5 Reasons Screencasts Are Better Than Webcasts


Online video streaming is all the rage right now. Two popular options are screencasts, which are narration-driven videos that typically provide instructions or demo a product, and webcasts, which is basically streamed content delivered to a group of people at the same time. Here are five reasons you should consider usingscreencasts instead of webcasts where possible.

Easier to make

First, screencasts are easier to make. In order to make a successful one, all you really need is good content. That’s not to say you should abandon software improvements or vow from using professionals to assist with making one. However, even companies with very small budgets can put together a screencast that many people would be interested in seeing, providing it contains a good idea. Webcasts, on the other hand, tend to be more of a production. It can be challenging for those with few staff and technical know-how to put together compelling content in webcast form.

Simpler to make

The ease is, in part, due to the relative simplicity of screencasts. Anyone with a microphone, screencast-friendly editing software, and access to the Internet can produce and publish one. The final result can then be circulated, to be viewed at viewers’ convenience. Although you can take steps to make a screencast more complex, at its core, it’s a pretty basic form of media.

Webcasts demand more technology – not only to do have to capture the video, but you have to encode it for streaming, and then you have to find a server to stream it. Preparation is more complex, too. Since viewers are all supposed to tune in at the same time, you have to advertise it well, and send repeated reminders to anyone who commits to attending. If you decide to hold a two-way webcast, where people can submit questions for immediate answer, things become even more complex. You will need a system in place ready to manage everything.

Cheaper to make

These factors make a webcast typically more expensive to produce than a screencast. While the technology required for broadcasting your content is more affordable than ever, it will still usually run up a price tag that exceeds what you’d spend on a screencast. Not only do you have to get all the equipment to capture and edit your material, but you also need buy software to encode it. Depending on the number of viewers, you may be expected to pay a Content Distribution Network Internet service for streaming your work, too. A screencast is much cheaper – editing software and microphones come cheap, and the final product can easily be loaded onto sites like YouTube or Vimeo for free.

Faster to make

Screencasts are fast to make. Their ease and simplicity streamlines the process. They also usually run short – under ten minutes, often less – whereas webcasts tend to stretch much longer. Not only that, but they can easily serve as a stand-alone informative video; most of the time, the show-like nature of webcasts make them work better within a thematically-unified series. Creating a whole series is a serious time investment.

No distracting body language

Lastly, screencasts eliminate the possibility of any distracting body language. The focus is on the audio narration, which is reinforced with content-specific video. Webcasts usually center on a person presenting information, where the message can get muddled due to poorly executed non-verbal cues.

Although both styles of video are useful ways to get a message across, when possible, stick with screencasts. They’re cheaper and, all around, simpler to make.

Guest post contributed by Victoria, for Screenmail.

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