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Author Topic: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?  (Read 6070 times)

nudone

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online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« on: November 01, 2007, 02:41:32 PM »
i'm going to do some tutorials on how i put the recent Cody wallpapers together as i believe they'll provide a good source for Adobe Illustrator users. the original idea was to do these tutorials as static web pages but i've now remembered just how long it will take to create a single page - what with all the screengrabs and writing it all out.

so, it seems pretty obvious to just do screencasts instead as they'll be loads quicker to make and will actually be easier to understand.

i'm thinking that i could do two versions for each tutorial:

one version would be for youtube for obvious reasons like availability and free access - but the image quality would be pretty poor (mainly because of the small movie size).

the other version would be at a much larger image size - large enough to make the video actually worth looking at. this could be downloaded rather than streamed. i'd be aiming to keep the file size below 10 or 20 meg. 20 is probably more realistic.

now, of course, bandwidth issues arise with this kind of video downloading so maybe it's a non starter. something else that might make screencasts less desireable is that i'll be wanting to submit these tutorials to the popular tutorial sites that cover Adobe Illustrator - and they don't deal with screencasts as far as i've seen.

so, i'm wondering what you think. i know i'd rather make a screencast. i know i'd rather learn from a screencast. but if i'm doing this to promote myself (which is really what it's all about) then i wonder if screencasts are not going to be as useful as using static web pages. i know, i know, it would be best to do both types of tutorials but i'm hoping to hear that the majority would really just like to see screencats.

thoughts please...
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 02:51:21 PM by nudone »

tinjaw

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 04:04:35 PM »
I'm just shooting from the hip here, nudone, but maybe shot a nice screencast in highres and plenty of commentary. 1) Edit this to be high quality. Put this up on your site for a small fee. 2) Edit it down in size and length with enough info left in it to be useful to an average user trying to get the basics down of what you are showing them and put that up on YouTube etc. 3) Create a written howto that pretty much follows the video and grab single-frame screenshots from the video. Make that pretty and put that up on the tutorial sites.

This will allow you to leverage your work, create content for all of your potential audiences, and provide a way to recoup some costs from those people who want the high-quality version that will burn up your download quota.

nudone

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007, 04:41:05 PM »
that's a good idea, tinjaw. it will probably take a bit of experimentation but if done nicely then that would produce a very consistent looking product across the different media versions - very professional looking hopefully.

not as quick as just doing a single screencast but it sounds like a worthwhile thing to spend time on.

mouser

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2007, 04:43:09 PM »
I think you've made the case convincingly that you should go with screencasts. And the two version idea sounds good to me.

The only thing i would suggest is make a very brief but nice looking static web page (or blog entry) to go with each screencast, which has a screenshot or two from it and some text explaining what it is a screencast of, and maybe some bullet points.  Enough to let people know whether it's something they may want to watch before they click play.

I would forget about charging -- it won't work.  Better to just get an audience at this point.

mouser

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007, 04:44:29 PM »
I would also highly recommend a series of short screencasts (part1, part2, part3, part4) rather than one big one.
Segments of 2-3 minutes are probably optimal in terms of viewability.

Deozaan

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 04:51:57 PM »
I would also highly recommend a series of short screencasts (part1, part2, part3, part4) rather than one big one.
Segments of 2-3 minutes are probably optimal in terms of viewability.

And they make it easier to follow. You can't really follow along with long ones unless you have dual monitors or you pause it frequently. Short clips would allow you to take it all in, then practice. I like this idea.


Veign

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2007, 05:34:27 PM »
I would forget about charging -- it won't work.  Better to just get an audience at this point.

True and you could make more from Google Ads on the page showcasing the tutorials.

Go for the largest audiance possible.  You might even get some work out of it so make sure people know you could be hired to do graphics (if you're in the market)...

justice

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2007, 05:52:06 PM »
This will be handy for you:
how to optimize video for youtube

Also you might want to consider Veoh, it is similar to youtube but the video size / quality is a lot better for example if you're naughty you can find the usual 1cd cinema movies on there, but the format and player would be good for screencasts.

Also I am sure there must be dedicated video sharing sites for screencasts, some of these might take your quality issues into account.

