The Freelancers’ Show 071 – Recording Video

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Panel Jim Gay (twitter github blog) Reuven Lerner (twitter github blog) Ashe Dryden (twitter github blog) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 01:16 - Screencasting Backgrounds Teach Me To Code 03:41 - Software ScreenFlow FFmpeg Jing Camtasia Final Cut Pro Screeny QuickTime Adobe Premier Pro CC Screenr 10:10 - Features Ease of Use Export Formats Add-ons Quality Readable Text 16:04 - Sound 16:26 - Modifier Keys 17:01 - Highlighting OmniDazzle 17:19 - Talking and Explaining during Screencasts Notes PeepCode Teaching Developers | Free PeepCode Blog 20:32 - Presentation Software Keynote Present.js VideoHive After Effects Apple Motion 26:04 - Recording Lectures/Vlogging 28:51 - Getting Work via Screencasts 30:52 - Equipment Audio/Speaker Quality 32:54 - Audio Encoding HandBrake 35:41 - Hosting YouTube Vimeo Libsyn Amazon S3 OneLoad Blip.tv LeadPlayer 41:31 - Subtitles & Transcripts Picks Bookends (Reuven) Boomerang for Gmail (Ashe) OpenEmu (Ashe) Archive.org list of MAME roms (Ashe) Logitech Gamepad F710 (Ashe) LeadPlayer (Eric) Seth Godin: Clients vs. Customers (Eric) The Freelancer's Guide to Long-Term Contracts by Eric Davis (Eric) Flowdock (Jim) OneLoad (Chuck) AudioJungle (Chuck) VideoHive (Chuck) Create Awesome Online Courses (Chuck) Book Club Getting Things Done with David Allen! He will join us for an episode to discuss the book on July 30th. The episode will air on August 7th. Next Week Saying No Transcript CHUCK: That's why my kids call onto this to, "Daddy, did you make lots of words about that?" [Laughter] ASHE: That's what I do for a job, honey! CHUCK: [Laughs] Yeah! [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.][you're fantastic at code, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? the upcoming book, next level freelance, will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. the book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients, and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. extras include: 9 interviews with freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. check it out today at nextlevelfreelance.com!] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 71 of The Freelancers' Show! This week on our panel, we have Jim Gay. JIM: Hello! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi there! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hey! CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we're going to be talking about "Screencasting and Making Videos" and that kind of stuff. I'm a little curious, I know Eric, you've done some screencasts and some video stuff, have any of the rest of you done much? ASHE: I actually do it for end-user training, especially when I'm building something that people going to have to go on in like put content in. A lot of times, I will do videos for them and then transcribe them, so that's basically the documentation for them. CHUCK: That makes sense. JIM: Yeah, I'll do the same thing, but I'll use it for anybody, either like a project manager giving them my high-level overview of something, or a user showing them how to use something, or a developer like, "Here's how I attack those bit of code," something like that. CHUCK: Some of the folks on the show will know that I did Teach Me To Code for about 2 years and I did a whole bunch of screencasts for that. I do some screencasting for my clients, but not really a whole lot. Most of the time, they are technical enough to understand it. And if they aren't,

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CHUCK: That's why my kids call onto this to, "Daddy, did you make lots of words about that?" [Laughter] ASHE: That's what I do for a job, honey! CHUCK: [Laughs] Yeah! [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.] [You're fantastic at code, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance, will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients, and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include: 9 interviews with freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today at nextlevelfreelance.com!] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 71 of The Freelancers' Show! This week on our panel, we have Jim Gay. JIM: Hello! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi there! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hey! CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we're going to be talking about "Screencasting and Making Videos" and that kind of stuff. I'm a little curious, I know Eric, you've done some screencasts and some video stuff, have any of the rest of you done much? ASHE: I actually do it for end-user training, especially when I'm building something that people going to have to go on in like put content in. A lot of times, I will do videos for them and then transcribe them, so that's basically the documentation for them. CHUCK: That makes sense. JIM: Yeah, I'll do the same thing, but I'll use it for anybody, either like a project manager giving them my high-level overview of something, or a user showing them how to use something, or a developer like, "Here's how I attack those bit of code," something like that. CHUCK: Some of the folks on the show will know that I did Teach Me To Code for about 2 years and I did a whole bunch of screencasts for that. I do some screencasting for my clients, but not really a whole lot. Most of the time, they are technical enough to understand it. And if they aren't, then a lot of times, I'll just send them a picture with a big arrow on it, "Click here to get to the feature." Because if they're fairly involved, that's all you have to say; you can point out what's new and then make them go and do it from there. What about you, Eric? ERIC: I've done stuff for clients. There's 2 ways that I do it that works the best I found. If there's a bug, especially if it's like a UI or interaction bug, I'll record it because sometimes you can't say like how JavaScript toggles or if stuff flashes on the screen. The second way is to kind of, I'll document or I'll write it in the screencast like, "Hey, this is what I'm thinking of how it would work. You click here, you go here, and you go here," so it kind of like a workflow. I do it especially on Prototypes to kind of work through how it would work that's not ready to go like on a stage and environment, or like I said, if it's an actual Prototype. I also use screencast and kind of (I don't know what you call them) like recorded presentation type things for marketing stuff, and that seems work pretty good especially when you compose stuff on YouTube and have it public. CHUCK: I guess I've done that, too, for my courses because I've done plenty of screen recording usually with a slide deck or something. ERIC: Is that what you call Screen Recording? CHUCK: I don't know. I don't know if it's technically a screencast if you're just flipping through slides, but it's handy! ERIC: Yeah. CHUCK: And then I've also done demo videos for my courses as well. What software do you guys use? ERIC: It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm doing like a presentation, I typically just use ScreenFlow on the Mac we have. That's basically where I edit