Alacrify Ltd

DorsetDigital-DotDorset and Getting to Grips with Camtasia


24th June 2008

DorsetDigital/DotDorset and Getting to Grips with Camtasia

Last week I went along to the third meeting of DorsetDigital / DotDorset - an informal gathering of people working in digital industries in Dorset. It was a really enjoyable evening and a chance to talk to people who don't just glaze over when you start talking shop! (Getting together in a pub in Wareham was a bit of a help too!) It's a pretty eclectic bunch of people, and although there are definite points of common interest, I don't think there were two people doing the same work in the whole group of us. There's a new Google Group and website that have grown from the gathering :: Our next meet is going to be in July in Poole.

One of the many projects that have occupied my time this month has been the development of the new training webcasts I mentioned in my previous blog. I've been using Camtasia as the program to develop these 10-15 minute short films to show how to use the client's extranet.

Learning a new program is always interesting and Camtasia has been no exception. I've now invested a reasonable amount of "play" time in working out how the software works and finding some of the timesaving approaches to the generation of these webcasts.

The most important part of the process for me has been the storyboarding. As someone predominantly involved in web and print design this has been a new skill to learn too. Identifying key themes and script elements before working out the video content has been an interesting learning curve. I'm now reaping the rewards however as the production time has been slashed from my early attempts to create the webcasts "all in one take". Now I'm interspersing fixed images with the use of pan and zoom to illustrate key points, and only using live video for specific parts of the "story". This not only speeds up production time, but also reduces the ultimate flash video size.

Playing with sound has also been a novelty, although I've been involved with sound recording on a couple of occasions before I've never really appreciated how important silence is for giving a good quality context for recording the spoken word. Thankfully most of the time it is very quiet out here in the sticks, but as luck would have it, someone kindly started a power saw and began to chop up timber just as I started the recording the narration!

Alongside these new projects we're also building new sites for three new clients, plus rolling out the changes to the ACAT Finance system that's been in development for the past 2 months.

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