Friday, January 11, 2013

Recording risks

Screencast narration on a technical subject matter is the hardest that dubbing can get. Although I have never done voice acting, just by allowing you artistic freedom voice acting allows much more space for variances and experimentation. With technical screencasts, like in my case, One has to follow along the many entrenched paths that accuracy encompasses. As the video advances, one has to anticipate what comes next in order to turn the audio experience into something fluid for the audience. Otherwise it sounds forced or inexperienced. Rehearsal helps, but ultimately, mastery of the subject matter treated and experience with microphone and breathing techniques will trump all other virtues.

There are 3 distinct ways of screencasting:

  • Direct screencasting. 
  • Video first
  • Audio first

Direct screencasting
Is simply screencasting while one demonstrates the software. This has the burden of making it all seem fluent and eloquent while at the same time maintaing technical accuracy. The huge advantage though, is that it takes much less time. Audio and video retouching can still be made at post-production.

This is the technique I currently use for fast and short screencasts.

Video first
Allows the video to be recorded in a more laid back way. The audio, however, must match the video by replaying the video and activating the record function of Audacity or any other recorder in a fast move(alt-tabbing may work). Following along, talking about what is displayed in the video is much easier than narrating along with the mouse and keyboard. This allows for a much more professional sounding screencast, at the expense of time consumption trying to make it fit the video, and since the aim is too make it sound more professional, the rehearsal might take longer.

I currently use this for the middle quality screencasts.

Audio first
This technique becomes easy if one has written the script beforehand, and simply reads it along. Once the audio is ready(which is the easy part), the video must be synchronized with the audio(considering the timing based on the current video's framerates in VirtuaDub and milliseconds played in Audacity can be easily translatable.) It is hard to come up with a rhythmic and well timed screencast using this method. It is best left for more elaborate presentations(live footage, animations, composited images and partly screencasts)

This technique I currently use for elaborate, time consuming presentations.

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