Video Top 25 FAQ


TBD: Add links to Style Guide pages where appropriate, and to CSI pages for additional info.

New link to office wiki:

1. I'm brand new to video, where should I start?

There is a ton of great information to help you get started. This FAQ is a great starting point. You may also want to:

  • Read through the video whitepapers:

    • Why Use Video

    • Video vs Text

    • When To Use Video, and When to NOT Use Video

  • Go to the Knowledgebase and enter video in the Search CCKB box.

  • Overview of the video process

  • Video Creation Workflows

  • Watch the Video Production series on AcademyMobile.

  • Set up a meeting with the team video lead, Michele Hart.

  • Visit the Video homepage

  • Take a look at the Microsoft Studios Blog topics

  • Watch Screencasting 101 from TechSmith

2. Should I make a video or should I create a written topic instead?

Video vs Text, from Microsoft Studios

First, let's consider current trends in our primary audience. The majority of North American households have broadband connections (currently 57%, increasing to 75% by 2010), and more than 121 million videos were hosted by YouTube as of June 4, 2008. Even more impactful is this statistic: 10 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In fact, by 2010, analysts predict that 55% of all online video consumed will be user generated.

That's significant. If we're going to stay relevant in a climate where online video is so prevalent, we need to hop on the bandwagon and fully support video as an element in CCxG content. Authors should be able to create articles composed of multimedia – text, graphics, video, etc. – using tools that inspire creativity.

Tools like Camtasia, which is where this wiki comes back into play. As you use this wiki to learn about creating video using Camtasia, keep in mind the current video-oriented climate, and let your inner creative genius be inspired!

Want to see what other tech companies are doing with video? Check out these examples!

3. What type of video should I make?

Create videos to help our customers accomplish things with our technologies. Specific subjects will depend on the intended audience. If your video is pure assistance content, use a screencast-style video to focus in and base your videos on UI maneuvers that are difficult to explain but easy to demonstrate. If your video is meant to inspire, give an overview, or explain a concept, add live-action and show the technology making a difference in the larger scope of work and life. Sometimes, a combination of video types is needed.

For more information on what type of video to make, watch Making Videos at Microsoft 1: Determine Audience and Outcome. For information about specific video types:

  • Live Action Video – rules, training, guidelines
  • Screencast Demo Videos

4. Motion Graphics – what are they and where can I get them?

Motion graphics are short video clips that you add to your instructional videos. Use the set of branded visuals for text and titles. Instead of using the standard title features in Camtasia, you add text callouts on top of these branded backgrounds like this. (This example is for Officescreenshot is an example only, we have a set of red (ex. SQL Server), blue (ex. HDInsight), and orange (ex. Power View) motion graphics as well.)

The branding also identifies our videos as originating from Microsoft so that we maintain our brand even when the video is viewed on another site (like YouTube) or portable device (phone, Zune, etc.).

  • Instructions for downloading and installing the motion graphics. They are currently available in red, blue, and orange. Choose the appropriate color for your product.
  • Direct link to the motion graphics.
  • Instructions on using the motion graphics (although these were written for Office, the instructions are similar)
  • Also recommended that you add these to your Camtasia library so you won't need to re-import them each time you start a new Camtasia project. Note: You'll need to have Quicktime for Windows installed on your computer so that the motion graphics render in Camtasia.

5. What is the entire workflow for videos?

Sometimes it's easier to understand a process when you see it in flowchart format. The flowchart shows the entire video process for publishing to TechNet/MSDN, YouTube, Showcase. One for Channel9 coming soon.

6. PowerPoint and Camtasia

  • Slides are not currently used. Use the Motion Graphics instead.
  • Instructions for importing PowerPoint slides into Camtasia
  • Instructions for recording directly in PowerPoint (see
  • Creating PowerPoint animation (video)

7. What software may I use to create my video?

The most-commonly used tools in our org for capturing and editing video are TechSmith Camtasia, Microsoft Expressions, and Adobe Premiere. Other supplemental tools that are used are Levelator, Audacity, SnagIt, and Jing. Determine which tools you are most comfortable using and for which you have access to a license. Be sure that Microsoft has a license for all tools that you use to produce customer-facing content.

  • Camtasia – see links below. We currently have 11 licenses.
  • SnagIt - we have at least 2 licenses. Sign out a license.
  • Microsoft Expression Studio – free, but limited functionality vs Camtasia.
  • Adobe Premiere – we currently have a few individual licenses. Much more expensive than Camtasia.
  • Sony Vegas – not used in our org, but other video teams throughout Microsoft do use this product.
  • Levelator – free software that is used to adjust audio. The Office team has posted some tips for using Levelator.
  • Audacity – free software for recording audio and removing audio noise. The Office team has posted some tips for using Audacity.
  • Jing – basically Camtasia Lite.

8. Camtasia – what is it and how can I learn more about it?

Camtasia is one of the tools used for capturing and producing screencasts. It can also be used to edit video captured by other means.

  • Installing Camtasia and getting a license
  • Product Tour and Learning Center
  • Capturing action from the computer screen or here or here
  • Editing and Producing the video
  • Uploading and Publishing a Video

9. Microsoft Expression – what is it and how can I learn more about it?

  • Expression Training Videos from Microsoft

10. What are the required elements for my video?

This is a bit fuzzy, but here are some of the recommended elements for your video. For more information, see Video - Required Elements:

  • Microsoft logo (required)

    • Microsoft brand guidelines - PowerPoint doc all about the Microsoft brand, including links to download the various MS logos

    • All MS logos

  • Motion Graphics (see above)

  • Name of product/technology (written or spoken)

  • If you use graphics or photos or logos, they must be the official graphics and logos from //brandtools.

