I am so thrilled that Michele Martin has started screencasting because I'm sure I'll learn something. No matter how much you might know about a topic, you need to keep try to stay in a state of perpetual learning. That's easy at the beginning (when you don't know about the topic enough or have mastered the skill to have developed some biases about how it should be done). There's always seems to be a point (for me at least) in my own learning where I loose this sense of discovery a little bit. So, rediscovering a topic through someone else's eyes can be exciting.
In her post, she reflects on some technical/production questions. In the comments, Sue Waters (who was nominated for a Best Blog at Edublog) points to some tips she wrote on her excellent blog in response to Michele's query.
This tip caught my eye: Use fixed width to capture and auto pan
Ideally, for most situations, when creating a screencast it is best to use a fixed region (640 wide by 480 high) and set the screen recording to autopan. Autopan means the region you are recording moves as you move the mouse. This means the text on the screen will be considerably easier to read as opposed to if you had recorded the entire desktop.
When I first started to record, I don't think I used auto pan and tried to do it manually and it was totally klutzy. So, the technique I ended up with was to capture the window and use zoom/pan in editing process. Very sparingly. Now, I'm curious to go back and make a screencast in Camtasia using auto pan and see what the difference might be.
Michele's screencast is about how reading, posting, and commenting all interact to extend knowledge about a topic and to expand the network of interactions.) This post may be even be a demonstration of that ... plus serendipity.
Usually, my morning ritual of RSS reader, email, and twitter and social networking dipping turn up some sort of pattern. This morning was no different.
- I read CogDogBlog's post "Participating in Other People's Spaces" where he points to Sue Water's post, "My Advice for Being A More Effective Blogger" by way of Stephen Downes. (I got to Allan's post because of the Stephen's daily email newsletter pointing to a different post)
- I discovered Michele's post this morning from a google alert. That's another part of the process, conversation monitoring. I monitor topics as well as my ego (my name, my blog url). Her post popped up twice - once for screencast and once for a link. So, of course, I click over and read it. And what do I find, Sue Water's post
- I left comments on both of those posts. Adding some thoughts about my own process. I also wanted to link the screencasting tips in my Screencasting Primer.
- Then I spent a few minutes thinking about the difference between Sue's approach to capture fixed screen size versus my approach to use zoom/pan in the editing process. (I also go cast a vote for Sue's blog over at Edublog) That lead to this post.
While I'm on the topic of screencasts, I was so pleased to discover that the Jing Project has a blog loaded with lots of good tips. This is another post that popped up in both my ego and screencasting tracking radars because of this post, "Use Jing To Make a Modern Scrapbook" which points to the screencast I made with my son Harry. Also, I made screencast of the week two weeks ago over at TechSmith. (Thanks Betsy)
I also wanted to point this post by Nils Geylen called "Screencasting Search for Narrative" which is about the whole idea of using a screencast to tell a story or anecdote. It's the genre that Michele is using in her screencast.
When does it make sense to tell the story with a screencast? How could you create a screencast that contributes to the extension of knowledge found in blogging? What are you tips for improving screencasts production quality?