I'd like to talk about Screen Capture

So, I thought a good discussion on the best way to insert screen capture segments in Articulate would be helpful.  Having gone from Camtasia to Lectora to Captivate to Articulate, I've seen a lot of variance in what is possible and what is not. 

I like that Articulate allows me to bring in AS3 swfs as web objects, because Captivate 5 dropped AS2 support.  However, I need to include the control bar, where with AS2 based swfs I could bring them in as flash movies and allow navigation via the Articulate scrubber bar. 

I'm looking at ditching Captivate altogether, the only thing we continue to use it for is screen capture segments.  I would like to use ScreenR or even Snagit, but Captivate seems easier to meld audio and the video.  With ScreenR or Snagit I would have to either a) Record the audio while recording, or b) record later and then use a editing program to marry the two together.  Captivate is nice in that I can print out a Word version of the capture (since its slide based) and then record audio with the voice talent from that.

So basically, what I was hoping to get, was the following:

a-What you use for screen capture

b-What you use for audio capture (could be the same as a)

c-What you use to edit the two together (if you use anything)

d-your experiences with this area of coursework in general.

Hugh (Highlander Hugh on the old forums)

19 Replies
Tom Kuhlmann

At a previous place, we used Captivate for our screencasting.  I didn't like the editing process.  So for many of the courses, I just did screen grabs (since that's what Captivate is giving me) and then I just added the screen shots to the slide.  This doesn't work for every course, but in many of them, I found it to be a time saver.

I referenced this a bit in this demo.  It's simple, but gives you the idea.

Mike Enders

Hugh,

Lots of great choices available. For one off captures, it's hard to beat Screenr due to it's cross platform capabilities, ability to embed, download MP4 for flash conversion, etc.

However, if you're looking to do some editing, meld higher quality audio, annotations, etc., it really is hard to beat the latest version of Camtasia Studio.  I hadn't used Camtasia in years and picked it up this past July for the software project.  Techsmith has really improved it's editing abilities along with improving the output possibilities. So if you haven't used it lately, I'd suggest giving it another look.

My typical workflow for this project...(client sends me vids, I lay down new audio, do video editing)

1. Client scripts out the video narrative.

2. Client Captures video (and lays down their own audio narration for rough timing) with Camtasia.

3. I receive the .camrec files and script.

4. I create a new Camtasia project file for the .camrec and massage the script for my style.

5. I open up Adobe Soundbooth, ready it to record.

6. I begin playing the camrec (with no volume) and lay down my audio in Soundbooth so it syncs with the camrec.

7. Audio is edited, exported, leveled and imported into the Camtasia project file.

8. Video editing is completed and the completed movie is exported to FLV for insertion into Articulate.

Truth be told, the audio quality that you can capture with Camtasia is pretty solid, so you may find that you're able to simply

capture audio straight in.  If that's the case, I'd still recommend:

1. Capture the movie and audio.

2. Edit the movie (annotations, etc.)

3. Export your audio with File\Produce Special\Export Audio As

4. Edit/Level your Audio with Audacity, Levelator, Sound Booth, etc.

5. Import your edited audio back into Camtasia.

6. Delete the old audio.

I'd especially do the audio leveling process via this method if you level your Articulate course audio.  This will help keep the sound levels similar as you switch between an Articulate slide and a movie slide.

Hope this helps.

Mike

Gabriele Dovis (italgo)

Hello folks,

I use to work very much with screen capture.

I use both Articulate and Captivate to build my courses.
I think that Articulate is more versatile, expecially if you want to mount your course in PowerPoint. It is far more efficient and rapid.
Using Captivate to make screencasts of software is the best way (I think) related to my personal job. But everything stops at this level. I mount every single captivate published file (swf) into PPT and Presenter. Here is where I built the entire structure of the course, and where I usually add Engage and Quizmaker.

This is my usual working process:

PART 1

1) receive the script from SME (includes text and images)

2) read and correct the script as is better for my needs

3) record audio narration with a professional speaker on a professional studio, or in my office (depends on budget)

4) screen capture w/Captivate

5) mount audio, add visual effects and publish as an swf file w/Captivate

PART 2

6) build graphic elements w/PowerPoint/Photoshop

7) build course structure w/PowerPoint/Presenter

8) setup the player with Presenter

9) insert Captivate's sfw in Presenter

10) add Engage interactions and Quizmaker quizzes

11) publish

Here you can take a look at the average final result of this kind of courses I usually build.
I'd like to recevive your feedback guys

http://www.mosaicoelearning.it//corso_articulate/player.html

As you can see, Screenr can't be a solution for me in this case, because of its recording time limit and specs.
I think it is a really great tool, but I need something different for this kind of courses.

