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A Brief Word from Our Sponsor May 3, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Good Evening.  I just have time for a short entry tonight.  This is more of a status report than a real blog entry or tutorial.  In previous entries I have talked about the importance of writing valid code and sticking to standards even when it seems like an inordinate amount of excess work.  In keeping with my convictions I have finally gotten HauntedRadio.net validated correctly.  It is validated as xHTML transitional and the CSS also checks out according to W3C standards.  (If you don’t know who the W3C is, hang around and you will.  My next entry will probably be a history lesson about them.)  Essentially validation says that I care enough about my web page to make sure that everyone who sees it gets exactly the view that I want them to have and sees all the elements of the page as they were meant to be seen.  I use conditional comments so that Internet Explorer and Firefox users all get the same view, and I validate my code with the W3C validation application so that every browser knows what to expect.


Content Generation Continued April 9, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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As promised, here is a step by step guide to content creation using Cam Studio to create a “how-to” video.  I would do this using Cam Studio but you can’t look at the program and run it at the same time.  The program is free.  You will need to download and install it first.  Go to www.camstudio.org and scroll to the bottom of the page.  You will find two links.  Download the application first and then download the loss-less codec.  Install the app by double-clicking on the file you have downloaded and click yes, next, or continue until you have the application downloaded.  Install the codec by either running the install application (if you chose to download it) or by unzipping the archive, right-clicking on the .inf file, and selecting INSTALL from the context menu.  Either way will get the files copied to the correct location.  You are now ready to begin

As previously stated, you need to have a plan.  It should already by prepared at this point.  You should know exactly what you are going to do.  We will assume that you have created a script and gone through it a few times.  Be sure that you have your microphone hooked up and are ready to record.

Step One: Open the Cam Studio Program.  We need to make some setting adjustments before we begin.  When the program opens you should see a small window appear that looks like this…

View of cam studio interface

Click on the OPTIONS menu and select VIDEO OPTIONS.  You should see a dialog box similar to the following image.

Fill the boxes in your options box with the same settings you see above.  If you do not have the DivX codec then you can substitute the MPEG3 codec and it will work just as well.  The reason for using these settings is so that you will not have lag between your video and audio.  Once the settings are in place, click OK.  You will find yourself looking at the main interface for Cam Studio.  At the top right of the window you will see a button that says “SWF”.  This setting allows you to save in either .avi or flash .swf file format.  Select the .avi format.  It will save the video in a much higher resolution mode.  If you plan to upload to youtube.com (and you should), you will be able to easily upload and convert the .avi file.

In order to begin the recording process, click on the red recording button as pictured below.  Once you have started the recorder, speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t read the script but do follow it.  Don’t try to impress with your vocabulary.  The average reading level in the USA is 6th grade.  Just present your ideas as clearly and concisely as you can.  As you describe parts of the program interface, make sure you indicate what you are talking about with the cursor.  Do everything you can to make your tutorial as easy to follow and understand as possible.

When you have completed recording, click the STOP button and you will see a dialog box to facilitate saving your movie file.  Name the file and select “SAVE”.  DO NOT CLOSE THE PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY.  Wait until the file is completely saved or you will loose all your hard work and have to start again.  Once the file is saved, close Cam Studio and open Windows Movie Maker to polish your video.

Import your video using the “Capture Video” section of the menu.  You can add titles and text using the “Edit Video” section.  Click “Add Titles or Credits” and you can add your URL or business name to the movie.  Once you have polished your movie it’s time to export.  Be sure you export as DV-AVI with the best possible quality.  When you convert to a lossy format like .flv you will need as much resolution as possible.

Once you have exported your video you can upload to youtube.com.  Remember that youtube will only accept movies shorter than 10 minutes.  You need to consider this when you are building your tutorial.  If the movie runs longer than 10 minutes you can use Movie Maker to break it into sections.  Be sure to provide a good transition between movies and also be sure to include the section number when you are setting the video title in youtube.

The path to success on the Internet is content creation.  You will be surprised how fast you can build a collection of tutorials.  Watch other people’s work and learn from them but don’t copy them.  When editing your video, remember that if the scene does not directly enhance your tutorial, it does not belong.  Be sure to track your hits and see if you can tie anything in your content to an increase or decrease in hits.  If you do something that increases your traffic, keep doing it.  Once you have a steady traffic flow there are many ways to market it.

To give you an idea of what can be done, I am including one of my early tutorials.  This is a two-part tutorial showing how to set up a static HTML site using Adobe Dreamweaver CS3.  It is posted on youtube.com