How To Show (Instead of Tell) With a Screen Recording

December 22, 2020
Person typing on laptop editing a screen recording

Have you ever been stuck writing a detailed email to a client or a colleague, and found yourself wishing you could show —instead of tell? Screen recorders are your answer. These simple tools record your computer screen in real time, so you can demonstrate workflows, share feedback, or troubleshoot problems with someone as if they were sitting right next to you. 

We’ll show you how screen recordings can make your business communications better, saving time and energy for yourself and the people you’re communicating with. We’ll also cover some simple strategies for making your screen recordings better.  

What can a screen recorder do?

Besides recording what’s happening on your computer screen in real time, Descript’s screen recorder allows you to record audio from a built-in or external microphone and video from a webcam or laptop camera, so you can narrate your screen recording with audio, video, or both. You can also record computer audio, so you can capture sound from whatever you’re recording on your screen.


Two people collaborating on a laptop
Screen recordings let you work collaboratively on the same screen — no matter where you are.

After you’re finished with your screen recording, Descript uploads it to the cloud automatically. You can share the link with your recipient as soon as you’re finished recording, or load it into Descript to edit it like any other video — just by editing the transcript.

When should I use a screen recording?

Whenever you’re communicating with someone and it would be faster, easier, or more effective to show them what’s happening on your screen than to describe it in an email, send a screen recording.

Check out the video below — it shows off what you can do with screen recordings in Descript… and it’s made from screen recordings in Descript, too.



Think of it like this: Instead of trying to tell someone in writing what’s happening in an app, or what kind of problem you’re facing, or providing feedback on a specific feature or part of a product, show them. You’ll avoid ambiguity or confusion, and because you can narrate with audio and video, you can explain to your recipient exactly what they’re seeing — as it happens.

Take your time and edit out the filler

When you’re new to screen recordings, they can be daunting at first. You might even feel a bit of “stage fright,” minus the stage. It’s easy to get nervous, freeze up, or speed through your screen recording. It’s OK — take a breath! You’ll create your best screen recordings when you’re relaxed and going at your own pace. 

Descript’s screen recorder lives outside the Project Browser, its main editing window. To create new screen recordings or revisit recently created recordings, look for the Descript “D” icon on the right side of the menu bar on Mac, and on Windows, look in the notifications area on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. 

After you finish your screen recording, edit out what you don’t need. A small window will appear in the lower right corner of your screen when you stop recording. Click the pencil icon to load the screen recording into a new Descript Composition, or simply paste the URL (URLs are automatically copied to the clipboard after you finish a screen recording) into an existing Composition. 

After you’ve finished your screen recording, you can view it on the web or edit it in Descript.

Editing your screen recording is as simple as editing your transcript — and Descript will edit your screen recording to match. Remove silences and long pauses with the Shorten Word Gaps feature, and delete any bits that aren’t relevant to the focus of your screen recording. Make sure to remove filler words, as they can be particularly distracting in a screen recording!

So how can I use screen recordings, anyway?

Screen recordings are more versatile than you might first imagine. Here are some ways to put them to good use for a variety of different purposes.


For marketing…

Screen recordings create better marketing videos and product demonstrations. If your company just released a killer app, added a time-saving new feature, or overhauled a workflow, it’s much more effective to show your audience how it works with a screen recording than simply telling them about it. 

Use zoom effects or arrows and overlays to highlight specific parts of the screen and make sure your viewers’ attention is focused on what’s relevant. 

Woman recording a video of herself speaking
Pair screen recordings with shots of yourself speaking for simple, effective marketing videos.

Add title cards or text overlays to provide context and delineate different sections. Record voiceover and add music or sound effects, and there you have it: A simple but effective marketing video that shows your viewers why they need your product or service.


For sales and customer success…

If you’re demoing your product for a prospect, you don’t need a 30 minute meeting to show off how it works. Instead, create a short, customized video and use screen recordings to demonstrate why they should choose your business.

Because you can make the pitch without booking a meeting, you’ll save your prospects’ time — and your own, too. Once your screen recording pitch video is polished and edited, re-use it as a template for future clients. 

After you’ve closed the deal, empower your customer success team to use screen recordings to support clients and maintain the relationship. Inform clients about new features with a quick video. And if you need to troubleshoot, screen recordings will help you and your clients avoid confusion.


For training and customer support…

Whether you’re training internally or supporting your customers, screen recordings are an excellent tool to make solutions and workflows easily understood. Good product documentation is essential — but good product documentation supplemented by screen recordings is even better.

Screen recordings make an excellent jumping-off point towards building a library of training videos and product solutions. Use screen recordings demonstrating solutions as source material for polished, edited support videos that users can return to whenever they need.

They’re very useful for customer support tickets, too. Describing a workflow or solution in words isn’t always easy — but a screen recording will let you show a customer exactly how to solve a problem, saving the both of you time and effort.   

The more you use screen recordings, the more useful they’ll become

The next time you’re sharing feedback, demonstrating a solution, or providing an update, use a screen recording to show instead of tell. The more screen recordings you create, the better you’ll get at making them, and the more useful they’ll become. 

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