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Screencast Basics: How to Script a Task Oriented Software Screen Video
 

Screencast Basics: How to Script a Task Oriented Software Screen Video

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Visit http://ownkeywords.blogspot.com/p/one-time-offer-software.html/ for more info

Visit http://ownkeywords.blogspot.com/p/one-time-offer-software.html/ for more info

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    Screencast Basics: How to Script a Task Oriented Software Screen Video Screencast Basics: How to Script a Task Oriented Software Screen Video Presentation Transcript

    • The screencast is a primary marketing tool for providing"instant gratification" for visitors who are interested in your software application.
    • A screencast is a digital video recording of a computer workstation screen that depicts an (usually) unseen operator operating a software application.
    • As a software developer, the demo - or "test drive" of your product - is a key marketing tactic. Without spendingmoney, your prospective customers can try your software before they buy. However, the scarcity of one critical commodity gets in the way of live user demonstrations: time.
    • Many prospects now want to "preview" your application easily and quickly, without even registering an emailaddress or downloading an application, before considering a demo or trial version. A screencast fills this role perfectly.
    • You must learn how to craft the words that are spoken along with the video - the narration.
    • If you have interested a prospect enough to click a "Play"arrow button on an embedded video, then you must makethe best possible use of this sliver of his limited attention. You will learn exactly how to craft the delivery of those words that cap off your screencast professionally.
    • How Do You Prepare the Words for a Screencast?
    • Silly question, right? You connect a microphone and you speak into it as you run the program.
    • Not so fast. There are three choices available to you for screencast narration:
    • None. Produce a silent screencast, or use a musical accompaniment.
    • Ad-lib the narration: connect a microphone and start talking (or, narrate as you record the screencast.)
    • Script the narration, as this article recommends.
    • Most screencasts are ad libbed: the person who isoperating the software talks into a microphone and explains as she is performing actions.
    • If you believe that you can just connect a microphone and start ad-libbing a cheerful description of your product... well, you can. But the results will be unlikely to be professional, or to result in sustained customer interest.
    • Typically, an ad libbed screen video rambles, focuses on low level operational details while not providing a goodoverview of the entire product. Ad libbing appeals mainly to technologists, not management decision makers.
    • Why Plan a Screencast Video?
    • A carefully planned screencast presentation - which includes voice-over narration using a script that isprepared with product marketing in mind - will create an exceptionally professional and positive impression foryour product. In large part this is because the majority ofproduct screencasts are unscripted - your screencast will radiate professionalism by rising above the norm.
    • In essence, a properly scripted screencast is an extremely cheap salesman for your product.
    • If you want to promote and evangelize your product, then a narrated screencast that is methodically scripted will give your business and your product an appearance of being serious, professional, and ready to serve the customers needs.
    • Besides the consistency and quality that the scriptingapproach that we discuss here will provide, a script allows you to easily outsource the voice portion of the project. There are many providers of high quality, professional voice services available online, such as who will record your script using professional voice talent, in some instances for extremely modest prices.
    • How to Create Effective Screencast Scripts from Scratch
    • The following is an outline of the basic technique that I used to develop screencasts for a client.
    • Screencasts combined with professionally recorded voice-overs have created a stunning result for my client. So I feel very certain that this "recipe" will work for many other software products where a live demonstration of the software is used to reinforce the marketing message.
    • Here are two pieces of general advice.
    • Repeat yourself: The process of script creation is iterative. You may record a screencast that you believe is well- paced, easy to understand, and that "should" be easy to narrate. Once you start developing the script, you mayfind that things fall apart when you actually try to plan the wording. This is to be expected, and I believe that mostscreencasts will have to be re-recorded or at least edited a few times in the process of developing a workable script.
    • Its all about time: It will be for the very best if you are working with a screencast video that has a time positioncounter somewhere in view in the video frame, and whichalso has a "pause" control and a position slide adjustment. Not all video capture packages produce these features by default. If the video does not contain a time position counter, then you will have to use an external timer, and errors can creep in and accumulate in the timing of your script.
