Interview with the dynamic team behind the Market Samurai screencasts
I love hearing the experiences and advice in this “Meet the ScreenFlow-er” series! My next subjects are Mr. Ben Galt and Dr. Anthony Fernando from Noble Samurai. Noble Samurai are the makers of Market Samurai, a really powerful software product which we at Telestream use to help us improve our Search Engine Optimization. One of the many nuggets Ben and Anthony suggest is to include a transcript of their video so viewers can skim the topics and/or read along. Great idea!
Read the full interview with the team from Noble Samurai below:
How long have you been screencasting?
We have been screencasting for about one and a half years. In that time we have developed over one hundred screencasts with our current aim being to produce two screencasts per week. We initially used Camtasia Studio but switched to ScreenFlow as soon as we tried it because it greatly simplified almost every aspect of our creative and production process.
For what purpose to do you make your screencasts?
We develop screencasts to provide step-by-step video-based training for users of our software – ‘Market Samurai’. This software helps Internet business owners develop and run a profitable online business and includes modules for keyword research, search engine optimization, competition analysis, finding products to sell, finding content for your blog, publishing articles, creating backlinks and tracking your online progress.
Does one person do all the screencasting for your company? Or is it a collaborative effort?
Screencasting at Noble Samurai is definitely a collaborative effort involving our Head of Training (Dr. Anthony Fernando) and our Director of Video Production (Mr. Ben Galt).
We have a relatively simple studio which is a small room with a white polystyrene backdrop, a desk, chair and three Tricolor lights. The audio and talking head video are both recorded using the inbuilt Mac iShot camera and mic.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of creating your screencasts?
The most challenging aspect of creating good screencasts is analyzing complex topics and developing concise scripts and visuals to convey these concepts to beginners.
What’s the process you use for creating your screencasts?
Our process begins with a meeting to discuss the key factors to be highlighted in the next screencast. Anthony then analyses the topic in detail and develops a script and corresponding Keynote presentation. He records the screencast and does a first pass edit to tidy up the recording. Ben then takes over and adds his magic to make the videos visually engaging and easy to watch.
We always develop a written script. This helps us ensure that the completed screencast is concise, professional and does not contain any unnecessary padding. Generally we do record the audio and screen recording at the same time.
Have you changed your processes as you’ve gained more experience?
We initially tried to produce screencasts without writing a script but found that spending the time to develop a script was a great way to organize our thoughts and also saved a great deal of time when videos had to be redone.
Also, we originally incorporated a talking-head inset throughout the entire video. We have since found that it is easier to have a talking head intro and then move to a full screen presentation.
We have also had an excellent response from our customers regarding our move to include a PDF transcript of each video. This helps people skim through content quickly and also acts as a handy reference that they can print out and read at their leisure.
Do you have a screencast that you’re especially proud of?
We are proud of all of our screencasts which can be viewed at the Noble Samurai Dojo.
What other programs/accessories do you use besides ScreenFlow to create your screencasts?
- Built in camera on MacBook Pro laptop. This video input was chosen mainly due to the ease of set up and use.
- Built in mike on MacBook Pro laptop. Once again chosen due to ease of set up and use.
Other programs used include: (1) Keynote for developing presentations (2) Photoshop for creating images (3) Screensteps and Screenstepslive for creating video transcripts, PDFs and hosting our training material (4) After Effects for the animations at the beginning and end of each video.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out screencasting?
- Work from a script and use it as an opportunity to think through and structure the concepts you are presenting.
- Don’t try to cover too much material in one video. We aim to keep our videos less than 10 minutes in length.
- Use visuals to engage your viewers and avoid long periods where nothing is happening on screen.
- Keep your transitions simple and consistent.
- Speak at an easy conversational speed.
What’s the stupidest mistake you’ve made when creating a screencast?
We once did a 45 minute live screencast to over 1,000 people and thought everything went really well. At the end of the presentation we discovered that we had lost our connection after the first 10 minutes so for 35 minutes we had been screencasting to each other!
Besides ScreenFlow and Market Samurai, what are your favorite programs for the Mac?
Some favorites include:
- Scrivener for collating research and writing
- Freemind for mindmapping
- Screensteps for quickly creating professional documentation
- Adobe After Effects
Thank you Ben and the Noble Samurai team!