stuff because Linux video editors just aren't that good. But, I typically edit in ScreenFlow. But if I'm recording actual code or stuff like that -- I can't remember where I got this script from -- but it basically uses FFmpeg and records what your Linux window end system, what it's actually displaying. It's basically like recording your screen, but it's a very, very high-quality. I actually do that to record off my editor if I'm debugging or find a bug, and then I throw it on the Mac through our network; it can actually render it out into something that a client can see. That's pretty much it. I'll either host it on S3 or put on YouTube, depending on if it's going to be public or a private thing. REUVEN: Eric, I'm curious, the little bit of screencasting that I've done or putting them together, I've just used ScreenFlow on my Mac. What's the advantage of recording in your Linux Box over just using ScreenFlow? ERIC: Basically, my Linux system is my main system so if I'm doing any kind of programming like showing how Emacs works or whatever, if I did it on the Mac, I'd be slower because the keyboards are different and I'd have to basically remote into my main system in order to do my work. So it's easier just to record the Audio/Video on my laptop, in the environment where things set up locally, and then just transfer that file and do the editing on the Mac. But if it's, like I said, a presentation or I'm just in a browser clicking through, I can just do it on the Mac because it doesn't need anything. ASHE: I use Jing, which is really easy and very pared down, mostly because a lot of the videos that I do are pretty short. They are generally under 5 minutes because most people are referring back to the documentation. They just want the one specific action that they're looking to do; they're not necessarily looking for 25-minutes of how to do everything. So I do short videos, and Jing is pretty great for that. CHUCK: Yeah, I have to say, Jing is real nice and I've used it before. The nice thing about Jing, too, is that it's cross-platform; it'll run on Windows or Mac. And yeah, you just do a one or two-minute screen capture and then it actually host the video for you and everything else so it's really, really handy way to go. ERIC: I think Jing is made by the same company that makes Camtasia, which is a really great software for Windows screencast; back when I worked on a company, we're doing some of that. I think it's a bit more powerful than ScreenFlow, but ScreenFlow is Mac only. But I think Jing is really great for entry-level stuff, and then when you want to get into heavier editing, Camtasia is basically the next step up. I believe both of them lets you either upload it automatically, or do some kind of hosting with their host itself so you can record something in Jing, send it to some web-accessible place, and then send the link over to a client right away. CHUCK: Uhm-hmm. ASHE: I like Jing, too, because it's easy for clients to understand. At times, if they are having a hard time putting into words a bug that they are finding and you need to actually be able to see the entire thing so screenshots won't work, I've actually got them to record basically what they're doing through Jing. CHUCK: Yeah, it works really well for that. I've used Camtasia and ScreenFlow. Camtasia does seem to be a little bit more fully-featured. But the thing I like about ScreenFlow is that it's just very simple interface; it seems like it's much more that way, than Camtasia. So I started out on Camtasia and I moved over to ScreenFlow, and I haven't looked back. I really, really like it. ERIC: With video editing, there's definitely tiers. You got Jing, where it's only basic, and you got ScreenFlow, and then Camtasia, and Final Cut Pro. It depends on how high up you want to go. I learned it this way, and this is how I've always done it, try do it in one cut, try to make it very simple, and do minimal editing because editing is where you suck all the time on it. I've seen figures anywhere from 4-10 times; they lengthen the screencast to do editing on it. If you can just do it in one cut and then just turn the beginning on end, and upload it and be done of it, that's the best thing to do. JIM: I've done a lot with Jing. I also use one called "Screeny", I think it's for Mac only, and it's good. I haven't never really used screencasting for like production-quality-I'm-selling-this-video stuff, so I really don't have an opinion. I'm just like quickly recording things to show somebody how to do it. But also, I think the built-in QuickTime player can record your screen as well. So you don't really have to go looking if you've got QuickTime installed; you just try using that. ERIC: You just got to be really careful, especially with QuickTime. Unless you're on a Mac, it's really easy to upload stuff that people can't watch even if you have QuickTime on Windows. It's video codecs, video containers, all that stuff. Even on Linux where I install every driver you can find, you're still going to have these videos where the audio won't play, or the audio are a bit choppy, or the video won't play, or just random stuff, and it's like this on Windows, too. Basically, if you record and upload using a Mac, that's something you're going to have to test especially like a VM or something, it's the best thing to do. CHUCK: I have to say, I have Adobe Premier Pro, which is their Final Cut equivalent. They're really kind of power tools; they have a million options on them, and I found them somewhat difficult to use. I mean I need more training before I really am comfortable getting into them. But they both come with features either, I think it's After Effects for Adobe and Motion for Final Cut, and then you can do all the effects and things like that that you want to do with your other stuff. Is there any other software for recording that we want to talk about before we get into things like 'Effects' and stuff like that? ERIC: Yeah, I haven't used this myself, but I've heard about it. It's "Screenr", S-C-R-E-E-N-R, there's no 'E' in it. It's supposed to be like a web-based one where somehow -- I don't even know if it's using flash or something -- but somehow you can go there, start recording, and record your screen all through the browser; you don't have to use like desktop software. I've heard some people use that for clients because clients probably is, they're not going to have a ScreenFlow around to record, but they're seeing so they send people there. And typically, a couple of minutes, maybe even less than a minute, just have their client record a screencast and it has someone to fix or something. I haven't use it, but I've heard some good stuff about it. CHUCK: Nice. REUVEN: When you guys say that one program is better than another, what was the features do they have that make them better and make them easier? Is it just the UI, or their actual features that you use? I'm telling you, I use ScreenFlow and I feel overwhelmed by the features that they have there because the little that I need to do is just the tip of the iceberg of what it offers. JIM: That's one of the things that has kept me from buying anything bigger. I thought about getting other software and I look at what they do and I'm just like, "You