About

Ian Ozsvald picture

This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

High Performance Python book with O'Reilly

View Ian Ozsvald's profile on LinkedIn

ModelInsight Data Science Consultancy London Protecting your bits. Open Rights Group

13 April 2009 - 20:32ProCasts gets screencast award

I’m rather chuffed to say that our ProCasts has just received an award from TechSmith for our Adblock Plus open-source advocacy screencast.  I’ve blogged a few more details at ProCasts, our video is played 600 times a day and has already won popularity awards in YouTube.

Find out more about Camtasia Studio and the power of desktop recording

“I liked this screencast for several reasons. Ian made great use of Camtasia Studio’s SmartFocus feature – he used it to focus your attention on certain areas of the screen and show greater detail.

The audio quality is great on this screencast which is important as viewers are generally intolerant of poor audio. The background audio music was a great touch and added polish to the screencast. And, Ian has a great voice for narration! The screencast runs 1:32 and is short and to the point. Perfect!”


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

5 April 2009 - 18:51“The Art and Science of Screencasts” podcast

Bob and Pat, long-time supporters of Joel’s Business of Software forums, were kind enough to interview me last week on the art and science of creating screencasts that sell your software.

The podcast (mp3) is 42 minutes long, they question me to help MicroISVs and tech companies learn more about using screencasts to demo and sell their software.  I’ve written up a bit about it on the ProCasts blog.

“In show #21 Bob and Pat interview Ian Ozsvald, founder of ProCasts on the art and science, mystery and drama of creating great screeencasts for your startup’s product or web site. Ian generously shares his expertise about how to target your screencast, techniques that make a huge difference, a range of free and non-free tools, ways to improve your video communication abilities and more. If you want to know how to create a screencasts that shines, this is the show for you!”

Would you like a free eBook that covers all of this (and more)? ProCasts’ Little Book of Screencasting is in the works, to receive a notification when we release it send an email to: ebook_notify@procasts.co.uk


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

27 March 2009 - 16:40Screencasting tutorials

Over on the ProCasts blog we’re building up a screencast tutorial series, planned to be 9 episodes long, that will teach anyone how to make a beautiful screencast that helps them explain their product to their new users.

By explaining your product you’re more likely to convince first-timer visitors to stick around and try out your tool.

We’re publishing a new episode every few days, the planned episodes are:

  1. Why do you need to screencast?
  2. Choosing your screencast software
  3. Editing your screencast
  4. Why adding music makes your screencast more professional
  5. How and why export screencasts to .flv, .mp4, .wmv, .avi and .swf formats
  6. Embedding screencasts in your site
  7. Getting your screencast seen by more people using sites like YouTube and Vimeo
  8. Pro tip – how to make your audio sound like it was recorded by a professional
  9. Pro tip – using an introductory animation and PowerPoint slides

We’re writing this series over the next few weeks to help encourage others to try screencasting.  Once completed it’ll be converted into a free eBook entitled ProCasts’ Little Book of Screencasting, if you’d like your copy then email ebook_notify@procasts.co.uk

In part this series will be discussed in a podcast interview being recorded tonight for the Start-up Success series, we’re discussing the topics for the interview in Joel’s Business of Software forum.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

1 Comment | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

13 March 2009 - 14:05ProCasts’ third open-src advocacy video – AdBlockPlus

I’m rather chuffed to say that Wladimir Palant, the chap behind the excellent AdBlockPlus.org ad-filter for Firefox, has added our advocacy video to his frontpage – it shows you in just over a minute how and why to install AdBlockPlus.  As Wladimir says:

Ian and Richard […] offered me to create a screencast for Adblock Plus. They then went on analyzing what potential users need to know and the result is quite remarkable

We created the video to show how Richard and I can work together inside ProCasts combining animation and screencasting techniques, backed by music and scripting, to teach new users exactly why they will want to use this new tool and how they should get started.

We went through the full process of:

  1. understanding who the users are
  2. learning what they need
  3. asking about what confuses them
  4. figuring out how to tell the story
  5. screencasting prototypes
  6. wrapping everything in animated segments

I plan to blog at ProCasts about all the steps including showing some of the draft videos, this should give others some ideas for how to iterate on larger  screencasting projects.

The previous advocacy videos have been Django (Python web-framework) in Under a Minute and Internet Explorer 8 vs Firefox 3.

Richard has blogged an AdBlockPlus entry too.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

9 January 2009 - 20:08Some ProCasts bits

Given that 2008 ended well I’m going to give in to a bit of self-indulgence.  The best ending for my ProCasts was helping Justin in the days running up to Christmas increase his sign-up rate for AppBeacon.com with a 3 minute front-page screencast.  Being told “My bounce rate has decreased about 7 percent per day.  Since having the screencast up, the site’s sign up rate has doubled” is just darn cool – all done in 48 hours and delivered on Christmas Eve.

I’m also having a crack at understanding the adoption rate for MP4-enabled Flash players, I blogged some statistics that suggest 90% penetration.

