Posts tagged "screen capture"

February 28, 2011

Creating your first Application Capture (Screen/Video Capture) Training with Adobe Captivate 5

It’s easy sometimes to feel like your application capture process is going to capture you. Learning to do application capture well can be a considerable challenge. That’s why I wanted to do an eSeminar showing you some of the best application capture examples I have seen. I was thrilled to be able to do this demo to a packed house of well over 200 Adobe Captivate enthusiasts a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, the recent session on Adobe Captivate and eLearning Suite used to create Application Capture Training (or video capture / screen capture) is now available on demand at the Adobe website. This was an enormously popular session with loads of great tips and tricks about how to go about creating best practice application captures for demos and training.

eSeminar LINK: http://adobe.ly/hKiekG

Posted by Allen Partridge8:03 PM Permalink
August 31, 2010

Video Delivery Types in Captivate

One of the most important factors to think about while using Videos in learning courses is how the video will be delivered to the learner. There are multiple delivery modes. I will try to elaborate how to decide which delivery mode to use and the configuration for those.

Captivate supports the following types of Video Delivery : Progressive download, RTMP Streaming, Flash Video Streaming Service (FVSS).

This below table shows some key differences between these delivery types. More details are available here for a long read. This info should help you decide which delivery mode to use.

Progressive Download

RTMP Streaming


FVSS

Video Hosting

(has an impact on cost)

Can be hosted on any Web Server or Flash Media Server (FMS)

Hosting only on FMS

Hosting provided by Adobe partners

Protocols used

(can have impact on firewalls)

HTTP

RTMP

HTTP and RTMP

Now we come to enabling these in Captivate. As you know, Captivate has two different video features : Slide Video and FLV Object (details here). In both these video features, you can configure any of the above delivery modes.

Default delivery mode :

By default, both video features are configured to use Progressive download. All you need do is upload the publish folder to the web server of your choice and it should just work. This makes it the easiest and most economical (as you can use your existing web server) delivery mode.

Custom Configurations :

More configurations (URL / Delivery type change etc)  can be done after the initial import :

  1. For Slide Video, the settings can be changed from Menu: Video > Video Management…
  2. For FLV Object, this is available in the property inspector, once you select the object.

Alternate Web server for Video :

Sometimes you need to host video on an alternate web server (other than the one which is hosting your SWF). This is mainly for load sharing. You can do it this way:

  1. Upload the flv / f4v  files to your alternate web server. Note the URL for accessing the video, say http://<server>/<dir>/<videoname.flv
  2. Use this URL in the settings (as detailed above)
  3. Re publish the project and view the SWF either locally or from your server. Now the video is delivered from your alternate server.

NOTE: Once you do this, you no more need to keep the video in the publish folder (in case you need to save some space)

Streaming & FVSS:

If you want your videos to start fast, be more smoother etc, then you need to go for Streaming or FVSS, both of which requires the video to be hosted on FMS. You can do it this way:

  1. Upload the flv / f4v  files to FMS / FVSS-provider. Note the URL for accessing the video, say rtmp://<server>/vod/<video>
  2. Use this URL in the settings (as detailed above). Change the delivery type accordingly.
  3. Re publish the project and view the SWF either locally or from your server. Now the video is delivered from FMS.
Posted by Sony Kadavan5:03 PM Permalink
August 17, 2010

Connection Error in Slide Video

There has been some threads in user forum about the connection error which learners get in Slide Video. I got a chance to closely analyze many of these specific issues and in all the cases it turned out to be server configuration problems.

Some background Info: When you insert video into Captivate as Slide Video, it by default is configured to be progressive download. All you need to do is publish the project and upload the entire publish folder to the server – Some cases just a web server (IIS, Apache etc) and other cases to an LMS. In both these cases, slide video is supposed to work well – you should not be seeing a “connection error” message.

You don’t need to do any more specific changes in your captivate project to get Slide Video working. However some users were continually getting this “connection error”. All these has been due to server (web server or LMS) configuration issues. These things help you correct this:

  1. Make sure your server allows hosting and downloading FLV / F4V files. Here we see some specific setting required for Win 2003 server (though this has nothing to do with Captivate).
  2. You can verify whether your server setting is OK by using any FLV player like this. The URL will be http://<your_server>/<your_publish_folder>/<yourflv>.flv. This way you can test whether the server can serve FLV files at least outside captivate SWF.
  3. You can freely check whether your SCORM package is correctly working with video on scorm.com (here). If this works then it is time you talk to your LMS vendor.
  4. Lastly you need to talk to your LMS / Server vendor regarding video hosting. I have specifically seen situations where the LMS vendor has to change configuration to allow video.
Posted by Sony Kadavan11:01 AM Permalink
July 7, 2009

