The keywords in that previous sentence are condenser and decent. Don't let anyone convince you that you need a $1000 ribbon mic to record simple screencasts. What you want is a good$75-$100 USB condenser mic. That's all. #### What I Use Personally, I'm using a Blue USB Snowball mic which I bought off Amazon for about$85, at the time. Granted, the audio quality on my screencasts could be way better! I could record in a sound-proof room and use \$5000 worth of compressor/limiters to improve the quality. While that might be necessary for REALLY HIGH-QUALITY videos, it's simply unnecessary for the the sporadic video tuts that you'll be creating for your readers, or ours!

In addition to its built-in stand, it looks neat next to your desk. :)

#### Why Condenser?

Condenser microphones, though more expensive, have a much broader frequency response. Couple this with the fact that they are much more sensitive to sound, and you'll find that they're wonderfully suited for recording voices. In fact, except in rare circumstances, all of the singers on the radio you love are singing through a condenser mic -- just a much more expensive one!

Don't skimp on this. If you're browsing Amazon looking for a microphone, don't buy one that isn't a condenser. You'll regret it.

### Step 3: Resolution

This step is highly dependent upon who you're recording for. If all of your readers are on super-fast connections, you can get away with recording at a higher resolution and saving it as a much larger and high-quality .mov. However, that's not the case for most. I'd recommend that you begin by changing the resolution to 1024x768 and record full-screen.

Apple -> System Preferences -> Displays

### Step 4: Recording Settings

If using iShowU, here are the settings I prefer.

• Audio Quality: high
• Frame Rate: 4 or 5
• Capture Size: 1024x768
• Bit Rate: don't exceed 512kb

If you're using a different utility to record, these settings will still be available. You'll just have to search for them!

### Step 5: Producing the Video

You've finished recording and are now ready to export the file? Mostly, you'll want to choose between three file types:

1. .mov
2. .flv
3. .m4v

Technically, the latter option is your best choice. However, you'll find that many video hosting sites don't allow this file to be uploaded, unfortunately. For that reason alone, I generally produce my videos as FLVs.

#### Settings

The options below can be experimented with quite a bit. These are what I've come to prefer:

• Audio Quality: high
• Key Frame Rate: 4
• Video Quality About 75%
• Max Bitrate: 475

### Step 6: Video Hosting

This is where the most mistakes are made. Finding a suitable video host is paramount. As file sizes can get quite large, I'd highly recommend that you don't host them yourself. While sites like screencasts.com offer a pay service -- which I've used -- I've found it to be too expensive.

Instead, I experimented with every single video host: YouTube, Blip, Vimeo, Viddler, etc. It doesn't matter how well you record your screencast, if you upload it to a site like YouTube (without paying for the HD), you'll end up with a shabby product. After comparing the quality of each, I found that Blip.tv easily provides the best quality, by a landslide. From what I've seen, it's essentially WYSIWYG. In addition, they allow you to have complete control over the branding of the video player.

### Step 7: Post on Your Blog

The final step is to grab the embed code that Blip provides...

and paste it into your new posting. Voila!

Needless to say, you can get WAY more advanced than I've done. The videos I create aren't stellar by any means. The audio/transitions/titles could be much better. Having said that, it gets the job done just fine.

### Step 8: Helpful Tips

#### 2. Learn the Pause Button

As you'll quickly find, it's really tough to produce a perfectly typed/spoken video tutorial on the first try. Sometimes, you'll need to take a moment to catch your breath and gather your thoughts. For this reason, memorize the keyboard short-cut for the "PAUSE" button. This way, if you get confused, you can take a moment to figure out what the problem is -- and the viewer is none the wiser!

#### 3. Work Off Notes

None of us write perfect code on the first try. It usually takes a dozen rounds of back-and-forths before we're happy! Before creating your screencast, go through the project once before. Then, while recording, work off your previously created code to reduce the risk of mindless errors.

I use two computers side-by-side; so I generally keep my code editor open on the other computer while I record.

#### 4. Don't Remove Every Mistake

Just because you make a typo or forget a semi-colon doesn't mean that you should edit that section out. Viewers love to learn how you debug your applications! Do you think they won't make the same mistakes at some point or another? By leaving your debugging in, they'll learn how to do the same for their projects. So as long as you don't take too long, keep the mistakes!

So there you have it. If you've never created a video tutorial before, these tools will get the job done for you! Leave a comment with a link to your screencasts, if they apply to web development!