Also, if you use camtasia studio you can write captions straight into the program along with your video which you can then export to html, this will save you time and will help index your pages by search engines + improves accessibility.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 05:56:20 PM by justice »

tinjaw

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2007, 09:05:02 PM »
Also I am sure there must be dedicated video sharing sites for screencasts, some of these might take your quality issues into account.

Good point. I know of ShowMeDo.

jgpaiva

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007, 06:57:13 AM »
A few points i think are important:

about static pages:
- better for search engines indexing
- better for non-english people
- better if you intend to be reading it and practicing at the same time
- easier for continuing where you left

These last 2 can be fixed if you do smaller screencasts, and the 3rd can be fixed if you speak slowly and with a good mic. As for search engines indexing, i think that the description with screenshots of the video on the same page as the video would largelly contribute to that.

about screencasts:
- don't forget to add a constant watermark to the video with your website's link, as people tend to use other people's videos everywhere. this way, you'll even thank them for distributing it ;)

justice

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2007, 07:12:53 AM »
If you use a video player where people can click on the timeline and then stream from that point, and a pause button, then in my opinion its easier to continue where you left off than a static webpage. For example google video does this well, old youtube doesn't but I think they made improvements in this area. When you move the playback 'pointer' to a position further on  in the movie then it should start streaming from there, not move the playback pointer to the end of the already streamed data.

sri

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 08:11:29 AM »
http://www.viddler.com/ also gives you a good large video player size.
<a href="https://sridharkatakam.com">My blog</a>

nudone

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2007, 12:37:40 PM »
thanks, great suggestions from everyone. these will certainly help to produce a better product.

app103

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 01:21:12 PM »
From a perspective that maybe hasn't been mentioned...

I know a number of private mailing lists that deal in the trading of static html tutorials, mostly art related. Often times they steal the images off some poor guy's site, copy & paste the text, and pass it off as their own work or never give any credit to the original author of the tutorial and graphics.

It is much too easy to do that with static html ones, and if your tutorial is any good at all, it will eventually be snatched by these guys. I have had a few original ones of my own 'snatched', that were originally created specifically for email distribution, that had been edited to remove any credit to me as the original creator and someone else's name attached instead.

With video, if you mark it properly, it is much more difficult to remove the credit, and people will know where it came from and where to go looking for more if they like it.

You might consider uploading to 5min Life Videopedia if the video is 5 minutes or less. The site is strictly how-to videos and their player is unique in the way it presents them, specifically with how-to videos in mind. They will host it and give you an embedding code so you won't have to worry about bandwidth issues. You might consider breaking it up into segments if your videos are longer than 5 minutes each.

I posted about this site not that long ago, here: http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=10415.0

Now if you wanted to distribute high quality DivX videos, you could go with Stage6. They have a 2GB file size limit, and people have uploaded entire full length movies there. (great place to go for really old movies or indy stuff)

They also supply embedding codes, so you won't have to worry about using your own bandwidth to put it on your site. You can even start your own channel there for your content and customize the page for it.

I happen to like the quality of the videos on their site, and the fact that they let you download them, as well as watch online.

nudone

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Re: online tutorials - screencasts rule over static pages?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 02:21:13 PM »
hmm, not really thought about material being copied. i will include a watermark.

Stage6 seems to be the only site that does actually show larger movies. i couldn't find anything on viddler that looked any larger than youtube - making things fullscreen didn't make a difference - maybe i just couldn't find the right videos.

i think i'll still go with the youtube version for easy access and promotion and then provide a downloadable higher quality alternative version for people that are interested. a brief run through of the steps on a static web page will help with the search indexing side of things.

i'm wondering if tutorial is really the right word for what i'll be doing. as i'll be describing specific techniques that were used to create the images, i think that they are probably best described as walkthrough clips. they certainly aren't going to help anyone new to Adobe Illustrator. i know i've seen walkthrough videos before, and they are some of the most enlightening tutorials i've watched, but i assume they aren't going to be much use for someone searching for general tips.

what i think i'm trying to say is that i don't think these will be of much use to tutorial websites afterall - they'll just be of interest to someone that wants to see how a specific image was put together.