A change in my video recording process

screenshot of Logitech Webcam Interface
The Logitech Webcam Software

A while back I posted about how I was occasionally finding lip sync lag (ala “Kung Fu Theater” when I recorded my on-camera video introductions and conclusions using Screencast-o-matic.  No matter what I did, I would still experience some lag when recording my face, and my lips and words did not quite match up in the final video.  They appeared to be out of sync by a couple of frames.  I’ve since changed my process and have now removed the lag entirely.

I now use the Logitech Webcam Software to record my introductions.  I use my webcam to record my video, but still use the Blue Yeti to record my voice, as the Logitech software allows you to choose a microphone source separate from the webcam. This keeps the audio levels consistent between the Logitech software and Screencast-o-matic records, so I don’t have to do much fiddling with audio in my movie editor.

Since I am editing my videos in Windows MovieMaker (yes, it still works!), the additional step in recording in Logitech doesn’t really take any additional time.  After I record the Screencast-o-matic demonstration, I download the video file to my computer, and the file, along with the Logitech video file, into MovieMaker to edit.

Testing audio and video quality (and lag) with Screencast-o-matic, a Blue Yeti microphone, and Logitech C920 Webcam

I made this short video to test the audio and video quality of the Blue Yeti microphone and the Logitech C920 webcam using Screencast-o-matic. Sometimes if you use the audio from another mic like the Blue Yeti, but record your video another source, such as I do with the Logitech C920 Webcam, there can be some voice-to-video lag. When the lag is present, the lips of the speaker will be out of sync with the audio and it can look like a badly dubbed 1970’s Kung-Fu Theater film.

In the video below, I tested using just audio from the webcam, and then audio from the Blue Yeti mic, to see if there was any lag. I had just restarted my computer, so the internal memory and page file was pretty empty, and I had all other apps closed except for Screencast-o-matic. I did not detect any lag in the video from either audio source. The sound quality is also noticeably better using the audio from the Blue Yeti microphone. It appears that if you find lag, restarting your computer and closing all extra applications will help with producing better quality, and in-sync, audio and video.

My first best attempt at my YouTube channel trailer

YouTube had been nagging me forever to put a trailer on my channel so that unsubscribed viewers can get to know what my channel is about.  About 4 months ago I put together the clip below.  I recorded the opening of the trailer with my Logitech camera and Blue Yeti microphone. For the other video clips, I actually used Screencast-o-matic to record snips of my videos directly off of YouTube.  This was a bit easier than digging through old mp4 files on my local hard drive.  I then spliced it all together and did the voiceover in Windows Live Movie Maker.    The end result is not awesome, but it will suffice until I have the time to think of something more creative.

My new and improved setup for making instructional videos

Last summer I started using some new hardware that has made my video making a lot easier.  The new setup helps me make better quality videos while reducing steps and saving a substantial amount of time.

I made some videos today with my new camera and mic.  #blueyeti #screencastomatic #bizref

Some time ago I shared how I make my instructional videos.  In that post I detailed how I recorded my video introductions with a dedicated camcorder (or using the video mode on a standard camera) and then captured the screencast using Screencast-o-matic.   I was recording the camcorder audio with a lavalier mic, but recording the desktop audio with a gaming microphone headset.  While the audio was good, the levels from the two different sources never quite matched, despite my best attempts to equalize them in my video editor.  My old process also required me to plug the camcorder into my desktop computer, then download the video from the camera.  While this did not take a huge amount of time, it was an extra step.

The picture above shows my new and improved setup.  On the left is a Logitech HD Webcam that records up to 1080P video.  On the right is a Blue Yeti Microphone that records excellent audio. Both are connected to my computer via USB.    I’ve stopped using the video camcorder altogether and now just record my introductory video with the webcam, Blue Yeti, and Screencast-o-matic.  I then record the desktop demonstration with Screencast-o-matic and the Blue Yeti mic.  Because I am using the Blue Yeti for the audio source for both the introduction and the screencast, there isn’t any need to adjust the audio levels.  Both sound awesome since they are from the same source!

Since the Webcam is already attached to my computer, I don’t have to combine multiple video files.  I will usually record in the introduction (and outro) at the end of my screencast, using the same video file.  I then export the file to my desktop and then do my editing in the old faithful Windows Live Moviemaker.  Unfortunately, the editing in SOM is still a little slow and clunky on my machine.

In general, the quality of the video is superior to my old method and my new method definitely saves me a lot of time.  However, there are times when the video can lag behind the audio in the  on-camera personal introduction segments.  This is usually caused by having too many applications open on my computer while recording video, so closing unneeded programs helps.

The other drawback of this setup is that since my camera and mic are tied to my desktop, I am by default tied to my desktop.  Should I want to take my show on the road and do a video introduction outside my office I’ll need to use a different camera.  Other than that it’s a great setup.