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Adobe Dreamweaver at a Glance April 8, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Howdy friends and neighbors.  Boredom has overtaken me so I decided to generate some content.  Almost everyone today is interested in making their fortune on the Internet.  The one common thread that all the successful money-making plans have is the generation of content.  The Internet is driven by text, audio, video, and images created by people like you.  If you allow a website or blog to sit for a week without updating it will die.  Generating content is the key to bringing people to you.  Once you have the people you can find a way to convince them to pay you.

One popular method of content generation is creating “How To” tutorials for popular software packages.  This is a great method because 1) it generates content that holds interest and generates traffic and 2) it perpetuates content generation by teaching people how to create on the web.  This keeps the Internet at large churning.  My blog today is a tutorial on content generation.  I would like to show you how to show other people how.

First, you need a few pieces of free software.  The first and most important is a freeware program called Cam Studio.  This program allows you to record video screen captures and record audio for your tutorial.  You can download it at the Cam Studio Web Site.  The next piece of software you need is already on your PC.  Windows XP comes with a very primitive but effective movie editing program called Windows Movie Maker.  You can use it to add titles, URLs, and other text to your movie.  You can clip frames, order sections of the movie, or do just about anything you need to create your own “how-to” video.  Certainly there are more expensive tools you can use but these programs will do nicely to start with.  You will also need a microphone attached to your PC’s sound card.  You will use this to record your script.

Next, and possibly the most important phase, is to PLAN PLAN PLAN exactly what you are going to do.  Write a script.  Don’t just think that you will be able to start working in a program and then ad lib a great script while you work.  It won’t happen.  How often do you start working on a project and not mess up.  You do not want to waste your viewer’s time with “do-overs” and you don’t want to confuse them with jump cuts and abrupt edits to fix errors.  Run through the project that you are basing your tutorial on and then run through it again.  Make sure you have it down so well that you can go through it without error.  When you are recording you will not want to read the script word for word but you will want to be so familiar with it that you don’t have to consult your notes every few words.  Don’t try new things as a tutorial.  Do things that you are VERY familiar with.

Find a quiet place to work.  It is very annoying to view a tutorial trying to learn a new technique and be forced to listen to some bizarre TV show soundtrack in the background.  You can add music before or after the tutorial but not during.  It is a distraction.  Likewise, be sure your sinuses are clear.  Speak clearly and enunciate carefully.  If your voice is not pleasant consider having someone else record the audio.  Do everything you can to make watching your tutorial a pleasant experience.

Don’t try to do too much.  A tutorial that is more than 20 minutes long will not hold your listener’s attention.  10 to 20 minutes is optimal.  Also, if you make your tutorial too long they will not be viewable on Youtube.    This is where you want to put your tutorial.  Even if you host a web site somewhere else, upload the tutorials to youtube.  The bandwidth available to you on youtube is much better than anything you can come up with and you can easily embed the video into any site or blog.

Be sure to use a fairly recent version of whatever software you are teaching.  Notice I don’t say latest and greatest.  Most people don’t have the most recent version unless it has been out for a while.  You will not, however, want to use some ancient technology that is not relevent in today’s software market.  Stay within the 2 or 3 most recent versions. 

While you are creating your tutorial, don’t forget to promote your self.  You need to have your website, email address, or company name plastered all over the screen while you are teaching.  As long as the graphics are not a distraction for your viewers, make sure that your information is on the screen the entire time.  This is your purpose after all.  You are selling, not just teaching.

Finally, try to do something original.  There are 20 million versions of “Hello World in Visual Basic.net” currently on the Internet.  You should watch several of them but don’t base your work on any one of them.  Do your own thing, especially if is something that you are known for and is something you came up with that no one else does.  This kind of tutorial will get you noticed.  Start slow and short and build up from there.

Well that’s it for another edition of Regan222.  (I really need to come up with a cool name)  Tomorrow night I will go through the step by step process of using Cam Studio to create a tutorial video.  Til then, good night all.

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