Collaborative authoring using Captivate and PowerPoint

A lot of legacy learning content is in PowerPoint format and it is natural that e-learning course authors want to leverage or re-use this content. The earlier versions of Captivate allowed users to import their PowerPoint content into their Captivate projects. Now Captivate 4 goes much further- Cp4 now supports full round-tripping with the PowerPoint content.
It supports collaborative authoring with the SME’s who use PowerPoint. Detailed below are some key aspects of this powerful feature:

- You can import PowerPoint slides to Captivate, and then enhance these slides by adding audio, animations, video or other Captivate objects to each of the slides. In the meantime your co-author can keep editing the slides using MS PowerPoint. You can synch your Captivate project with the latest version of the PowerPoint slide deck using the ‘update’ feature (Window > Library and select the presentation, right-clik and do “update”) . The Captivate objects which you added earlier on-top of the initial version of the PowerPoint slides remain intact (while Captivate updates to the changes your co-author made using PowerPoint). The workflow becomes even more powerful if you keep this PowerPoint file in a shared location, eliminating the need of sending back the file to Captivate user.

- Note that this feature works for both .ppt and .pptx files. This is being clarified here as I saw many articles describing this as possible only in PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) files. .ppt and .pptx are handled in the same manner in Captivate 4.

- These posts give some more insight into the feature: PowerPoint Linked vs Embedded Import, Best practices for handling PowerPoint audio in Captivate, Correct dimensions for Power Point Import, PowerPoint On-Click Animations

- Captivate help is also a good resource for the feature.

- This tutorial gives a lot of details.

Posted by Sony Kadavan10:18 AM Permalink
April 27, 2009

VTML tags in Text to Speech !

VTML (VoiceText Markup Language) – This Powerful hidden gem in Text to Speech helps you control the generated speech by adding pause, changing the pitch etc !

This post on customizing text to speech Pronunciations received many comments requesting a way to control the generated speech with html like tags.

The interesting thing is that this feature is already there in Captivate 4 ! Even more interesting is the fact that it is so simple to use. All you need to do is insert the appropriate tags into the slide notes. You can type in (or copy paste) the tags just like you do any other text.

Just before making this post, I quickly tried few of them:
1. Hello I am here <vtml_pause time=”1000″/> for a break: Introduces a pause of 1 sec in between.
2. <vtml_speed value=”50″> This is my text </vtml_speed>: Helps you control the speed of the text

There are many more similar useful tags. The VTML tags are listed in the Appendix C of the document here. It has a examples as well on the usage.

Posted by Sony Kadavan2:10 PM Permalink
March 19, 2009

PowerPoint Linked vs Embedded Import

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Captivate 4 supports editing Powerpoint presentations once imported into Captivate. Captivate achieves this by maintaining the original powerpoint presentation within the Captivate project. Whenever you need to edit, this original presentation is edited and then the new powerpoint slides are used to replace the existing backgrounds in Captivate.  Captivate maintains this original presentation in two possible ways:

Embedded – User’s original presentation is copied into the captivate project (and visible in the library).

This increases the project size, but you no longer have to bother about any outside files when sending the project to someone. Note that, from here on, when you edit the slides from Captivate, it is Captivate’s copy being edited (not your original PowerPoint copy on the disk). If by any chance you need the edited PowerPoint version from Captivate, you can export the same from library

Linked – Here, Captivate just maintains the path to the original (See the 1kb size in library). Whenever you edit from Captivate, the original is also changed.  Unless you have a need to send your Captivate project to someone, this is the recommended mode (as project size is under control).

But this opens another possibility – you can edit the presentation outside captivate using Powerpoint. Here again, Captivate allows you to get the changes into your captivate project – Choose Update from the library – Yes, you need to explicitly tell Captivate to Update (we don’t do it automatically).

Captivate also allows you to change between these embedded and linked modes from the library – Change to embedded and Change to linked options are available.

Posted by Sony Kadavan10:31 AM Permalink

PowerPoint On-Click Animations

,,

On-Click animations can be added in Powerpoint – animations start when users click the mouse. These clicks were totally ignored in Captivate 3 – The animation used to start automatically and the click part was ignored. Now, Captivate 4 honours these on-click behaviour. Movies pause for user click when it encounters the on-click animations.

In this context, I noticed some confusion faced by users (reported on user forum). When importing PowerPoint presentations, there is an “Advance Slide” option – Automatically or on mouse click. This option is a way to tell Captivate how to proceed on completion of one powerpoint slide.The behaviour remains same as in Captivate 3 – Advance Slide "Automatically" tells Captivate to proceed to next slide without waiting for the user click, while the other one waits for  the user click.

