HOWTO: Make a Drupal Videocast

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(This content was pulled from the official handbook page on screencasting)

If you would like to contribute a videocast to the community here are some loose standards we recommend

Creating the Video

Some popular recording applications:


  • ScreenFlow 99.00 USD | Allows video and screen capture simultaneously
  • Snapz Pro (Commercial, Quicktime)
  • iShowU (Commercial, Quicktime)
  • Jing (Free, FLV format)



Other screen recording software can be found on Wikipedia.

Video Production Tips

  1. Make sure that the format of the videos is cross-platform! Windows Media (.wmv) is not universally supported on all platforms. We recommend QuickTime (.mov) which is available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux-based systems.
  2. Add a Creative Commons license to your video. Without a clear license, we can't be sure whether it is "safe" to host these videocasts for you.
  3. Use a resolution of 800x600 or higher. With smaller resolutions it becomes difficult to read text in the movie. When trying to resize your browser in preparation for recording, you can use a JavaScript snippet to resize your browser. Save the following as a bookmark:


  4. You'll also need a microphone. If you do not have one, you might consider an inexpensive Plantronics USB headset like this one. Good audio really helps make a good production. Here are some tips to making your audio sound good:
  5. Its a good idea to make an outline of the steps you wish to present in your screencast. Type A personality folks may like to script the whole thing. Run through the lesson without recording once or twice get comfortable teaching the lesson.
  6. There are 2 ways to approach making a screencast. The first is a completely "live to tape" workflow. In this case the producer records the audio and video (including mouse clicks and typing) all at the same time. If you are a new producer, you may find this like trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time. If this is the case for you, consider this alternative.

    The alternative is to record the video first, and record a voiceover later. Simply record the steps you wish to present on your computer clicking your mouse and typing where need until you have shown all the steps you wish to present. Then record the voiceover with your audio appication and use you video editor to stitch it all together.

  7. Audio Editing Programs

Video editing Programs

Creative Common Images

  • Provide the written script somewhere (can help with translations). Some people have hearing disabilities, some work in an environment where they can't use audio, and some just absorb things better by reading instead of listening.
  • Keep the videocasts short and focused. They are effectively linear, not random access. Sure, you can move the slider, but there's no index telling you where to move it. If the videocast covers too many things, and someone is just interested in one aspect, it's difficult to find that one point.
  • In particular, pick your audience and don't mix end-user, editor, and developer information, except at the most general level.
  • Keep the video uncluttered and focused. There's no opportunity to wave a laser pointer over the relevant area, and no opportunity for a viewer to say "slow down, which text field are you talking about." Mouse and text cursors can be difficult to locate, particularly on new screens.
  • Use high contrast, even if you're used to using low contrast for yourself.
  • Recommended Settings

    (as used for the Lullabot and Drupal Dojo videos)

    • Compression: H.264
    • Frame Rate: 10
    • Key Frame Rate: 500
    • Encoding mode: multi-pass
    • Internet Streaming: yes

    For a more detailed discussion on video settings, see Tips and Encoding Settings for Long Duration Screencasts.


    Feel free to use these slides in your videocasts.

    Uploading the video

    To save your bandwidth and make the video most accessible to people we recommend providing the video in two ways - a place to watch and place to download.

    We recommend or Vimeo to host movies for easy viewing, then you can use Embedded Media Field to display them on your site. You can access the source video once you have uploaded and they allow you to choose your license and offer the full array of Creative Commons licenses. When you link to the video from your handbook page, link to the "source" rather than the blip page to get the best quality. You can get the source link either on your account page or from the video's blip page under Share > Permalinks. Also, make sure you add the drupal tag to it along with any other appropriate tags.

    For downloads we recommend setting it up as a torrent. We have found Zudeo to be a reliable and easy way to get torrents started.

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