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Making Better Help Videos
Support videos are just about the most efficient tools under the sun! By placing valuable knowledge in your customers' hands
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Support videos are just about the most efficient tools under the sun! By placing valuable knowledge in your customers' hands, you can spend way less time repeating explanations, and more time delving into deeper issues.

Here at Wistia, we make lots of tutorial videos that live in our support documentation. Most of those videos are comprised of three elements:

  • Product screencasts
  • Voiceovers
  • Live action video

Scripting your help video

When you set out to make a support video, you should always start out with a script. Writing out a script will keep your production process organized and your messages clear and concise.

Try your best to keep the focus of the script narrow. Covering too much in one video can be overwhelming for both the customer and the video team! Keep in mind that you can always make a supplementary video later on to add more information.

When you're feeling solid about your script, do a table read. In other words, gather some friends and read the script out loud. Listen for phrases that might sound awkward or confusing and revise the language until it flows nicely. This is also a good time to begin thinking about the actions that you'll be showing in your screencast as certain sections of the script are read.

Recording the voiceover

After your script is ready, record your voiceover! We like to do this before shooting the screencast so we can follow the audio cues.

Before beginning to record to the voiceover, split your script into manageable chunks. This way, you can move through the recording process one section at a time and keep track of your progress along the way.

At Wistia, we like to use Apple Soundtrack to record our voiceovers, but you could also use Garageband, Quicktime, or even Screenflow!

Screencast

Before you start to record a screencast, listen to your voiceover a few times and practice the actions you are going to make. When you start to feel pretty familiar with the timing of the actions, go ahead and begin recording your screencast while listening to your voiceover.

We like to use Screenflow to record our screencasts, but there are also some great free options out there, like Screenr or QuickTime Player (on Apple computers). Keep in mind that you probably won't record a perfectly smooth screencast on your first try. It takes some practice to learn the timing of all the steps. You'll know it when you see it. Remember that you can always fast forward through longer processes (e.g. videos loading) after you finish recording the screencast.

Live action video bumpers

We like to use live action video bumpers to help us make a personal connection with our audience. As much as we love a polished screencast, a few seconds of smiling faces in the beginning and end of your videos will keep your viewers way more engaged.

Side note: When shooting the live action footage, try your best to keep the sound quality consistent with your voiceovers. If possible, use the same mics and environment that you used to record the voiceovers, so that the audio for the overall video sounds cohesive.

Empowering your customers with knowledge is one of the best investments you can make. By replacing repetitive phone and email conversations with concise, friendly videos, you can save hours of your time and form memorable connections with your audience!

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