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August 22, 2008

Captivating! The Adobe Captivate Podcasts

Rick Zanotti's podcasts on Adobe Captivate

Rick Zanotti is doing a great job posting video podcasts on Adobe Captivate. Several episodes are already posted and cover topics from microphone tips to recording a movie. Rick also came down to San Diego to interview RJ, our Sr. Evangelist, and me. If you are a Mac user, you probably want to check out those interviews :)

 

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August 21, 2008

Green Tip: Carbon footprint calculator for online meetings and virtual classrooms

Footprints Carbon Calculator for online meetings and virtual classroomsI just learned about the coolest carbon footprint calculator - it's a plugin to Acrobat Connect Pro that shows each attendee how much CO2 was saved. Just download the Footprints free trial and upload into a Connect share pod and you are ready to track.

Here is some more info from the website:

Footprints calculates the approximate location of each meeting attendee automatically based on their IP Address and uses this to determine how far they would have had to travel to the Host location if the meeting had not been held virtually. It then calculates the CO2 savings as well as the financial savings that have been generated as a result of using an Adobe Connect Pro Meeting. Footprints is fully customizable - pick your corporate colors for the theme and include your corporate logo on the pod to show how serious your organization is about reducing its Carbon Footprint. Attendees see their personal savings for this event, the collective savings for the entire meeting and a running tally of the total savings your organization has generated across all meetings that included Footprints.

Thanks Chris for sending along!

 

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August 6, 2008

Tip: Catchy electronic Portfolios

Acrobat PortfoliosYou can create digital portfolios easily with Acrobat 9. You can include pretty much any documents and also multimedia including audio, video and even your Adobe Captivate .swf files. The portfolios have a very professional look based on customizable templates and you end up with a single file you can easily distribute.

>> Watch a demo of the portfolio feature

Or watch a more comprehensive OnDemand eseminar (Acrobat 9: Share Your Ideas or Enhanced ePortfolios for education using Adobe Acrobat 9).

Educators might also want to review our edu pages for ideas on using the Acrobat portfolios in the classroom. Portfolios are a great way for students to collect and submit all their work of the semester and for educators to assess and comment.

 

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July 29, 2008

Green eLearning - Tips and best practices

I am starting a new category on Green eLearning in my blog and over the next few weeks, I will post several tips that can help streamline workflows and reduce learning footprint (the nice thing: it also reduces cost).

As part of this blog entry series, I would like to highlight organizations that have successfully implemented sustainable strategies in their learning practices. Please submit your green learning stories in the comments field below. I am looking especially for success stories with achieved cost savings and CO2 reductions as well as new hardware that helped meet your goals.

So, here is my first tip:

What's your learning footprint?

learning footprint calculatorThe first step in reducing your learning footprint is knowing how much CO2 you or your group actually generate. Luckily, there are plenty of calculators available online that help you estimate your learning footprint - check out learningfootprint.com.

If you want to go a bit deeper and more detailed, try the following links:

  • Atmosfair.com to calculate flight emissions.
  • Conservatree to calculate how many trees you use e.g.

    1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets.

  • Environmental Defense Fund's paper calculator which also gives you info on how many gallons of waste water are produced.
  • MIT Design Advisor to calculate your specific training facility emissions.
  • I haven't yet found a good calculator for hotels but Greenlodge.com provides an estimate of 44lbs/night. I believe it's rather on the low side since merely having a towel washed is already .5lb and many hotels have the room AC set to 68 degrees in the summer, keep all the lights on, and have the TV running before you even arrive ...
  • Climate Savers Computing Initiative to estimate your computer footprint
    From the U.S. PC Energy Report 2007: 1 PC wastes 635.1 kWh x 1.45 lbs or 920.89 lbs of CO2 emissions per year.

If you have more good links specifically for elearning or office carbon footprint calculations, please submit the URLs with a short description via the comments.

 

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July 25, 2008

Tip: Adobe Captivate Audio Output Settings Comparison

Mark Siegrist, one of our certified instructors and Adobe Captivate user, is starting a series of Adobe Captivate audio-output settings comparisons.