know what, I just need to [chuckles] record a simple screencast," even though I may want to grow into other things and do like commercial screencast without really getting into my flow. Something like Jing is perfect; you just turn it on and say, "Alright, I'm going to record this area of the screen, go!" and that's good enough. ERIC: The big thing for me is export formats. It has to build export to various different formats, sizes, quality levels, because that's going to make or break it depending on what you're doing. Like, if you put it up to YouTube, they can pretty much take almost anything these days. The second thing, and this is kind of more from my marketing type stuff, is I want to be able to record a video or have a video file, but then add on kind of my standard beginning and a standard ending. So like I have a couple of videos where it's like, "Hi! I'm Eric Davis at Little Stream Software, I do XYZ." And then I get into the content, and at the end it's like, "If you like to know more details, visit my website," that sort of idea. That's great because it lets me have the consistent beginning and end if I'd have to re-record it each time. So having software lets you multi-track where you can have that and then kind of fade in or fade out to the different stages. That's basically the most advanced feature I use. CHUCK: The only problem I've ever seen with an approach like that where you pre-record the introduction and then the outro (or whatever you want to call it), is that sometimes, the sound quality isn't the same so you listen to it and they sound a little bit more muffled or garbled. And then the quality on the actual recording is really clean, and then the ending is not as clean anymore. ERIC: Yeah, I actually know that when I used this. The thing is, ScreenFlow has like one work; it just automatically cuts out background noise at a certain level and then kind of boot stuff around. It's like the automagic 'Make This Sound Better' checkbox. That's been really good for me versus the more advanced plain of levels and mixers and all that. And like I said, I like to do rough cuts where if I stutter and make a mistake, "Uh-hhm, Ah-uhm" like that, I leave it in there; I don't really care about cutting that all out. CHUCK: I tend to use the same equipment for all of my stuff. So both podcasts and screencasts, I record it all through my mixer into my digital audio recorder, and it records it in high-quality wave format, and then I actually pull the wave file under my hard drive and put it into ScreenFlow. And then I just line them up because I've recorded with my microphone in my computer and my web cam as well. Once I lined all that stuff up so that I hear myself talking with no echo, then I take the low-quality audio out. What that does is it gives me a pretty consistent audio quality. But if it's just for clients, it doesn't matter so much. If it's something that you're producing and you want kind of that production quality on, that's when it really makes a difference. ERIC: I think the quality is important, especially if it's screencast. Actually, audio quality is a lot better than video quality, with the exception as if you're recording text, make sure you can actually read the text; don't use 10 point fonts on a big screen because your viewers can't watch it. But the most important thing is the content like what you're actually talking about and the messages you're getting across. Even if you record a video on your iPhone or whatever, the quality might not be the greatest, but if the content is great, it's still going to be a good thing to do. CHUCK: One other thing I want to point out with the font is just, even if it's big enough for you to read easily on your screen, just keep in mind that you're probably going to send it up to YouTube or something, and they're going to down-convert it to a couple of different sizes so the text has to be large enough for them to down-convert it in half at least, and still be able to read. ERIC: When I do the presentation once, I actually resized my monitor to 1280, whatever that one is. So I put it to that and then say it's a browser-based presentation to I increased the font size or whatever so that it basically fills the screen. Then I send up that as it gets adjust into HD without it being really big, but I also don't have the problem with having small fonts. CHUCK: Yeah, the 1280 x 720 is technically 720p, and then it's 920 x 1080 I think is 1080p. ERIC: Yeah, the very low end HD. Because it's a web presentation, it doesn't need amazing graphics, 3D stuff. CHUCK: I just crank up the font size on my different apps and do it that way. ASHE: The next thing next to readable text that will make me stop watching something is if the person sounds miserable while they're doing it -- [Chuck laughs] ASHE: Like they sound like they're bored. I can't tell you how many things I've stopped 30-seconds in because the person is just talking like, "This and then you do the other thing," they just sound like they're having a miserable time! And if you're having a bad time, I'm going to have a bad time [laughs]. CHUCK: One example of, or counter example of this, is David Siteman Garland; I've been watching a lot of his videos lately. Man! He sounds like he's full of energy and upbeat, and that makes a huge difference. Any other tips that you guys have? I have quite a few things that I can say, but I want to -- I don't want to change the topic if there are other things that you want to talk about that makes the videos more enjoyable or easier to watch. ASHE: Sound, in general, for me is a really big deal. I'm hard of hearing so anything that makes that more difficult is annoying to me. So if there's a lot of noise going on in the background, if you have music playing, if I can hear every single keystroke you make louder than I can hear you speaking, that's a huge problem. CHUCK: That's true. We can see you typing, right? ASHE: Right. [Chuck chuckles] ERIC: Another thing is if you're doing a lot of very programmer-type topics, there's a couple of apps that will actually show you modifier keys. So if you're hitting CTRL or ALT or all that, those were like almost a requirement if you're talking about, "This is how I work in Emacs," or stuff like that. Because you get muscle memory and you start typing so fast, people might not understand what you're doing. And those things, they just kind of do like little on-screen display of "You're typing these keys", those, I found, are really nice. CHUCK: There are actually a setting, the accessibility settings on the Mac, that will show the modifier keys, and that's pretty handy. Another one that's really handy is being able to highlight certain areas of the screen, and ScreenFlow has that built-in so you can use it. Or, you can use something like Omni -- what is it, no, not OmniGraffle -- the Omni Group has one that does that. I'll look it up here real quick. ERIC: It kind of touching on what Ashe talked about, another thing is take your time, talk slow, have some pauses. I know I get really excited and start talking really fast like this when I'm talking about stuff and then my 10-minute presentation ends up at 3-minute presentation. It's really hard to understand when that happens especially if