How to Make a Screencast in 8 Easy Steps

Karina Kasparova
September 4, 2023

One good screencast is a powerful thing. It can save you tons of time.

But first, how many of these boxes can you check?

✅ Spent 20 minutes typing detailed instructions for a task that takes 5 minutes to complete? 

✅ Suffered through an entire hour-long video meeting showing a colleague how new software or systems work? 

✅ Had to roll over your chair to your new hire's desk and help them complete a task step-by-painful-step? 

✅ Got stuck in feedback discussions where you both need to present results and receive direction from colleagues? 

If you ticked any of those, know that a good screencast video can save you all that time. 

Better yet, thanks to sped-up video-watching speeds, the person you're sending the screencast can also save time!

It sounds like you're just one blog post away from becoming a bad-ass power user 😉.


In the next 5 minutes, you'll learn how to make a screencast in these 8 easy steps:
  1. Plan and write the script.
  2. Choose template layouts with space for background videos.
  3. Prep everything you need on the screen before recording.
  4. Record the screen with the in-app screen recorder.
  5. Use video editing tools to trim, loop, and edit your screen recording.
  6. Edit the other elements of the template.
  7. (Optional) Create a text-to-speech narration for your recording.
  8. Generate the video.

Before you start recording: Use the QUEST framework to plan your video 

When planning your screencast, think of your recipient sitting in a chair behind you and watching your screen. By the end of your video, that person should be able to stand up and exclaim, "Now I know what I must do. It's easy!"

Using the QUEST framework to structure your recording is a smart way to:

  • Establish the relevance of your screencast so your viewers will watch it through to the end.
  • Give yourself a clear roadmap that keeps your video content on track and avoids confusion from rambling sections.
  • Guarantee that your learning goal will be achieved by the end of the video. 

What is QUEST and how to use it to plan your screencast: 

Qualify: Address your target audience directly. Acknowledge pain points or challenges related to what you'll demonstrate in your screen recordings.

Understand: Show that you understand their situation and use empathy to show you know their needs AND you're there to help.

Educate: Explain the purpose of your screencast. Explain what you'll teach and what the audience will gain.

Stimulate: Highlight your content's unique or interesting aspects. Pique their curiosity to continue watching.

Transition: Guide throughout the entire screen capture. Set expectations for what's to come and how it'll resolve pain points.

Step 1: Plan and write your script

Detailed scripts are helpful, but sometimes a simple outline is enough for planning a perfect recording. If you know the topic, an outline with key concepts, examples, and transitions could easily guide your screencast and leave room for a more natural delivery.

Writing your script comes down to a single idea: 

To nail the demonstration of a digital process, you've got to make it clear and complete. 

Here's how you ensure a clear and complete screencast recording 

✔️Break down the process you want to demonstrate into steps. This gives your screencast a logical flow and ensures it's complete.

✔️Take each step and break it down even further. This lets you include all the details and build relevant talking points into your recording. It's like adding meat to the bones.

✔️Decide what visual cues to insert at each step. This helps you match what the audience hears with what they see and reinforce learning.

✔️Be thorough about your outline. Include time markers or cues for each action to prepare a smooth recording process that won't need excessive editing.

Tip 💡

Include the timing of essential steps to help keep the video within a specific timeframe.
Here's how you could use time markers: At the 2-minute mark: "After completing the installation, launch the app, locate the toolbar at the top of the screen, and click on the magnifying glass icon".

Step 2: Choose what type of recording you need

Below we'll cover two main options, both with their pros and cons. Which you chose depends on your needs:

  • Choose option 1 when you want to make an advanced video combining your own screencasts with other visuals and audio effects.
  • Choose option 2 when you want to make a simple recording with good video and sound quality fast.

Option 1: Use a video maker with built-in screencasting to select a template and mold your script on it 

A video maker like Synthesia offers an entire video creation ecosystem with a user-friendly interface. Right within your browser, you can:

✔️Select a readymade template layout with lots of space for background videos. It helps create a screencast that keeps the audience on their toes and feels good to watch.

✔️Customize the template with your desired content, including brand elements.

✔️Record your screencast and seamlessly integrate the footage into the selected template, with:

  • Other visuals, including add pre-recorded videos.
  • Professional-looking on-screen notes.
  • Animated effects and complex transitions.
  • Audio effects or soft background music.

Learn more about screencasting in Synthesia:

Intro to Synthesia: Images, Video, and Screen Recordings

Option 2: Do a quick one-take video with dedicated screen recording software.

Want to get the simplest high-quality screencast fast? With screen recording software like ScreenRec, you can capture your screen in a single take.

Step 3: Prep everything you need on the screen before you start recording

Preparation at this stage will spare you lots of editing later on and help you make more focused and professional screencasts.

✔️Gather all supporting docs or materials. Bring images, text files, and anything else you'll need while recording in one place. You'll make them accessible and prevent interruptions.

✔️Arrange files and folders logically, on the desktop, or in a set folder. You'll locate them fast and have smoother recording and compact footage in the end.

