I first heard about Cliff Ravenscraft about a year ago when something came across my desk that mentioned he was a ScreenFlow user. So I went to his site to see what he was up to. My first thought was: Where does Cliff find the time to create all this great content?? You may have heard of one of his podcasts: PodcastAnswerMan, or maybe you’ve heard one of his shows on gspn.tv: Family From the Heart, Pursuing a Balanced Life, Help I Got a Mac!, The Community Voice, Business Tech Weekly, and the list goes on… This guy has an incredible library of helpful, and often very personal, live and recorded podcasts and videos. Well, I’m honored to highlight Cliff in my Meet the ScreenFlow-er series. He has really given some insightful and helpful advice for any screencasters. I hope you’re as inspired as I was:
What do you do?
My business is PodcastAnswerMan.com. I’m a podcast producer, consultant, and coach. I teach people how to do professional quality audio podcasts.
How does screencasting play a part in what you do?
I use ScreenFlow to create full length video training tutorials. Many times I’ll make a short video tutorial available for free on YouTube. However, often times, I will do live webinars where people will pay to attend. During these webinars, I use ScreenFlow to record HD Video and Full Studio Quality Audio. After the webinar is complete, I give each participant a copy of the video(s) that I recorded. However, after that, I turn the video(s) of that training into a digital video tutorial product that people can purchase from my website. ScreenFlow has allowed me to make products that make me a LOT of money while I sleep at night.
As a side note, I hate iMovie. I often times will take video from my Kodak Zi8 pocket HD camera and simply drag and drop that into a ScreenFlow project for movie editing. It works PERFECTLY! So ScreenFlow is my movie editing software as well as my screencasting software!
How long have you been screencasting and approximately how many screencasts have you made?
I’ve been screencasting for at least five years now. I’ve made more than 100 screencasts since this time. I make at least one to five screencasts per week.
I have used other software before. Before I learned about ScreenFlow, I was using a program called IShowU. I moved to ScreenFlow because of its ability to record the ENTIRE SCREEN and the post production abilities that exist with adding panning and zooming, text and image overlay, etc, etc, etc.
What made you consider using screencasting software in the first place? And why ScreenFlow?
I am a teacher at heart. I have been audio podcasting for the past five years. I’ve recorded well over 2,300 podcast episodes and I’ve built a community of tens of thousands of people around the world and I have personal relationships with hundreds of them. People asked me all the time to teach them how to do what I do. Screencasting was the best way I knew to make these teachings available to the broadest audience.
As I mentioned above, I chose ScreenFlow because it combined screen recording with pretty awesome post production abilities, such as adding extra video and audio layers.
I used to love iMovie HD years ago. However, when they got rid of their “timeline” editing style, I desperately wanted something that would allow me to use a “timeline” approach. ScreenFlow was the answer for me.
What kind of studio or set up do you have (a picture, showing your monitors and macs and mic and whatever else you use would be great!)
You can see my entire studio setup at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/studiosetup
Here’s an image:
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of creating your screencasts? Why?
Honestly, I don’t find creating a screencast difficult at all. If I had to choose something, I’d simply say the time it takes to render a video.
What’s the process you use for creating your screencasts?
Here is what I often do:
- I will create a mindmap to help me outline the topic that I want to cover to make sure that I cover every logical step in the process for which I’m training on.
- I then will create a Keynote Presentation.
- I then fire up ScreenFlow and start the recording. I start the Keynote Presentation. I then speak into my Heil PR-40 microphone and it records my audio and video as I talk over each slide. At times, I will break away from the presentation to do a live demo right there on the screen. When I’m done, I hit stop.
- I then export the video into a 1280×720 HD .mov file
- I will then upload to either YouTube or other video sharing sites that will give me a web player.
- I also upload the original .mov file to my media host.
- I then will create a page or a blog post with an embedded version of the video and have a link where they can download the .mov version.
- If I wanted to, I could use iTunes to convert it into an iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV format and then put it into a podcast feed for video podcasting if I want.
Are there processes you’ve changed as you’ve gotten more experienced?
For my “movie editing” I have a 1280x720Template.screenflow file that I have set up. This file already has my opening video intro and it already has a few layers with transparant .png lower third graphics, etc. This keeps me from having to create those over and over again.
Do you have a screencast that you’re especially proud of?
I have two:
First, here is a short video titled “The Power of Podcasting For Your Business”
The second one is a time lapse video of my latest studio redesign. It was made 100% with ScreenFlow. I simply dragged and dropped a ton of photos into ScreenFlow and faded them into each other and added some music to the background.
What other programs/accessories do you use besides ScreenFlow to create your screencasts?
Pretty much just Keynote.
What kind of camera do you use?
iPhone 4 and Kodak Zi8. iPhone4 is great for its portability. I always have it with me. Kodak Zi8 is better because it easily allows me to bring in external audio.
What kind of mic do you use?
Heil PR-40 Broadcast Mic. Because it is pure awesomeness. Check out http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/heilpr40
What advice would you give to someone just starting out screencasting?
Just get started. You’ll improve over time. Today, I’m ashamed of my older videos. However, those videos were LOVED by thousands of people. Five years later, I feel my stuff is extremely professional looking. I didn’t get to where I am today overnight! So just get started!
What’s the stupidest mistake you’ve made when creating a screencast?
I once did a screencast for my Facebook 101 Video Tutorial series. During it, I was showing everyone one of my pet peeves. I made a point of making an example of someone who did one of the things that angered me most with Facebook and I simply made a point to show how to remove a friend from Facebook.
Sure the guy deserved it because of the type of notes that he was “tagging me in.” However, looking back, I don’t think it was wise of me to call someone out in a video that would be viewed more than 50,000 people. Yikes!
Besides ScreenFlow what’s your favorite program for the Mac?
Hands down it would be TextExpander. It saves me HOURS EVERY WEEK when answering emails. I answer between 40 to 100+ emails per day and TextExpander Snippets cut my email processing down by at least and hour a day.