If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? For me, video has long been an invaluable tool for supporting end-users first as a CAD manager, and today in my role at CADD Microsystems. I find it possible to record in a minute what might take me five minutes to write in an email (an instant value for me). While the value of a video is greater than that of an email both for myself and the recipient, it’s not to say video doesn’t come without complications.

I remember some of my earliest technical support videos were not very well received by the people I was sending them to. It took me a while to truly realize just how complicated even the simplest AutoCAD procedure could be. As a result, some of my earliest videos neglected to communicate to the viewer some of the things you don’t see on the screen. Did I right-click or left-click to access a tool, or was it a Ctrl key combination? Learning to properly address these details on-screen has (IMHO) been among the most difficult barriers to people effectively sharing their knowledge with others.

First introduced as an Autodesk Labs project, Autodesk recently introduced an incredible tool that Autodesk describes as “a simple way to capture and share what you know.” After using Autodesk Screencast for the last several months to assist in supporting some of our customers, I’m not sure recording, editing, and sharing a video could be any easier.

Earlier this week I had a customer contact me asking how they could turn on Point Labels in their AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing. The fix was simple, but writing a step-by-step response would have taken longer than it would for me to show the customer how to solve the issue they were experiencing. I enlisted Autodesk Screencast for the job, and recorded the following video I sent to the customer:

There are plenty of tools that allow you to record and share videos, but what makes Autodesk Screencast unique is the metadata it captures as you record a video. In the embedded version of the video above, a panel displays everything I did within AutoCAD Civil 3D during the recording. If you view the same video on the Autodesk Screencast website, an additional timeline is displayed below the video. This timeline captures the precise moment each command is started, every dialog that opens, and more. Using that timeline, viewers can fast-forward (or rewind) to those key moments in your recording, so even if I neglected to mention something in my audio commentary, Autodesk Screencast still captures every step for viewers.

Although you can record anything on your screen, Screencast delivers compiles detailed timelines for Autodesk Fusion 360, AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, and their verticals. Screencast is a free download from http://screencast.autodesk.com, and with it you can record videos of any length, and share them either publicly or privately at no cost on the Screencast website.

Visit http://screencast.autodesk.com to get started with Autodesk Screencast.