    • Here is the basic flow of screencast script production.
    • You need to first watch and preview the newly recorded"raw" screencast video. I need to do this at least twice inmy own work. Get the "feel" of the screencast. It may be useful to ask for the video to be recorded with ad hoc commentary made by the operator, so that you understand every action being taken during the video.
    • To frame your script development, ask fundamentalquestions that a client or stakeholder would ask - detailedand also broad-agenda - to enhance your understanding ofthe video and to frame your script development. The most important single question is: "What is the whole point ofthis demo?" You should have a general outcome shown in the video that will be important to most users of your product.
    • Start writing rough draft. Select time points at whichsegments are to be spoken. So you will wind up with a list of paragraphs, with time stamps noted in minute:second format at the start of each paragraph. You will have to view the video and pause it continually and rewind it in order to write each paragraph.
    • Speak aloud with the video to test your scripts content and timing. Preview the screencast again, this time reading your script aloud at the prescribed time points. This is not a recording session. This is to determine howthe narration flows with respect to the video. You shouldmake a point to speak methodically and more slowly than you would in normal conversation (as an example, pay close attention to the cadence that newscasters use for reporting on broadcasts.)
    • You are striving for a "Goldilocks" effect - just the rightlength of material. The purpose of the previous step is toverify that the words you write will fit into the time slotsthat you are working with. As you complete reading eachparagraph aloud, the video time position counter should not yet exceed the time that you have assigned to thestart of the next paragraph. In other words, running-over to the next time point at which new narration should begin is an error. You must correct it either by somehow shortening that paragraph, or by editing the videorecording and inserting a pause at the appropriate point.
    • Consistency of style is important: gaps of more than 5seconds or so in an otherwise very "chatty" narration feel awkward.
    • The video itself may have timing problems that you cannot compensate for by scripting alone. Problems that I have encountered during script development tend to be issues introduced during the video recording - such as not allowing "dead" time (a motionless video) for a few seconds at the start and the end of the recording in order to allow for introductory and final words. Another problem is the operator in the video doing very complex actions too fast to allow you to insert a reasonable explanation into the script. It may be necessary to re-record segments of the video, or to freeze the video action using video editing software.
    • Edit your written copy (the script) after the video has been edited, to refine the timing. Use the "speak aloud" technique to re-test each modified paragraph. You may have to adjust the timing starts of the paragraphs that follow if time has been inserted or removed from the video.
    • Some steps above may require an iteration or two in order to arrive at narration that you believe represents your product well.
    • After completing some scripts, you will find that you canskip or accelerate some of the steps above (for example,identifying too-short sections of the video) as you learn what to watch for. You will also develop a feeling veryquickly for the time that each line of your script requiresto be spoken, so you will soon learn enough to minimize the effort of revising each passage.
    • To summarize these steps: watch, learn and get the"feeling" of the screencast. Work on understanding the points that should be conveyed to the audience. Thenwrite a script that, when spoken, fits the actions that areshown in the screencast. And you will need to write this script as a series of paragraphs that are crafted to be spoken within fairly restrictive time limits.
    • What I Didnt Explain
    • I explained a way to produce screencast scripts. What I didnt explain are the following essential techniques and skills: operation of the screencast recording software;video editing; selection of voice over talent (voice actors); and, the copywriting of the script itself.
    • Each of these subjects could be covered by a separate article.
    • Conclusion and Examples
    • Screencast scripting is a simple procedure, but issomewhat tedious with mechanical bits. There is quite a bit of fussing required to achieve a good result. And it does feel a bit like youre being a movie producer.
    • I think the results are well worth the trouble.
    • If you would like to see the end result of the type ofplanning that I advocate in this article, please visit myclients site and press the green "View Demo" button.
    • http://ownkeywords.blogspot.com/p/one-time-offer- software.html/