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Screencasting on a Budget

13 July 2013

Scott Hanselman has a great post about making quality screencasts. If you want to get into the screencasting thing, go read it. If you are able to buy the recommended software and hardware that Scott recommends, great! No need for you to read further. But if you are on a budget or you want to make sure screen casting is really for you before you sink a lot of money into it, then read on...

  • Don't use your computer/laptop microphone. You're going to need a new microphone. I didn't have $100+ (or $300+) to spend on a mic, so I bought the Samson Go Mic (on Amazon) for $39.99. It's a USB mic (which is important) and it's very highly reviewed. It has worked great for me both for screen casts and for interviews for my linguistics class. This is the most expensive thing I've purchased for screen casting.
  • Download Audacity. You need a way to modify the sound from your screen casts. Audacity is free. Learn how to insert silence, add a music track, fade in, fade and most importantly, Noise Removal.
  • Download Screencast O Matic. You can use the free version but go ahead and spend the money on the pro version, it's $15 a year. You are going to need the tools in the pro version to cut out your mistakes, add transitions (like dissolves) and most importantly, export and and import your audio track (which you cleaned up using Audacity).

That's really all you need. Total cost is $45 and some change. When you are recording be sure to turn off any fans, window A/C units, mobile phones, tablets and any program that might automatically pop up a notification or make a sound. If you have any three year olds in the house, you might want to wait until they are asleep.

Once you've exported your screen cast to a video file, you can upload it to You Tube for free, or you can use Vimeo. I suggest you check out Vimeo, they have a basic plan that's free. I decided to use Vimeo Plus which costs me $9.99/month. So far I've been very pleased with the service. If you want to keep costs low at the start, stay with You Tube but you will probably see the need for more than the free service that You Tube offers if you continue screen casting. There are a number of comparison articles on Vimeo vs You Tube to help you decide.

By Jon Wear

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