Doceri vs. Explain Everything

I create a lot of screencasts for my classes. I have evolved to mainly using screencasts to provide solutions to quick questions, of which I have roughly 400 this semester. Because of this, I can save a lot of time if I can import my PDF file of quiz questions to my screencasting software so that I do not need to re-write the questions.

It is not convenient for me to create videos at work. I have a Linux box in my office, but it is a bit unreliable for screencasting, and I do not have complete control over it to make it reliable. For instance, I had screencasting in my office figured out a year ago, but now my Wacom Bamboo tablet has stopped working. I do not have the permissions (I don’t think) to fix this, since we have a central Linux administrator (I also don’t immediately have the know-how to fix this tablet issue, although I think I could figure it out).

Another alternative is to use a Windows machine elsewhere on campus, but I don’t really like leaving my office.

Instead, I decided to start screencasting from my iPad at home after my family has gone to sleep. This has a number of advantages: there is comfortable furniture, I can see what I am writing on the iPad (as opposed to the Bamboo tablet), and there are tasty snacks.

The main issue me was deciding which screencasting app to use. I have toyed around with Doceri previously because it is free, but I was concerned that it did not support importing PDF files. I had heard great things about Explain Everything—it supports but I was wary of committing to a $2.99 price tag. I am merely a consumer of both Doceri and Explain Everything; neither company has paid me anything to write this post.

Because I have 400 videos to make, I decided that importing my PDF quiz file was important enough to spend $2.99. The file imported well, and I was able to create a couple of screencasts.

But the problem came in when I started uploading the files to YouTube. It was taking Explain Everything roughly 10 minutes to upload a two minute video. Because I have 400-some videos to create, it is simply unacceptable to spend 500% of the time I spend creating the video in uploading the video.

So I went back to Doceri. It turns out that there is a very easy work-around for import PDF files in my situation. I can open my PDF quiz file in Dropbox, take screenshots (press and hold the power button, then press the home button) of the questions I want to do, and then I can import the screenshots easily into Doceri from my Pictures app.

The great part: Doceri takes about 10 seconds—rather than 10 minutes— to upload a two minute video. This has worked extremely well—I was able to create 35 videos in two hours last night (as opposed to the roughly eight videos I would have been able to create with Explain Everything).

I was so happy with Doceri that I paid them $4.99 to remove the watermarking on my screencasts.

[Edit: Andrew Stacy and Dale Buske reminded me that I meant to write about the Explain Everything Compressor. This is a $15 app for a Mac (not the iPad) that does the compressing for you so that you can continue to make screencasts on the iPad while the Mac compresses. I was very close to purchasing it, when I decided to give Doceri another chance (Robert Campbell was very encouraging here). The bottom line: I get to save $15 and avoid having to use two machines by going with Doceri. Additionally, I found some reviews saying the compressor was mediocre, and I didn’t want to spend $15 on something that doesn’t work well.]

I hadn’t read anything about this being an issue with Explain Everything; I imagine that it might be because Explain Everything has greater editing capabilities, so it stores more information. But this is not a feature creating quick and dirty screencasts.

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6 Responses to “Doceri vs. Explain Everything”

  1. Dale Says:

    I don’t believe the time is spent uploading in EE. Instead, it is compressing the video. If you had a MacBook, there is an app that would allow you to move the compression work to the laptop so you would not be slowed down in Explain Everything.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Thanks for reminding me, Dale—I forgot that I wanted to write about the compressor.

      You are correct that the larger issue is probably compression. However, the effect is the same when I am creating the videos—Doceri does not take as long to compress and upload.

  2. Adam Glesser Says:

    I have Doceri but haven’t thoroughly tested it yet—thanks for the review. I’ve mostly used ShowMe which does import pdf’s (and dozens of other file types) directly from Dropbox and Google Drive. I’ve also used Knowmia’s Teach which is very powerful, allowing you to record your slides individually and to use a laser pointer.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Do ShowMe and Knowmia’s Teach allow you to easily upload to YouTube? I couldn’t find out how easy it is online.

      • Adam Glesser Says:

        Uploading to YouTube with Knowmia is easy if you upgrade to their pro version, but I think this costs some outrageous amount of money ($30). ShowMe has you upload your video to their site, and from there you can download it. Once you download it, you can then upload it to YouTube. This is not the most efficient workflow but the app has worked well enough that I put up with it. With as many videos as you need to do, that may not ideal (or you could just give your students the link to the ShowMe site.)

      • bretbenesh Says:

        Hi Adam,

        Thanks for the information. I think that Doceri is still the winner for me, since it is cheap (free, or $5 if you don’t want watermarks) and makes it really easy to upload to YouTube.

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