And here are a couple of legal guidelines/processes:

  • Video Approval Process – generally applies to live-action and Marketing videos, not to screencasts.

  • Legal Guidelines for Video and Audio – old

11. Where do I save my files?

You'll need to save your files in 2 locations (at least).

  • This first location is used to manage and store all UE videos and also used by LOC. If you opt to create a Library page for your video, this is the location for that as well. Please upload your source files (Camtasia, Expressions, Premiere project files) and finished (.wmv) file to this folder. LOC will put LOC-ed versions of your video in this directory as well.

  • For videos on MSDN/TechNet: This second location is used by STO to create your video landing page on MSDN and/or TechNet. When you create your bug on http://mscomwebsites/, you must also upload your finished wmv video file to this location.

    \\RR1STOVIDVM01\Video Drop

  • Your video will be automatically saved when you use the MSVideo tool for reviewing and/or publishing.

12. How do I LOC my videos and transcripts and video home pages? (TBD)

Currently, only library content is localized. However, we have no real guidelines on what content must or should be localized, and localization is a huge cost for us.

  • Video home pages* (see a sample home page here) are localized, as they are part of the Library.
  • Video Launch Pages on TechNet and MSDN (see a sample launch page here) are also localized.
  • The videos themselves are localized based on product and platform guidelines. To survey your viewers, follow the instructions in the 'Publish the video' section.
  • ? A video transcript is required for localization.


When publishing to MSDN/TechNet, we recommend using the landing page created by STO as the 'home page' for your video. For more information, see the CCKB article Video Creation Workflows - Video Process Comparison.

For more information:

  • Videos and Localization (TBD)
  • Video transcripts
  • Uploading and Publishing a Video

13. Any recommendations for preparing my desktop for screen capture? (screen resolution, capture resolution, zoom and pan, mouse animation, etc.)

The quick answer, YES! One of the biggest timesavers for video makers is good preparation. Use the links below to set up your desktop for screen capture.

  • Setting up your environment for video recording
  • Virtual Machines
  • Using VMs

14. I have questions about video production (resolution, aspect ratio, codecs, production presets, square pixels, etc.)

Record and edit your videos at 1280x720. This is a ratio of 16:9.

Production Presets are a hard-coded set of settings optimized for CSI videos. By using a preset you don't need to worry about setting the format, profile, or resolution when producing your video. When producing your video from Camtasia, just select the preset, name your file, and that's it! We have one preset for large HD video, and one for Mobile video.

  • Video Production Presets
  • Aspect Ratio Calculator
  • 16:9 Visual Ratio Tool

15. Blurry Video - Why is my video blurry? How do I make it crisper?

Follow the guidelines above for Setting up your environment for video recording and Editing and Producing the video

16. Black borders - Why does my video have black bars around the sides and/or top and bottom?

These are the result of capturing your video at one ratio and producing it at a different ratio. Use the Aspect Ratio Calculator to ensure your input and output ratios are the same.

17. Marketing - How do I get my video noticed?

  • Promoting Your Video
  • Publish your video on one of the Marketing-owned YouTube channels
  • Interesting article: optimize video for social media and SEO

18. Metrics for videos

Video Download Report

19. Video home pages

We used to create the video launchpages/homepages ourselves in the Library. You may still opt to do this. However, for videos on TechNet/MSDN we now recommend having the launchpage created by MSDN/TechNet. Below is information on how to submit a bug to MSDN/TechNet to get your launchpage created and a review of the Video Process and workflow.

  • Creating Video Home Pages
  • Video Creation Process

20. How do I publish my video?

Videos are typically published to one or more of the following locations. Where videos should be posted depends on the product strategy.

  • TechNet/MSDN - owned by the STO organization. Upload the completed video and submit a ticket from //mscomwebsites.
  • YouTube and Showcase - use the MSVideo Upload Process (YouTube and Showcase)
  • Wiki
  • OCMS
  • CliX
  • Channel 9

For complete instructions, see Uploading and Publishing a Video.

21. Equipment- are there cameras and microphones I can borrow?

  • All types of equipment can be borrowed from MSAV Services.
  • Office also has some great equipment, but I haven't confirmed yet that we can use it.

22. I don't want to make this video myself. What are my other options?

If you have budget to outsource the video production, consider MS Studio. Contact the CSI Video-V team (via Yammer group "CSI Video") and ask for help.

23. I need help with Closed Captioning

Watch a video to learn one way to automate the creation of closed captioning for use on Microsoft properties and on YouTube. Transcripts are highly-recommended but not required

  • Video Closed Captioning and Transcripts

24. Audio – my audio sounds terrible!

  • Working with Audio in Camtasia
  • Audio for Video training from Harry
  • Audio Help docs from Office

25. I want to get my video approved before I publish.

This is a very important step. If you don't get your video approved before publishing, and your video breaks some sort of "rule", the person in the hot seat will be YOU.

Video Approval Process TBD. Video Approval provides links and submission procedures to ensure that your video is ready for publishing.