What do you need to start screencasting with? Screencast Equipment

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screencasting equipment


Just like with any other project, in order to create and ultimately produce a good screencast, you will obviously need to have the right tools and equipment for the task. Pretty much any amateur video creator can make a lame recording of their computer screen and upload a meager, unimpressive screencast to websites like YouTube and Facebook.


On the other hand, though, if you happen to be serious about hardcore screencasting, and you are truly interested in creating a highly impressive, top-quality screencast that will wow your audiences and make them want to watch, listen, and share your screencast with everyone they possibly can, you should realize that you’re going to be up for quite a challenge.


Now, recording this type of high-end screencast will be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. And if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, the final outcome will certainly be more than worth it. When you start being more attentive to all of the details, minor and major alike, you could possibly find yourself starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed with a lot of important new questions. Such as:



“What type of screen capturing software should I be using?” or “What microphone brand will provide me with the best sound quality?” or maybe “What’s an effective, yet inexpensive way for me to soundproof my screencasting area?”



Don’t get worried. It’s perfectly normal for you to be pondering all of these kinds of questions. In fact, it’s actually a good thing that you are asking them, because these are all important factors that need to be considered if you truly desire to create a mind-blowing screencast. To be honest, you should actually be more worried if you were not asking yourself these types of questions.


Even some of the most seasoned screencasters, who have created and produced scores upon scores of professional-grade screencasts (for themselves and for their clients), and have learned a countless amount of tips and tricks, (including some of the best practices for creating exceptional screencasts) are still to this day, continuing to learn and practice new ones.


No matter how good you get at screencasting, there will always be room for improvement, and there are numerous ways that you can continue to improve your screencasting skills and hone your techniques. There are also new and improved tools and equipment for screencasters continuously being developed on a regular basis, and it will ultimately be up to you to decide which of these are best for your own particular screencasting needs.

So what tools will you need in order to create a good quality screencast?



Whether you are just starting out in the screencasting world, are on an intermediate experience level, or perhaps a highly experienced expert screencaster, creating a decent screencast is going to require certain tools and equipment.


Before you can even begin recording a respectable screencast, you are going to need the following:


1   Good screen recording software

2   A good-quality microphone

3   A screencast recording area (preferably somewhat or completely soundproof)


Screen Recording Software Programs



The single most important tool you are going to need in order to make a screencast is screen recording software. This is a must-have for any kind experience level, because without it, you will not be able to produce any kind of screencast whatsoever.


The screen recording software is required to record all of your onscreen actions as well as any accompanying audio narration. You will also need this software for exporting and sharing your videos with other individuals. Completed screencast recordings can be saved to your computer and/or shared via email, Vimeo, YouTube or any other destination that has been built into the screen recording software program you have chosen to use.


Screencasting tips


You will find that in order to create more higher-quality screencasts, you are going to need to invest in a decent screen recording software program, such as Camtasia or Screenflow. Both of these software programs are pretty popular in the screencast world, and they are also highly recommended by some of the most experienced screencasters on the worldwide web.



The ScreenFlow and Camtasia software programs are very similar when it comes to pricing, program functions, and the features they offer their users. However, the user interfaces and editing tools of both of these applications are slightly different from each other. ScreenFlow seems to be the preference of a lot of the more experienced screencasters, as they tend to really like the program’s editing interface and export tools.



The ScreenFlow application gives its users the ability to publish their videos directly to Vimeo or YouTube, and it does so in one single click of a mouse. This software feature can save its users a lot of time and essentially eliminate any time-consuming exporting processes. It allows users to completely bypass having to export and then covert their final videos to a particular format, and guess at a particular data rate, frame rate or final size.



The best thing about this feature is that the final screencast video is produced at a quality level that is noticeably higher when it is directly exported to a video hosting site and/or service.



Good Quality Microphones


Although the first thing your screencast video viewers will most likely notice is your video quality, the next most important thing they will likely notice is going to be the sound quality. Now, you can, of course, use the microphone that is built into your desktop or laptop computer (or whatever device you happen to be recording your screencast on)But, if you do choose to go that route, the audio in your video will most likely end up coming out unclear and/or muffled.



It will also probably be full of potentially distracting background noise, echo from the room’s surroundings, and/or possibly even the click and clack sounds of your fingers clattering on your devices keyboard. If you are attempting to record a higher-quality screencast, then you will most certainly be better off using a better quality microphone than the one that’s built into your screencasting device.



Using a Good USB Microphone to Create Screencasts with Better Audio Quality



There are a large number of highly seasoned screencast and podcast producers who recommend the utilization of USB microphones to improve the sound quality of your videos—especially if you want to create a better-than-average quality video, but also want to maintain a decent balance of both quality and price. One of the greatest advantages that come along with the usage of a USB microphone is that it does not require any additional hardware or software whatsoever.



All you have to do is plug your microphone’s USB cable right into the USB port of your laptop or desktop computer (or whatever digital device you are going to be using to record your screencast), and Voila! You are now all set to get started on your video recording session.



Here are 3 of the top most-preferred and most popular USB microphones in the world of screencasters, and recommended by some of the most experienced and/or professional screencast video producers on the worldwide web:


1   The Yeti (by Blue Microphones) this USB microphone has been referred to as one of the best-sounding USB microphones currently on the market. It is, however, currently tied with the 2nd one down for the most preferred


2   The AT2020USB+ (by Audio Technica)- this USB microphone is tied with the Yeti for one of
the best-sounding USB microphones on the market


3   The Rode Podcaster a lot of screencasters and podcasters alike tend to prefer this USB microphone for making providing good quality audio in their videos. It also happens to be an extremely popular choice among many members of the screencasting world.




At the end of the day, however, the best USB microphone for your particular video recording needs is ultimately going to be a matter of your own personal preference, overall. The best thing you can do to make the best decision for you is to test out several different USB microphone brands and types to see which of them you feel sounds best with your voice on your video recordings.


High-end Studio-Quality Microphones


If for some reason, the regular USB microphones are not high-end enough for you, or maybe you just happen to desire an even better quality mic for even better sound quality, (let’s say, professional studio-level quality, perhaps?) then you just might be ready to upgrade to a studio quality large-diaphragm microphone.


These require a preamp or digital/analog audio converter to plug into your computer, because USB does not have the capability to power them. These mics are the top-of-the-line when it comes to providing professional-grade audio quality for your screencast videos. Large-diaphragm mics can more accurately capture and reproduce your voice without distorting it like the USB mics.


Soundproofing Equipment for Better Recordings


Of course, the absolute best way to record a screencast with exceptional audio quality is by using a soundproof recording studio. However, there is cost-effective equipment you can use to better soundproof your screencasting area. You can simply place 2 inexpensive panels on either side of your recording area (such as the DeskMAX panels by Auralex), and these will do a really great job eliminating the room echo to further increase your screencast audio quality.


You can check more about good screen recording software & video editors in my latest podcast episode SAP 005: What video editor should I use when creating screencast videos? You’ll also get to know my recommended software and what I use to make over 100+ screencast videos.