How to do Tutorials (Screen Recording software)

This is a discussion on How to do Tutorials (Screen Recording software) within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I've been asked to do a series of screen recording tutorials on a software I've built for my company. This ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    How to do Tutorials (Screen Recording software)

    I've been asked to do a series of screen recording tutorials on a software I've built for my company. This is bad news for me because I've got no experience in such a thing and the result is meant to be used by close to 100 employees. The company purchased Camtasia Studio yesterday and I've been studying it today.

    But things aren't going very well. Nothing to do with the software, but me.

    Have any of you ever done this before? I need some tips on how to best do this stuff. I cannot seem to be able to record more than a couple of minutes of a tutorial without my voice changing or my thoughts trailing away. The annoying thing is that this doesn't happen when I'm explaining the software to a real person as I've been doing since last week. People understand and praise me for how easy a job I made at explaining it to them. But alone and in front of a computer, I make it look like I don't know what I'm doing with the software and I sound like I have a "uhhh..." speech impediment.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
    {Jaxom,Imriel,Liam}'s Dad Kennedy's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, I'm in radio -- family business.

    The one thing that you'll need to do is to WRITE A SCRIPT. If you don't, you'll say uh all the way through it. Next (and I'm not joking) read through it ALOUD at least three times BEFORE you attempt to record.

    Taking breaks is acceptable when doing a long narrative. Your voice will sound different, but it will not be as noticeable if you break on a topic boundary.

    Make your point on each slide or whatever you are doing
    Don't speak too fast, but not too slow either
    USE INFLECTION IN YOUR VOICE
    Attempt to talk about the subject as if you think it is the hottest thing since sliced bread
    -- if you are on video at all, make sure you SMILE
    PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE


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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    If you are more comfortable explaining it to a human, then do that and record it. You can then dub the audio over the screen captures later. Remember, you can always erase and rerecord what you said to a camera.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Hail to the king, baby. Akkernight's Avatar
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    You can't do a conference for your employers? Like talking on a small stage with a mic and some speakers and 100 people infront of you? If so, then you could record what you said there as a reference for the employers, and since many people learn better from seeing someone explain it and stuff, it sounds like a good idea to me, but I'm no pro at this stuff :P
    Currently research OpenGL

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler
    If you are more comfortable explaining it to a human, then do that and record it. You can then dub the audio over the screen captures later. Remember, you can always erase and rerecord what you said to a camera.
    Not a bad idea that of using screenshots and a voice recording, instead of doing a video recording of the application. I think I'd be more comfortable with that. I'll try to convince them tomorrow. I will still have problems with this option, I'm sure. I didn't realize I was such a dimwit in front of a microphone. But this option certainly removes some of the stress. I can record the sound at my leisure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akkernight
    You can't do a conference for your employers?
    Can't do. This possibility was studied when it was becoming clear I couldn't just travel the whole country to give an 1 hour presentation of the program. This is going to the sales representatives a little all over the country (I'm working for a medical laboratory and the sales personal is the one that is going to use the application). There is no way we could arrange for all of them to be at the same place at the same time. Or even to arrange for a series of smaller conferences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennedy
    The one thing that you'll need to do is to WRITE A SCRIPT. If you don't, you'll say uh all the way through it. Next (and I'm not joking) read through it ALOUD at least three times BEFORE you attempt to record.
    Naturally the thought occurred to me that this would definitely help. But I don't have the time available to create a script. I could at most -- and this I did -- organize in a piece of paper the structure of the presentation along with the topics and subtopics. This been helping me avoid not knowing what to do next in the middle of the recording. But a full script is out of the question unfortunately. This was supposed to take me only a few hours and be done and over with.

    *sigh* It never crossed my mind that when I suggested doing a video recording of the application I was in fact getting myself into so much trouble. Live and learn.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    If you treat the tutorials as if you are doing a public presentation it will go much smoother. Public speaking and presentations were a huge part of my former profession. I usually go by this rule:

    • Tell them what you are about to tell them
    • Tell them what you are telling them
    • Tell them what you just told them


    Might I recommend that you have someone sit near you while you are doing the recording. You can then present the material to them based on your outlines (presuming you have some) and in the recording it will sound much more natural. If you try to voice it over by yourself this will be extremely difficult and it takes news broadcasters and documentary voice-over talent many many years to perfect this.