I also think that if Articulate would support also an editable built in screen capture tool, with the chance to add visual effects and sync external audio to that, it would become a leader also into this field. I think that most of Articulate's users would like to leave Captivate or Camtasia, etc.

James Brown

a-What you use for screen capture

You could use Captivate, Camtasi, Jing

b-What you use for audio capture (could be the same as a)

Audacity

c-What you use to edit the two together (if you use anything)

Adobe Premiere Elements 9 or 10 or Camtasia

d-your experiences with this area of coursework in general.

Used all the above described tools during my studies at Boise State. Articulate was beyond my financial capability but if I were doing this professionally and I could afford the tools. Articulate would be my choice.

Heather Steckley

a-What you use for screen capture

I used to use Captivate, but now I almost exclusively use Camtasia.  This is due to its zooming feature & ability to resize on publish to any format I need. Sometimes I animate a screenshot on a slide, but I usually need more than that.

b-What you use for audio capture (could be the same as a)

Camtasia. I haven't found a benefit to using another app. I record each audio file and save it as a wav in Camtasia, then it lays down in the audio track. I record one audio file for every video clip I will record (how I break up my script document). I name the audio and video clips the same, starting with a number to keep the files in order for my ease-of-use.

01_intro.wav

01_intro.camrec

02_section name.wav

02_section name.camrec

c-What you use to edit the two together (if you use anything)

I just record my audio in Camtasia, and then I record the screen in Camtasia. I set my timings in the audio, and I record the screen just a little bit slower so I have room to delete frames if needed.

d-your experiences with this area of coursework in general.

It's gotten a lot easier in the last year than in the past (I started doing screen recordings in 2001).  Camtasia's quality has come a long way with the addition of more professional callouts.  I'm a fan now.  It's a lot easier for me to use Camtasia if I'm going to embed in an Articulate pres.  Captivate just doesn't scale or zoom the way I need it to, based on screen resolution requirements.

You do have to set your Camtasia audio settings and Articulate audio settings to be the same (definitely higher quality than the defaults) to have them play seamlessly together.

Phil Corriveau

I'm in Tom's camp.  Whenever possible, I try to stick with still captures (PNGs) and leverage PPT's animation options such as motion paths..and perhaps add a moving arrow/hand when necessary.  In most cases, I can closely imitate what can be done in Captivate/Camtasia.  Not only are the images nice and crisp, but the overall file sizes are often much smaller as well and I find this approach easier to maintain (especially with Office 2007/2010's ability to swap out images).  With a little creativity, it can be done.

In isolated cases where I need some interactivity, I dump the still captures into Flash and work from there. 

As for audio, I use Adobe Audition and import the WAVs into Articulate.  I then use the Sync Animation timing as with any slide that has "on click" animations.

Steve Flowers

Back when I was doing software demos and sims hard and heavy back in the late 90's (still cool by today's standards, IMHO) I used Snag-It like it was going out of style. Hotkey bind dropping a sequence of screens out to a directory, I'd hand build each demo and hybrid demo (show me / let me try) in Flash. The framework I built actually made this just as fast as using captivate - just alot more efficient and flexible.


I built a cool Excel planning spreadsheet that used VBA to drop all of the step text out to a stack of variables.

I agree with most of the comments above. Still captures provides the best file size efficiency, quality, and flexibility (you're still able to use all those still caps in a print based job aid, a cropped illustration, or anywhere else you need it).

For speed of output and "authentic feel" Camtasia and Screenr win the day.

Heather Steckley

David Anderson said:

Heather Steckley said:

You do have to set your Camtasia audio settings and Articulate audio settings to be the same (definitely higher quality than the defaults) to have them play seamlessly together.


That's a great point Heather. What settings have you found to work best??


For my latest project, here were my audio publishing settings:

Articulate

Lossy - Quality factor 90 - Audio Bitrate 64kbps

Camtasia

44.100 kHz - Mono - 64 kbps

Just to clarify, I record my Articulate audio in Articulate. I record my Camtasia audio in Camtasia. I publish my Camtasia project to flv normally since I think it works best for full-motion screen recordings (file size & quality). I add the flv to an Articulate slide, and publish. Goal is to have seamless audio quality & volume between Articulate slides and the embedded Camtasia video.

