June 14, 2010

Nearly Instant Download & Playback of Captivate Files Online

People often ask me about Captivate file sizes and how to optimize the learner experience accessing online content. The crux of the question of course is how can i make playback start right away and keep size small enough that it downloads smoothly on the learners’ computer. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.

I’ve posted a short video below (available along with many others on YouTube’s Adobe eLearning Channel as well) that demonstrates how I easily shrunk a 26 minute Captivate 5 file to a 12 MB SWF and how I used one of Captivate’s many preloaders to make the file start after downloading only a fraction of the content. In fact if you set such content to download only 1% the file would start after downloading only about 120 kb. (Even at 10% It only takes a second or two.) I think it helps to understand that by using preloaders (included with Adobe Captivate) you can create projects that only need to download as little as 1% of the Flash file before they begin. I would recommend downloading about 5% for most projects, as most projects are much shorter than 30 minutes.

So remember to try the optimization and preloader tools for your next online project. You’ll find happy learners as they jump into engaging, rich media eLearning experiences. (By the way, if you’re new to YouTube videos – you can click that 360p button to see a higher definition version of the video.)

Posted by Allen Partridge8:23 PM
  • http://edwardmartino.com Ed Martino

    Good use of Captivate technology. Keep up the good work. Glad to see you back online!CiaoEd

  • http://twitter.com/captivatoos paul

    Nice video. Clear and easy to use feature. I’ve incorporated it and recommended it to collegues. Bravo.

  • andy

    This is a great tip, but my presentation won’t start playing until all of the audio downloads on the local machine. I’ve tried to find a fix, but haven’t been successful. Any ideas why this might happen?

    • http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/ Allen Partridge

      Andy did you set the preload to a value less than 100?

      • andy

        I first tried to set it for 5 or 10%. But that didn’t work so I kept on increasing the value. I found it worked well when I changed it to preload 65% of the package. Digging deeper, I was able to export the project into Flash and preview the movie. I previewed the video’s bandwidth profile and noticed the first frame was about 40% of the overall project size. Which explains why I would need to preload so much of the project.

  • http://www.abcwebgroup.com Chris

    Great tutorial, Alan. I tried different AS3 preloaders, but due to some reasons they don’t work. Interesting that the old Cp4 AS2 preloaders show up, but don’t display right % of a loaded movie. I’ve tried different projects, with and without TOC, but still could not find a fix. Any suggestions?

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  • Anonymous

    10% of 12 megs is not 12k it’s 1.2 megs !

  • Alex

    There is no difference, I have captivate 6 and captivate 7 and flash video starts playing exactly at the same time in all cases, trying with 0%, 10%, 50%, 100% and no change, the preloader feature doesn’t work at all.

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