FAQ: What Do I Do My Videos In?

One of the questions that I field, a lot, is what program to do I use to create my Real Studio Training (and other) videos?  The answer is ScreenFlow from Telestream.

When I first started thinking about training videos a little over 2 years ago I looked around and did my research.  ScreenFlow had most of what I wanted but the only thing it lacked (at the time) was an export to Flash.  I think within a matter of 3 or 4 months it was added in a new version.  I guess that’s one of the things I like about the software as they are always improving the product.

I think ScreenFlow is incredibly intuitive.  A simple interface starts and stop screen recording.  If you’ve ever used iMovie or Final Cut Pro to edit video the timeline editor is simple to figure out and intuit.  There are many options for zooming, and adding text and callouts, audio levels, cursor options, etc.  In other words, way too many features for me to spell out and frankly I use but a handful of them.

One of the bigger features that I use is the ability to Split a Clip and get rid of wasted time (like all the time I spend trying to figure out what I did wrong in my code, or redoing a sequence), or speeding up a long typing sequence.  Also, being able to mute the inevitable cough or the cell phone ringing is pretty important.

ScreenFlow has a number of exporting options but since it didn’t export to Flash (at the time) I ended up using iMedia Converter from iSkySoft.  It converts practically every audio and video format you can think of.  I used this to figure out the byzantine ways of getting Joomla to display both HTML5 video and Flash.  I could use ScreenFlows export now, but since I can do batch processing in iMedia Converter I can literally let it run overnight and do 40 or 50 videos if I need to.

One of the things I learned when doing the ARBP conferences was that good audio is critical.  Use a Plantronics gaming headset that plugs in via USB.  My only complain wasn’t with Plantronics, but with Apple.  If I recorded a video where I did recording for over 45 minutes, I would consistently have three minutes of static filled audio.  Then it would go away but it makes for bad audio at that point.  Sometimes it doesn’t affect anything and sometimes it does.  I haven’t done a really long video in a while so this problem might not be there now.

I talked earlier about Joomla and how I found it difficult to get video up and running.  Now our training is 100% Real Studio Web Edition.  Not that Web Edition is perfect, but I’ve been able to add more features to it in 4 months than I was able to do with Joomla with 2 years of trials and tribulations.  At least with Web Edition I have more control over the web app than I did with Joomla.

In fact we’ll be integrating closed captions to the training videos, first in English, and then hopefully in French and Spanish.  This is enough info for another post describing what a pain that’s been, but let’s just say that it’s coming “soon”-ish.  Currently I’m handling all of the PayPal transactions manually so there’s some delay between payment and me actually setting it up and we’re hoping in the next couple of weeks to get PayPal fully integrated so I don’t have to do any manual setup anymore.  Did I mention how much I like having more control over the app?

Anyway, this has turned into a longer post than I anticipated.  Thanks for your support!

3 thoughts on “FAQ: What Do I Do My Videos In?

  1. I don’t speak on my videos, it didn’t work for me. So I use callouts which I find a bit fiddley (at least in camtasia 3 which is what I use). What I would love is a feature that would automatically adjust the length of time a callout is visible for, depending on the wordcount. Ideally it would also extend frames if necessary so the screenshot doesn’t change, at least for callouts that point at stuff.

  2. @jjb
    ScreenFlow makes it easy to create a still frame and you can then make it as long as you want. I’ve done that a few times on voice overs. Creating a Text object is also time based, but you still have to manually set it. If you look at my videos I have a logo in the upper righthand corner (when I’m not doing the presentation). That is a graphics object dropped in and then I extend its time to the end of the video.

    I haven’t done much with callouts yet. Although, I tend to zoom in to an area that I’m working on so I guess I’m doing a callout-type action. I suspect I’ll be using callouts a lot when the new Real Studio IDE comes out.

  3. I’m a Camtasia 7 kind of guy, although I will check out Screenflow, as I am always open to new tools (it’s why I switched from TortoiseHg/Mercurial for source control after years of using TortoiseSVN). Voiceover? I was equipped with an impossibly thick Texas accent, and for years fretted about how it sounded in technical videos. Then I finally figured out it is technical content, not marketing, and users could give a rats rear what your voice sounds like as long as the video goes well and you know what you are talking about. Sales / marketign is a different story, but technical….finally freed myself from the “callout cocoon”.

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