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Create a Video Tutorial and Help Others

video-blogging.jpgThis post on video tutorials was submitted by Lori from bloggingcents.com.

Video blogging has taken the blogosphere by storm and rightfully so. It surrounds the reader with a more personal atmosphere and provides a visual, which is always popular. Different from video blogging though, tutorials actually show you a demostration for a particular project. I receive tons of emails daily, many of which start with, “how to” and for this reason, I will be adding more video tutorials to my blog in hopes of helping others easily accomplish their projects.

Video tutorials can be created simply with screen recorder software. This will only record your screen and your voice. I recommend 2 programs to get you started:

  1. Camstudio Free Version
  2. Camtasia Free trial download

Whichever you choose, you will have the option to record the entire screen or partial screen. With Camstudio, it’s as easy as deciding what part of your screen you want to record and then pressing the button. Editing and outputting are just as simple; in fact, if you get stuck, Camstudio provides a video tutorial with step-by-step instructions on how to use their software.

Some things to remember when recording your video:

  • Always do a sound check. There’s nothing worse than getting through your tutorial only to realize there is no sound, not to mention the self humiliation from lack of preparation.
  • Speak a tick slower than you normally would and be sure to avoid the “erms, uhs, and dead silences”. Keep your distance from the mic and avoid heavy breathing! You’re teaching, not stalking.
  • Speak as if you are teaching someone sitting right beside you. By doing this, you are creating a one on one feel with your reader/student.
  • 5 frames per second will produce a fine quality video. The default is usually anywhere between 15 to 30 frames but this is not necessary, of course, this is just a personal preference.

UPLOADING YOUR VIDEO

The recommended format when outputting and uploading is SWF (Shockwave Video). You get clear video and smaller file size, which makes for faster uploading time. FLV (Flash video format) can be used as well, however, the file size increases and the picture quality worsens in most instances.

Uploading your video to Youtube is great for the beginner. Your video has the advantage of reaching a wider audience which is a result we all sought after.

Tagging your tutorial is an important step and shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes placing your video tutorial in a category is not enough so adding tag specifics will help people find it easier.

For example:

My first tutorial was “Organizing Your Inbox“. After browsing the various categories, I chose to place it in education. Education is a very general topic so I needed to classify it with tags. I tagged my tutorial with organization, Outlook Express, how-to, video tutorial, and a couple of others. By doing this, I’m giving my video a better chance at being seen when someone does a search for those specific terms.

In conclusion, video tutorials can be a welcomed attraction to readers, especially those needing their hand held due to lack of experience. It’s also a great way to give your visitor a break from reading and let them sit back, watch and learn.

I’m Lori, a SAHM, who loves to share blog tips and tutorials in hopes of helping others. If you enjoyed this post, please visit my blog and consider subscribing to my feed.

Image by Montrasio International

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. this is a brilliant article. I haven’t been blogging for very long so am still learning the ropes so-to-speak, however within the next few months id love to get into the video blogging area, and posts like this are a great help.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Ron Pereira says:

    Thank you for this timely post as I am currently evaluating screen capture software.

    Can you please share a few words on the difference between the free CamStudio software versus the paid Camtasia software?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. I’ve had rough experiences uploading my tutorials through YouTube since the quality takes a nose-dive. Any alternate services you would suggest?

  4. Tom Beaton says:

    It is very hard to do this right. You need to rehearse. Also some people just do not use or find video tutorials useful.

    They are increasingly popular though, and could work very well for you. I would definitely advise you to test this out though.

  5. Jorge Camoes says:

    Lori, I think that screencasts are also a great alternative to how-to e-books. I’ve been using them in my blog to show Excel things. I am adding them to some of my posts but also packing and selling them like an e-book.

    CamStudio is much cheaper then Camtasia, but Camtasia has some nice features, like stopping recording when there is no action on the screen. This can save you a lot of time when editing. I suggest everyone to create a small screencast with both programs before choosing one of them.

  6. Joe says:

    Hey Lori,
    Good timing of this post. I spent hours yesterday trying to do a tutorial on Changing Themes on WP and STILL haven’t gotten it the way I want it.
    I can do the procedure in my sleep, but putting it on a vid for publishing, totally different.

  7. Niklas says:

    I considered it at one point until I realized that videos wouldn’t get indexed by Google since there wasn’t actually any content that the Googlebot could read.

    In addition I’m not the best at pretending to talk to imaginary people in front of me and it would feel quite awkward to me.

    I may consider it once I get a more established user-base to entice my users who are keen on using those types of media rather than reading text but for now I’m going to focus on content that ranks me in search engines.

  8. Lori wins the award for best one liner in a blog:

    “You’re teaching, not stalking.”

    The Masked Millionaire
    http://www.TheMaskedMillionaire.com

  9. Lori says:

    @Ronald…Some others you might look into include: veoh.com, ourmedia.org, grouper.com, metacafe.com. If you want an extensive list of video resources, check out my video resource guide.

    @Ron….Camtasia is much better software with tons of features, but you also will pay a pretty good penny for it. Camstudio will work just fine for simple tutorials. I would suggest you dowload both to see which features you will use the most and then decide if it’s worth those extra bucks or not.

    @Jorge…Using them in an ebook is a great idea! This just might be something that I do in the future;)

    @The Masked Millionare…..Woohoo! I love awards!

  10. kristarella says:

    Good tips for recording – I haven’t really thought about doing video tutorials much, but I’ll remember those if I ever do.

    I don’t think either of the programs above are for Mac – I don’t know what one would use on Mac. Does anyone have a suggestion?
    I did come across Capture Me, which can take screenshots and short MPEG4 movies. Perhaps one could capture snippets of their work on screen and then put them together in iMovie, then add a voice over?