✔️Close any unnecessary applications or browser tabs. A clear computer screen distracts you less and minimizes the chance of sharing unrelated or personal information while recording.

✔️Set up the windows and apps you'll be using. Open up and position them on the screen for maximum visibility. It helps your audience follow along easier once you start recording.

✔️Set system settings. Remove any distracting wallpapers and adjust screen resolution or font sizes to help all viewers see and read your screen content. Disable any desktop notifications that might pop up during screen recording and mess with your perfect screencast.

✔️Warm up your vocal cords with gentle humming and tongue exercises. It'll help you sound clear and confident throughout the recording.

Step 4: Record the screen with your chosen screen recorder

Always ensure you have a quiet environment right before you record a screencast. Then, select if you want to record screencasts of the entire screen, your Google Chrome browser, or just a portion of it, and hit the record button.

While you record your video, keeping an eye on the clock is a great idea. Keep your videos as short as possible and stick to under 10 minutes.

If you need more than 10 minutes to record a screencast, you might have planned an instructional video that is a bit too long. Consider breaking up your screencast into multiple videos. 

Alternatively, if you're using a tool like Synthesia to record your video tutorials, remember you can use the built-in video editor to break up your screen recording into scenes and add elements such as talking heads, screen annotations, and animation.

Step 5: Trim, loop, and edit the screen recording

Clarity and brevity help keep the audience focused, preventing them from losing interest in your recording or disconnecting.

✔️Trim any unnecessary footage in your video editor:

  • Do an audio check of the recording to remove dead spaces and background noise. 
  • Cut off most of the "ums" and "ahs" in your audio narration while keeping a natural conversational tone.
  • Remove sections that are irrelevant or contain mistakes.

✔️Loop important moments. Go through your recording to identify the parts where your audience could use additional emphasis or clarification and loop them. You'll facilitate closer observation and help your viewers better understand your demonstration.

Step 6: Edit the other elements of your template

All the other elements you can add to your screen recording emphasize the essentials and help viewers follow along.

Tip 💡

80% of consumers say they're more likely to watch the full video if it has captions.
Include captions to improve comprehension and make your screen recording accessible to wider audiences, including those with impairments or who can't turn on the sound while watching. 

In addition to adding captions and subtitles to your video recording, you can:

✔️Use screen annotations, arrows, and other shapes or highlights in your video editor to draw attention to specific screen areas and guide your viewers' focus.

✔️Use animations, transitions, and audio effects between different steps or sections to create a more professional look and give your audience a smoother viewing experience.

✔️Show a face on the recording by filming yourself or using an avatar. Audiences pay more attention when they see faces and feel connected with the presenter.

✔️Before you consider it done, watch multiple times the full recording. Check for any technical issues, audio glitches, or visual inconsistencies. Ask someone else to review it and give you feedback.

(Optional) Step 7: Create a text-to-speech narration and an AI avatar

It's OK if you don't want to make a screencast where you show your face or use your voice.

Not everyone feels comfortable doing it, so an AI video maker with a built-in screencasting tool and text-to-speech technology is the solution. Copy your script, and your voiceover is auto-generated with flawless audio quality! 

Tip 💡

Synteshia is one powerful AI video maker that helps you get all that in seconds. It gives you 125+ diverse AI avatars, 120+ languages and accents, and 60+ pred-designed video templates to mix and match so you create an engaging screencast.

Step 8: Export the video

Time to share your video!

  • Download the video file in MP4 format to later upload it on YouTube or other social media platforms.
  • Generate a shareable link from the screencasting software so you can send it to anyone through text messaging apps, email, or social media.
  • Get an iframe code to embed your video on any web page where you publish content.

Here are a few extra tips for a winning screencast

Tip #1: Access commands with hotkeys to get a smoother screencast

Screencast software has different keyboard hotkeys and shortcuts for accessing certain functions and commands. Use them instead of manually navigating menus; you'll get a smoother, more professional-looking screencast.

Tip #2: Ensure clear narration to improve comprehension

A quality microphone ensures a clear and crisp voice will improve audience comprehension. In addition, a pop filter reduces unwanted noise and keeps volume levels consistent while recording. And if you can't or don't want to worry about these recording settings, use an AI video maker for top-notch voiceover.

Tip #3: Use pace and timing to help viewers follow along

Have a clear action plan and communicate it to your audience. Tell them what will happen, and give them enough time to follow along. Don't spend too much time on irrelevant actions to keep viewers focused, but don't rush through steps either. That way, you give them enough time to see and understand what you're showing in the screen recording.

Tip #4: Pause if you stumble to make editing easier

If you make mistakes while recording your audio narration, take a pause. It's easier to cut those than to clean up messy audio. So pause and then continue. You'll see those pauses in your video editor and know precisely where to go for cutting when editing. 

Ready to create your screencast?

Now you know what it takes to edit videos and create an engaging screen recording. Would you like to see a way of doing it in as little as 30 minutes with AI-powered screen recording software?

Use this free demo to make your first how-to video in less than 3 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions