Monday, July 27, 2009

Video Geek Lab - Creating Instructional Tutorials for Users

This is the second section of my BlogHer09 Geek Lab on finding instructional video resources. You might be interested in creating videos for demonstrating a skill or a product, presentations or screencasting. Instructional videos can be done on an occasional basis or as a normal part of you blog/vlog.

Examples of Instructional/Tutorial Videos

There is such a range of content that can and will be produced that these are just examples. Whether to support your blog, product support or to advertise your business these are some idea generators our of thousands more I could show you. Use these as idea generators:
Certainly you will need to be aware of the core skills resources but you will also have to be knowledgeable about how to present information, how to deliver it via video and keeping your users wants and needs in mind. EHow has a simple outline of the instructional video process.
  • Web Camcorder
  • Digital Video Camcorder or Prosumer Camcorder
  • External Microphone
  • Lighting
  • Tripod/Monopod
If you are going to teach via video then your instructions and how you demonstrate them have to be perfect. You have to plan for that perfection. This kind of video require more planning but it does not have to be a time sink if you set up a workflow or system of how you are going to record the video.

Creating Presentation Resources

It is long past time that the presentation community and the video community got to know each other. There is much common ground. This is my peanut butter and chocolate moment. So for those of you new to presentation concepts check out the following Slideshare presentation by Kelsey Ruger:

Now you are ready to check out the following:

Beyond Bullet Points - If you are using either PowerPoint or presenting by video you need to read this book. If you are cash impaired, check out Cliff's website and blog.

Nancy Duarte - just go and explore the whole shebang. This is one of her pages on using receipt tape to storyboard an idea.

Video of Garr Reynolds speaking at Google on presentation concepts. You should also check out Garr's blog.

You should also visit Presentation Examples blog, Kathy Sierra's post on Stop Your Presentations Before It Kills Again, and download Andy Goodman's book on Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes.

Making Video Tutorial Resources

Tim Carter's Ask The Builder Video on Making Instructional Videos is a great demonstration on the mechanical process of how to construct a video tutorial and he reminds you that it shouldn't be painful to watch.

Tom Johnson at I'd Rather Be Writing goes into more detail about his process in creating tutorial videos.

Videomaker articles on creating instructional videos from Alice Patterson (it is from 2000 but good advice) and secrets on video training.

Screencasting Resources

Review of Free Screencasting Software at
Torely at Mashible's How To Master Screencasting in Seven Steps

For business level screen tutorials and look at creating information products for profit visit ProCasts at and read the post Screencast Tutorial #1.

On many websites and blogs you are going to see name TechSmith and Camtasia. There is a reason for this. The software works. For casual or occasional users you might want to check out Jing. If you are an educator, professional presenter, or live in the presentation realm of the sciences then you should swing over to the Camtasia Learning Center.

Camtasia is expensive and there are low cost/free/open source alternatives like HyperCam, CamStudio and others. But if you need a functional no hassle system and your job depends on it, yes, Camtasia is it.

On the Mac side there is ScreenFlow, Screenium and Screenflick.

Full Disclosure: I have owned Camtasia Studio for two years. I also have purchased SnagIt. I was recently gifted with an upgrade to the new versions of both programs. Thank you Betsy!

But I did want to mention the upgrade. I do believe in letting you know when I have received items. I don't want to talk about transparency without standing up for my beliefs and not acting accordingly.

I receive no money or other types of compensation for this blog. Because of my prior videos and Creative Commons licenses from musicians that have permitted me to use their music for non-commercial purposes; I do not have advertising content on this blog.


  1. Thank you for mentioning Garr Reynolds in your post. I work for Peachpit Press and thought you and your readers might be interested in knowing that he just released his first online streaming video, Presentation Zen: The Video, where he expands on the ideas presented in his book and blog. The DVD is now available for purchase as well. More info can be found here:

  2. Yes, I did see the trailer while visiting the site. I haven't had a chance to read his book but the video looks intriguing. I like the idea that I can view online or order the DVD.

    As soon as i can free up some time I'll take a longer look.

  3. Hi Gena, thanks for linking to my, we're always happy to work with companies to help them explain their products to their users.

    I'm also the co-founder of - this is an open-source focused tutorial site that uses over 1000 screencasts to teach tools like Python and OpenOffice. We also have a strong community of authors, your readers could find good resources at ShowMeDo to help them produce their own screencasts.

    I've also just started work on a new eBook for screencasters called

    I'll be sharing 4 years of screencasting knowledge along with a forum and other resources to help teach all the skills a screencaster needs.