The art of screencasting

Paterva makes great demo videos (and data mining apps, too)

Elliot Bentley

The developers of Java-based data mining app Maltego put other devs to shame with stunning screencasts.

Nowadays, almost every kind of software release is
accompanied by some sort of screencast showing off the new features
– usually with boring, disembodied narration.

Not so with Paterva, whose
edgy videos are moodily shot and edited like a Bourne film,
accompanied by a dubstep soundtrack. A
preview of Maltego
, for example, is hosted “on a rooftop in
Johannesburg, under a full moon” by a member of the development
team clad in fingerless gloves and hoodie (the video is embedded

Their product is far from standard, too. Maltego
is a Java-based data mining app, designed for analysis of
networked data – from social networking profiles to internet
infrastructure. In the moonlit video, they demo an example of
data-mining a Twitter account – in this case, Paris Hilton’s – for
geographical and device info.

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Granted, not every software release justifies such a dark,
brooding video. In fact, it would be downright hilarious for
something like

was marketed in the same

Still, plenty of developers could learn a thing or two from
Maltego (and, to a lesser extent,

) in the art of screencasts. Sometimes,
a screencast can be so good it ‘goes viral’, like
Dropbox’s meme-laden
, which saw the company blow up on Digg long
before it became a household name.

Geertjan Wielenga

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