"Basically with the goal of coming up with the best settings to use for the perfect balance of filesize-to-audio quality, for voiceovers." Mark

Part One: Encoding Bitrate is now available.

Subscribe to his blog so you'll know when the next part is published.

Thanks Mark for setting this up!

 

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July 23, 2008

Tip: Easily creating video for use in Adobe Captivate

Visual Communicator to easily create video blogs or instructional videoIf you are interested in easily creating videos and adding them to your eLearning content or Adobe Captivate projects, you may want to check out Visual Communicator 3 .

It's extremely easy to use and offers hundreds of customizable graphics, music clips, and special effects to create video presentations that look like a television newscast.

Check out the features or download the free trial of Visual Communicator. It's a very fun product - give it a shot and your coworkers won't believe you created such a video yourself :)

PS: Another option is to go with Vlog It! - It's based on Visual Communicator but designed for video blogging. And it's only $29.

 

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July 22, 2008

Tip: Getting captions displayed in the correct order for print outputs

Adobe Captivate has the option to output your content to print format, which can be very helpful when developing job aids or handouts.

If you have multiple captions in one slide, the stacking order in your time line determines how the captions are listed in the Handout output format. In the following example, the caption that displays first based on timing is displayed last in the handout caption output.

Stacking the captions from the bottom in the timeline ensures correct display order in your handout:

Note: The Step-by-Step output uses a different methodology to generate the print output and captions are ordered based on their timed appearance in the slide.

 

Thank you Josh for this tip!

 

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July 11, 2008

Tip: Easily localize your project

If you are planning to translate your projects into multiple languages, you can take advantage of some cool features in Adobe Captivate that can save you a lot of money.

Quick and dirty demos in another languagelanguages for autotext captions

Before you capture, you can choose the language for the automatic text captions. Simply select the language you need from the Advanced option in the recording dialog. You can also make changes to the default text or add your own autotext languages - simply check out the CaptureTextTemplates_xyz.rdl files in the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3 folder. This selection is only available before you start recording. To translate after the fact, follow the next steps. XLIFF export from adobe captivate

Full localization

Adobe Captivate offers XML output of your text in the XLIFF format, which is specifically used by localizers and their translation memory tools like Trados.

  1. Make a copy of your project and add the target language to the file name. E.g. if your English project is called "Test", call the copy "Test_Spanish"
  2. Export the text content to XML File > Export > To XML
  3. Have the XML file localized and import the text into the same project
    File > Import > From XML
  4. Check all your captions - some languages use very long words and the sizing or position might be off. Like German - Schaltfläche for button

 

Note: Text in text animations as well as text of questions inside question pools cannot be exported. So avoid text animations and have your questions translated before you move them into pools.

 

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July 10, 2008

Tip: Easy backup of webpages - cool Acrobat feature

I was trying to figure out how I could possibly make a backup of my blog. Robert McDaniels, our Education SE Manager, sent me a little Adobe Captivate demo that shows how you can easily capture an entire website into PDF using Acrobat Pro Extended. Learn more about the Capture Web pages feature.

Thanks Robert :)

 

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Tip: Create accessible (508) content with Adobe Captivate

Not too many people know about this: Adobe Captivate offers many accessibility features to make your eLearning content Section 508 compliant and we have a page on our site that provides info about

  • the available functionality to make content accessible
  • an FAQ
  • demos on adding descriptions and closed captioning
  • best practices
  • and access to our Accessibility Resource Center.

Find out more: Adobe Captivate Accessibility

 

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June 26, 2008

Tip: Highlights, gray outs, and quick cover ups

Highlight boxes by default simply highlight a selected area. However, you can do more with them:

  • Create gray-out effects
  • Make quick fixes
  • Design basic backgrounds

 

Gray-Out Effect

Simply select Fill outer area to make your content pop and basically create a gray-out that helps your learners focus on a specific area on your screen. Ensure in the timeline that your caption is in a layer above your highlight box.


