Create your own animated tutorials
Although now firmly entrenched in Adobe’s stable of applications, the Macromedia magic that was responsible for so much top quality software oozes through Captivate. Like its sister programs Flash and Dreamweaver, Captivate is designed to provide dazzling presentations for professionals out to impress.
The format of the presentation in question here is not web pages or interactive animated content, but video recordings of your computer being used, allowing you to produce captivating tutorials explaining how to perform technical tasks. More than just allowing you to capture and record screen activity, the application lets you add and edit narration, captions and animations to help you get your point across.
The sound and video editing tools are very comprehensive and if you’re well versed in Macromedia’s ‘Timeline’ interface you should be able to pick things up quite easily and will soon be adding effects, background music and slides to your creations. If not, then perfecting Captivate may take a little time, but the learning curve certainly isn’t as steep as Dreamweaver or Flash.
One of the few drawbacks of the software is that it only allows you to export your finished video as an .swf or an .exe file, although this is a small price to pay for such a fully featured product. Compared with other tools that profess to allow you to record and play back computer actions, Captivate offers a great deal more. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s all sorts of wizardry you can apply to make your presentations more immersive and interactive, such as Flash animation, interaction with branching and scoring, as well as highlights, hyperlinks and rollovers.