[Videos] The poor man’s home video studio: 3 must-watch techniques

So in my online courses I field questions periodically about what my studio setup is like.  (You might be surprised at how much low tech you can get away with!)  The good news, of course, is that you don’t have to spend thousands to produce your online video/screencast courses.

In a nutshell, my setup isn’t too far removed from those Gideon has setup (third video below).  But, with a few minor tweaks (see the first 2 videos) I’m confident that you could easily produce at even higher quality video/screencasts than those you’ll see in my coursework.  So, please don’t use me as your baseline, check out the shoe-string budget creativity that some of our colleagues have put together… then do it!


Dummies Guide to Drawing Custom Sketch Graphics On the iPad – No Graphic Artistry Required!

No copyright worries…And, you don’t have to be an artist


Drawn using the iPad 2, Bamboo Stylus, SketchBook Pro. Creative commons: share | attribution | non-commercial

Have you ever worried about possibly violating someone’s copyright when you grab an image from “the wild” to place on your blog? Well, you’re correct to think about it. But, with your iPad, a stylus and the right app, you can get around all that by creating your own custom sketch graphics library from pictures you take yourself.

The best thing about it? You don’t even have to be an artist!

Do you remember back in grade school when we got a kick out of tracing pictures?


Creative commons | share | attribution | non commercial

I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Telgenhoff I think her name was (?), handing out tracing paper, a #2 pencil and some random old magazine to me and my classmates.  Then, for the next half-hour, or so, the whole class would just go to town tracing “grown up” pictures (not to be confused with “adult pictures”) from pages of an old Life or Time magazine.

Then, after tracing them out in pencil on white paper, the real fun would start.  That’s when we brought out the crayons and started filling in the white space in our custom made coloring book.

Now, a couple of decades later — okay, a few decades later — it turns out, we can recoup a lot of that old childhood picture-tracing fun.

The video above shows how you can go to town with images you capture yourself and then trace them out on your iPad using a nifty little app that retails for about $3.  Hey, you can even color it if you want.

And, here’s another little tip:  You can also do this on your computer using a Wacom tablet, stylus and software like Photoshop or the open source image software Gimp.

Camtasia Tip – Ripple Insert New Clips In the Middle Of A Multi-Track Timeline

It used to the be case that when you wanted to insert a clip in the middle of a complex multi-track project, you’d have to split all clips on all tracks, then zoom all the way out so you can select everything to the right of it and slide everything over.  This needed to happen in order to keep all your callouts, audio, images and video in sync when you shifted everything to the right in order to make room for the new clip.  But, no longer…

Now, when you want to insert a new clip in the middle of your project, you can push the Command key (Camtasia Mac) or the Shift key (Camtasia Studio) while clicking and dragging the playhead.

In the video above, I show a quick demo of the ripple insert feature in Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Mac that you’ll absolutely love me for showing you the next time you’re working on a complex / multi-track project.

FAQ – How do you link a YouTube video annotation to your own website?

Despite the gawd-awful lighting quality that’s evident in the video below, it surprisingly remains one of the more popular videos on my YouTube channel.

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In a future post I’ll have more to say about why I think the video does relatively well viewership-wise, but suffice to say that the topic of YouTube annotations seems to be of keen interest to a lot of folks.  And, lately, one of the frequently asked questions has been how I’m able to make annotations inside my YouTube videos link out to my personal website?

The quick answer is the YouTube Partner program.

The YouTube Partner Program Isn’t Just For Demigods Anymore

It used to be the case that in order to be a YouTube partner, you first had to have a crap-load of videos and video-views.  It was the stuff of celebrities, businesses, publishing houses and demigods.  But no longer.

To be sure, there are a few hoops to jump through.  But, they’re pretty light hoops that don’t really require a lot of technical skills and, once hurdled, allows you a host of useful YouTube partner features, including:

  • Custom thumbnails
  • Live streaming Google+ hangouts
  • Monetization
  • and, yes, linking YouTube video annotations to your own website

associated-websiteOnce in the YouTube Partner program, one of the options you’ll see in the Add Annotations window is a picklist item for Associated Website.  While the video above doesn’t show the Associated Website option (since the video pre-dates this feature in YouTube), the snapshot on the right shows the option to choose as a modification to the steps I show at about the 3:50 point in the video above.

