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Have you ever tried to remotely explain something to someone and just wish you could show them? Have you ever put a tutorial online and wanted to show them rather than write your way through something? If you have then creating screencasts is an answer to your problem.

Screencasts are a powerful and user friendly tool for sharing video from your computer screen. Instead of screenshots accompanied by writing they are video accompanied by audio. In todays episode we talk about where screencasts can be a powerful tool for the church, a workflow for creating screencasts, and the tools needed to make them.

Before we dive into screencasts, Matt and Rob talk about the way they view web creations differently and how these different perspectives play into the things they build.

I have helped a few people

I have helped a few people so far with screencasts. I use Screenflow http://www.varasoftware.com/products/screenflow/


I have thought about purchasing screenflow. It is pretty amazing. I have been using iShowU and I like it too. Screenflow allows you to show the screen and have a talking head using a camera in the corder of the screen. Kind of cool.


Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator

You import images for

You import images for example if you want to create some title or chapter screens. Add a cool reflection to the screen capture, tilt the screen, zoom in and out of different parts. As you said you can use your isight camera to capture the creator talking as he is doing it. Do it all right within screenflow. Even though I do have ishowu I tend to use screenflow almost exclusively now.

Wait a minute shrop, should you be working out right now ;)

What I really like about

What I really like about screenflow is that its really a mac style of app and you can edit your screencasts with some very cool effects right from within screenflow. This includes some basic audio and image importing.
If your a mac user, I highly recommend you give the free demo a try before you buy anything. Screenflow rocks

Blip.tv issues

I use OpenDNS and have adult content filtering enabled. I'm a screencasts online member and recently he switched over to blip.tv for some of his screencast. When he first did I was unable to download his podcasts and wasnt until I figured out he was hosting them through blip.tv that I realized what was going on. After reporting it to OpenDNS as not adult content I havent had any issues.

Maybe at least with opendns the issue is resolved. But will probably still have issues with other content filtering systems.

My screencasts

Still being a lowly Windows user (until I can justify the cost of a Mac), I've used BB Flashback (a free edition from a magazine, so I don't have all the features of the full version), which is quite good at what it does, but doesn't have the advantages of something like Screenflow. My most viewed video on Youtube is a screencast about downloading Youtube videos. If I was doing it for anything more than fun, I would want to be able to zoom in and out with Screenflow, and use a better video hosting site.

It wasn't me...

It wasn't me who used iShowU. My limited screencasting has been done on Windows, and I'm beginning to think that the best way to do it is to borrow my wife's MacBook Pro next time.

I've been using the free CamStudio, outputting to AVI. The biggest problem is that the audio garbles if I'm talking while the hard drive is doing anything else, like caching a web page. This also causes the audio to drift behind the video track.

For my latest screencast, I had to do some editing, so I pulled it into Adobe Premiere 1.5, which really disliked my 1031x752 capture size. It wouldn't render crossfades or titles. The export to compressed AVI was 1GB, even though I knocked it down to 6 frames per second.

That's one thing I learned. When creating screencasts for web, 6fps is fine. Yes, you'll want 29.97 for DVD, but 6 is plenty, especially for FLV.

I'm a command-line Linux nut, so I dragged my AVI to a samba share and used ffmpeg from the command line to resize and transcode to FLV. Then I used the JW FLV Media Player to publish pretty easily on a non-Drupal site.

I've been gearing up to do numerous how-to videos. Here are some other thoughts I've had or things that have worked for me in testing:

  1. Keep it short and stick to one topic per screencast. For end users, I'd stay within 3-4 minutes per video.
  2. Write an outline and walk through your screens a couple of times before recording, at least at first.
  3. Lee LeFever, maker of those cool CommonCraft videos, recently blogged that "Often, when someone asks 'what is...', they really mean 'Why does it matter to me?' By considering what matters to someone, the answer becomes different and more likely to give them information they can act on."


What I really like about

What I really like about screenflow is that its really a mac style of app and you can edit your screencasts with some very cool effects right from within screenflow. This includes some basic audio and image importing.
If your a mac user, I highly recommend you give the free demo a try before you buy anything. Screenflow rocks

Compassion Intl

Rob, you mocked Matt because he didn't know where his Compassion kid lives, but then you didn't say where your Compassion kid live. I bet you couldn't remember where your kid is either! :)


Ok, now you're just taunting me. My kids are in Columbia and El Salvador...so there ;) Some sponsors actually write to their kids and learn about where they're from.... (hehe...)

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host


Another great conversion utility is zamzar.com. You can convert just about anything into anything else online, without downloading anything. Great tool.

Anthony Pero

Adobe Captivate

When I was on Windows I used Adobe Captivate. It did a really good job. Its pretty expensive though, but just wanted to throw it out there as another Windows method of doing screencasts.

mp3 tags

seems like every time I go to find the mp3 on my sansa, its under a different genre. Are you changing the tags each time?

I don't think so

I don't think we are changing the tags. It should be Christian each time. Does it show up as something different?

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Good recorder

A really good program is ZD SOFT SCREEN RECORDER. With the right codec (which the website includes a download) its crystal clear, even when recording fill screen. AND it records to avi.

The downfalls are it has a watermark in the top of the corner, i dont care about it, has a lack of features (zoom, move, etc), but it's really good!


Boag screen cast

Check out "Sneak Peak at GetSignOff.com" to see a screencast made with Screenflow (I believe).

Screenflow.. think you are right

The app and the screencast are both cool. I also believe it is screenflow. Especially since Paul Boag is a new Mac user. Now we have to get him to move off of that .NET stuff :) Seriously, screenflow is powerful. We have folks on campus using it and I am hoping to pickup a license someitme. I feel like (for the Mac), iShowU is great for quick screencasts which you need to just kick out with little editing. Screenflow gives you video editing built in and the capability for the headshot of the presenter in a corner of the screen. Plus lots of other tools. Both are great tools depending on whaty you need.

Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator


I was surprised that this software wasn't mentioned: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/. It does have it's limitations but for not requiring an install it does quite a bit.

Totally Screwed Up

Well, aparently I'm wrong about half the time. I keep seeing demos of Screenflow and realize now that it's a better recommendation than iShowU. I may have to bite the bullet and buy that one instead. Go check it out.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

Discount code for ScreenFlow

I was going to buy ScreenFlow anyway in the next week or so when I came across a discount coupon on the Flip4Mac website for 10% off ScreenFlow, Wirecast, and/or Videocue. Have just bought the software for US$89.10 rather than $99. Nice.

Code is: VARAUP181609400. Enjoy!

For all you international listeners out there like me, note that the store automatically defaults to your local currency, which is clever, but there is a markup on the exchange rate. You can change back to US$ and it will let you complete the transaction in that currency (and presumably others). In my case, the markup was NZ$11 (about US$6.60), which will be significantly more than my credit card company will take for the foreign currency transaction (more like NZ$3.20).

Yeah...Screenflow has just

Yeah...Screenflow has just come to my attention, too. I definitely am interested. Also like the fact that Telestream has acquired it. I checked their web site and see Vara has/had Wirecast and Videocue, as well...these look worthy.

Coupon code VARAUP181609400

Coupon code VARAUP181609400 still works on 3/25/09... Thanks for posting! :)

Code Still Works

Activated today, 4/3/09, code still working. Thank you.

Just FYI, this coupon doesn't

Just FYI, this coupon doesn't work anymore as of 11/9/2009.