    A few guidelines about doing presentations that I follow:
    • Pick 1 to 4 items that you really want to drive home as the crux of your presentation. Humans are incapable of absorbing large amounts of information and over 85% of your info will be forgotten minutes after your presentation is over. Anything more than 4 means you probably have too many main points of discussion or likely have a bit of overlap between them.
      Your audience won't remember more than about 3 anyways.
    • Always give audio cues as to where you are in the presentation. If you have 3 or 4 points then tell them where you are by using First, Second, Third, Fourth, Finally, and other words that allow the listener to switch gears or cue the listener in that you are switching gears. There should be clear and concise transitions between the main points of your presentation.
    • Ensure that your main points are very clear, concise, distinct points. Any overlap in material between points will cause confusion on the part of the listener and may also cause you to sidetrack.
    • Know when you've chased a dog up a tree. In other words if you get off track the first and hardest thing to do is realize you are way off track. Once you chase a dog up a tree, leave the dog alone and move on. Many times people continue to tree the dog by yammering on often causing them to completely skip important parts of their presentation.
    • Give the presentation mentally before ever doing it physically. If you go over your presentation in your mind first your brain will 'remember' certain gotchas or certain items you may want to bring in to the presentation while you are giving it. It's amazing how quickly the human brain can recognize patterns if it has seen or experience the pattern before. Going over the presentation in your mind before giving it allows you to present it to yourself but also judge it from the perspective of the listener.
    • If you tend to stray from the topic at hand you can either write an outline (I recommend this) or you can write your presentation out word for word (I don't recommend this). Both approaches are valid so you need to find out which one works best for you. An outline will definitely help you stay on topic. Also use a lot of white space in your outline - this is more for giving a presentation to a group rather than a video tutorial but it still might help. Lots of white space allows your eye to glance at the information and quickly find out where you are. If the information is all bunched together your eye will have a tough time picking out where you are and this will result in a lot of uh's and silent pauses while your eyes flitter about the page searching for where you are.
    • Determine beforehand how much time you want to spend on each of your main points. If you decide this early then it will be easier to 'judge' where you are timewise and where you need to be when giving the presentation.
    • Use alliteration and consistency in your points. This makes them so much easier to remember.
      Example:
      Three important features of Blender:
      * Power
      * Performance
      * Productivity

      Simple, concise, distinct, and easy to remember. Complete lies but it's just an example.

      Example:
      Cprog
      * Why cprog is a great community
      * Why cprog is a great resource
      * Why cprog is a great website

      Immediately the mind picks out the phrase 'Why cprog is a' and the last part which is what you really want to drive home is far easier for your audience to remember. By the third speaking point in this outline you will have said the phrase 'Why cprog is a' 3 times it becomes embedded in the listener's mind and in fact the brain doesn't even have to hear it again to remember the phrase. This causes your listener to wait for the important words and allows their brain to latch on to them much easier.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 11-19-2009 at 11:06 PM.

  7. #7
    {Jaxom,Imriel,Liam}'s Dad Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba
    If you try to voice it over by yourself this will be extremely difficult and it takes news broadcasters and documentary voice-over talent many many years to perfect this.
    Nope, not so. It is quite easy, actually. Especially for TV productions (they have people in there with them). For most radio personalities, however, they don't have an audience. Now, those in the morning who have more than one person -- okay, they are much more relaxed. It is very easy, though, to learn that you are speaking to many people when you talk into the microphone. The one thing that does happen is that you get a "radio voice". It never fails, when someone starts talking into a live mic, their voice changes.

    I recorded my son (at the age of 2 or 3) for a legal ID (must give the call letters and the city of operations) -- guess what: even he got a radio voice -- I laughed.

    You could always talk into the phone. . .

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba
    If you treat the tutorials as if you are doing a public presentation it will go much smoother. Public speaking and presentations were a huge part of my former profession. I usually go by this rule:

    • Tell them what you are about to tell them
    • Tell them what you are telling them
    • Tell them what you just told them
    Heheh, I recall reading some material on conference presentation where the speaker/author rubbished this rule: Conference Presentation Judo: A Bit of Advice.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    It's always worked for me. However I also follow the rules on that site as well. That site assumes you can't do both and but I believe you can. You don't have to spend ten minutes rehashing each area.

    You can do something as simple as:

    Intro/icebreaker or both
    * Today we are going to look at 3 important features of A

    Speaking points
    * The first important feature is....X (10 min)
    * The second important feature is...Y (10 min)
    * The third and final important feature is...Z (10 min)

    Wrap-up
    * We have looked at 3 important features of A.
    * X
    * Y
    * Z
    Conclusion and closing remarks. (5 min)
    Total time: ~35 min.
    Keywords: important features, A, X, Y, and Z
    Audio cues: 3, First, Second, Third and final

    Of course this outline sucks b/c it says nothing but you get the idea.

    http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/toastma...-to-the-point/
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 11-19-2009 at 11:41 PM.

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Lots of material there. Thanks a bunch!
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    How did this turn out? I am asked to do tutorials for a company I work for too and I've never done it before.

    Any feedback regarding how yours turned out would be great.

    Thanks!

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  12. #12
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Not too bad. Not too good either. I mean, it won't get me a job at lynda.com, but I can talk to a microphone to save my life.

    There's not much I can say that's hasn't been covered here. Eventually it worked out for me because I was the one who actually suggested doing it this way in the first place. So I was in a tough spot. It was "either I can do it, or I can do it".

    - Just be ready to have to repeat stuff a lot.
    - Account for a natural distaste you will have about your own recorded voice. It won't sound good to you, while everyone around you will say it's fine. So, don't try to perfect your voice. Useless and impossible exercise for amateurs like us.
    - Don't be a perfectionist. This will be a problem because you will hear yourself blunder sometimes. Instead try to get over the mistake while recording, ignoring it. Amateurs like us cannot afford to be perfectionists.
    - Have someone you trust to be objective watch your recordings and comment. You will find much of the stuff you don't seem to like will sound natural and acceptable to them.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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