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Creating Videos of Your Computer Screen Activity

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I created a several video this year which showed the activity of my PC's screen.  Some of the videos included a video me in a small window.  All of these videos included audio of me speaking while demonstrating various task on my desktop.

In the past, I used TechSmith's Jing to create these videos.  I still use Jing to annotate screenshots.  This save me the effort copying the screenshot to the clipboard (alt-shift-prtscn) then using a graphics editor to annotate the image separately.  

Today I use Screencast-O-Matic  It is free and very easy to use and is superior to the free version Jing software.  

But he real issue with these programs is that to get professional results you really need a good mic and good video editing software.  

The video you create without the use of a full featured video editing application may be OK, but it will almost certainly benefit from additional editing.  There are plenty of free video editing tools available in fact Screencast-o-Matic and Jing come with some basic video editing functionality but you really would need something a bit more sophisticated for the best results.  I used CyberLink PowerDirector, many other use Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro.  The free video editing software that comes with your computer's operating system and the free video software available on the web is usually inadequate.

The mic I use is the one that comes built into the very inexpensive little video camera that Microsoft sells in Staples.  This mic is suitable for Skype chats but little more.  As a result, my audio suffers.  Sure the audio is adequate, but you can certainly hear the difference in videos where a better microphone is used.  

The other issue is background noise and the acoustics of the room you are recording in -- it all makes a difference.  I guess the real issue is how much are you willing to trade off in terms of time, money, and effort in exchange for quality. 

Another issue to consider when making videos demonstrating software, at least for me is that I find it very hard to speak off the top of my head when making these videos.  If I was in front of an audience it would be MUCH easier for me describe what I'm doing as that seems more natural.  Speaking live while making the recording is just hard for me to do.  I have to have a script.

I published a 3 minute video today and it took about 3 hours create it from start to finish.  Most of the time was wasted with multiple takes. I did not write a script, so I spent a lot of time starting, stopping, deleting, restaring.  I thought I could have some time skipping the script, but I was wrong.  


The editing took the next biggest chunk of time.  Again this is where good editing software helps I was able to edit out things and really improve the quality of the presentation.  The finished product was much better than the original video, which was essentially unuseable.

I did not strive for perfection because besides being impossible to achieve,  I have to balance the effort required to make the video versus the benefit it would provide.  


All things being equal, better produced video simply outperform poorly produced videos.  But, content high in demand can get away with lower production quality.  One has to determine the production quality threshold for their audience and content.

For example, this video which has a relatively high production quality will be viewed 12,000 times over an 8 year period (about 4 times a day), while this video,with much lower production quality, has been viewed 75 times a day over the same period--and has more than paid for itself through YouTube ads. 

What software do you use to create videos of your desktop?  Do you have any tips for creating these types of videos?  What videos have generated the most views and why?

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To record my desktop I use a program that is free from Microsoft. Apple comes with a product to record your desktop but Microsoft had to build a separate program. The program is called Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 Screen Capture. it works  very well and gives you an option to use the camera to add yourself to the video and also provides editing options.

Your question about quality is a fair one. Quality doesn't really matter as much as the content. People go to YT for specific reasons or just to be entertained. While Amiri Baraka is important, he doesn't rival people who have movies about them, so naturally the Bumpy video will get more traffic.

I've been consistently improving my videos, but I focus more on content because I'm building my YT for business primarily. It will be a very slow growing website until I hit a million and someone talks about me in detail on some other channel. In other words, if I spent the time talking about how much money I've made people will then take what I say as valuable. Since I don't talk about how much money I've made my site doesn't pull in many visitors. I talk more about my mistakes and losses and I guess that's not as attractive. 

My most popular video is my complain about a customer returning the incorrect product in an attempt to hustle me. My least watched video has more content than most of them. That video is about Crowdfunding which is a topic that a lot of people want to know about, but are only willing to listen to from someone who has had a "BIG" crowdfunding campaign. I had a successful small campaign so my value isn't that high.

As far as time invested, I've done 10 minute videos in one shot, but I was so familiar with the topic it was easy. I didn't need a script. I have some videos that are direct from a script. Most of my BBZ lessons are read from a script. My other videos are often unscripted. The best performing videos overall are shorter and although I know this, I still make longer videos because I think the content is worth the time of investment.

Overall I think content is more important than quality. The only enhancements I've made to my videos are lighting and that's because I know people will click away when they can't see you. 


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Oh man lighting is a big deal too.  You can correct some of the issues with the software, but it is best to invest in proper lighting. Especially if you are going to be creating videos on a regular basis or as your primary business.

I did not know Microsoft had free software to shoot screen capture videos.  I know their free video editing software was too limited for me to use.

In terms of views of videos, I've watched some great videos that had less that 100 views and have been up over a year. It is really hard to believe. Many of these are author videos, some created by institutions like universities.  

Simon & Schuster creates nice videos for many of their authors and these video are barely watched. I people will invest a lot of time and money and is put into creating videos but in promoting them (the same is true for authors and their books).  I look at S&S's videos and wonder why they spend the time creating them--if all they are going to do is dump them on youtube and forget about them...

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I think S&S realize what I realize, if the content is there eventually it may be viewed. I only use the Microsoft products, but I'm not doing much at all so they work fine for me.

Videos are crazy though... what we have to remember is that the majority of people watching on YT are young. They gravitate towards the hot topics. Those people who speak about things that are current do much better. Take Dr. Boyce Watkins. He is a financial adviser, but many of his videos are on current events and timely matters. This increases his viewership and allows his audience to grow for his financial content.

I am trying to avoid responding to the latest hot topic, although I am seeing more and more that is what gets your views up on YT. I guess when I say content is better than the quality of video, I'm saying that what you talk about is more important than the look. For instance, there is a guy named "Tyrone" and the guy was in an RnB singing group that went no where. He started doing these videos where he walks up on people and says, "I'm Tyrone and I'm here to fuck somebody's wife." The guy is now getting ready to be picked up by movies and his signing career is back on track.

If you were putting on wigs and reviewing books you'd have 400 subscribers in one week, but integrity is a bitch.

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