Apr 11 2007

High Quality Screen Recordings

Published by at 7:25 pm under Technology   

At Oasis Digital we’ve found that we can communicate effectively with each other and with customers, across time and space, using screen + audio recording (also called screencasts or screen videos). We use these to demonstrate a new feature, to explain how code works, to described how a new feature should work, etc. The communication is not as good as a live, in-person meeting/demo, but the advantages often outweigh that factor:

  1. No travel.
  2. No need to syncronize schedules.
  3. The receiving person can view the recording repeatedly, at their convenience.
  4. Customers and develoeprs who join the project team later, can look at old recordings to catch up.

It turns out that I am unusually picky about the quality of such recordings; I’ve written up some technical notes on how to get good results, and posted them: HighQualityScreenRecordings.pdf.

A few highlights:

  • A reasonably fast computer can both run application and record screen video at the same time; but if you will be recording the use of an application that generates a lot of disk activity, you must save the video to separate hard drive (internal, external, network server, etc.) from the hard drive you are running your OS and applications from. (For applications that generate little disk activity, a single system hard drive works fine.)
  • Use a headset-style microphone, and record in a quiet place: close the door, turn off the music, etc.
  • Adjust your audio levels well. Please. This is the most common and most annoying problem with screencast and podcast recordings I find.
  • Bytes are cheap; use a sufficiently large window and sufficiently high bitrate.

Many more details are in the PDF linked above.

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