Good screencast software often offers hundred of features. How to decide which features are the most important one for your needs? In this article, we’ll guide you through top 8 most important features of a good screencast software to help you choose the most suitable program that suite your requirements.
After two years time writing reviews about screencast software of all kind, I’ve found it’s really struggling to decide which screencast software is better than the others. Especially, when you don’t have enough time to check all the features it offers, or you’re just about to start making your first screencast videos.
But, as a famous idiom stated that “There are no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard word and learning from failure.” My team and I worked hard enough, spent enough time and effort to figure out what are necessary features, and what don’t, in a good screencast software. Let’s dive into the detail now.
Top 8 Important Features Of a Good Screencast Software You Should Know Now
1. Ease of Use
Screencast software is similar to other software you see on the web. Easy-to-use should be always the first important feature you need to care about. It’s not hard too discover how easy-to-use a program is. All you need is to take a closer look at the interface, find the function menu and check its performance by creating a new sample project to see how it works. Leave yourself a few minutes to read and understand the program operational manual before you go. All the most famous professional screencast software I’ve reviewed such as TechSmith Camtasia, Atomi ActivePresenter or Screencast-O-Matic offer very intuitive user interface and smart workflow that lets new users get used to working around with it. Here’s an example of friendly and easy to use screencast software.
2. Record High Quality Video/ Narration
Recording video and audio is another key feature of a good screencast software. As this is the main purpose of creating such kind of software. If the program is simple to use, has intuitive interface, but lack of video recording capabilities, it’s worthless for you in any cases. Luckily, all the software I tested has this option. You don’t have to spend hours figuring out the answer. What I want to mention here is about the quality of the captured videos and audios. It’s not easy to check the quality of the videos as it’s something that you’ll need to spend tons of time to figure it out. By the way, there are some simple tips to get things done without wasting too much time:
- Check if the video/ audio look and sound smooth or not.
- Check if the resolution is according to what you customized before.
- Carefully check video frame rate to see if there is any frame drop.
Like what TechSmith’s expert presented in a tutorial, to create a perfect screencast video, you’ll need to make careful preparations before hitting record button. Let’s learn how to make a good screencast from this video.
3. Cut & Trim Captured Video
Once you finish your recording, what would you do next? Publishing it on YouTube right away? Definitely not! I’ve made more than +100 screencast videos during the year and none of them is able to use immediately. There are unwanted parts and usual sound in the video all the time. I believe that you can also meet the same issues as I did. That’s why I vote for cutting & trimming tools in good screencast software. Without these tools, I will not use that program even though it is completely free.
4. Annotations: Shapes, Text, Icons and More
You know what annotations mean, right? In a screencast video, Annotations are as important as your voice-over. Annotations make your video more instructional and easier to follow. Annotations are all kind of shapes, texts, icons and other gestures you can add to your captured videos. If you still don’t know the meaning of annotations, take a look at my simple videos without voice-over, just annotations and background music. Let’s me know if it is simple to follow enough?
5. Export/ Render Video Performance
When it comes to video production, every time, you’ll need to export/ render your video no matter what kind of video content you want to create. This is the final and most important step to get a finished product. Why? It decides how your project looks like and how much time you’ll need to catch up with your project deadline. Added to that, video rendering performance decides how good is a program. Good programs will finish the process without crash or “not responding issue”. By the way, even using good screencast software like Camtasia or ActivePresenter, you still meet crashing and not responding issues sometimes. It’s not because they are bad. There are many different reasons, unpredictable can lead to crashing issues such as your machine specifications, not enough storage capacity, application conflict etc. That’s when you need to care about the next feature, technical support.
6. Technical Support
Well, to judge if a company provides good or bad technical support depends very much on personal feeling. Maybe they are good for me, but not for you. Then, how can we figure out if a technical support is good or bad. I know that it’s my somewhat emotional evaluation. But, when testing any program, I always produce a “fake issue”, deliver to the software developer via email, chat and other available communication channels to see how responsive they are. Added to that, I also search on the community forum, YouTube and social channel to see how they react to user’s questions. As mentioned earlier, this is personal feeling. It’s not true for everyone. But, definitely, you should check if this service is available or not before making your decision.
7. Upgrade Timeline
Technology changes very fast, especially in the information technologies. Without upgrading timeline or commitment, the software will become obsolete very soon. Good software must be upgraded in time to catch up with the trend. The upgrade timeline doesn’t have to be monthly or yearly schedule. But, there must be a plan for that.
Camstudio free screen recorder (not TechSmith Camtasia) is a good example of outdated problem. This is a popular free screencast software some years ago. It’s recommended by many software reviewers at that time. But, as it’s an open source program, nobody want to upgrade it. No more features are added for years. And now, it silently disappeared in the screencast industry, and never return, I guess! Latest upgrade of this tool was in 2013.
8. License Price & Your Needs
Last, but not least! License price is the final feature you must consider when choosing a screencast software. Do you know how much money you should pay for a good and professional screencast software? $50, $100 or $1000? Well, the amount of money you must pay depends very much on your needs and via versa. I am not going to recommend any software you should buy here as this does not make sense if you do not have enough money or do not intend to spend money on a screencast software. But, it’s worth to give you an overview of the license price of the most popular screencast software. Hope it helps!
- Atomi ActivePresenter – This is one of the most professional screencast software I’ve reviewed. It has powerful and decent features for creating screencast and e-learning content. The owner provides good technical support, upgrade timeline too. Surprisingly, it can be used completely free for non-commercial purposes. So sad! It’s standard edition perpetual license is $199 per lifetime which is acceptable in consideration of its important features. Read more review here!
- TechSmith Camtasia – This is the industry standard screencast software, created by TechSmith. There are bunch of unique features you may get in this program. Intuitive interface, great technical support, yearly upgrade, weekly online tutorial appear on YouTube and so much more. Sadly, Camtasia is only available for 30 days trial. Lifetime license price comes in at $249 per lifetime. Read more review of Camtasia here!
- Screencast-O-Matic – This program is a web-based application. It lets you create high quality screencast videos with no download or installation. I found it very useful for creating instructional and how-to tutorials for YouTube. You can try it too. Screencast-O-Matic is free to use with some restrictions. If you need full features, its subscription plan sticks with $18 per year. Read more review here!
I hate to say this! But, such long-form article makes me crazy. Btw, I hope this piece of information can help you save your time in selecting a good screenscast software that suite your needs. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to follow us to keep you update-to-date with our latest news from the blog.