my tips on using manual capture in VB5 to create a project

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my tips on using manual capture in VB5 to create a project

Postby Mickey » Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:07 am

After spending an enormous amount of time trying to get cursor movements, notes, balloons, and slides reasonably coordinated and smooth, I came up with a methodology that streamlined the process considerably. Maybe others have figured out their own--and better--methodologies, but just in case some might find what I learned helpful here's a summary of the process I now use:

1) Manually capture screenshots that include every keyboard or mouse action that you want to show your viewers. Be sure to consciously include or exclude tooltips; take your time between screen captures to allow for any latency in response (especially true when capturing web or remote applications).

2) Do not add notes, balloons, or other elements to any of your captured screenshots. Instead, duplicate the screenshots, and add your elements to the duplicates. A duplicated screenshot contains no-movement cursors representing the original screenshot's cursor state; as a result, you don't mess up the flow of the cursor movements on the preceding and next slides. Duplicate the slide just before or after the one where you want to call attention to a particular action, and then add your elements to the duplicate.

3) Step through your slides and adjust timing as needed. In most cases, you won't need to edit the original screenshot slides at all. You can make the timing of the elements on your duplicate slides as simple or complex as you want. For notes and balloons, the reading speed feature seems to work well; if you find that the speed tends to be a little too fast or slow, adjust the words per minute for the project. Also note that VB often seems to default to displaying some slides for excessively long periods of time, so pay special attention to the overall duration of each slide.

The result of these steps is a project that alternates between static slides telling the user either what's about to happen or what just happened (depending upon your style), and slides showing the cursor and keyboard actions. This approach shows up the advantages of semi-animated output compared to a real-time audiovideo: you can dwell on the user actions that you want to highlight while downplaying or entirely skipping over the ones that you consider superfluous; you can easily change the pace of the project after doing the screen captures; and the output size is substantially smaller.

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