Screencasting advice

I haven't tried Ning yet, but thanks to Yoz Grahame's excellent screencast I know a whole lot more about it. In this entry Yoz spills some of the secrets he learned the hard way. You can find more such advice in my What is screencasting? article, but Yoz's experience reminded me to write up something I've learned since.

If you wind up using Camtasia, as Yoz did, and if you need to do precise editing of narrated video, as I do in The Screening Room, then you're going to discover a frustrating thing. Cuts that look reasonable will mysteriously turn destructive, lopping off bits of sound.

The Camtasia folks tell me that's because the editor is time-based, not frame-based. I don't have audio-visual DNA, so I'm not entirely sure what that means. But for now, here's the workaround I'm using. Before I make any cuts, I pad the target audio region with about a second of silence on either end. With those buffers in place, I can (usually) make cuts safely, albeit less precisely than I'd like.

This procedure is so annoying that I've explored shipping video over to iMovie for editing, then shipping it back to Camtasia for final production, but that procedure is fraught with its own annoyances. So for now I'm using the workaround.

Oh, by the way, in addition to the unclassified version of the Ning demo, there is also a classified -- or rather, Cleesified -- version.

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