about my slides rather than read from them, I had to move from slide to slide manually; I couldn’t set up the slideshow to change slides every so many seconds.

Took two takes to get everything working and recorded the way I wanted, but once I got the hang of it the process went smoothly. Next time I do something like this I’d record a bunch in succession, because the most time-consuming part is getting all the bits set up to work together.

A big advantages to using Camtasia is how it can edit video. So I could have added an intro and an outro: pre-recorded little snippets that you can use as standard opening and closing clips. I could have added a music soundtrack behind my voice for background music.

Finalize the recording, export it from Camtasia, and there you have it: a recording I uploaded to my YouTube channel.

I did end up buying a video camera (the Kodak PlayTouch Zi10). Now that Kodak has phased out its camera lines, I hope I’ll be able to continue to get support for it.  Otherwise I’ll sell it (or trickle it down to my kids) and get something else.

Now that I have it, though, I want to try creating a combination of full motion video and screencast video! I want to use Camtasia to record the screencast the same way I did before, but set the video camera up to record me at the same time doing the presentation live. That way I should end up with one soundtrack and two video tracks, all synced together. Then I’ll use Camtasia to switch between the two views, and export a really cool combination video. I hope!

Do you use video on your website? Is it full motion video of you, or screencasts, or both? What do you use to record and edit?


  1. Lossless recording (Camtasia Studio default) is ideal for capturing typical screen content—websites, various software applications, and PowerPoint presentations. Lossless recording suffers when you try to capture things with a lot of motion—like a streaming video, a video game, and so forth.