How To Record A Video Tutorial For Your Blog

by derek on February 28, 2008 · 38 comments

Over the last two weeks I have experimented with creating video tutorials as a new feature for the blog.
The first tutorial discussed a Photoshop tip to save bandwidth, while the most recent tutorial explained how to select winners for your blog contests.
While my experience has been limited, I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few things that I have learned in the process.

Flip Video Camera

For the first video tutorial I used the Flip Video camera that I had purchased a few months back. As much as I love this little camera for taking quick videos, it wasn’t the best option for trying to record a computer-based tutorial as the result was rather blurry and it took a few tries to prevent shaking my desk while recording.

In addition, there were some problems with the quality of the audio as there were a few points where it faded in and out. However, this was not a fault of the camera but rather my lack of focus trying to record a video tutorial near midnight while thinking about getting enough sleep for work the next day.
All in all, I think the Flip Video camera makes a handy camera for recording quick little videos – maybe for a video blog post where you are just speaking – but doesn’t work well for making video tutorials.

Camtasia Studio

With the second video tutorial I turned to Camtasia Studio to record the tutorial. Fortunately, I have a copy of this available to me at work so I was able to experiment without having to purchase a copy just yet.

On the first attempt I captured a nice recording but I didn’t have a microphone for my computer. Since the video tutorial is rather lacking without an audio explanation of what is taking place, I had to head out to the store and purchase a headset/microphone.
When creating the output from Camtasia Studio, I first used the default settings which created a Flash SWF file. Since I wanted to publish this via YouTube, I had to render the output video again and selected a WMV file. Unfortunately, saving to a WMV resulted in a noticeable loss of quality – as the SWF file was very crisp and clear, which is what I will try for the next video tutorial.
However, this second video tutorial was still much more clear than the first tutorial but the quality of audio was still a little problematic due to the headset that I had purchased.

Quality Headset/Microphone Is Required

While I am very happy with the results of using Camtasia Studio, I was disappointed with the quality of the audio. As Brewster commented on that tutorial, it sounded as though the microphone was too close to my mouth.
Well…that was because the thing was practically in my mouth!
The headset that I purchased was a Logitech Premium Stereo Headset with a flip down microphone. At the store this looked like a great option – it had nice soft foam ear pads, inline volume and mute controls, as well as a noise-canceling microphone.
Little did I know that the microphone must consider my voice to be noise, as the only way it would record anything was if I had the thing pressed up right in front of my mouth. As you can hear on the video, this is not the best way to record audio. I even tried stretching a pair of my wife’s pantyhose over it – you know, like you see rock stars do in the studio – but that didn’t work either.
At first I thought maybe it was because the microphone was too far away from my mouth – in case you didn’t know, my head rivals that of Barry Bonds in size. When I wear a baseball hat, the adjustable strap is on the last dot – or maybe the second to last dot if I just had a haircut.
I called my wife to try the headset since she has a tiny, not quite shrunken-head size head and even she couldn’t get any decent sound to record.
After messing around with the computer, as well as trying it on another computer, I came to the conclusion that I bought a piece of crap headset and need to find something better. This Logitech setup will be going back to the store in the next few days.
So if you know of a good headset/microphone to use for Skype or any type of audio on the computer, please hit me up and let me know!

Third Tutorial?

As I mentioned, I will continue to experiment and will hopefully have a better headset when it is time to record the next video tutorial. Camtasia Studio looks like a winner so I will certainly give that another try.
But what should I cover in the next video tutorial?
If you have a topic that you would like to see covered, please let me know in the comments below. If I use your idea, you might just receive a free plug like Matt did for Goodnight Moon Futon.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt February 28, 2008 at 11:24 pm

I wouldn’t recommend using YouTube for Video Tutorials, it reduces the quality too much.
As for the mic, the microphone that came free with my webcam (a long time ago) is actually surprisingly good. It’s made by Creative, so check them out (I mean if a cheap mic from them is good, a more expensive one must be great).


derek February 29, 2008 at 12:09 am

Matt, thanks for the feedback. Would you recommend just hosting the SWF files myself or using something else to host the video?


Matt March 3, 2008 at 10:18 pm

I’d recommend hosting the SWF files yourself. If the files start to get too big, or take up too much bandwidth, a service better situated for quick file storage and retrieval (Amazon S3 would probably work nicely) might be needed. But your hosting account should work fine.
Also, with SWF, it’ll be possible to view it larger so you can actually see what’s going on with the mouse.


Ling February 29, 2008 at 12:31 am

If you want to record computer based video tutorials, like you want your visitors to see what you’re doing on screen, then I found ‘Wink’ from Debugmode the easiest (and its free) to work with. Creates SWF files, and you can add some nifty captions, amekers, etc.
As for more ideas for tutorials, maybe something to do with design? Any page, template or blog I design looks like something the cat dragged in. And I can’t convince myself to hire a designer.


Nicole Price February 29, 2008 at 3:59 am

A video tutorial on how to record a video tutorial would be great. I’m still confused about the whole thing.


Stephen February 29, 2008 at 5:15 am

Do you know of any software for mac? Also I think if you record at the right resolution then they don’t get the quality messed with by youtube.


James Mann February 29, 2008 at 5:47 am

I haven’t tried to do a video yet. For some reason as soon as a mic is stuck in my face I can’t function. Not sure why that is but if I do video I would have to have someone do any audio.
I have a good friend in mind for that though. He has a voice that is just great to listen to, where my voice is very mono-tone and I am sure would put people to sleep long before a 2 minute recording was done.


Brewster February 29, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Hi James. It sounds like you have the same trouble as me – I can’t function when a mic is turned on for me to speak into. I am assured that it does get easier with practise though.
Derek, how about a tutorial on publishing videos on the web?


Brewster March 3, 2008 at 5:35 pm

PS. Thanks for the link love – much appriciated.


derek February 29, 2008 at 10:13 am

@Ling :: Thanks for mentioning Wink, might be worth a look to see what it can do.
@Nicole :: That reminds me of how I always laugh when I am watching TV that shows other people watching TV. Stupid I know but I just find it funny.
@Stephen :: From what I have read, Camtasia is working on a Mac version and you can sign up for updates here. Two others that I have heard about but know nothing about are Jing Project and SnapzProX (I’ve actually read a few bad comments about this one). Also, thanks for the tip on the resolution!
@James :: Lol, as you can tell I certainly don’t have the voice for recording either but I cannot convince my wife or kids to do it so I – and all of you – have to suffer through it.


Ross February 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm

For skype I use a logitech pc head set. I had no problems with it. But as for the tutorials, what about using a microphone vs headphones?


Home Recording Studio March 1, 2008 at 8:45 am

Frankly, I do not have a clue as to what needs to be done and need to learn. I hope to from your experiments and posts.


MSN hacken March 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I am using Camtasia Studio for recording my online videos. It works easy and perfect and it is cheap


Furniture Store March 1, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Thanks for giving us the benefit of your experience. That is a neat camera there, and i did not know that they are quite inexpensive.


Sean March 1, 2008 at 8:15 pm

iShowU and Snapz Pro X are great for Mac…..but cost money :(. There’s a new program called The Jing Project (free for now) that I used for this tutorial ( ) but it doesn’t allow you to resize and it only saves in a .swf format :(.
I have a built-in mic in my laptop that works great so I’m good there, but I don’t feel like shelling out a bunch of money for a screen capture program, even if it isn’t THAT much money… could be used for gas/school loan, especially since I don’t make anything from my blog.


Jayson March 1, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Sounds like a lot of experimenting has been going on. How about a tutorial on how to set those four ads up like that on your blog (I haven’t even tried as it looks a little out of my league) or something about creating new content for your blog.


Futon-Matt March 2, 2008 at 8:06 am

Cool post, thanks for the plug!


Andrey Troy March 2, 2008 at 11:58 am

I will say more, its a very good post, I founded everything I ll been looked for.


Alicia March 3, 2008 at 3:10 am

Love to hear your recommendation after you solve the problems of the audio and the camera. If you find out the simplest way to do a tutorial without too sophisticated equipment please share.


Eva White March 3, 2008 at 3:14 am

Your videos are very clear. I tried doing it with my handycam, but it showed blurry images at times. I’ll try your way next time……….


Inavid March 3, 2008 at 7:05 am

Nice plug, Thanks to share with us.


360 Degrees March 3, 2008 at 12:19 pm

That’s great you are branching out. Me, I’ll just stick to blogging.


Ottila March 3, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.


alex webvideomaker March 13, 2008 at 1:52 am

I use Camtasia and it’s definitely the best software for screencasting and to create video tutorials. To get started with the process it could be useful test some free online screencasting tool like : JING, screencast-o-matic, uTIPu,
And once one begins to understand how the things have to be done, skip to Camtasia that has much more functionalities.


Oka March 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Good article for newbie like me 🙂 How about use USB microphone, is it necessary?


Computer Repair Las Vegas July 21, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Just curious, I have been looking at possibly providing training and tutorial videos on my site, what kind of response have your received from your efforts?
Computer Repair Las Vegass last blog post..Computer Repair Las Vegas – Why is my computer so slow? Part. 1


derek July 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

There was a decent response when initially posting the tutorials but only a small trickle of traffic that comes into these posts on a regular basis. When done well, I think there is certainly a market for this type of information though.


david August 10, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Check out this blog. It has constant guitar tutorials and a complilation of good guitar solos but different artists 🙂


Digital Video Editing October 4, 2008 at 8:50 am

Great post, I prefer using vimeo for tutorials simply because the quality is better.
Although youtube does get more hits.


Mark May 31, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for your tutorials. Just in time for my project blog too! I’m going to apply what you’ve said on my blog and set up a few video tutorials on playing guitar on my site – Guitar Tutorials


Shennan T. August 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Do you know of any free software to begin with?


blogging tech news April 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

is there a free one?


derek April 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

Take a look in the comments above as there are a number of free tools suggested. I’ve not had any personal experience with any of them though, so I cannot speak to how useful any of them will be for your purposes.


declan hughes August 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

A video would be a big step for me – would need a lot of confidence – and have a great face for radio 🙁


Homes for sale in Phoenix September 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for the information. My biggest obstacle is the mic. Thanks for the info I will look into the brand you recommended.


Benjamin September 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

This is the perfect blog to help in the creation of Photoshop video tutorials. I really like the fact that you cover all the steps (including reference to the right software) in the creation of a video. I hope to develop my own website Photoshop Ideas : Video Tutorials. I will surely use your techniques for video recoding of tutorials to add more material to my website.
Thank you!


Miamipam May 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Hi Derek I want to record my own video tutorials as i have developed my own web site (underconstruction) but for students help i need to some video tutorials. Can u help me aith any serial key or something like that cause i have got the trial version only of that software.
Please Help
Many Thanks..!!!


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