Best Practices in ScreencastingThis is a featured page

This site provides individuals with information about how to design tutorials effectively, information on how to measure the effectiveness of tutorials, as well as some information on screencasting and video sites. These initial postings are the result of the work done by members of our project, but we welcome any and all information pertinent to better and more effective tutorial design.

1. ANTS Guidelines for Designing Animated Tutorials

ANTS provides people with Guidelines for Designing Animated Tutorials. These guidelines work to ensure that each tutorials is (a) substantive enough to be useful to all, (b) highly viewable, and (c) easily exchangeable. Many have commented that their usefulness makes them a good starting point for anyone who wants some clues to better design.

2. Google Analytics and .swf tutorials screencast. Created by Paul Betty, ANTS project member.

This screencast examines how to track usage statistics of your .swf tutorials using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service that allows you to track usage statistics of your entire website. However, to track use and downloads of non HTML files requires a small amount of programming and modification of source files. This screencast details how Google Analytics works, and describes the necessary steps needed to track .swf files (the most common output of screencasting software). Examples for Adobe Captivate 3, Qarbon Viewlet Builder 5, and Camtasia Studio 5 are included.

3.Publishing Adobe Captivate files on YouTube article from

Most video hosting services, including Youtube, do not accept the .swf file format. This quick overview explains how and why you need to convert your .swf tutorials to digital video for optimal performance using a third party video hosting service. Note: The ANTS project members handle all .swf to digital video conversions for tutorials submitted to ANTS. This allows our volunteers to focus on creating tutorials and minimizes the time and work requirements placed upon them. The ANTS project is continually exploring new ways to deliver screencasts, and will soon offer access to a variety of source files, .swf, and digital video via our multiple web interfaces.

4. Adding Surveys to Tutorials by Richard Baer ANTS Team Member

A good way to see how effective a tutorial is, is by adding a survey at the end of it. You can get viewers to give you feedback, so next time you design your learning object it is more effective. Richard Baer - of the ANTS team, demonstrates how this can be done in his CINAHL Alerts Tutorial. You will see a link to the survey at the end of the tutorial. If you follow it, he provides a password which can be used to take the online survey. The survey software is free from, a very cool project out of Mount Royal in Calgary so it is both effective and affordable!

5. Lib 2.0 Resources Page: Screencasting From Lib2.0 Wiki

"This page lists examples of library tutorials on a variety of subjects - catalogs, databases, internet searching and more. Many were created with screencasting software, while others have been created with Flash and other graphics tools that require more technical and graphics expertise." It also lists information on the software used to create Screencasts, as well as a list of other resources.

6. Streaming Select Videos by Carmen Kazakoff-Lane

Demonstrates how to create specialized playlists from sites such as LION TV and Youtube and mount them on a web page, blog, (etc) so you can create point of need videos specific to a course, your home page, a databases page (or whatever you feel is appropriate.) It also links to our How to Embed section so you will know how to use embedding code for this purpose.

7. Camtasia 6.0 tips by Richard Baer
I've just started with Camtasia 6.0 and want to pass on a few ideas.
Camtasia Studio 6.0 has many new features that make your life much easier.

** HD production preset. The HD preset produces your video to .mp4 format. It is not necessarily HD format. You have to change the settings in the preset so that it always produces in HD. Techsmith has put two videos and screen caps with text on this page that show you how to do it.

This video was produced in HD. Clicking on the HD link changes it to HD.

Compare the visual quality to this version of the same video:

You can now modify the URL that plays the tutorial so that it automatically plays the HD version at Youtube.
To do this, add the string &hd=1 to the end of the URL if you are embedding the video or using the link from one of your pages.
This link demonstrates how it works:

**Editing for your audience and for universal distribution.
When you make a video for your own library audience, its content may be completely local, quite generic or generic with some local content.

That last category is one that I've been working on as I wanted to explore creation of content that is useful for local purposes - and is easy to edit into a shareable version stripped of local content.
As an example, I have done two versions of the same tutorial.* version for my library. (Sorry video removed from site due to change to YouTube)
At 1:02 a section starts about logging in to Camosun databases, ending at 1:23.

Youtube version for anyone to use:
This version skips Camosun and goes from Google to the welcome screen for ASP at about 54 seconds.

When scripting it for my own library, I needed to ensure that the local content occurred in a block that could be easily snipped out of the file. When you are showing databases, local content is usually the navigation from your homepage into the database.

The best practice is to either be silent when your mouse is doing local navigation - or have narration connected to the local navigation only. Then you have one edit, i.e. cutting out the local navigation section. If you leave a one second pause at the beginning and end of the local section, then it makes it easier to cut. When you upload it to DSpace or other repository, then another library has an easy to use insertion point. They can split the timeline at the insertion point and insert their own local navigation recording.

