Having subject matter experts record videos is a great way to tap into the wealth of knowledge that SMEs possess, but there can be challenges to turn those recordings into a polished product for educating your customers and maybe even generating leads.
Vidyard just released an ebook called 9 Essential Types of Video for Business. It's a great resource for defining different types of videos, where they fit into the customer journey, and what types of things need to be considered for each type. One of the things I found interesting was that they considered "how-to" videos relevant to most of the "funnel" stages for customers: attract, educate and retain. Furthermore, I know from making a few different kinds of videos, that those different types frequently overlap and you can often use one recording clip as an asset for multiple videos, even of different types.
There is definitely a place in the process for developing videos in which SMEs can just press Record and start explaining. But after both making many of my own videos and working with recordings done by others, I have a few tips for getting started.
Before recording screens, you need to know where the final product is going to live. If you record in the wrong ratio for where the video is ultimately going to be displayed, you can end up with what's known as a pillarbox, i.e., you have those ugly black bars on both sides of the video display.
In many cases, including YouTube, you most likely need to record in a 16:9 or widescreen ratio. If the video is going to a social media site, you can brush up on the recommendations for other formats here.
Note that while using the Full screen setting can guarantee that you don't miss anything in the recording area, there are some issues to consider.
The first is that your display may not be a 16:9 ratio. Thus, videos made from your recordings are not going to be in the right ratio (and you'll get the previously mentioned pillarbox). For example, the current line-up of MacBooks use a 16:10 ratio; Surfaces use a 3:2 ratio and iPads use 4:3. The majority of Windows machines use 16:9, but even then, you need to consider your screen resolution, whether (and where) you have your task bar showing, whether you are showing your bookmarks bar, how many browser tabs you have open, etc.
Sound Really Matters
No matter how good your content and visuals, poor sound quality will turn off viewers fast. If the audio is not nearly perfect, viewers will stop watching, and therefore will not get any value from your content.
If you're sure that the SME's narration is an important aspect of your finished product, here are my recommendations.
Editing a screen recording to match separately recorded and polished narration requires five simple skills in video editing: cut, delete, split, clip speed and extend. These edits are much more efficient than trying to match the timing of what you do to what you say.
What About That Darn Cursor?
If you are doing some kind of live online training, including a demo or a webinar, moving your cursor while you speak is natural and can help your audience follow the explanation. However, in a polished how-to video, it is really, really, really annoying.
SMEs don't necessarily need to worry about the cursor. During editing, you can scale or hide the cursor depending on whether you want to call attention to it, or you want it out of the way. There are some much more advanced techniques you can use, but to get started, select the recording clip you want to modify and select the cursor tab. You can scale the cursor separately from the screen recording up to 500%. And you can hide the cursor by making the Opacity 0%.
Camtasia recently added a new feature that helps smooth out those distracting extra cursor movements. You can learn more about cursor smoothing here.
But even with those tricks to modify the cursor, it's so much better if the initial recording has purposeful, direct cursor movements. This also can be improved with practice. And it may also help to use another Camtasia trick...Pause. If you make a mistake, you don't need to start over. Just pause, reset, and unpause to start the recording where you left off.
You don't have to capture a perfect video in one take. And how-to videos are not Hollywood productions. They can be layered together with separate sound and video tracks. Capture multiple clips and use the magic of video editing tools to weave together the final product.