By itself this is fine, but given that TechSmith have removed the older and standard FLV format from CamTasia and only allow us to export MP4 videos, it seemed odd that we’re expected to lose 10% of our viewing audience.  Apparently this was done because MP4 is the wave of the future…but that doesn’t help 1/10 viewers now, nor for the next 6 months.  Raising it in the forums didn’t seem to cause much reaction which seemed odd.  Hmph.

To provide some mitigation for the problem I wrote-up an entry on using the free ffmpeg to convert mp4 to flv, google seems to be sending me traffic for that off the bat so presumably I’m not really the only one who didn’t like the mp4-only option.

Oh yes, I also treated myself to a new mic – a lovely big sE 2200a.  It comes with a bloomin’ great ‘flight case’ in case I need to take it on trips.  Lovely.

And for 2009 I intend to grow ProCasts and to pull in more talent so we can deliver beautiful, informative screencasts that help sell more services for my clients.  Onwards and upwards…


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts

27 October 2008 - 19:02CNET shows my BrandWatch ProCast

I’m rather proud to say that CNET covered my client BrandWatch and that my 3 minute screencast which introduces BrandWatch’s features is embedded in the article.

The article’s author, Josh, saw my ProCast whilst searching Vimeo for ‘screencasts’.  BrandWatch received a great set of referrals from the article and Giles (CEO) is very pleased with the response.  I glow.

If you need professional screencasting services, get in contact.

professional screencasting

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

25 September 2008 - 12:08New ProCast for local BrandWatch

Last week I completed a new ProCasts screencast for local Brand Reputation Management firm BrandWatch, the video is linked on the right of their frontpage (and on my examples page).

The screencast runs for 2 minutes and demos the main features of their app including Trends, Comparisons and how to drill-down into the source stories. The goal is to get more visitors to sign-up to a trial account.


BrandWatch Introduction from IanProCastsCoUk on Vimeo.

I used Barclays and HSBC as my examples, given all the news recently there was a lot of information to work from and BrandWatch neatly pulls out the pertinent articles.  I’ve also experimented with more backing music and a call-to-action at the video’s close.

If you need professional screencasting services, get in contact.

professional screencasting

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

17 September 2008 - 14:02ProCasts Interview, New Testimonial

Jolt Magazine were kind enough to interview me about how ProCasts makes professional screencasts, the resulting article has just been published as Screencasting: An Expert Reveals the Dark Art.

“While researching one of these articles I did an interview with professional screencaster, Ian Ozsvald. It was so good that I just couldn’t bring myself to chop it up into sound-bites. So I’m damning the torpedoes and posting the interview in its entirety”

Update – Starr Horne has added another entry to his screencasting series on Jolt, I get quoted there too.

I’m also very pleased to say that Jon Markwell’s HowSociable webapp now has increased sign-ups and fewer support emails as a result of my 3 minute ‘Introduction to HowSociable’ screencast (on HowSociable’s front page):

“Adding a ProCasts screencast to our front page increased activated email conversions by 25% and reduced support requests by half”, Jonathan Markwell – Founder http://HowSociable.com

As a scientist it is so darn nice to have real figures to work by!  Hand-wavey arguments are all well and good but nothing beats a solid increase in conversions to let you know you’ve done the right job.

professional screencasting

No Comments | Tags: Life, ProCasts, Screencasting

4 September 2008 - 14:01Django in Under a Minute Screencast

I’ve spent the last two days creating this 57 second intro to the Django web-app framework, after three years of development they’ve released the shiny, new and supported v1 version.

The screencast covers how to get started, example sites, documentation and where to get it – everything a new user needs to get up and running writing new websites in under 2 hours. Music by Mr Django Reinhardt. I’ve used Google’s new Chrome browser for this video.


Django In Under A Minute from IanProCastsCoUk on Vimeo.

The screencast is available in Vimeo, ShowMeDo, YouTube, and my ProCasts Examples page.

professional screencasting

1 Comment | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

1 September 2008 - 19:36IE8 vs Firefox 3 Screencast

Last week I recorded a new screencast demonstrating Internet Explorer 8 (beta 1) vs Firefox 3.0.1.  The demo highlights some of the shortcomings of IE8 beta1 and generally works to show the viewer why Firefox is the better choice.

Annoyingly this week Microsoft released beta2 which fixes several of the short-comings and rather dates my screencast.  Darn.

It also takes a dig at IE6 users and reminds them that their browser is 7 years old and really needs to be updated.

The 8 minute video is linked over at ProCasts on the examples page.  I’ve also uploaded it to ShowMeDo, YouTube and Vimeo so we can compare the differences in visual quality.

YouTube is, as expected, rather yucky.  Vimeo’s copy is small but smooth with a decent framerate, ShowMeDo is larger but with a lower framerate (5fps) so the animations are a touch jerky, my example page has a large and smoother version.

Techniques include zooms, on-screen annotations and some fades and it ends with a clear call-to-action.  The main tools used is the lovely CamTasia 5.

I’m also pleased to have been linked in an article on ReadWriteWeb in the comments by Michael of SmashCut – cheers Michael.

professional screencasting

If you need a custom screencast, ProCasts will deliver what you need.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts