Sketchcast on Social Media as Interfaces

Last week i discovered the idea of sketchcasting on this site.  Given that a lot of the things i explain to university students and to clients is easier to explain through pictures than through text, i thought i would give it a shot.  Here is the result of my first experiment:

To get the final product, here’s what i did:

  1. Used a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet to draw out a rough sketch of the concepts in Macromedia Flash (because i am used to the Flash drawing tools)
  2. Printed the sketch on a piece of paper for reference
  3. Fired up Screen Toaster to do the screen capture, and set the “geek settings” to replay the recording at 2x speed
  4. Recorded a screencast while drawing the sketch in Flash (without audio)
  5. Used the Screen Toaster tool to add voice over to the video (using a Sony ECM-MS907 microphone)
  6. Tried to upload to YouTube directly through Screen Toaster, but had some sort of technical problem, so just saved a version on Screen Toaster, and a local .mov file, which i then uploaded to the SociaLens YouTube account.
  7. Embedded the YouTube video in this blog post
  8. Wrote this blog post

Considerations for next time:

  1. Check audio levels more carefully (i used the Screen Toaster defaults, which didn’t record at a high enough level)
  2. Imagine my audience a little more vividly (it’s sort of strange presenting these things without real people in front of me)
  3. Speak more succinctly (this is something i need to work on in every context)
  4. Take the time to sketch objects a little more carefully (i am still not completely used to the Wacom tablet)
  5. Experiment with object-drawing capabilities of Flash?

All told, the process took about 1 hour, though i think with practice, i can probably get it down to about 20-30 minutes, as well as improve the quality as i get more used to drawing with a tablet, the recording/uploading process, and get used to thinking within the context of this process.  For this first try, i chose a topic that is probably just as easily tackled through a text blog post, but hopefully future versions will deal with more visual-dependent ones.  I’d love to hear your comments on this.  Did the visuals help at all?  Is it better than a blog post for these sorts of concepts?  I’d also love to see some of my colleagues in industry and the academy experimenting with this.

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5 Responses to Sketchcast on Social Media as Interfaces

  1. Chung-Ching says:

    I really like this.

    Once I saw one famous Lecturer in Taiwan who uses his tablet PC during his lectures seamlessly. He just opened a notepad application, draw concept on one page just like drawing on the whiteboard using different color and pen width., Than he just jumped to another new page for next idea and diagram. It is amazing, super powerful in a lecture hall with a lot a people with similar experience like small classroom with whiteboard. (I even consider to buy a tablet PC, and give up because of price and spec.)

    Some quick comments to your video:

    1. If the final platform will be YouTube video, how about try using different screen proportion? 16:9 will give you more space to describe stuff.

    2. Color and different width of stroke.

  2. Jay Steele says:

    I could not hear the audio even with everything turned all the way up. Bummer! I have seen screencasts popping up more and more. Very interesting that we are using regressive methods in technology. Thanks for introducing me to Screen Toaster. I will definitely be using that in the future.

  3. Christian Briggs says:

    Thanks, Chung-Ching. I am considering trying this out in the classroom as well! Do you have any idea if the lecturer you mentioned has any videos online? Thanks for the feedback as well. I realized the proportions too late. Great idea to use different colors and strokes. I will definitely incorporate this into future efforts!

  4. Christian Briggs says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Jay. I may try and boost the audio for this file and re-upload it, but i will definitely record future ones at a higher rate of gain. I too find the ways in which older media are “remediated” in these newer ones. For anyone interested in the concept, check out Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin’s book Remediation: Understanding New Media

  5. Simon Fowler says:

    I love the concept and I want me a Wacom tablet! I couldn’t hear the sound either really. I used Screen Toaster recently and had no problems with sound quality. I’m curious why you didn’t embed it directly into the site here rather than going through the ->.mov->YouTube process?

    Your graphics reminded me of xplane.com … do you know them? We’ve used them a few times for business development work. They’re the ones that produced the original Shift Happens “Did you know?” vid. Turns out they have a new, updated version 4.0 http://www.xplane.com/company/news/2009/09/16/did-you-know-4-0/