I don’t like when watching technical tutorial videos when the person making them goes off topic, or gets something wrong and take ages to figure out what they’re doing, or when there are lots of “ums“, pauses and “ahs” in the video.
I wanted to make WordPress tutorial videos that I’d want to watch. This meant no mistakes and as few “ums” as possible.
The Advice I Got Was To Use Camtasia
But when I started out, I used Techsmith’s Camtasia screen capture software to make tutorial videos. This is what everyone advised. But using Camtasia, I found I could not make a screen-capture video without saying “um” every few seconds.
The reason you end up saying “um” all the time is because when making a screen-capture tutorial video you’re thinking on your feet.
I was trying to do everything in the right order, without mistakes and also trying not to omit anything that was key to viewer’s learning experience. Trying to get everything right in one hit put me under a certain amount of stress and turned the whole exercise into a chore.
I had to control what was happening on the screen, say all the right things without hesitation and at the same time try to convey an easy-to-comprehend message.
Simultaneously I also had to sound as if I was enjoying myself, remain mindful that people in other countries might find my accent odd, and try not to say anything they might find confusing … the list of things to bear in mind was endless.
After a few months of that, I realised that (for me) it was impossible to deliver a smooth off-the-cuff vocal screen-capture presentation without making mistakes and including loads of “ums” and “ahs”.
Was The Problem Me Or Was It Camtasia?
With Camtasia I found I had to do the whole video in one take followed by quite a lot of video editing to iron out all the issues. For example, I might be creating a video on how to set up a plugin. So my plan would be to video the screen while I set the plugin up and record my voice as I described what I was doing.
That might amount to 5 minutes of continuous screen activity and speech executed at the same time. That was very difficult to get right.
So I’d end up with a video that sounded like I was struggling and that missed out some of the things I’d meant to say. My next job would be to edit the video in an attempt to remove the “ums”, “ahs” and any other mistakes.
Then I’d have to insert the bits I’d forgotten.
Sometimes this would be impossible, and the finished video would be such an incoherent mess I’d have to start again. What a nightmare. I could see why other people just put out their videos with all the mistakes.
I Went Looking For A Camtasia Alternative
Eventually I found a way to make all the problems I’ve described above, disappear. The answer was to use Adobe Captivate.
I no longer have anything to do with Camtasia. Adobe Captivate works on a different paradigm to software programs like Camtasia.
How Is Captivate Different?
Rather than take the whole video in one go, Captivate allows me to make video slides. So my video might comprise 20 video slides each lasting around 20 – 30 seconds. I can make these one at a time, and I can insert a slide or delete a slide if I want to at any time.
This means I can break my larger presentation up into tiny chunks. One chunk might show me clicking into a field and entering some value. I might want to simultaneously say …
Enter a hex value for a color into this field. Make sure the color is pretty bright or it might not show up against the background when you view the result.
That is such a small idea, such a small unit of thought, that I can explain it without making mistakes and without hesitation.
I can also screen capture the action of typing the value into the field as this is just a small task, at the same time as talking, without exhibiting any stress.
Captivate allows you to make a mini-video per slide. So you break your video up into logical mini-steps and make one mini-video per mini-step. This is very fast and easy to do.
You can also annotate and mark up each mini-video with pointers and outlines to highlight certain parts of what you are doing. There is very little editing to do using this method because if you mess up a 30 second mini-video it is no big deal to do it again.
Your maximum unit of failure is always just one micro-step in your big video idea.
Once all the little mini-videos are complete you save the Captivate project and ask it to build the whole thing as a single .mp4 video file.
Alternatives To Adobe Captivate?
The only alternative I know is a product called StoryLine from Articulate.