avi files and animation

Subject: avi files and animation
From: Caitlin Gannon <caitlin -dot- gannon -at- groupsystems -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 10:36:34 -0700

Cathy Arthur wrote:
<< I am looking at using Camtasia to capture some of the procedures and
them in the help. My intent is that if they want to see how to set up
functions they can click on a link that will launch the file, probably in
avi format. >>

I've been working on a similar project for the last month or so... a
demonstration of my company's software tool that would provide a "feel" for
what it looks like and what it does. I played around with Camtasia quite a
bit, recording movies and experimenting with inserting text. It's an easy
program to use, but the snag I ran into was the compression algorithm that
they use. The quality of Camtasia's TSCC codec is very high, but because
it's theirs, programs like QuickTime don't understand it. I tried about a
dozen different combinations and found that it really only works as an .avi
with their codec, meaning the user has to download a file to read the .avi
contents.... and there's no way to combine it with other file formats like

I started out so excited about doing the demo as a video, but now I've
decided (reluctantly) to jump on the Flash bandwagon and use that instead.
I'm working with Adobe's LiveMotion, which is cheap ($99) and has a much
smaller learning curve than Macromedia's Flash. What I've created isn't a
whole lot different from a PowerPoint show with animations, except that it's
much smaller and runs in a web browser. I took screen captures, created a
mouse icon to move across the screen, and added text explanations and a few
simple graphics.

(I tried _really_ hard to avoid the temptation to make everything spin and
jump around, but it was hard!)

Flash has its own set of usability issues, but anyone with IE 4 and higher
(and Netscape 4.06 and higher) has the browser plugin installed already, so
there's nothing to download.

Now I just have to figure out how to fix the massive file sizes that I've
ended up with .... but that's another post, I suppose! :-)

Anyway, good luck with your tutorials!

Caitlin Gannon
Education & Documentation Specialist
caitlin -dot- gannon -at- groupsystems -dot- com

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