  11. Jim Jones says:

    My sister started doing this a while ago with her embroidery blog and it is really bringing in the traffic.

    Here’s a list of all her embroidery videos.

    The demand for a dvd (or set of dvds) of high-res versions is getting to the point where she will have to breakdown and publish a dvd or two… yet another income stream!

    Videos really do work very well – especially when you’re teaching something in your niche.

  12. Brad Hart says:

    Camstudio is a really great program. Every one should really check to see what kind of software comes with the digital cameras and video cameras as well. Those disks are usually packed with freebies, and sometimes free copies of shareware or free registration numbers for them. For example a couple of years ago I bought a cheap digital still camera on clearance and got a free older version of KPT and registration numbers for Thumbs Plus. Those two things were worth far more than the camera ever was.

  13. Shane says:

    @kristarella, I don’t own a Mac but I lot of people talk highly of IShowU. Techsmith (who make Camtasia) also have Jing which is cross-platform. It’s not fully featured but I’ve had a play with it and it gets the job done.

    Don’t forget the importance of your screen resolution when making screencasts. Keep in mind that generally your video will be watched in a small flash player (very few people ever go full screen, usually because it gets too jumpy). A screencast captured at 1280×800 for example won’t look so good in a small player, especially after compression and even more especially if it’s text heavy.

    As an example, I’ve got a series of screencasts on techwhimsy.com about installing different blogging/cms engines on your desktop for development. They looked terrible originally as you couldn’t actually see anything that was going on at the native resolution. After some trial and error I settled on capturing fullscreen at 800×600 and exporting at that (or even sometimes 640×480). That way, they look good on the blip.tv website, in the embedded player and fullscreen looks awesome (in my opinion anyway – blip.tv rocks!).

    I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on capture resolutions as I’m still not 100% satisfied with how they look at the moment.

  14. Joe says:

    Hey Lori,
    Good timing of this post. I spent hours yesterday trying to do a tutorial on Changing Themes on WP and STILL haven’t gotten it the way I want it.
    I can do the procedure in my sleep, but putting it on a vid for publishing, totally different.

  15. FSK says:

    Can you make recommendations for a camera? I’ve been contemplating vlogging, and I’m trying to figure out what type of camera to buy.

  16. Hank says:

    I am a BIG fan of Camstudio. I have used it to make a couple of tutorials so far. One of my first, which violates the “speak a tick slower” rule, has been live for over six months on Blog Community College. This video demonstrates how to build a blog from scratch and post your first blog post in less than three minutes.

    Another good example is my one minute Simple FTP Client using Explorer tutorial.

  17. Lori says:

    @Kristarella….If you scroll up a bit, in one of my previous comments, I provided a link to 80+ resources for video blogging. I believe there are some Mac alternatives listed.

    @FSK…..I have used JVC video cameras for years. They are price friendly and easy to use. There are better cameras out there but it all depends on what sort of features you are wanting. You can always use a digital camera with a video recorder, to get started with, as an alternative.

  18. Adam says:

    Thanks for the post. Other than Youtube, what are the best options for uploading videos on own server which take less buffering time while viewing them.

  19. Thanks. I just wes looking for the information on screen capturing and how to make better quality videos.

  20. Igor Damiani says:

    I’m a day-basis blogger.
    If possibile, I avoid video or screencast blog for some reasons. With a video you can’t copy&paste code. Google doesn’t index video contents. A classic text post is more readable than a video: you can quickly scroll up&down the post. Some Italian IT companies deny access to YouTube and others site, so my readers can’t see my videos. Videos requires larges bandwidth, text no. Videos requires powerful devices. A classic text post can be read from cellular, smartphone and others lightful devices.
    It’s only mi option! :-)

  21. Just what i was looking for! I always wondered how this creating a video tutorial would be done and you answered it. Thanks!

  22. I agree with Tom Beaton. It is hard to do video tutorials well. Don’t under estimate the preparation time that goes into it.

    Jorge Camoes is right when he says try a screencast first. If you are unsure of talking into a camera, this is a great way to get started.

    I have just finished producing four videos in a series of ten about “How to Start an Internet Business from Scratch”. I used PowerPoint slides and Camtasia.

    Camtasia is seemlessly integrated into Powerpoint so the recording is fairly straight forward.

    Each of the videos is only 10 minutes long (so they can be uploaded to YouTube), but each of them involved creating over 50 PowerPoint slides.

    The videos took about 10 hours each to do. Most of this time was preparation of the slides and script.

    Now I have done four I hope the process will get easier.

    If you want to see the results they are at: http://www.subhub.com/categories/video

    Good luck and perservere. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

  23. Steve Robson says:

    A fantastic article. We have started created video courses and recording all our webinars to create a rich media experience for our users.

    Given that reading on a screen is hard work and most people are pretty lazy, giving them the opportunity to sit back and take it easy while they learn is a real bonus to any website.

    Going back to the point one commenter made about bots not being able to index video content this is very true so its important that you keep adding textual content. You need to have both and give people choice rather than move totally to video.

  24. Lori says:

    @Niklas….That’s why it’s important to use text, as well as, video. You can give a summary of the tutorial & highlight some keypoints and that should be enough to get it crawled.

    @Hank…Those are some great tutorials and extremely useful. Good job!

    @Adam…I listed some more options for uploading in an above comment.

  25. Chris Coyier says:

    I shoot screencasts using iShowU on the mac, works great. Screencasts are easy in some respects, in that you don’t have to worry as much about lighting and a quality camera. But they are difficult in others. YouTube just won’t cut it for a screencast, so I found hosting the video myself (Amazon S3), was a better solution. Then I could also display them as large as I wanted.

    http://css-tricks.com/videos