it's education or training. So give yourself time. I've actually had to go back and redo the playback speed on a couple of videos because I went way too fast. CHUCK: Yeah. It's OmniDazzle, it's what I was talking about. They have a couple of different effects you can use. ASHE: The other thing kind of related to that is, I find that for some people, it's difficult for them to explain what they're doing while they're doing it. So a lot of the time, what I do is I write down the kinds of things that I want to do and what I want to say, and then I go in and I record me doing those actions. And then afterwards, I go in and I overdub my explaining what those things are so I'm focusing completely on the action that I'm doing versus having to multitask. CHUCK: Yeah, I can't do that. My problem with that is that I feel like the timing gets weird when I try and go back and redub the video. JIM: I've also done it before where I'm happily humming along as I'm doing it, not thinking straight, and then I get a bug. And I think like, "Oops! Let me just fix that," and then another bug pops up. I'm like, "Alright, crap! I got to [laughs] stop this thing and do it over." ERIC: One thing if you're doing more presentations stuff, I found it's really useful if you have notes; some people have notes on the second monitor or whatever. I actually put my notes on my iPad so I can scroll and it doesn't make typing or scrolling or any clicking noise because you're just touching it. And you also don't have to worry about recording it on accident or anything like that. I found that was actually kind of used so I just stumbled across it one day. CHUCK: One other thing that I've seen with a lot of the Teach Me To Code videos was I'd leave the bug in and then I just record me fixing, "Oh, I had to type 'O'," or "Oh, this didn't work like I thought." I probably got as many comments about those as anything else saying, "Thanks for leaving that in because I ran into the same problem," or "It helped me work around this other issue that was related to it," or something like that. ERIC: That's a lot of the basis of PeepCode's Play by Play. It basically sit down for programmer or developer, I think they have a couple of designers in there, and "Here's the problem, work through it, and just talk about what you're thinking," and they'll run into bugs or breathing to a design and you can actually see what they're going through in their heads to try to figure out, "Okay, I got this exception, why? I shouldn't have." To me, that's more valuable than seeing how you go from A-Z in building something. CHUCK: Yup. ASHE: I actually think that PeepCode is a great example of everything that you want to do. They're super great about going through things in a very simple way, explaining it pretty slowly. So if you're doing it alongside them, you can get it done and having transitions where they explain things if you didn't necessarily have the pre-requisite knowledge. I think that if you're going to emulate anybody, I think PeepCode is really great. ERIC: I'll have it in the show notes, there's a blog that they posted about how they teach developers and kind of how they do that style. CHUCK: Yup! Let's talk a little bit more about video production. What do you guys use to put together your intro or outro, that kind of stuff? ERIC: I can't remember...it was a presentation stuff where there's thousands of [inaudible]; it's just JavaScript, HTML5 stuff. I have that, I skinned it to match my company branding so white, green, blue. Even if it's like an actual screencast like my editor and all that, I'll make a short one or two slide deck to kind of put at the beginning so I have a title and then what I'm going to cover, and then I get into the actual (on my desktop) working on stuff. I basically do that. Like I said, if it's going to be an intro, I'm going to use it multiple times; I'll record it and save it separately. But if it's just something that I'm going to use for one video, I'll actually just have it in a tab, record it, and then jump right into the actual screencast. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. I tend to use Keynote, but I do like some of the other ones like I think it's Present.js or something. There are a whole bunch of them out there, like you said, that are HTML5 or JavaScript that work pretty well. REUVEN: So you guys basically set up slides or set up effects and do that and you record that in your screencasting program, and then you have that as a separate video that you can just slice in? CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: Yeah. CHUCK: If it's more of a presentation, then yes. Sometimes, I have to switch between that in the Shell or my editor and, "This is what we're doing now," and it seems to work okay. I record it on my secondary monitor so you don't get the big thing of me switching programs. So it's like, "Here's an example," and then I'll switch back; it works out pretty nicely. One other thing that I use in my intros is with some of the products that I've put together. I've actually had a logo done, and then I go to VideoHive and I will get an effect of it coming in. So then it comes in, it looks all nice and professional, and then it goes into the video. It's just kind of a nice little touch with branding. Most of their effects cost anywhere from $10-$20 so it's not terribly expensive to do that. I'm actually giving away one of my picks there because I was going to pick VideoHive, but yeah, it's awesome. And since I have After Effects and Apple Motion, I'm not really hamstrung there. One thing you'd do want to be aware of, though, is that some of them require plugins that are paid for After Effects or for Motion. So if that's the case, I usually just check the box that says, "Doesn't require any plugins" and then I'm good to go. ERIC: If you wanted too, it might be fine when you go to like Fiverr or some other outsourcing type thing and find someone that has all those plugins, all those apps, and have them take your logo and that thing you bought and put it altogether and just render your own movie or an AVI File that you can just plug into your real screencasting software. CHUCK: Yeah, it works pretty well. I just explored it to an MOV File and then I stick it into ScreenFlow. Any other recommendations on that kind of stuff, presentation software, or effects? ERIC: I keep mine minimal. I think ScreenFlow has like an AB dissolve or whatever from one thing to another, but I only use that at the beginning and end. I just flip my windows on my laptop because of the Window Manager I use on Linux, it's like instantaneous; it's not as flashy as on Mac. CHUCK: There was a recommendation I got the other that somebody mentioned that they were using for the lower third. Basically, what it is is it's another video and you can stick it in ScreenFlow on top of your current video, and it's all transparent except for where the lower third is. The lower third is like if you watch the news or something, and they bring in they have their logo, and then they have like a bar across the bottom with the name of the reporter or whatever -- ERIC: Oh, so you can have like a fake news ticker down there then? CHUCK: Well, it's not the news ticker. It's actually just -- it