I’ve been producing online tutorials with both Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia for over three years; you can find examples of my work at my portfolio. These following posts are decent resources for beginners and people with an intermediate knowledge of the craft:
- 15 Aug. 2010 : Camtasia vs. Captivate vs. the Organization
- 22 Nov. 2010: Screencasting in libraries: build a relationship and not a movie
- 10 Jul. 2009: Captivate and Screencasting: Measure Twice, Cut Once
- 20.Jan. 2011: PodCamp Halifax 2011 slides: Leveraging YouTube
You will notice that my opinions about the software changes over time: heavy usage of both products has given me a great deal of perspective, and this blog tracks it.
I recommend Camtasia for outright screencasting. However, when I want to build learning objects that embed quizzes, links, etc, then I would choose Captivate.
Each software package has their own merits and specialties. In the end, you may have to work with one package instead of the other for organizational reasons (budgets, legacy software, etc), but you can still produce professional-grade tutorials with both.
If I could whittle all of these posts down to two tips, it would be these:
- Practice makes perfect. You don’t need to put in 10,000 hours with Camtasia or Captivate to become a pro, but you will definitely become an expert user only through the time and effort you put into it. But don’t let this stop you from producing tutorials; just understand that screencasting is a lot like riding a bike – it will take some getting used to, but at some point you will just “get it,” and then working with the software will feel natural to you.
- Stick to the KISS rule at all times. Keep it simple, and keep it short. No one wants to watch a 5 minute tutorial when a 2 minute tutorial will do. Know your audience and give them what they’re looking for right away. The Internet, being the medium that it is, demands this of you.