 

Quick Fixes

Adobe CaptivateYou can also successfully use highlight boxes to fix any problem areas. For example, I forgot to prep the presentation I captured and it shows the presenter names (see red box in image left). Instead of fixing the original content and recapturing or editing the image, I simply used a highlight box to cover up the area.

Frame width and transparency are set to 0 and using the color picker I get a perfect match of the background color.

 

 

To finish it up, I merge the highlight box into the background, which updates the image. If you think you might possibly need the original background, simply set the fade in/out to 0 instead of merging. That way, you always easily revert back by deleting the highlight box.

 

Basic Design

You can use highlight boxes for quick mock-ups and basic background designs. Simply play around with the colors and transparency settings.

 

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June 18, 2008

Adobe Captivate Tips & Tricks eBook

Captivate Tips ebookHow cool is that! Our Community Expert Rick Stone has created an ebook filled with Adobe Captivate tricks. You can get it via the Adobe Captivate Exchange ($14.95).

 

Many of the tips are accompanied by - guess what - a demonstration :)

And yes, the ebook includes some tips I didn't even know!

 

By the way - if you have cool content to share or sell, you can upload it there too.

 

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June 16, 2008

Adobe Captivate Masters Class Review

Lodestone Adobe Certified Training Partner Logo

Last week I attended several sessions of the Adobe Masters Class by our certified training partner Lodestone Digital .

Lodestone master class posterI was very impressed with the agenda, the organization, the instruction and the class in general. Attendees came from all types of organizations including pharmaceutical, software training, entertainment, and a sporting goods store chain. The class size was kept small so every attendee could get their questions answered and receive individual attention when necessary.

Student files were developed for every lesson and Lodestone Digital even developed a fictional grocery store chain for all the sample content including templates, logo, images, and videos. The comprehensive training manual provides detailed step-by-step procedures with screenshots and many explanations, shortcuts, and tips.

Unlike most software instruction, this hands-on class is not simply feature-by-feature instruction but provides the foundation for creating effective eLearning with Adobe Captivate. It covers best practices for styles and templates, general workflows and even the ADDIE process for Adobe Captivate development. Greenscreen setup for video shootingIt also goes above and beyond when it comes to workflows - I enjoyed how Josh had a green screen setup arranged to learn about shooting video with transparent backgrounds to then use inside Adobe Captivate. Attendees then could work with video and create their own using Visual Communicator. Take a closer look at the sessions.

In addition to the class, Lodestone offered a full and memorable experience with organized evening events throughout the week. Other than the receptions and the musical, the highlight of the week was the Captivate after Dark event, where Captain CaptivateCaptain Captivate appeared in person to provide a sneak peek of some of the new features in Adobe Captivate 4 (NDA was required). The oohhhs and aaaahs showed we are moving into the right direction with the next version.

The secret of the Captain can't be revealed but Captain Captivate is starting a blog with tips & tricks. It was recommended I show up as "FlashGirl" next time ... hmmmm ... I'll think about it.

I highly recommend this class for anyone new to Adobe Captivate or with basic experience. This class will help you master Adobe Captivate and I am sure you'll be well prepared for the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) exam. Other attendees also said "This class is great" "I learned so much" "Fantastic".

"I really enjoyed the Captivate Masters Week that Josh taught. Josh is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Captivate and Adobe in general - which was great!" - Scott

Please check the Lodestone website for new class times and locations. I believe the next one will be in Charlotte, NC.

 

Thank you Josh, Mark, and Aimee! You have been wonderful and have done a great job setting up a well organized class.

 

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June 10, 2008

Free OnDemand Seminars (now also in Spanish)

We offer several free live eseminars each quarter. These eseminars are being recorded and are then available as free OnDemand sessions.

RJ Jacquez, our Sr. Product Evangelist, speaks Spanish so we were recently able to conduct an Adobe Captivate in Spanish! You can access it through the Latin America events site. Enjoy!

 

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June 6, 2008

Tip: Integrating FMR slides to publish a single .SWF

Here is a simple workaround to integrate external full motion recording (FMR) .SWF files and publish a single .SWF:

  1. Publish your project to FlashPlayer 7 and call it, let's say, FMR
  2. In Edit mode, replace the full motion slide with a blank slide:
    1. insert a blank slide before or after the full motion slide
    2. match the slide time of the blank slide with the full motion slide
    3. delete the full motion slide
  3. Your published folder contains a file called FMR_Fullmotion1.swf. Insert this file in your blank slide
  4. Remove fade in/out effects
  5. Complete steps 2-4 for all other full motion slides
  6. Republish

It's a workaround for now. The team is aware and we are looking into better options for Adobe Captivate 4.

 

PS: I try to avoid FMR altogether. Instead of scrolling, simply click on the scroll bar or use the page down key. Editing becomes much easier and your file size is smaller.

 

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May 19, 2008

Creating step-by-step documentation from Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate has many amazing features and one of them is quite hidden: The ability to publish quick reference or step-by-step guides in addition to animated software demos and interactive simulations. This functionality has been available since version 2 and is highly customizable - take a look at the Developer Center article to learn more:

Creating printed versions of Adobe Captivate projects

PS: Thanks Tim for reminding me to blog about this!

 

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May 13, 2008

eSeminar Q&A

RJ Jacquez, our Sr. Product Evangelist, has presented today's eseminar Interactivity in Virtual Classrooms where he showed Adobe Captivate, publishing to a Connect server, creating a curriculum, and using Adobe Captivate content in a live virtual classroom (our seminar presentation room). We had over 600 attendees so I helped out answering questions and received several requests to make the Q&A available (see below - participant's last names and redundant questions are removed).

I also recommend taking a look at our website since a lot of information is covered there:

 

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April 24, 2008

Tip: Free Tips eBook from the eLearning Guild

 Tips ebook

The eLearning Guild published a new eBook:
239 Tips for Producing and Managing
Flash-based e-Learning Content
.
It includes several pages of Adobe Captivate and general best practice tips - all submitted by users like you.

It's free!

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Tip: Integrating Adobe Captivate content in Adobe Presenter

Robe Rode, who I met recently at a conference when he was presenting on Adobe Presenter, just started his blog and offers some great tips on integrating Adobe Captivate content in Adobe Presenter.

 

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April 16, 2008

Tips & Tricks Session at Annual Gathering

Adobe Captivate Master Class at Annual GatheringAt the Annual Gathering of the eLearning Guild we have received lots of feature ideas and feedback. Our product sessions were packed and we had several members from our team in India here. They were conducting focus group sessions with attendees to get feedback about our ideas on Adobe Captivate 4 (I'll let you know through the blog, when the beta starts - will still be a while).

Tips & Tricks slidesAs promised, you can access my slides from the session at Session 410 Tips & Tricks Slides. (FYI: Some of the links are 'broken' because they go to files on my computer). A SWF sample is also included in one of the slides playing inside the presentation.

I guess our Tips & Tricks session made an impression - Check out Will Thalheimer's blog about the session - blogs like this make my day :)

AIR-based EPSS created with RoboHelpAt the session, we showed the new RoboHelp packager for AIR - imagine you can create a professional looking, standalone performance support system that:

  • offers complete navigation with table of contents, index, search, glossary
  • informs the user when new information/update is available
  • can be used while being offline
  • works/looks exactly the same on Windows, Mac, Linux
  • enables inclusion of PDF, Adobe Captivate, .SWF files.
  • Offers new technologies like favorites (new for typical online help systems), commenting, content zoom, open pages in tabs, include additional resources displayed inside the system and more
  • all without programming!

Adobe AIR is quite amazing and recommend taking a closer look at it for eLearning.

Talking about AIR - I stopped by Brent Schlenker's session Scanning the Globe: Connecting your digital world to the world around you that focused on QR codes. One of the attendees pointed out the free QR code generator built in AIR.