has, for him (it was Cliff Ravenscraft from podcastanswerman.com that mentioned it to me), it says 'Cliff Ravenscraft' and then underneath, it'll say 'Podcasting Expert' or whatever. So it just kind of gives them that other visual queue, visual introduction if he has got his face on the camera. I'll have to look at that, too. I just don't remember what it is off the top of my head. But, it's pretty handy stuff. I've also heard that you can do it with like transparent PNGs so you just bring it in and you tell it to keep the PNG around for so long and then you just put the text on top of it; it can do that as well. ERIC: For me, like I said, I had to keep stuff simple. I'd rather create more videos, like short videos, than to have a lot of production in mine. But I also don't release videos that's products that much. My longest video might be like maybe 20-minutes or so, so it's very short to the point. REUVEN: The longest set of screencast I ever did (or videos I ever did), I did I think about 5 or 6 then for people who used my dissertation software because it was just way, way more effective than giving them enormous amount of textual documentation. At first I thought, "Oh, I'll just do one video." And then I realized, "No, no, better to have (I think I did) 5 or 6," (I really need to redo them), but that 5 or 6, 3-5 minute videos. I think those were way more effective at being focused and they were also easier to produce and to put up. CHUCK: I like keeping it simple, but I also, for some of these like the training and stuff where people are paying money for them, I really do want them to feel professional so I'll spend a little more time to put a little bit more of the effect and stuff into it. But yeah, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it the way you want it. ERIC: Now, has anyone done where you're actually on camera before instead of showing your desktop like screencast or like in addition to like a tool screen? REUVEN: I sort of did that. I had a few clients where I was giving lectures there, and they ask that I record the lecture. So I recorded it and I recorded me as well. I think it came out okay, but I don't think they ever actually watched it or used it again so I didn't get any feedback [laughs]. CHUCK: ScreenFlow will also record your web cam if you got one attached to your machine. I did some of the Teach Me To Code videos with it in, but it was just more effort moving it around so it wasn't in the way of whatever I was showing off. Also, it wasn't just more work, but it also, I think, just put too much on the screen; there was too much going on. That being said, I have been tempted to start Vlogging, which is blogging except that it's video, and doing something on my Vimeo or Youtube just because I want that personal connection with people, with potential clients, and with the listeners to the shows, and stuff like that. So I could get on and just say, "Hey! This is what I've been doing lately,” and it could be something that's not necessarily related to the business, but just to kind of help build that personal connection with the listeners, or like I said, potential clients. Do you guys use videos for anything else other than demo stuff? JIM and ASHE: Not really. [Jim laughs] ASHE: No. JIM: I'm planning on trying to do some of that. Once I get to it, I'm probably going to go back and listen to this episode so that I can [laughs] pick up all the tips and finally try them out. Because I think, I've downloaded, I'm sure I've downloaded I think Camtasia or...I don't know what. But in the past like, "Oh, I'm going to do the trial," and I download it and get busy and then 30 days past, I never have touched the thing. So I'm kind of waiting until I actually need it to really get an idea. But it's good to have people's opinions on how they're using it and what they're doing with it. CHUCK: Are you looking to put together videos for potential clients to see and then decide you're awesome expert? Or, are you talking more along the lines of still just recording stuff for your current clients? JIM: Well, it might be products to sell, so commercial screencast. But it also could be -- I've had some interests in the companies having me do training. If I do training in person, that's good. But I don't like to be able to leave things behind like, "Here's some other stuff that we didn't cover in person," or things like that where I'm not engaged to develop the software, but on there to help build their team and expand their abilities or something like that. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. I have to say that the screencast, the Teach Me To Code, have really paid off in the way of getting work. People find some of the old videos and they still come to me, "I watched your video about whatever and I want to hire you to do that same thing for me." JIM: Right. REUVEN: [Chuckles] So they didn't really learn necessarily from what you're doing, but they learn that you're an expert and it's worth hiring you? CHUCK: Yes. Well, most of the time when that happens, it's somebody that's not a programmer. For example, one of the videos is this 6-part series that I didn't even make. Honestly, it was my friend Eric that made it, and it was 'How to Build the Twitter Clone in Rails', and it's built on like Rails 2.2 or something. So he walks through how to build the Twitter clone in Rails. So people would come to it and then they see my banner at the top of the site that says, "Hey, you need an expert? Call me!" They're non-technical people, but they were searching because they want something that works like Twitter does, so they want somebody who can build them that website, and so then they are like, "Oh, well, I saw the video where you did it so obviously, you can do it for me." Does that make sense? REUVEN: Yeah, absolutely! JIM: Yeah! CHUCK: So, non-technical people. The other way that I've been considering with this -- it was actually kind of funny because this happened to me this morning when I was recording iPhreaks -- we were talking and I told them, "I want to get to know more iOS developers who may need mobile backend work done," and I've got a client right now that I'm actually doing that for. They were like, "Well, here's kind of where you can do it," and we talked about how to find people and stuff. And then I was like, "Okay, so then how do I convince them to remember me?" and that's what they said. They said, "Well, record videos if you're building the mobile backend." I was like, "Oh, yeah! That makes a lot of sense!" So then I can put those videos out, and then when I make contact with these people, then I can say, "Hey, I just wanted to make the connection. Here's a video of me doing this kind of thing," and kind of going that way. JIM: One thing I did do is I bought a good mic. So I have a Blue Microphone Yeti just served me very well. I haven't really done a whole lot, aside from mostly I guess this podcast than any other so it's worth been useful. I tend to not really use it for client meetings or anything like that, or I'm talking to other people; I'll just use my headphone plugin one from my phone. But when I go to record things like this, I will set up to microphone and make sure that I've got good audio. CHUCK: Yeah, it makes