2 min read

Before you Start Recording

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We are often asked, “What do you need in addition to documents or scripts before you start producing videos with Videate?” The answer is very straightforward. You need a Dedicated Environment, Prerequisite Instructions, and Sample Data. Whether you record videos manually or use Videate to automatically generate them for you, getting these three things in order is key to success.

Dedicated Environment

When you are writing product documentation or help articles you need access to the latest software version in a controlled environment, and the same is true for video. If you don’t, when it comes time to make screenshots for your documentation or articles, you will be at the mercy of everyone else who has added their own data, including bad usernames and product names like Test1 and Test2, and worse.

But getting the right environment can be a challenge. For some customers, there can be a limited number of instances that can be used outside of their production systems. It can take time to get a new one provisioned. You may hear, “it costs money to spin up a server. Who is going to pay for it?” These are short-term challenges that can be overcome. Cloud infrastructure is designed to be low-cost. We’re not talking about tens of thousands of dollars a year for a video recording instance. 

Prerequisite Instructions

Before recording a video, there may be several steps required to get the software to the right starting place. For example, you may want to preselect a time period so that your initial page launches with the right data for the rest of the script. You always want to stage the data upfront so the video can focus on the detailed task itself.

If your application always starts at the home page, you will want to click the relevant menus or options to get to a different starting page before you start recording. In some applications, you log in in English and then can change the language. It’s best to change the language before you start recording. The basic question to be answered is, “What instructions do I need to get to the right starting page before I start recording?”

Sample Data

With product documentation or help articles, you can write in a generic way. You can write, “Enter the product name in the search box and click Search.” But with video, you need to know exactly what to type in the search box or you can’t proceed to the next step. You need to say “Enter 'ABC123' for the product name in the search box and click Search.” Here’s an earlier article we wrote about the need for good data.

If your application can use different data sets, you should pick one for the video. Unlike written documentation which can accommodate different options and leave it up to the reader to interpret, video requires specificity. Again, this is not a Videate requirement. It’s a best practice, whether you use Videate or record manually. You can’t leave it up to the person who will be recording to decide. It has to be built into the script, especially if there is a series of videos where the data depends on actions made in a prior video.

Videos are part of the customer journey, from acquisition to retention. According to a recent survey, over 80% of SaaS companies believe videos are a must-have option for their end-users. If you enlist your Head of Customer Success to support your video initiative, it’s going to happen. Your Marketing department wouldn't make videos with bad sample data or out-of-date software releases. Why would Customer Success?

You need access to the right environment, you need to document the prerequisite requirements, and you need to define good sample data. Before you start recording.

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