 

So, here is a secret message - whoever comments first what is hidden in the QR code will receive a USB stick from me (please include your address/contact info in the comment) - my phone unfortunately is not yet supported and I don't have a reader on it, so I couldn't test this code ... I hope it works for you ;)

 

PS: The presentation slides are published via Adobe Presenter - it plugs in to PowerPoint to convert your slides to a very nice and quick loading Flash-based online experience.

 

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April 10, 2008

Tips & Tricks Session at Seattle Captivate User Group Meeting

Slides for Adobe Captivate Tips & Tricks Session at Seattle User Group MeetingI just returned from Seattle where we had a great Captivate user group meeting last night. I promised to make my slides available. This is a bit of a sneak peek for my session I'll deliver at the eLearning Guild Annual Gathering next week.

Thanks again to Mark and Matt for organizing the event. And thanks Bobby for attending and providing support :)

The questions and discussions at the end were great. By the way - the Pizza was really good!

 

PS: The presentation is published via Adobe Presenter - it plugs in to PowerPoint to convert your slides to a very nice and quick loading Flash-based online experience.

 

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March 25, 2008

Tips & Tricks session in Seattle

I'll be in Seattle on April 9th and will meet the Adobe Captivate user group. If you are in the area, please stop by. I'll also be presenting tips & tricks. More details to come on the Adobe Captivate user group website.

 

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March 18, 2008

Tip: Toggling the controller’s visibility using variables

The pipwerks blog has a great Adobe Captivate tip using the variable rdcmndHidePlaybar to toggle the playback controls off/on. The blog entry also includes the link to the online help which contains a list of most variables.

 

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March 12, 2008

Tip: Creating a SCORM package from multiple SCOs

A reader of the Tip: Splitting and chaining large projects had a question on how to package all the split files together to enable tracking inside the LMS.

You might want to try the Reload Metadata Tool for SCORM 2004 that is mentioned on Tom King's blog Mobilemind or the newer "Eclipse IDE-based" version.


Thanks B.J. for the tip:
I'd recommend using Trident to create, manage, and publish SCOs. I've had good luck with it...

March 10, 2008

Tip: Splitting and chaining large projects

Check out this great guide on splitting large projects and linking them together.

March 7, 2008

Tip: Changing multiple choice answer numbering

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A user recently emailed me about this one:

How do you change the numbering for the answers in quiz slides?

A relatively simple workaround is mentioned in the online forum - add a space and change the size to 0 or add a slim character like a . or i and change the text color to the background color of your slide.

Read the entire forum entry on changing quiz answer numbering.

Thanks Andrea H. for sending me the link.

March 6, 2008

Tip: Using the new automatic Re-Recording

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The new re-recording feature in Adobe Captivate enables you to automatically recapture web applications and is usually used for applications that

  • undergo a lot of changes (for example an enterprise wide system during the implementation)
  • have different language UIs.

This feature was very tricky to implement and is in its first version only available for IE6 and limited to HTML-based web applications. It basically creates a script, like a macro in Word, of what you are doing in the web application.

Here are the steps on how to use it:

  1. Select Software Simulation - Application when starting to record.
  2. Check these options and don't forget to check Re-Recording Information in the Advanced Settings:
  3. Record your steps normally and end the recording.
  4. Save all files where you can find them again. The Re-recording Script is one of the files that will be saved with your demo, training, and assessment project:

Now imagine, your engineers have renamed a field in the application or added new features, you can simply rerecord automatically. This also works great for web apps that can change the language on the fly (like some SAP apps). Simply start a new project and let Adobe Captivate do the work:

  1. Set up your browser window exactly where you started recording last time.
  2. Start a new Adobe Captivate project but now browse to your script in the Advanced Settings:
  3. Hit Record and grab a coffee :) When you come back, 3 new projects should be ready - in my case, with French captions.

PS: To set up your browser at exactly the same size every time, do this:

  1. Create a new project > Software Simulation > Custom Size > OK
  2. Enter your ideal size (I always recommend 720x540).
  3. Select your browser window and Snap to fit (This sizes the application window to your ideal size).
  4. Hit Cancel and start your project as described in the beginning of the blog.