a big difference. I was approached by lynda.com and by another company here in Utah that wanted me to put together some courses for them. And then of course lynda.com, they just kind of flaked out (maybe I shouldn't say that on the show). [Chuckles] CHUCK: But the other company here, they both came to me and basically said, "We need you to get this microphone," and it makes a huge difference that it's in their list. Of course I emailed them and said, "Well, I have this microphone. Are you sure you want me to use a cheaper one?" [Reuven laughs] CHUCK: They backed off that requirement real quick. [Jim laughs] CHUCK: It was because they knew that the quality was important and they knew that I could deliver the quality. REUVEN: I've been using, and I'm using right now also, this Logitech headset. Is a real microphone going to give me much better audio than that? CHUCK: It depends. Just as the microphone quality varies, so does the speaker quality. So if you're listening on lower quality speakers, you're not going to hear the difference. If you're listening on your iPhone or your iPad with earbuds in, you'd probably will hear the difference. That's really where it makes the difference. It's if you have higher quality or higher fidelity closer to your ear speakers, you're going to hear the difference. The other thing that I can talk about briefly is Audio Encoding. If it's passable quality, a lot of podcasts and other folks will encode it to like 64k. If you don't know what all this means, when you start editing your audio, you'll figure it out because you can select that in your export settings. 64k is like barely passable; for music, it's not good enough. But for spoken, you can understand it. I recommend that you go at least 96 or 128k that really increases the quality of your audio and makes it easier for people to hear and understand. REUVEN: What's the disadvantage of always using higher quality? Just its file size and download time? CHUCK: Yeah, it's the file size. That's what you're compromising on. REUVEN: How much does it really expand the file? I guess on screencast, where it's not just audio, so you've got to do with video on right, that 3 of them been quite a bit. CHUCK: Yeah, but I've actually done videos where I put it all the way up to like 320k, and then I've gone all the way down to 96k, and it makes a big difference in the file size. So if it's professional quality, go at least 128, and then obviously, you can export it for different systems. You can export it for Apple Systems like the iPad or iOS or for the Mac. With that, you probably want to go with the AAC Audio, and then for Windows, it has other settings. I actually have a plugin for ScreenFlow that does the WMV exports, and that's because I had a client that -- No, it was a Perl site that wanted WMVs instead of MOVs or MP4s. REUVEN: Why would they prefer one format over another? CHUCK: Because mostly they are .NET shop and most of their stuff is run on Windows so they have all the conversion tools for WMV. REUVEN: Okay, so this is sort of what Eric was saying earlier that not all computers can understand all formats? CHUCK: Right. It boils down to what codecs are installed. REUVEN: Uhm-hmm. CHUCK: Anyway, that's a good way of working around it. If you get a program like Handbreak, which is built-on FFmpeg, which is what Eric was talking about before, then you can convert between the different versions as long as the codec is installed for it to play it back. So there is a little bit of monkeying around that you have to do sometimes. But, it works pretty well. There are also third-party services that you can upload the file in any of the formats, and then it'll actually convert it to all the other formats. So if you're doing videos pretty frequently and you want to release Windows movie format and an MOV and an MP4, then you can upload it to them. You tell them what kinds you want and then they'll convert it and host it for you. That's a whole lot easier than building your own system to do it. REUVEN: There's an interesting question, which is hosting it. Where do you put your screencast? Do you just upload them to YouTube? Or, have them on your server and put them elsewhere? CHUCK: That depends. I put them on YouTube, mainly because I want people to find them. So you make sure, just like any other blog post or anything, you have good information around it - good title, good description, all that stuff. And then if I want it to be private, I'm paying for the premium Vimeo, I'll put it in there, and then I'll just list it as private. And then on top of that, if it's for teachmetocode.com, so I'm going to start releasing those videos again, then what I do is I actually upload it to Libsyn just like I do with the podcasts, and I'm just paying for a higher storage capacity on that. Otherwise, I put it up usually on Amazon S3, and then just let people know where they can get it. That's mostly security by up security; I just don't give people the link unless they paid for it. But if it's a paid thing, the other thing that you can do is you can go with like...Oh, I forget what they're called. But there are a couple of digital product hosting services out there that manage all that kind of security for you. They'll send an email out and say, "Here, go download it here now that you paid blah, blah." ASHE: I prefer Vimeo for a lot of what I do. I also recommend it to clients just because I really like it player; I like the way that it fix nicely into a lot of websites. But the only thing that keeps me mad at Vimeo is they have really strict rules in their Terms of Service, that commercial stuff. So depending on what you're doing, make sure you check out their TOS before you upload stuff. CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: Meaning, you're not allowed to do commercial things on their free service? ASHE: I believe that's the case, yeah. REUVEN: What counts as commercial? ASHE: If you are advertising for a product that you're selling. CHUCK: Yup. Even on the Pro -- there's like a Pro and then there's like an Enterprise or Commercial or whatever -- on the Pro, the people are paying for that video or paying for access to the video, you're not supposed to host those either as private; you're supposed to actually be paying for the next higher tier, which isn't terribly expensive either (but I don't remember what all costs are). But the Vimeo player is nice, too, because you can actually customize which field show up and which don't. You don't have that kind of control all the time with YouTube, but with Vimeo, you can turn everything off except for the bar at the bottom that tells them how far into the video in there. ASHE: Yeah, and I think Vimeo is just looks nicer anyway. CHUCK: It does. But if you want to be discoverable, then putting it in YouTube is a good idea, too. ASHE: Yup! CHUCK: And there's a service out there, if you want to put it in a lot of places, you want to blast it out to everywhere, it's called OneLoad.com, another one of my picks. They used to be TubeMogul.com, if you're familiar with them, but what you do is you upload it and then you give it credentials to like Vimeo, Blip.tv (which is another free video hosting service), YouTube, Facebook, you name it, they probably