Training Videos and the Wink Freeware Software

Training Videos and the Wink Freeware Software
Many of my readers ask me where to begin when starting to learn a new computer language or software program. I tell them to look for two things. The first is to check for beginner-level books such as the Sams Teach Yourself or Wiley’s Visual and For Dummies book series. If the subject is so new that there are not any books written yet, then you may be limited to online tutorials. The second is to look for training DVDs and online training courses. One or both of these is usually enough to get you started on your journey.

When I write my how-to tutorials for BellaOnlineSM, I have always tried to give my readers a lot of visuals to accompany the explanations. However, when I started to cover 3D graphics programs, I quickly realized that using simple screenshots would not be enough to teach some of the more complex techniques for these programs. So I began to search the web for a software program to help me create my own training videos to accompany my tutorials.

Basically, I needed a software program that would allow me to capture screenshots continuously, instead of one at a time, as I had been doing for the simple screenshots. I also wanted to add text captions to the movie to further explain the demonstration. So that the learners could watch the video at their own pace, I wanted to be able to add back and forware buttons. Finally, I needed a way to export all of this into a format for the web, preferably the FlashR.swf format. I didn’t want to make the process too complicated at first, so I decided against adding audio. But I did want the software to be able to do this for me in the future.

As with most software, I found that video tutorial creation software falls into three areas; freeware, moderately priced and expensive. Of course, your budget will determine exactly how you will determine what is moderate and what is expensive. Also as you would expect, the amount of features, easy of use, supporting documentation, upgradability and flexibility of the software are reflected in the price. So, being on a very tight budget, I decided to try a few of the popular freeware programs and I was surprised to find one that had most of the features I needed and was very user friendly. That software program is called WinkTM and its creator is Satish Kumar. Wink also has a nice support forum, a few how-to online tutorials and comes with a user manual available through the Help menu. If you are an educator or need to create training videos for any reason, you might want to try this software.

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