February 22, 2008

Tip: 'Stop Action' via Play Button on the first slide

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We recently received the question on how to give the viewer control over starting demo playback. This is especially important if you have multiple demos on a single HTML page or in a blog - by default, they would all start at the same time. I personally like graying out the background and placing a button in the center. Here is a little demo on how I did it. The steps are very simple :)


February 20, 2008

Tip: Keeping the TAB key press in Adobe Captivate content in a browser

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Tab Key

A couple of days ago I received this comment:

I'd like to see some workarounds for using the tab key inside a captivate project running on the web. Many times the browser steals back the Tab keyPress and it becomes non functional in the applications.

Our QA manager Suresh has provided a simple workaround:

There is a behavior called Seamless tabbing, which allows tabbing to extend beyond the movie and start with the browser address bar. To disable, follow these steps:

  1. Open the HTML file Adobe Captivate generates in a note pad or HTML editor
  2. Between the writeDocument <object> </object> tags, add the following '<param name="SeamlessTabbing" value="false">'+
  3. Save the HTML file

Your tabbing will now stay within the movie. I tested this for both IE and FF and it works.

Thanks Suresh!

February 19, 2008

Tip: Adding Adobe Captivate movie clips to a PDF file

The new article on including animated and interactive .SWF files into PDF documents is now published on the Developer Center: Adding Adobe Captivate movie clips to a PDF file.

Thanks Jeff for writing this article!

February 18, 2008

New Adobe Captivate Developer Center tutorials: YouTube, Right-Click, SWF in PDF

We are constantly publishing new articles in our Adobe Captivate Developer Center - a place where you can access free articles with step-by-step how to instructions. The latest include:
Publishing Adobe Captivate files to YouTube and Using animations to extend Adobe Captivate for right-click capability. The next article to be published will show you how to insert Adobe Captivate SWF files into an Acrobat PDF file - did you know that you can even do that? Imagine a visual demo inside your PDF!

We are looking for new topics or specific areas of interest. Please vote on the right, what kind of topics you are interested in or add a comment for specific content.

Would you like to become an author?
If you are interested in writing an article yourself, simply provide your contact info in the blog comments with a brief description of your topic.

February 14, 2008

Adobe Captivate Tips - Submit yours!

The eLearning Guild is planning a new eBook on Tips for Producing and Managing Flash-based e-Learning Content and they are looking for tip submissions. Here is your chance to share your Adobe Captivate tips with your peers.

Simply submit your Tips for Producing and Managing Flash-based e-Learning Content via the eLearning Guild website.

PS: Feel free to use any of the tips you find in my blog :)

November 12, 2007

Portable Recording Booth

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Portable Recording Booth to record narration in Adobe Captivate

Shane Matthews, who I met at the Breakfast Bite session at DevLearn, followed up with a picture and some info on his portable recording booth he uses with SMEs to record audio narration for Adobe Captivate projects. From Shane:

 

Attached is a photo of the first iteration - I've since updated with a small desktop stand to hold the microphone, rather than the boom stand. I'll send another image when I get back home.


It was pretty simple to build … take a small collapsible clothes hamper, which you can buy at any Wal-Mart, and line it with acoustic foam. In my case I got the foam from a local company who had recently built a recording studio and had some left over. I didn't even spend money on a pop-filter … I just made one with a hanger and a pair of nylons (not mine <grin>). By then it was a matter of principle to do it cheaply - ha! The microphone is a condenser microphone I had, which is best for capturing vocal audio.


The result? I have a "quick and dirty" portable studio that I can bring to an SME if need be. It prevents any unwanted background noise (within reason) and any echoes from flat surfaces.

 

Thanks for following up! This is a great idea.

November 8, 2007

Adobe Summit - Day 1

Keynote at Adobe eLearning SummitThe Adobe Summit today was kicked off by Ellen's keynote with Naresh Gupta , our SVP, calling in from India in the middle of the night on a holiday! It was a great start of a very special conference to us since it's the first eLearning Conference that Adobe is holding.

