First off, in case you missed it, Dan Theurer and I sat down with Steve Souders (Chief Performance Yahoo) to talk about YSlow and web site performance issues. We made an audio podcast and a video demo (QuickTime or on-line via JumpCut) that's a follow-on demo to what we discussed in the audio-only presentation.
This was fun for me, not just because I got to learn about YSlow and understand how it works, but it's also the first "real" screencast that I got to produce myself. In the past Matt McAlister did a lot of that work, but this was my chance to get my hands dirty with Camtasia. There's a bit of a learning curve to using Camtasia, but once you get into the groove, it's pretty good. Not that I don't have a lot more to learn and improve upon, of course. :-)
However, I have newfound admiration for folks like Jon Udell who've been producing very effective screencasts for a long time now, often using older and less capable tools than what I have now.
I've realized that I need to do a bit more prep work before sitting down to record. Specifically, we need a better thought out agenda--almost a timeline of how we'd like things to flow. This makes it harder to produce too much material, but it would also help to ensure that we don't miss out on important information along the way.
In the post-processing world, there's a ton of stuff you can get wrong. There are far too many video output formats, codecs, and settings to choose from. I must have "produced" the video over two dozen times before settling on a combination that actually seems to work for most platforms. It was surprising how many times I'd get a good video and no sound. Or complaints from a Mac user about needing to install extra software just to view it. And don't even get me started on the stupid size restrictions on video uploads that I ran into.
All in all it feels like the technology for making these videos, uploading, and publicizing them has a long way to go. It's good enough now for people like me (willing to really screw around with it) but need a few more years to bake for the less devoted.
Posted by jzawodn at August 07, 2007 01:49 PM