Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




CityDesk Flash demo: how was it created?

I'd like to record a Webcast demo of one of our products with a simple voiceover, exactly like the CityDesk one.

What's the cheapest, easiest way to do that? I'm assuming I need something from Macromedia??

Thanks in advance

Matt Harris

Matt Harris
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

We hired a flash programmer to do it for us; email me if you need his name.

There are also tools like qarbon and camtasia which are supposed to make it easier. I haven't tried either, but I believe that I am scheduled to write a review of Camtasia for Programmers Paradise sometime in the next few months so it's in my future.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Camtasia does make it a snap.  You just record the video and save it in flash format.  Simple as that.  You can edit it in the Camtasia "Producer", which is also very simple.

When you save a Camtasia video in flash format, you'll just get a blank screen while waiting for the flash video to load, no progress bar or "please wait" message.  I assume you could do real flash programming to add those, but I've never used flash so I don't know.  And you won't have any interactive buttons on your flash app either, don't remember whether Joe's video had those.

Herbert Sitz
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I'd like to recommend Swish for those of you with a desire to create your own Flash. You could certainly create something like Joel's demo, though it would be a bit trying. Visit Swish at http://www.swishzone.com.

Another, tool, perhaps more closely aligned to what is being sought, is Qarbon. I've played around with their demo ViewletBuilder (developed in Java!) and found it to be quite impressive. Unfortunately, it's also pricey; around $900. But... that's close to what you'd be paying a professional to help do this for you, so it's probably a wash if your're doing just one presentation and worthwhile if you're considering a whole series of training products. You'll like what you see at http://www.qarbon.com.

David Geller
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Camtasia Studio is excellent. It's very easy to use, and its export formats are fantastic. I am working on a demo for our product with it right now, and I am amazed at how easy it has been to produce very high-quality work with inexpensive ($350) software. Their site is http://www.techsmith.com/products/studio/default.asp .

One tip, if you do use Camtasia -- follow their suggestions in the help file! Captures really are 2 - 10x faster/smoother if you pick the "turn off hardware acceleration" feature.

Troy King
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

It is too bad that MS-office gave up on MS-cam

It was included on the office 97 disk. It was a screen capture utility with sound capture also. The compression was very good also.

For a company to give out instructions on common tasks, using a screen capture with voice is a fabulous way to quickly email, or inform users of how to do a new task.

Of course office had this screen capture because Lotus had a good one also.

The ms-cam however does not work beyond win95,  and does not work with the high res screens we run today. However, it was very useful.

The other possibility free approach is to use the windows media encoder. Included with the download is a screen capture codec. The result is a standard wmv file playable on most pc’s with the media player.

I played around with it a bit, and if you have good hardware, then the media encoder with screen capture does work very well.

For quick and simple explain of tasks, a screen capture/video is the cheapest and most effect way to communicate something to your users.


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home