A screencast is a video recording of your screen (or parts of it) whith accompanying audio commentary. Depending on the type of application you are using, sometimes mouse clicks are being highlighted and what you type during recording is being display

Screencasts are an excellent way to create tutorials on how to use software.

When to Use Screencasts

Recording and sharing screencasts 1 is most appropriate if one or more of the following is true:

  • You want to show others what’s happening on your screen. Rather than just capturing one moment with a screenshot, you can guide them through a process or sequence of events.
  • You want to show others how you do something and go through a process or sequence of steps.
  • You want the screencast to be available to one or more people at different times, independently. (Screencasts are asynchronous communication)
  • You want the recipients to be able to watch it and re-watch specific parts, rewind, etc. (scrubbing)

How to Record a Screencast

Depending on your operating system (Mac, Linux or maybe even still Windows), there are different options to record a screencast.

Recording a Screencast on macOS

Apple’s operating system comes with a native, built-in way to do screen recordings, available in QuickTime Player.

You can choose the audio source (or deactivate audio), and also optionally activate Show Mouse Clicks in Recording (which I recommend).

Screencast Applications

Applications such as Loom take care of recording, converting and sharing your screencasts.

Keep It Short

Keep your screen recordings short. If necessary, split them into a mini series. It makes things easier. This follows the rule for email subjects:

One subject per recording.

Don’t Make It Perfect

In most cases, you just want to get the message across and avoid any editing as this can quickly become very time-consuming.

Especially screencasts that are used for internal communications don’t have to be pretty but functional first and foremost.

Editing Your Screencast

In case you have to create a longer screen recording, most software allows you some very basic editing, like trimming or adding another clip at the end (which brings us back to the concept of splitting the recording into smaller chunks).

Convert Your Screencasts - Size Matters

Before you share your locally recorded screencasts, you might want to convert or encode them to reduce the file size. On macOS you can use Handbrake which is free and a fantastic piece of software.

Here’s an example using screencasts to reduce the time spent in a meeting: Choose the Best Communication Channel

  1. Screencasts are recordings of your screen (with you commenting). Screencasts are the asynchronous variation of screen sharing, which is feeding live video of your screen (and, usually, your voice) to others. A screenshot is a still photo of your screen.