The snapshot on the right also shows some of the other redirect options you have available, as well, when you associate a URL to one of your YouTube video annotations.

Should You Activate Your YouTube Channel For the YouTube Partner Program?

Umm… yes!

If you haven’t activated your YouTube channel yet for the YouTube Partner program, then I highly recommend you do it as soon as possible.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and it’ll do you well to leverage that engine for genuinely compelling video “hooks” that can redirect some of that search activity to your personal website.

[Screenflow video] How to fix video recording errors when editing your screencast video

You may be surprised how often I have to apply the technique above in my screencasting and eLearning projects.  It’s the rare thing when I can record an extemporaneous screencast tutorial perfectly with no blemishes or touches that need to be applied in the editing stage.

In fact (again!), there’s a 3-second snippet beginning at 3:57 in the video above where I had to use exactly the technique I show in the video to cover up a blemish.

See if you can spot this in the video

how to fix text errors in screencast video BEFORE


how to fix text errors in screencast video AFTER


Screenflow, Camtasia Studio, Camtasia for Macintosh: It’s all good

Although I used Telestream’s Screenflow (Macintosh only) to demo this technique in the video above (hmmm… come to think of it: I seem to find myself using Screenflow more and more these days…), in fact the same technique can be applied using similar features in Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Macintosh.

Can you find the video artifact?

So, take a look.  Let me know if you can tell what the issue was that caused the artifact at 3:57 that I then had to cover up using the very technique we talk about in this video.

How to Update Obsolete Graphics In Your Published Screencast Video Without Having to Recapture the Whole Project

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Can you replace a video segment from a published screencast video?


If you have the original Camtasia (or Screenflow) project file this wouldn’t be a problem.  You would simply open up either the Camtasia Studio .camproj, the Camtasia Macintosh .cmproj or the Screenflow .screenflow project file, replace the appropriate image or video segment, then re-publish a new video MP4 file.

The problem comes when your client tells you that they no longer have the original project files and only have the published (MP4) output file on YouTube, say.

download-mp4Well, in most cases, this is an opportunity to update the whole video and re-capture a fresh/new screencast.  But, if you’re in a crunch, then you can download the MP4 from YouTube and then import the MP4 into a new Camtasia Studio, Camtasia Mac or Screenflow project file.

Once imported, you can then use the “separate video and audio” feature (or its equivalent in any of the other two software packages) and simply overlay new graphics to replace the old.

“Separate Video and Audio” Technique Saved About 200 Hours Of Re-Work On One Project

The video above shows how I used the separate video and audio feature in our screencasting software (Camtasia Studio in this case) to replace an outdated video segment containing information about a company’s product pricing.

In this case we had about 24 of these demo videos where only the pricing graphic needed to be replaced.  As you can imagine, it would’ve been a huge project to otherwise have to re-capture, -edit and -publish all of them.  At a 10:1 development ratio, that would’ve otherwise have easily summed to over 200 hours of re-work.

But Wait. There’s a Quality Downside.

The obvious downside here is that you’re working with an already compressed video file (i.e., the published MP4) as your source video in the new project.

In this case, we published a couple of test files and saw that the degradation was acceptable relative to the rework effort.  But, you’ll definitely want to be aware of this downside and publish a test file before you go full bore with a similarly large project.

So, this is clearly just one practical application of the “separate video and audio” feature.  Were you aware this existed in Camtasia and Screenflow?  If so, how have you used that feature on your projects?

How to record video of your iPad screen and synchronize it with other screencasts

I just posted a new training video in the members area at the Digital-Know-How learning library; it answers the question about how I recorded the iPad screencast from the “sneak peek” video I posted the other day.

About the digital-know-how learning library

That training video, along with the Picture-in-Picture training video series (fyi: login required), lays out how I go about synchronizing media clips like the iPad screencast with other media elements like the video window you see above.  The same synchronization technique can be applied again to synchronize yet another screencast, or potentially yet more media elements, into the same presentation.

While the step-wise details are sorta locked down behind the member wall, I can tell you about the software I used to pull it all off.  While some of us may still be learning about it, the utility itself isn’t a secret.  It’s been out since about last summer.

Mirroring Utility To Display the iPad On Your Desktop