What Is A Screencast? Everything You Need To Know

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When I often tell my friends that I create screencasts as a side hustle, they almost always give me the same reply.

What exactly is a screencast?

Well, in this post, I’m going to clearly break down what a screencast is and how they are typically made.

What is a screencast?

A screencast is a video recording of your computer screen, which is often coupled with some audio narration.

Just like a screenshot captures a still image of your screen, a screencasts captures a video recording of your screen, including your cursor movements.

If you search for a tutorial on YouTube about how to use a piece of software, then chances are you are watching a screencast!

Why are screencasts useful?

Screencasts are excellent learning aids.

In fact, I use them all the time to teach students how to do anything from creating a PowerPoint presentation to performing statistical analyses.

The beauty with screencasts is that you can clearly demonstrate how to do something on your computer, without having to physically be in the same room as your audience.

Simply create a screencast, apply any edits, and share the video. Doing so means the content can be viewed over and over again – there’s no need to repeat yourself!

Screencasts are not only used for just teaching purposes; there are more uses for screencasts than you may think.

  • Creating tutorials
  • Delivering presentations
  • Recording gaming videos
  • Capturing online discussions
  • And so much more!

How are screencasts created?

To be able to create a screencast, you need a piece of software known as a screen recorder.

A screen recorder can capture your whole computer screen, or a specific area, and convert this into a video file.

Screen recorder

As well as recording your screen, decent screen recorders are also able to simultaneously capture the computer audio, a microphone and webcam.

Some screen recorders also come with built-in video editing features, so you can tweak your screencast.

The 3 key steps to creating an awesome screencast

I’ve created hundreds of screencasts over the years for my YouTube channel. So, with that experience, here’s the 3 main steps I use to create an awesome screencast.

Step 1: Write a script

I personally write a full script for my screencasts.

This is simply a matter of creating a Google Doc and writing out everything I’m going to say. I usually do this in bullets so it’s easier to read.

Write a script

I know some people prefer to write notes, rather than a full script. So, it’s personal preference really.

Reading from notes will give you a more natural voiceover, whereas reading from a script can sometimes sound automated.

It’s then a case of having your script (or notes) to hand during the screencast. You could either:

  • Print your script
  • Have your script open in a new window on a separate monitor
  • Open your script on another device (e.g. mobile) – this is what I do!

Step 2: Record your screencast

The next step is to actually record your screencast.

To do this, you will need a screen recording software. I’ve listed a few that I recommend below – I use Camtasia.

You’ll also need a decent microphone.

Record your screencast

You generally have 2 options here:

  1. Record your audio separately from your video
  2. Record your audio and video at the same time

Personally, I go with the first option – to record the audio first, and then record the video.

I do this approach since it gives me a cleaner screencast. I find that by focussing purely on the audio first, it means I spend less time cutting mistkes out (such as the ‘erms’ I constantly do when I’m thinking of something to say!).

It’s then a case of recording what you want on your screen.

Step 3: Edit your screencast

The final step is to really polish your screencast. Depending on the quality of the finish you want, you really can spend an age on this step.

Most screen recording software come with a basic set of editing tools that will let you chop out unwanted content – this is the bare mimimum you should do.

Edit your screencast

Some software, such as Camtasia or Filmora, also come with additional tools including transitions, text effects and animations. So, you can really jazz up your screencast!

Once you’ve given your recording the finishes touches it deserves, it’s then a case of rendering and sharing your content!

My top 3 screencast software picks

If you want to get started with creating screencasts, then I recommend you check out the 3 software below.

Also be sure to check out my list of best screen recorders for even more picks!

Camtasia (my #1 favorite)

Camtasia 2021 homepage

I use Camtasia on a daily basis to create my screencasts; it’s the perfect all-rounter screencast software.

It’s such an easy software to use – anyone can pick up and create a screencast without having to refer to tutorials.

Camtasia also had a decent video editor where you can add annotations and cursor effects to make your videos easier to follow along.

If you’re interested, Camtasia offer a 30-day free trial, which I strongly suggest you use.

Filmora (best for editing features)

Filmora homepage

If you’re wanting to add some jazzy effects to your screencasts, then look no further than Filmora.

Filmora has a built-in screen recorder, but it really excels when it comes to editing. It’s packed with video effects, transitions and so much more!

Filmora has an unlimited trial, meaning you can try it for as long as you want; you will just have to put up with a watermark on any exported videos. If you decide to buy, then you can pick up Filmora for under $100!

Screencast-O-Matic (most affordable)

Screencast-O-Matic homepage

If you want a decent screen recorder without having to break the bank, then look no further than Screencast-O-Matic.

For under $2 a month, you get all the tools required to capture your screencast, as well as an easy-to-use video editor.

Basically, it’s everything you will ever need to create decent screencasts, all for under the cost of a cup of coffee a month!

Wrapping up: What is a screencast?

So, the next time someone asks you: what is a screencast? You now know how to respond.

Screencasts are those videos you often see on YouTube where there’s a recording of a computer screen, while someone gives a voiceover.

With the help of screen recording software (e.g. Camtasia), it’s super easy to create your own screencasts. Simply create a script, record your content, and apply some edits!

Let me know in the comments below how you go about creating your own screencasts.

Further reading on SideHustleTeach.com

If you like the look of Camtasia and Filmora, then have a read of my dedicated Camtasia vs Filmora side-by-side comparison.

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