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Your First Steps in Creating A Training Video

DebugMode WinkTM is an easy-to-use freeware program for creating presentation video in the FlashTM.swf and executable .exe formats. That's why it was my first choice when I decided to write this article about what is involved in creating a training video. The first step to creating your video is to decide how you will capture the screenshots. The Wink software, as well as most screen recording software, gives you a wizard to set up the recording process. We have three methods for recording our video. These are screen snapshot, input-driven capture and timed capture. The first two will give you individual screenshots. The third will capture the entire process as you work through your demonstration. You can think of it as "looking over your shoulder". Letís set up the wizard for this type of screen capture.

The next step is to decide the size of the area that you wish to capture or record. For our example, we will want to capture the entire application workspace (or window). However, because this training video is to be viewed on the web, we also need to keep the size of the recording area to a minimum. This will help us to keep the size and download time of the Flash file to a minimum. So we need to open the target application (the application that is the subject of your video) and resize the workspace to a smaller size. When you do this for your own training video, try to find a nice balance between a small window size and a viewing area large enough to demonstrate what you wish to teach your viewers. Now, we are ready to begin setting up our project. Although I am using the Wink software as my example, most of these steps are the same for other screen recording software.

1. New Project. To start a new project in Wink, click File > New from the Menubar. This will open the New Project Wizard. Letís work through the wizard from top to bottom.

2. Start Capture. The first decision you need to make is whether you want to start your project by capturing screenshots. Usually, this will be the case. However, another option is to begin the project by importing screenshots that you have already created with another screen capture application. In this case, you would want to remove the checkmark from the first box. This will open the Wink workspace to a blank project. For our example, we want to begin with the screen capture so we will leave the check in the box.

3. Record Audio. If you wish to record audio while you record your screen capture, place a checkmark in this second box.

4. Hide Wink. In most cases, you will want to hide the Wink workspace window as you record your screen captures. So leave this box checked.

5. Target Area. You have already decided on the size of your target application window. Now, you need to tell Wink where that will be on your computer screen. By default, Wink will record the entire computer screen. However, you can change this by choosing a different option from the drop-down list. Your other choices are to capture the workspace window of your target application, to use one of the preset rectangle areas or draw a custom rectangle area.

Since we have already resized our target application workspace, the option we will choose is the Window option because we wish to record the entire window of the target application. When we choose this option from the drop-down list, you will notice that the Choose button next to the list is no longer grayed out and four green corners appear on the screen. Click on the Choose button and then return to the target application. Click on the Title bar of the application. This will cause the green corners to snap into place around the application window.

6. Timed Capture Rate. This setting controls the number of frames that are recorded per second. Letís use the default setting for our project.

Click OK to save your settings. The second New Project Wizard dialog box will open. When you see this dialog box, Wink is ready to begin recording your screen captures. Click on the Minimize To Tray button to minimize this dialog box.

7. Start Timed Capture. With the Wizard dialog box minimized, you will now control the process from the Wink icon in the System Tray on your computer. Move down to the System Tray and right click on the Wink icon to get the pop-up menu. Choose Start Timed Capture and you will notice the Wink icon change indicating that the recording process has begun.

8. Record Screenshots. Now that Wink is recording, go back to the target application and run through the steps that you wish to demonstrate. Wink will continuously record what you do. When you have finished the demonstration, return to the Wink icon in the System Tray.

9. Finish Capture. Right click on the Wink icon for the pop-up menu and choose Finish Capture. This will stop the recording process and open the Wink workspace. It may take a few seconds for Wink to generate the individual frames for your screen capture. They will appear at the bottom of the workspace.

10. Save your project. Now is a good time to save your project. Click File > Save from the Menubar to save your project in the Wink .wnk format.

Now that you have saved the original frames for the screen recording, you can preview your project by clicking on the Render button (green arrow) on the toolbar. Your next steps will vary depending on the type of training video you are creating. Generally, you will be adding a splash or welcome screen as the first frame of your video. You might also want to add text captions, audio, titles and visual effects for transitions between major sections, navigation buttons and more.

View Video of This Lesson

Screen shots used by permission of Satish Kumar. S. DebugMode Wink is a trademark, or registered trademark of Satish Kumar. S. Visit www.debugmode.com for more information.

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