Nikole Gipps is the face behind the superhero character at That PHP Girl, a web development company that specializes in WordPress, Premium WordPress Themes, and PHP Programming. She posts non-tech small business tips over at her blog, Small Business Essentials. A California native with a degree from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Ithaca, NY), she now lives in Oregon with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat, and the garden that she loves.
Sometimes an idea comes along that is so simple yet so brilliant, I can’t help but talking about it. Today, that idea is sketchcasting.
What is sketchcasting?
Sketchcasting takes the concept of giving a presentation at the whiteboard and puts it into a simple video format so that you can easily share your ideas in a clear way. The idea is that you can present visual cues as you speak, giving you the ability to convey a very complex topic in a short amount of time. It combines the power of podcast audio (like the ones you can download here on SuN) with the visual aid of the whiteboard.
How do I make a sketchcast?
As outlined in this video, you will need:
- a computer (which you obviously already have)
- an inexpensive microphone (maybe $10-$20)
- software to record your on-screen movements ($50-$300)
- YouTube (free!)
- a drawing tablet or Tablet PC ($50-$150)
The process is pretty straight forward: you talk into the microphone as the program records your movements, save the file in a web-ready format (QuickTime video, AVI, or Flash file), upload to YouTube, and then link to it from your site or embed the video using YouTube’s code. For a more detailed explanation, see the video.
What can I use sketchcasting for?
The possibilities are nearly endless. Here are some of the ideas I thought about while watching the sketchcasting video:
- Project collaboration
For example, say you have an engineer in Europe making a prototype of a new widget for you. You could open the drawings of the prototype in your drawing program, and then make a sketchcast of your comments while you are marking up the drawing.
- On-demand seminars
You could add a sketchcast to your course outline to demonstrate concepts and give a lesson. By also adding commenting functions to the bottom of the sketchcast page, you could also start a conversation about that topic or lesson.
Use sketchcasting to digram sports plays or techniques for your athletics-themed website, a la Madden and his TV chalkboard.
- How-to videos
Demonstrate your actions rather than just talking or writing about them.
You could spend half the time making your post if you were talking through it instead of writing and re-writing it. For a bonus, your natural speaking voice promotes you as an expert in your field. (Anyone can research and write an article. It takes a true expert to discuss a topic off the top of his/her head.)
How about you—would you try sketchcasting? Why or why not? What other uses can you think of for this technology?
For more information, and other great videos, check out sketch.basement.org.