got it in there. And then you just upload it once, you give it all the description information, and then it will actually upload it to all those other places using your credentials. So I really like that. ERIC: There's another thing you can do if you got a piece of software called LeadPlayer, which is a paid commercial software. I think it's a plugin for WordPress, but it might work stand alone. I'm using that on my sites, and you actually upload your video to YouTube and make it, unless it's kind of semi-private, but then you'll use the LeadPlayer software to play it. So you can actually make it public like people can watch it, but it's all through the LeadPlayer software. The nice thing is this, it gets rid a lot of the YouTube branding. You can do things like at the end, you can have a call-to-action like ask someone to send it for your newsletter or tell them to go check out some of the other videos, that sort of thing. You get a lot more control over your video and kind of what your viewers going to see instead of, "Here's other top 10 videos on YouTube," which is kind of not a good experience. But the owner, he has talked about how he's had some people may kind of like paid product where it's a bunch of videos using the software and actually having YouTube do the hosting and the codec conversion, all that stuff. CHUCK: I think you can get just the player. And yeah, I've heard a lot of good things about it. My only beef with LeadPlayer is that if you go to leadplayer.com, it starts out playing a video. ERIC: Yeah, it's an autoload one; you get those options in your thing. Most of mine don't autoplay and the actual side itself, it's like if you go in there, make sure you have stuff muted or whatever. Be ready to pause right away. CHUCK: Yeah, autoplay is evil. ERIC: Yeah. But it's one of those things that the metric say that it's a lot better for sales stuff -- CHUCK: Yeah.Anyway, I really like LeadPlayer. I haven't use it myself, but it just looks like it does everything that I would want it to do to kind of take things up a knot as far as selling products and things like that. ERIC: And the nice thing -- I haven't done it -- but you can have their own list of YouTube thing. Each time it's on play, it's the LeadPlayer does increment reviews and all that. And then if you ever go to like, "I'm going take all these videos from this product and re-release it just public and make it searchable," all that, I used to get to keep those thousands, hundreds of thousands of views and so you actually jump right up in the rankings. CHUCK: Uhm-hmm. ERIC: But there's also a couple of their HTML5 players and commercial players, some open source, too that will do similar things. CHUCK: Yeah. And that's another nice thing about YouTube and Vimeo; both of their players degrade HTML5 on mobile devices so you don't have to worry about flash issues. ASHE: I was wondering if anybody had added subtitles in any of their videos aside from like the automated thing that you can do with YouTube. CHUCK: No, I haven't. ERIC: No, I thought about having someone do a good quality transcription of it and put in there like the description or somewhere. But no, I haven't done actual subtitles in the video. CHUCK: And depending on what the video is, subtitles, I guess they would work for anything that's not already displayed as text on screen. REUVEN: I think you might be surprised by how many people can actually benefit from subtitles especially if they're not Native English speakers. CHUCK: That's true. I get that a lot about the transcripts on each shows. REUVEN: In Israel, everything that comes from abroad has subtitles in Hebrew so I sort of got used to it. And then we sort of flipped where we would, even watching things in English, we would turn on the subtitles, and now I've gotten used to it. You'd be surprised by how much more you can get by being able to read it when you missed something that someone has said. CHUCK: It looks like you can actually add closed captioning to your ScreenFlow. ERIC: Yeah. REUVEN: I'm sure it's a 10 more work, though. CHUCK: Yeah. ASHE: It makes a lot more accessible, though, and I think that's a big thing for a lot of people. I mean I'm just hard of hearing; I'm not completely deaf. But there are a lot of people that could benefit from that kind of thing. So I was just wondering! CHUCK: Yeah, it makes sense if you can put it on there. I don't know if YouTube or any of these other players actually support closed captioning; I wouldn't be shocked if they did. ASHE: YouTube does. YouTube also has like an automated service that's really bad; it's like laughably bad [laughs]. ERIC: That's why I'm using Google Translate. [Laughter] CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN: I was curious guys when you're going to do a screencast, if you plan the script in advance and if you write it out. I think Eric said something about keeping on his iPad, but how carefully planned are they before you go and you do them? ERIC: I think it depends on your intention. If it's like for a client or like I'm explaining what I did, I might just plan out like a bullet point outline of cover these things. If it's like a presentation or something more in-depth or detailed, I'll write out a script. You could tell that I'm reading from a script because I'm not that good at it yet, but they're not as good as me just talking live. But, it depends on what you're doing. If you're doing a high-quality product, you probably want a script and probably really want to rehearse so it feels natural or have it where it's a script and number are detailed. CHUCK: I tend to do the bullet points. I never write it all the way out. If I'm recording like a sales video where I'm actually looking at the screen, a lot of times, it's easier for me to read it so I'll do that. But if I'm doing a screencast where I'm coding or something, that's all bullet points either in Org-mode or it's in Markdown. ERIC: And just the presentation software I use, you'll actually write your slides on Markdown. So as well as it's on my iPad, I'm actually reading the Markdown's source for the slides and software like HTML comments, which will not show in the presentation software, but I can read it. That's kind of how I know what I'm looking at. I think it just depends. CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: If you're not sure, make a script, practice it, and then record a copy of that, see how it is, and then try to do one without a script. Some people are better winging it, some people have to have everything written out. CHUCK: If I'm using Keynote for my video, then I'll also put it in the Speaker Notes, and I do that when I'm speaking anyway. Again, it's usually bullet points and it just prompts me to work my way through it, so that's kind of the approach I take. REUVEN: I remember hearing an interview with Gary Bernhardt from Destroy All Software where he said that he, if I remember correctly, he didn't actually script it, he just went through it again and again and again until he felt like it was smooth and good and at the reasonable pace. But he said that basically meant he spend 3 or 4 hours redoing the same 10-minutes repeatedly, and that it'll probably wouldn't work for most people. I remember