This Jing video explains what I mean. I left a silent section at beginning and end to aid editing. I would produce this as it is recorded, then snip out the short Camosun bit, then produce it again to a different directory for uploading to DSpace, etc.

The same principle applies at the end of a tutorial. At the end of the demonstrated search we often want to show how to access the article through our journal list. If you pause slightly, then you can cut out the local content at the end.

** Those pesky ums and ahs and dead air.
Even when you use the F9 key to pause while the machine works away to load a page, you still have sections of 1 to 4 seconds when there is nothing happening. Through a lot of error, I discovered a trick to editing those out.

Camtasia editing bars

Put the right hand editing bar just before (.25 second) the place where you want to resume. Then start backing the the left editing bar backwards to just after (.25 second) your last complete and useful sound. You should then have a section of dead air that can be snipped safely. Check that the flow is smooth because it is much easier to undo the cut just after you have made it.

8. Learning to Teach through Video by Kim Leeder

This blog posting talks about the latest research in educational videos, cognitive science and some of the dos and dont's related to screencasting. It also links to a number of studies discussed in the posting. A good resource with practical advice related to putting a video together using segmentation, storyboarding, the proper combination of narration and visuals, etc.

9. Xtranormal by Larry Sheret

The URL is Click on "Create a Movie--Text-To-Movie
Start by creating a free account on the site. [Update: as of fall, 2010, there is a charge of about 40 cents/minute for any movie you make] Choose a cartoon set and one or two cartoon characters to use in a video about your library or an information literacy tutorial that you wish to create in a format that should generate humor and interest in your topic. You determine what each character will say and you select appropriate gestures that make them come alive. Simply type the script and the characters will speak it. It took 30 minutes to make a one minute video cartoon to advertise Information Literacy classes to our faculty. You can watch an example of an Xtranormal video that was created to remind faculty to schedule Information Literacy classes.

10. Linking Videos to Physical Objects using QR Codes From blog by Jason Fleming

A special thanks to Paul Pival (aka The Distant Librarian) for point out this interesting post by Jason Fleming. He created a video about how to make a double sided photocopy and then created a QR code that cell phones can scan to watch the related video on YouTube. Jason's Blog is Here.

11. Using Prezi and Camtasia together.

First step is to make a prezi. Prezis are easy to do but hard to master I think. Go to, get a free account and dig in.

My first one is a case of "finish it already, stop tweaking".

Second step is to record it with Camtasia.

Open Camtasia recorder and select most of the screen. Hide as many toolbars as you can.

I found that full screen prezi from the prezi site was too hard to capture, so I opened the prezi, got the show widget going, then went full screen from there. But not autoplay.That view has a small control widget on the bottom right. I put the mouse on the advance button then advanced the slides at the pace that I hope matches the average reading speed of the audience. Slower is better.
Once the mouse is on the button, you do not see the clicks so it is not distracting.

Once it is recorded, you can add music. I went to the live music archive at, and was going to look for funk as a keyword but saw that one of the highly downloaded shows was Global Funk. And the first tune had an opening that was appealing and just long enough. Shortly after the 2 minute mark, the horns and wah-wah pedals started to cook and while great listening, it might have been too distracting.

I experimented with the levels by putting the headphones on my colleague and lowering them until she thought it was loud enough to hear but not to distract. Needless to say, this is the opposite of evidence based editing....

By the by, the prezi tutorial is a version of a "normal" Camtasia one. I needed something to work with so repurposed a recent one. I am curious as to the relative effectiveness of the tutorials. Different delivery methods for the same material.

12. Providing viewers with a Seamless Viewing Experience with HTML 5 From Document by Mark Pilgrim

Tired of dealing with Plug-ins like QuickTime, Adobe Flash or Windows Media Player? So are your viewers.

Mark Pilgrim created a document about how one can use HTML 5 coding with MPEG 4, OGG Video and Web M Files to create a seamless experience for anyone viewing a video with Any device or Any Web Browser - provided they are using a recent version of the Web Browser that supports HTML 5.

The good news is that ANTS already supports file conversions to MPEG 4 (at LION TV) and OGG Video files (at the Internet Archive) (not to mention m4v) and is looking at finding ways to get file conversions for the new Open Source Platform: Web M Video Files. We will keep you posted about this one as it we could then give contributors all the files they need to provide viewers with a seemless experience! In the meanwhile, read Mark Pilgrim's excellent article and try the video he embedded with HTML 5 encoding to see if you can view it with different smart phones or current web browsers.

Latest page update: made by Kazakoff , Mar 12 2015, 1:32 PM EDT (about this update About This Update Kazakoff edited information to highlight youtube version - Kazakoff

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