Many users thought, once you select “Automatically”, it even disables the on-click behaviour of the click animations. I would like to clarify here that this option is *not* related to the above on-click animation support and neither of the options affect the click behavior of the animations. If you have on-click animations in powerpoint, they are always honoured by Captivate. The only way to get them out is to remove from PowerPoint. Since We allow editing Powerpoint slides from within Captivate, you can easily do it.

Posted by Sony Kadavan10:10 AM Permalink
March 5, 2009

Cp files disappearing in Captivate 3

,,

Some Captivate 3 users have faced a strange and unfortunate problem of .cp file suddenly disappearing after saving and closing the captivate. A possible reason for this has been analyzed and fixed in Captivate 4.

However for the Captivate 3 users I can suggest a possible workaround to recover the project. If this problem happens, immediately look for a .tmp file (after closing Captivate) in the same folder where your .cp file was supposed to be. If you are able to find this then you are lucky – Rename this file to .cp and you can continue working then on. You might also notice in certain cases, that this .tmp file is much larger size than the original .cp file. This is but nothing to worry – next save on the renamed file will reduce this size back to normal.

var addthis_pub=”shameerayyappan”;

Posted by Sony Kadavan9:30 AM Permalink
February 24, 2009

Best practices for handling PowerPoint audio in Captivate

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This post will give you all the details on how Captivate handles audio in imported PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint presentations usually have two kinds of sound support – Narration and Object Sounds. Narration is the voice-over which you record with the slide (say, reading out bullet points). Object sounds are the event sounds (say, an applause sound when user does a correct action).

Captivate 4 handles these sounds differently:

  • Narrations – are extracted from PowerPoint slides and then added in Captivate as “Slide Audio”. Once imported, these sounds can as well be edited in Captivate just like any other audio.
  • Object  sounds – are made integral part of the animation when imported, and not visible as separate objects in captivate (you will have to go back to PowerPoint to edit them).

Another important thing to notice about Narration. Consider the following workflow:

  • Import a PowerPoint slide with narration. (Notice the narration now present as slide audio in Captivate)
  • Later, edit this PowerPoint slide (from captivate using edit with PowerPoint options). In the PowerPoint, make changes to the narration as well. Then save and bring the changes to Captivate.
  • You will notice that your slide audio is still the old one !

This is designed to work this way to prevent any loss of sound edits, which you might have done in Captivate. So, after initial import, if you wish to make changes to narration, remember to do it from Captivate and not from PowerPoint.

[ However, in any case, if you need to bring the new narration in PowerPoint to Captivate, extract the same from PowerPoint and then add to Captivate just like any other audio ]

Posted by Sony Kadavan11:20 AM Permalink
February 11, 2009

Correct dimensions for Power Point Import

Captivate 3 (and now 4) supports importing a Microsoft Power Point file.

Captivate slide dimensions are defined in pixels, while Power Point defines slide size in inches. Many of you might have faced problems with stretched / shrunken objects because of a mismatch in the dimensions of the imported Power Point slides and your Captivate project. Below are a couple of tips that will help you avoid this issue in future.

You can create a new project “From MS Power Point” – Here you don’t have to worry about the dimensions, as Captivate creates a project of same dimension as your Power Point (yes it calculates correctly!). You can see this dimension while importing.

You might need to just consider whether this is the required dimension for your target audience.

No problems so far !

You might also want to Import a Power Point presentation to an existing project. Captivate’s behavior in such a scenario is to resize the Power Point presentation to the dimension of your project. In many cases this resizing is undesirable due to (possible but not always) loss of quality. So, Captivate gives a warning (which you can of course ignore).

One option is to resize the original Power Point presentation, so that it matches your existing Captivate project dimensions.

Now, how you do it …

Firstly, you need to convert pixels to inches. You might consider using some of the free tools available on the web and avoid the number crunching. I used this tool with the DPI value of 96. I will list down some popular values as well here:

Pixels

Inches

960 x 720

Default Power Point (10 x 7.5)

640 x 480

6.67 x 5

800 x 600

8.33 x 6.25

Second, you need to change your Power Point presentation to this dimension. For Power Point 2003, this is possible in “File > Page Setup” and in 2007, you can do this in “Design > Page Setup”. Key in your custom values here. It would be a good idea to check whether your font sizes, objects etc are appropriate for the new dimension.

Now, you can Import this into your Captivate project without any dimension warning.

OK… Go ahead and Captivate your Power Points !

Posted by Sony Kadavan9:30 AM Permalink
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