Mockups 1.5 is on the Way, it's Screencasting Time!

Hi there, just a quick update. I have been heads down coding and bug-fixing in order to get Mockups 1.5 out the door. I feel extremely close, hopefully I'll be able to launch by the end of the week.

What I am doing now is recording some new screencasts for the web site, updating the documentation and preparing a few blog posts for the launch (one won't be enough, there's just too much stuff in 1.5!) 🙂

I thought it would be useful to share my screencasting techniques. I know there are lots of good tutorials out there, but I figured the more the better right? 🙂

Here's my setup:

Things to notice:

  • the big ugly but wonderfully functional Rode Podcaster microphone. I thought the built-in Macbook mic wasn't so bad, but once I bought the Podcaster I realized what a fool I was. Honestly, it's worth the money.
  • 3 books so that I don't have to crouch down while I speak.
  • Screenflow

Here's how I assemble a screencast:

  • I set the monitor's resolution to 1280x800
  • I resize the app so that it's all showing inside a 1280x720 area (the target size of the HD video)
  • I record the demo, without the audio portion. I talk over it to help with the timing but I don't record the audio at this stage so I can focus on the mouse movements instead. This might take a few takes.
  • I play back the demo in Screenflow and add zooming and other effects.
  • Now I start recording the audio, then simply play back the video demo and narrate over it. This might take a few takes, and is painful work (who likes the sound of their own voice?)
  • If the audio is 90% good, I sometimes record little bits and pieces to replace the 10% that's bad. You want to do this pretty quickly, your voice will sound different in a few hours. 🙂
  • I play it back a couple of times, and if it's at all acceptable, I call it done. I am not a professional screencaster and I'm not pretending to be one. I actually don't think that something super-polished, with background music and a fake-sounding voice is appropriate for my product/audience. In fact, I always intentionally leave one "user mistake" that I make in the video, to show that it's easy to recover from it.
  • Export settings are a dark art, everyone has different "best Youtube HD settings" and I think you could spend many hours tweaking and learning what works best by trial and error. A good friend of mine once told me "never learn a new thing unless you'd be happy being asked to do it again" (thanks Brad!), so in this case I just follow whatever tutorial I find quickly on Google. Today for instance I used this one. It looks pretty good so that's good enough for me.
  • I upload it to Vimeo and/or Youtube. I like Vimeo's playback UI much better, but YouTube is more reliable and can be played back on an iPhone.

It looks like my fist Mockups 1.5 video has just finished transcoding over at Vimeo (feedback welcome!!), so I'd better get back to it and make some more!

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Comments (9)

  1. Michael — that sounds like a great idea! Mockups can design such a wide range of applications, and while I’m sure most prospective customers have a good imagination on how they could use it, I’m sure some need some extra inspiration. Peldi has done a great job at showcasing a good amount of the applications for Mockups (as shown in the latest video), but for me the real beauty of Mockups is the off-beat ways people use it!

    Congrats on the launch of 1.5, Peldi — I still haven’t brought a full licence for myself yet due to lack of spare money, but its probably about time I got one! Quality software such as this is rare, and from following your blog I can tell you put a lot of time and thought into Mockups!

    Ashley Williams
  2. Ashley,
    How about a Balsamiq Mockup bakeoff video competition?

  3. Great work!

    I must admit though, I wish you’d try other things in your screencasts; I know what Mockups can do — but some prospective buyers don’t, and seeing an iTunes clone build over and over may give them the impression you design Mockups around iTunes features/styles, and that things may be missing which will make designing other kinds of software harder. 🙂

    [Peldi: good idea Ashley! I added some screenshots of other mockups at the end of the new version of the intro movie: http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups – let me know what you think!]

  4. Ahhh – Code Complete, One of my personal favorites!

  5. Mate – awesome post as always.

    On the small errors, I think I recall a story whereby when a ‘proper’ Persian carpet is made the weaver (human of course – not a machine) always makes on intentional mistake because perfection is only for the gods. It also serves to highlight handmade rugs rather than machine made ones.

    Basically – you’re just more authentic than your average podcaster 🙂

    Keep on keeping it real mate.

    m

  6. Wow, that’s amazing! I’ll definitely be purchasing mockups on the release of 1.5. Also, your video was great and perfectly showed off how awesome your product is. Great job!

  7. Hi again, I found that page on Vimeo where I read about their uploading guidelines. The url is http://vimeo.com/guidelines#uploading_guidelines. Basically it says, ‘BUSINESSES MAY NOT USE VIMEO TO PROMOTE THEIR BUSINESSES IN ANY WAY.’ (their caps, not mine). That was the line that stopped me from uploading one of my screen casts. Maybe they aren’t policing the uploads anymore.

    I want to put my screencasts on a service such as Vimeo or YouTube but they need to be HD because too much detail is lost AFAIK when using normal resolution.

    [Peldi: wow, thanks for letting me now. I guess it’s bye bye Vimeo…their loss. And here I was about to buy a Vimeo premium account!]

  8. Nice setup and writeup! Regarding audio and video recording – have you thought about doing it the other way? Record audio first and then record screencast after it? Because audio determines the timing. I did some videos once and I found it easier to record audio first and time the video after it.

    [Peldi: I started that way, but that meant writing a script beforehand, which is time-consuming and, at least in my case, never actually right. Also, for me it’s much easier to speak faster and slower in order to accommodate the timing of the video, rather than having to much with the video editor to stretch or shrink parts of the screencast in order to accommodate my audio. Video first is what works best for me]

  9. Nice post Peldi. I just purchased yesterday and am already loving the app.

    Do you use Vimeo Plus or just the regular Vimeo. I thought they had a restriction against posting commercial stuff on their site, or is it just commercial videos from 3rd parties?

    [Peldi: I use regular Vimeo. I don’t know about their restrictions, but I doubt they would prevent me from posting my own screencasts on it. I’ll check, thanks for the heads up!]