Ellen also showed a video of our customers talking about our tools - Watch the video.

The Adobe Captivate Tips & Tricks session was quite packed and I was lucky to have RJ Jacquez join us, the Technical Communication Suite and eLearning evangelist. I learned quite a bit from his part of the presentation. Not covered in the PPT is his tip on changing the standard.htm file (found in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3\Templates\Publish) which changes your published HTML file. I'll ask him to start a blog to explain it.
RoboHelp and FrameMaker are great tools for eLearning and several people were asking about the eseminars we offer - I recommend: Bring your Information to Life with 3D and Adobe® Captivate® 3 in the new Technical Communication Suite! - it's free, it's live and RJ will be presenting.

Right now I am in the executive panel session on technology road maps and it looks like attendees are interested in Flash Lite output (mobile important for about 5-7 ppl), standards support, video (1/3rd in the room develop video and several people want to do more than 50% of their content as video), a YouTube Learning type site (I rather would personally see a service like Adobe Share to turn into that - Share has the benefit of supporting interactive content so I think it's a bit more practical than a pure video service), collaboration (important for all).

Heading off to our reception ...

PS: If you leave a comment, please include a real name/address.

September 26, 2007

Tip: Opening a new window for a URL

If you have links to URLs in your Adobe Captivate project, you can easily set them up to open in a new window and even choose if the slide should continue playing after the click or not - simply click on the little triangle next to the URL.


August 27, 2007

Editing Full Motion Recording Slides

Tags,

Our team has made a little nifty utility available to edit Full Motion Recording slides. FMR slides are generated during drag/drop actions or when you record in full motion recording mode - it's similar to .avi-based recording except we generate a .swf on the fly. However, .swf files can typically not be edited inside Adobe Captivate. You can delete, split, and insert .swf files.

Simply export the .swf of such a slide (use the library) and edit with the FMR editor. Subrahmanya wrote a Dev Center article on how to use the utility.

Download the FMR editor from the Dev Center.

August 24, 2007

Missing Caption Styles?

Caption Styles Folder for Adobe CaptivateWe have added some new caption styles in Adobe Captivate 3 and moved some of the older styles into another folder called More. If for some reason, the caption styles don't show up for selection in the caption style drop down box, you might have to change the .fcm to .FCM in this folder C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3\Gallery\Captions\More.

Thanks to Rick Stone for the tip :)

August 21, 2007

What microphone to use?

Tags

In seminars and customer meetings, the question on what mic to use keeps coming up. I am not an audio expert so you definitely want to do some research if CD quality is required. Usually, if I need high quality, I just go to a local recording studio. The hour there including editing is only around $50 and the quality is perfect, Plantronics headset to record audio for Adobe Captivatesince the room is sound proof and they work with $30k plus equipment. In most cases though, I just use a very simple and cheap unidirectional mic or my Plantronics headset. They do the job in 99% of the projects.

Snowball microphone to record audio in Adobe CaptivateA friend of mine has been using Blue Snowball USB mic to record the SMEs who think it's really cool because it has a bit of a retro look. This is an omni-directional mic, meaning, it will record audio from all directions including ambient noise. A quiet or soundproof room will give you best results. You might also want to invest in a Pop-Filter. They are cheap and worth it.

For audio editing, you might want to take a look at Adobe Soundbooth to have additional functionality such as noise or hiss reduction, audio filters, and effects. You can also easily compose music scores :)

Here is another tip from my friend: Get some kind of percussion instrument to create a sound you can easily recognize in the visual wave format. That way, you know exactly when to cut the audio between slides. When her SMEs mess up, she simply hits it twice to quickly find the second take.