If anyone has a better suggestion, I'm all ears. 

Gabriele Dovis (italgo)

For audio recording I usually use Magix Audio Studio Deluxe (at office) or Steinberg Nuendo (if I am to the recording studio).

I usually record the entire audio with the speaker, including errors. Then, when the audio is recorded, I put it into Audio Studio Deluxe (also if it was recorded with Nuendo) and add bass voice presence, normalizer, compressor, equalizer.

After that, I divide audio into two sections and

  • PowerPoint audio
  • Captivate audio

As I use to build the course structure in PPT, I add a background music to all the PPT audio files.
Different music for all the different kind of slides (Intro, Course pause, Chapters explanation, Eding, etc.)

Once this process is done, I give to the single files specific names and then I publish them:

  • PowerPoint audio (ex. PPT_01_my_file_name.wav)
  • Captivate audio (ex. CAP_01_my_file_name.wav)

So, at the starting point I have the same audio quality because it has been recorded, edited and published with the same sofware and at the same time.

Next step is insert audio into Articulate and Captivate (I use the built in audio editor to cut narration errors).

Usually I find good this publish setup:

  • Captivate: 128 kbps - 44,100 KHz - encoding speed set at 5 - swf quality set at high
  • Articulate: Lossless - Audio bitrate 128 kbps
Gerry Wasiluk

Phil Corriveau said:

I'm in Tom's camp.  Whenever possible, I try to stick with still captures (PNGs) and leverage PPT's animation options such as motion paths..and perhaps add a moving arrow/hand when necessary.  In most cases, I can closely imitate what can be done in Captivate/Camtasia.  Not only are the images nice and crisp, but the overall file sizes are often much smaller as well and I find this approach easier to maintain (especially with Office 2007/2010's ability to swap out images).  With a little creativity, it can be done.

In isolated cases where I need some interactivity, I dump the still captures into Flash and work from there. 

As for audio, I use Adobe Audition and import the WAVs into Articulate.  I then use the Sync Animation timing as with any slide that has "on click" animations.


Phil--you 'da Man.  I'm in your camp also.  Go low tech--and low bandwidth when you can.

Dave M's great blog article is a godsend for that. 

Claudius Mitter

a-What you use for screen capture

Camtasia, Screenr

b-What you use for audio capture (could be the same as a)

Articulate, Camtasia

c-What you use to edit the two together (if you use anything)

Camtasia

d-your experiences with this area of coursework in general.

issues with quality when import/export through different tools.

E.g.recording in camtasia/screenr, export mp4/flv, import in engage, publish to presenter.

I tried a lot to get best result and for me best way is to record in camtasia, cut/edit with camtasia, export as flv without anything else inbest quality / highest screen resolution, import to engange and publish then to presenter.

BR

Claudius

Laura Lowden

I'll admit that incorporating video/screen captures is one of my weaknesses.  For a project that I just finished (Learn Module), I used an older version of Camtasia 5, and recorded audio using Audacity.  I synced the audio with the video in Camtasia.  I published it as a swf file and inserted it into a slide using Articulate.  While it works fine, I wish it was better.  I feel as though it doesn't measure up to the polished look of the rest of the module.

I think I may try out Tom's idea with using still captures instead next time (thanks for the reminder about the perfect screenshot blog, Gerry).

Hugh Gardner

Since I'm handing off my duties to a new person, I decided to just shuck the whole Captivate legacy and replace it with the following.

1.  For simple captures (no scroll bars or large amounts of motion), we take screenshots and then use hyperlinked boxes like Tom showed.

2.  For more complex recording, we use ScreenR or Snagit, then edit in the better audio later, but use the audio recording during the ScreenR as a guide to what the client intended to do in the recording.

clement harris

a-What you use for screen capture

Screen Recording Suite, Frap

b-What you use for audio capture (could be the same as a)

Screen Recording Suite

c-What you use to edit the two together (if you use anything)

Screen Recording Suite, which has build in video editor, so you can use it to help you edit your recorded videos.

d-your experiences with this area of coursework in general.

The program I used can record all events on my screen, including move the cursor, launch a program, type text, click button etc. So I often use it to help me record screen with audio when I want some video from screen, and I will share the video to my friends, they all said the video is cool.