Screencasts are short movies that record the action on a computer monitor as a user navigates a selected task. Screencasts are used primarily to educate and train users on specific software applications.
The purpose of this post is to introduce the basic activities associated with a screencast production, as well as outline the responsibilities of the client requesting the screencast and those of the production team.
Throughout this post I will be referring to the production process, which outlines the steps required to complete a screencast, from brainstorming to the final product. The three main stages of the process are:
- Pre-production: Scripting and storyboarding
- Production: Shooting and recording
- Post-production: Editing and rendering
Pre-production refers to the planning tasks. The pre-production work on a screencast encompasses everything that happens before recording begins. The activities that occur during the pre-production stage rely heavily, almost entirely on the client.
Pre-production activities include:
- Initial meeting of client and the production team
- Scripting – The client documents what will be heard from the screencasting narrator, as well as the actions occurring onscreen
- Storyboarding – The client and production team compiles a sequence of images or screenshots that visually depict the planned content of a screencast - In most cases, the visual imagery corresponds or compliments the verbal narrative outlined in the script.
With screencasts, production refers to the part of the process in which footage is recorded.
The goal of the production stage is to capture all required shots needed to piece together what is being verbalized in the script. Storyboards guide the production process, outlining all visual imagery needed to complete the sequence of the narrative.
The success of production activities depend the thorough planning, scripting and storyboarding done during pre-production.
The production team is responsible for capturing the necessary footage, as indicated by the pre-production documentation.
Post-production refers to the editing that occurs after all necessary footage has been recorded. During this stage, the recorded footage is arranged in the correct sequence. Editing is a time-consuming, labor-intensive task, which usually takes longer than the actual production phase. The activities that occur during the post-production stage are completed by the production team.
Post-production activities include:
- Editing video
- Editing audio
- Adding title screens and graphics
- Re-shooting missing scenes
- Rendering footage into various formats