Videos (Or: Screencasting and YouTube)

Another first for me. I made a screencasting video and uploaded it on YouTube! Screencasting means the viewer sees whatever is on my computer screen so I can show them how to do a task. (The video was work related so I won’t link to it here. But it was about searching our online catalog for books and journal articles.)

In the end the process was simple enough that I began to wonder why I hadn’t tried it last summer. But oh well – the main reason for getting the videos started was to have them available for the students (and my replacement) after I left this job. All of the software I used was free, though I did borrow a speaker and USB headset from IT.

I used CamStudio, which is similar to Camtasia. This software records what is on your screen, and optionally any audio. Note that audio will increase your file size so if you don’t need it, keep it off. One nice thing was cursor highlighting which makes it easy for the viewer to follow your mouse.

I downloaded the codec that they suggested on the CamStudio page, however, I ended up going with the Xvid codec which I highly recommend. The codec page also mentions the CamStudio settings that I ended up using.

Some stumbling blocks that I eventually got past:

1.) The 1 pixel bug. Sometimes you have to set the width and height 1 pixel less than what you want, to get what you actually want.

2.) The “Xvid status window” keeps appearing bug – easy fix described.

3.) “No matter what I do, audio won’t record” – this one took 45 minutes of my life away! Apparently the default option for Camtasia is “Do not record audio” and I didn’t realize I needed to select something else. This is in the same dropdown menu with the audio options, but I missed it. Until I went to this thread. Doh.

Once I got that sorted, I was able to record a video and upload it to YouTube. (Argh. Another Google account?! But it’s okay, I can just have the email forward to the joint work address the librarians share.) But YouTube was fine – and a lot easier to use than I first suspected.

All in all, I was very surprised by how easy it was to do. The only drawback is human error – it’s so easy to make a mistake and have to start all over again. I had a script prepared in advance. And don’t be fooled by the technical questions you find on CamStudio’s website or Google results – it’s not as hard as it looks. And no – I have zero idea what a codec is, but I got it to work out alright. I made another two videos this morning and have about another 10-12 to go.

Now if I could just make my voice sound like what I hear my voice as…

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Videos (Or: Screencasting and YouTube)

  1. Nice job Niki!!

  2. You are simply amazing Niki! Good show. Virginia

    • Thank you! Up to 6 videos so far. Probably 6-8 more to go before the freshman arrive in just over two weeks…

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