August 8, 2007

Creating a Single SWF with Adobe Captivate 3

Tags,,,

Adobe Captivate 3 generates multiple output files. These files are all published into a single folder and typically contain the HTML file, the actual content SWF, the playback control SWF and possibly a JavaScript file and now some more with the new version. Here are some tips of what to do to generate a single SWF:

  • Uncheck "Show borders" in the skins dialog - this will include the playback controls directly in your main content SWF.
  • Do not include video files or full motion recordings (even when you do a drag/drop action during recording, a full motion file slide is generated) - for faster loading and reducing the file size of the main content SWF, these files are external SWF files now.
  • Using question pools creates additional external files - this allows randomization at runtime from the question pool. To create one file, keep questions in your main project.
  • Hotspot questions use external SWF files to display the area on the hotspot the learner clicked on.

There might be more - I'll keep updating this list.


August 7, 2007

Dev Center for CP3 live and CP3 now shipping

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Adobe Captivate 3 Developer Center LiveAdobe Captivate 3 is now shipping and our Developer Center is now live with 4 new articles:

  • Frank Nguyen, who is now at UCSD, describes how to implement the guidelines from Ruth Clark's white paper in Adobe Captivate.
  • Steve Howard, an Authorware pro, shares some great insights in CP3 as an eLearning authoring tool for Authorware users.
  • Mark Chrisman, who runs the Seattle CP user group, provides tips on inserting Flash animations.
  • My article is just an intro to Adobe Captivate 3 and the new features.

If you have any tips/tricks to share, please let us know - we are always looking for authors for our developer center.

June 18, 2007

Tip: Adding Slide Numbers

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I just saw a request from a customer regarding displaying slide numbers without having to manually create a caption which then has to be manually updated every time you insert/delete a slide. Adobe Captivate supports the insertion of SWF files and you can do all kinds of things using this functionality. One of our Community Experts, Paul Dewhurst, has a great site with such a SWF: frame number display. Paul, like most of our active Advisory Board members, has been with the product since RoboDemo days in 2002/2003. Don't miss the many other downloads and tips on his site RaisingAimee.

In addition to Paul's great site, check out some sites from our other board members for further tips and tricks:

Larry Walther       http://www.captivate-tips.com PS: Larry has used pedagogical agents in his content long before the snazzy SWF or FLV based characters were available - he used to use the Microsoft Agents. He is currently working on his site and has a character telling you that :)

Rick Stone             http://www.robowizard.com (check out his tips & tricks CHM)

Mark Fletcher             http://macrofireball.blogspot.com/

Kevin Siegel             http://iconlogic.blogs.com/weblog/

John Daigle             www.showmethedemo.com

Who am I missing? Please comment and I add your link. I don't have a blog roll or I would add all these links on the side bar ...

May 25, 2007

Tip: Publishing a single SWF

This keeps coming up - Adobe Captivate content needs to be integrated with a tool that can only handle one SWF file. In version 2, we introduced skins with borders to enable playback controls to be placed outside of your content. This functionality is turned on by default but generates two SWF files.
To only publish a single SWF, simply uncheck Boders in the Skins dialog (You get to this dialog from the Publish dialog or the Project menu).

May 24, 2007

Tip: Creating Multiple Levels of Feedback

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Adobe Captivate Visual Timeline It's pretty easy to do targeted feedback in Adobe Captivate. Simply use multiple click boxes within one slide. The click boxes are overlayed, offer only 1 attempt and are set to continue on incorrect clicks. On the correct click, they jump to the next slide. That way you can provide different levels of messages to your learners.

You can go a step beyond and also include some clickboxes with no action assigned but a success message. Change the look and feel of the message to look like a failure message and include specific feedback.

Here is an example - have fun.

May 14, 2007

Tip: Controlling Playback in Adobe Presenter

I had a customer meeting today where the question on controlling Adobe Captivate content inside an Adobe Presenter PPT presentation came up. This option is already available in Adobe Presenter :)

Publish your content without the playback controls from within Adobe Captivate (uncheck playbar in the skins options available via the publish dialog) and insert the SWF file into the slide using the Presenter PowerPoint plugin. Then check "Controlled by presentation playbar" in the Presentation Settings.
Or read the developer center article for more detail.

Hope this helps.