Virtual handout to my CALI presentation, “Going Hollywood on Your Desktop”

As soon as I have it, I will post the link to the recording of my presentation at CALI 2014, “Going Hollywood on Your Desktop: How to Create Great Screen-Capture Video.” I am happy to answer questions in comments below.  Until then, here are some notes and links:


In the presentation, I outlined my process to create screen-capture video and some of my reasoning (my program of choice is Camtasia, and the way I work is based on my experience with it.  If you haven’t tried Camtasia, they offer a 30-day free trial that allows you to use the program in its entirety – no watermarking, no nonsense):

  1. Script
    I create a three-column script that includes what I will say, an idea of what will be shown on the screen, and how I intend to enhance or alter the visuals in post production (e.g. zooms, highlights, etc.)
  2. Create any visual assets needed for the production
    Usually just using PowerPoint (possibly with an assist from Photoshop).  These include title cards and any animations I will be using to illustrate concepts.
  3. Record all video – animation assets and live video
    I try to record in order because it makes my life easier when I am editing (I am able to name each clip in sequence, which keeps things easy to keep track of – if I decide to insert something after clip 2, the new clip becomes 2a).  I generally read the script out loud as I record, just to get general timing and also because it’s really easy to record too quickly and not leave enough time for the voice over to run.
  4. Rough edit
    Here is where I trim out the really excessive bits and frequently add callouts, which I can reposition later if the timing is poor.  Having the callouts in before I read the voice-over again helps with timing – I know I can breathe a little bit with a callout because they take time to fade in and out and they should be present long enough for the viewer to register their existence and meaning.
  5. Voice-over
    This is where I close my door, take deep breaths, and try to remember everything I ever learned in a misspent youth in the theatre.  Enunciation, taking time, reading for meaning.
  6. Fine edit
    Trim excess pauses, refine the timing of callouts and highlights, generally tighten the whole thing up.
  7. Add closed-captioning
    With the voice-over complete, I let the auto-caption process roll, then tighten it up using the original script to copy and paste when the text recognition software starts turning “citators” into “sigh taters.” Don’t bother doing this at the production level when you are using YouTube – they have their own closed captions which aren’t compatible with Camtasia.
  8. Add transitions
    Don’t add these until you are fairly sure you are finished editing – any trimming of video content at the ends of clips will break the associated transitions and you’ll have to re-add them.
  9. Produce & upload
    Select your file format and any additional production settings, and let your project render.  Upload final result.
  10. Profit!!!
    (with apologies to South Park)

Aspect ratios:

Educational video in action:


Great white shark with message:

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