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housekeeping best practices for screensharing creencasting

In my travels across the immense expanse of the internet, I have found varying opinions on how to ensure your screen capture is clean and professional. Generally, the professionals agree on a few things.

  • Turn off non-essential notifications such as instant messengers, pop-ups, and your desktop notifications regarding texts from your spouse.
  • Remove nonessential browser toolbars, or anything else that may distract from your process.
  • Pick toolbar colors and themes that are calm and passive rather than loud and distracting.

However, I have read many differing opinions on the desktop background and how to pick what to have as your background. Here are the three prominent opinions I have seen, and my preference.

  1. Brand, brand, brand – Make your brand logo or symbol or something that represents you as your desktop background. Many screen casters start their productions with a clean view of the desktop, and there in the center is their logo (or favorite picture).
    • Pros: If you’re posting for a company, this could be a great chance to get your brand into your audience’s mind. If you are not with a company, it could be a cool way to start off the production with an attention-grabbing image.
    • Cons: Can be distracting if you ever show the desktop for a short time during your production. Also, you may not have rights to the attention-grabbing image.
  2. Dedicated User – Set up a new user account on your computer that you only use for screen capturing, often with a solid background: the king of minimalistic backgrounds.
    • Pros: Perfectly clean desktop, no distractions, no pop-ups from installed software, no changes needed before a capture other than logging in as the new user.
    • Cons: Changing presets can sometimes mean changing your workflow if you don’t regularly work in your dedicated account. This can lead to mix-ups and mistakes.
  3. Conservative – Changing your background to something professional, but rights free (a default Windows/Apple background).
    • Pros: Pleasing to the eye, but not distracting.
    • Cons: Not very exciting, and may forget to change it before starting the recording.

I prefer option 3 because it allows me to keep my presets like the first option, and I start my screencasting videos with an animation for the company I am representing, so there is no need to introduce my brand through a desktop background. Another thing I do is never show the desktop background in the first place. With my animated introduction, done through the video I have pre-created, I can go directly into my screencast without having to show the desktop. In the event that I do show the desktop for one reason or another, I like to have the visually pleasing dynamic image provided by the default background and not have to worry about my viewers being distracted by the image.

That’s my opinion. Let me know which option you prefer, and why that setup works for you!


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