thinking when hearing that, "That's right. [Laughs] I don't think it would work for most people." But the end-result is amazing. CHUCK: The other thing to remember if you're recording screencasts is that you can always cut something out; you just put a fade or whatever transition in. It won't be a discontinuity in your recording so it's not a big deal. ERIC: And also if you're doing short ones, like I've done some that are 2-minutes long, I've started the recording, went through it the entire time and stuttered really bad at the end or just missed the point, I actually just went back to the first slide, pause for 15 seconds and did it again all in the same take, and then I just cut out the one out of the 4 or 5 that was actually good. So that's a nice benefit if you're doing shorter screencast. You can just do multiple takes, figure out which one is the best and use that instead of having to start and save everything. CHUCK: And if you stop for 10 or 15 seconds, at least in ScreenFlow (I think Camtasia did it, too), it shows you the way, form, and the sound so you can see the flat line there and you can say, "Okay, this is where I screwed up, and this is where I need to start from," and it's pretty easy to just cut it nicely so that it just flows right into it. ERIC: Yeah. What I'll do is I'll hit my desk really hard so its sound thing has huge spike, so that's how I can visually see it, too. CHUCK: How hard do you hit? ERIC: I also hit my desk because I'm pissed because I screwed up. [Chuck laughs] CHUCK: Alright, well, let's go ahead and do the picks then. Reuven, why don't you start this off? REUVEN: Well, as you guys know, I'm sort of need to heap for hip tip and doing like dissertation and trying to raid it up so I guess my best pick for this week is going to be "Bookends", which is software for keeping track of the bibliography which will be useful to maybe a very small percentage of our listeners, perhaps a happier small percentage than I am. But hey, it's actually very nice software. It only works on the Mac; it works poorly with Microsoft Word. But it works really well with a bunch of other word processors. So anyways, that's my pick for this week. CHUCK: Awesome. Ashe, what are your picks? ASHE: Since I travel so much, I invariably end up with a ton of email and there are a lot of things that go on in my email that I can't easily keep track of without things being in my inbox, but I'm also one of those people that can't handle a ton of stuff being in my inbox once I've done something with them. So I use this app called "Boomerang", which works with Gmail and allows you to schedule emails going out, also allows you to schedule things to be moved back into your inbox. For instance, if I email someone and say, "Can you let me know in the next week about this or tell me before such and such a date," I can have it move it back to my inbox. If they haven't responded or move it back if I say, "I'll get back to you in a week about this," so I know that I can handle it then. So that's Boomerang. And then the other thing that I do in between traveling especially at airports is I bring a Logitech controller around with me with my laptop and I play ROMs a lot. I use open source software called "OpenEmu" that has a ton of different emulators for NES and SNES and Game Boy and Sega Genesis and all different kinds of things, and coupling that with the fact that archive.org just collect a ton of ROMs up. It's like the perfect storm of playing old video games. CHUCK: Nice. Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: Hold on I have to download all the ROMs... [Laughter] ERIC: I've got 3. The first one I've mentioned "LeadPlayer". It's paid software, I don't remember how much it is, but it's great. I've transferred all of my videos to be played through that especially if you're trying to use videos for marketing like to get people on to a newsletter or getting people to sign up for a product, that's a great thing. Second one is a blog post...Actually I point this since probably a week ago from Seth Godin, it's "Clients vs. Customers". That's very short, but it's nice because there is a difference if you call the people who hire you if they're customers or clients, and that's basically a big difference between product and service businesses. And then the third thing, a bit of self-promotion here, I've kind of publicly announced that I'm writing a book, it's called "The Freelancer's Guide to Long-Term Contracts". As of right now, I just got the final edits back from the editors. I'm actually putting those in there, and I'm actually probably going to have it for a sale within the next few weeks, maybe a month or so. In the show notes, we'll have a link. It would be basically, if you want to hear about on when it comes out, and also write in a bunch of Ruby large blog post kind of about freelancing and about contracts, so it's relevant. Even if you don't get the book, you could still get on the mailing list and get that information. It'll probably on my blog, too. So, that's it! CHUCK: Awesome. Jim, what are your picks? JIM: I am looking forward to Eric's book, it actually sounds awesome. I don't really have many, but I started a project recently and we're using "Flowdock". I don't know if anybody else have used it before. I heard of it, but this is the first time I've actually used it. It's basically, if you're familiar with Campfire, it's kind of like that. So group chat room and you can have one-on-one chat with people and you can make different rooms and hook notifications in from, for example, Web Jenkins notifying us once something goes wrong on one of the builds. So it's just a general place to gather and talk. They have a browser version and they also have an app that you can download on your computer, which I use. I think there's also mobile so you can get all the information you need, which is great particularly in the summer, I'm bouncing around and doing things like bringing my kids from one place to another on a rare occasion, and it's nice to be able to be notified when something happens or just, from a stopping point, quickly text back to say, "Hey, I'm out. I'm going to work on it in the next 15 minutes," or whatever it is. So, check it out! CHUCK: Nice. Alright, I've got a couple of picks; we already talked about most of them. "OneLoad.com", that's where you can upload to multiple places at the same time. "AudioJungle.net", they have a lot of audio effects and music, so I paired one of the audio effects with the video that kind of fades in my logo and I think it turned out really well. Then "VideoHive.net”, where you can get those effects. Finally, I've mentioned this before, "Create Awesome Online Courses", that's his other product - David Siteman Garland's. That's a great place to use a lot of this stuff to create products and build the course. Those are my picks! Anyway, we'll wrap up the show. We are doing an interview with Getting Things Done, David... ERIC: Allen. CHUCK: Allen. Thank you [chuckle]! That'll be in a couple of weeks. So make sure you read the book and be ready to listen to us talk to him then! ERIC: Clean your inbox, folks! CHUCK: We'll wrap this up. We'll catch you all next week!

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