Friday, October 05, 2007

Podcasting and Edit Timing

During my recent tour with Adobe UK demonstrating Adobe Captivate and Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional, I was asked whether I ever used the Captivate audio feature Edit Timing. Well I have to be honest and say that until now this one of those features that I have hardly used. However, like many Captivate users I am always looking for ways to cut down on my workload and any opportunity I get to re-purpose content I welcome with open arms. Which brings me nicely to the topic of podcasting.

As recently appointed training manager for WebAssist I'm always on the look out for new and creative ways to offer informal learning to our users; and one way of doing this is to use podcasting.

Now when it came to creating the podcasts I naturally turned to Adobe Captivate and looked for a way to take the voice-over from the existing feature tours (demonstrations) and use this in my podcasts.

Now if you are sitting there thinking well surely that is simple enough, you just export the audio you recording when you first captured your screen action! Then let me explain how I create my voice-over.

Firstly, I don't use Adobe Captivate, whilst the recording and editing tools present in the applications are fine for many users; they just don't offer the power that I need. Instead I use Sony Sound Forge to record and edit my voice-over. Oh and in case you are wondering I don't use a headset either. I currently use a Sure SM 58 microphone - yes I am one of those Captivate users. Once I have recorded my audio I then import this on to each of the appropriate slides.

Anyway back to podcasting. So here I am with maybe 30 audio files scattered through my entire project. So how do I get them all back into one single file? The answer is to use Captivates Edit Timing audio feature.

Here are the steps....

  1. Start by opening the Adobe Captivate project file you wish to extract the audio from
  2. Insert a new blank slide (Shift + Ctrl + J)
  3. Move the new slide to the very start of your project.
  4. Double-click on the slide background and set the duration to say 120 secs
    Note: If you don't set the duration to a high value you won't be able to move all the audio segments to just a single slide.
  5. Choose Edit > Edit Timing > Project
  6. Select the first of the slide markers and drag it to the first slide - your new blank slide.
  7. Now do the same for the rest of the slide markers
    Note: If you find that you cannot move a marker, go back to the blank slide and extend its duration.
  8. Once all the markers are all located on the first slide click OK.
Now using the Thumbnail view you should find that only one slide has audio attached to it.

The final task is to export the audio. To do this:

  1. Choose Audio > Advanced Audio...
  2. In the Advanced Audio dialog box select slide that has the audio
  3. Select the option - Include MP3 files in export
  4. Click Export
  5. Click OK
  6. Specify where the audio file should be created
Then it is simply a case of creating the project file you want to use for the podcast and importing the just exported audio.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

WebAssist Success Story

Earlier this year Adobe Systems Inc wrote a success story based upon the tremendous impact Adobe Captivate has had upon our business. This study is also featured in the e-Learning Guilds new ebook "The eLearning Guild's Handbook of e-Learning Strategy."