Today’s image is a test of the Light Dome Pro 2.0 inside a building.  I will later try a similar render with the fog tool.

I recently had an issue with Captivate, which I posted on my EdTech learning log.  I thought I would post it here, too, for the benefit of gamers.

Additional Lessons Learned: Camtasia vs Captivate

Based on my experience with the Technology Use Plan Presentation and the 533 YouTube for Educators course that I took last semester, I’ve learned some things about Adobe Captivate and Camtasia Studio. During 533, I used the 30 day trial of Camtasia and loved it. For this class, I decided to use Captivate, as I was familiar with the product from work.

Before using either of these programs, I prepared my presentation and audio. I’ve produced a lot of videos like this for my YouTube channels, so I have a normal workflow:

1. Write an outline and script.
2. Build the PowerPoint presentation around the script.
4. Record the narration into Audacity.
5. Edit out mistakes, pauses, and breaths, and export the narration as a WAV file.

At this point I usually go in one of two directions. If I am using no PowerPoint animations (usually the case), I save the PowerPoint file as a series of jpegs and match them in the timeline in either Premiere or Windows Movie Maker. If I am using animations, I rehearse the timing while listening to the audio track in WMP, and save the timing from the rehearsal once I am satisfied.

Captivate vs Camtasia

Here was the process that I had to use to produce the video in Captivate:

Step 1 I imported the .ppt file into Captivate and tested the animations.

Step 2 Even though I had save my rehearsed timeline, Captivate still saw the timing as “Start on Click.” It wouldn’t play my slides correctly so I had to go back to my ppt file and change the timing of all slides to “Start After Previous.”

Step 3 I imported the new .ppt file into Captivate and tested the timing. Everything seemed perfect.

Step 4 I tried to publish the file from Captivate. In Captivate 4, the video could be published as a .avi file. Unfortunately, this functionality was removed in Captivate 5 (which I and my company had just upgraded to), so I had to publish it as a fixed-framerate .f4v file. This file format would not import into Premier Pro CS4 properly, so I had to find another way to make it work.

Step 5 I remembered that YouTube publishes all of their videos into .mp4 format, so I uploaded my .f4v file to YouTube and waited for it to process the video. I then used a FireFox plugin for downloading HD videos from YouTube to retrieve the .mp4 file.

Step 6 I pulled the .mp4 file into Premiere for final editing.

From the same starting point of a rehearsed .ppt file, here was the process I used in 533 to produce the video using Camtasia Studio:

Step 1 Push record on the Camtasia Studio plugin, and play the presentation.
Step 2 Go make a sandwich while the video records.
Step 3 Pull the video into Premiere for final editing.

By the way, to top it all off, I had to re-render the video a few times to get it under the VoiceThread limit of 25MB. With each of these steps some quality was lost in the video, so I didn’t get nearly as crisp of a result from Captivate as I did from Camtasia Studio.

Lesson Learned

While Captivate is wonderful for creating SCORM compliant Flash-based training, it just isn’t the right tool for creating videos. If you plan on taking EdTech 533 or any of the other multimedia courses in the program, get Camtasia Studio. It’s well worth it.