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Hi there "spritc.",
To your first problem, that of those pesky windows opening outside the selected recording area, if you use "Application" instead of "Custom", I think you'll find you have better luck.
To your second problem, yes, I think you figured it out, you have a problem with video. Try disabling hardware acceleration and see if that won't help with the "shadow of where it was" issue. That option is in "Control Panel > Display > Settings (tab) > Advanced" on most systems.
Now, a lesson in Captivate (or you can call it a "rant" by an old-timer if you wish).
Many new users have been so "sold" on Captivate's "automatic" features that they have forgotten what its real purpose is, and that sometimes there is more than one way to accomplish it. It was created to fill a need to capture background changes in applications, then add objects to those changed backgrounds to accomplish the true goal of electronic learning through demonstration and/or simulation. Notice that nowhere in that statement did I use the word "fast", nor "automatic", nor "effortless", nor did I add "without the effort of thought".
"spritc.", this is not directed at you nor meant to demean you in any way. The statement above is a result of my own frustration with a lack of reality in advertising and promotion of the product - not just Captivate but all products. With that said, here is how you do what you want to do:
About Windows: Be aware that all "Windows" applications share some helpful features. One is that when an application is opened, it should open in a window of the same dimensions, and at the same position as the position and dimensions it occupied when it was last closed. That includes - or is supposed to - additional supporting pop-ups and dialog boxes (windows) for the application. Another feature of Windows applications is that if the main application window is placed too closely to - say - the right edge of the screen (or the bottom, or the top) and is too close for an attached drop-list to appear to the right, it will automatically appear instead - on the left, or above its normal position. In other words, Windows compensates for bad positioning by adjusting its location of appearance on the screen. So much for issues created by and corrected by the Windows OS.
About Captivate: When in "Record" mode, Captivate does take a snapshot each time it detects a change in the background (caused by what we call an "event"), thus automatically creating a series of snapshots that we know as a demonstration or simulation, as the case may be. But there is a key on the keyboard that is much ignored, but of greatest value - it is named the "PrtScr" key, and (by default - it can be changed to another key) pressing it will cause Captivate to "snap" a background image, in addition to those snapped automatically by the detection of an "event". Captivate also gives you a feature that is nearly unknown among new users ... it is called the "other option". That is (to give you a simple example), while the Recording Options dialog gives you the (default) action of automatically recording keystrokes, the act of un-ticking this box gives you the other option of not automatically recording keystrokes. There are many "automatic" functions that are the default selections during the recording of a Captivate movie, and each gives you the option of turning it off.
Now, let's put these two groups of knowledge together. Before recording, know what you are going to "click" to create a background change image. Then do a "walkthrough" without Captivate running. Each dialog box that pops up should be adjusted for size and position during this walkthrough so that when Captivate's actual image-recording begins, each dialog will appear where you want it. Also, each menu item that opens outside the recording area should be tested to see where it will appear; if the "File" menu item you want is falling off the bottom of the recording area, try positioning the main application window lower on-screen . . . this should force the "File" menu items to appear to "drop up", instead of "dropping down", allowing the wanted item to appear properly within the recording area. Finally (for this excerpt), you should always have one eye on that "PrtScr" key mentioned above. There may be times when using that magic key to force the capture of a background, is the only way to grab an image of a "missed event" - for instance, the appearance of a tooltip.
In conclusion, don't blindly buy what the advertising people are selling. Be prepared to use your imagination and even some preparation work in making your movies. There are very few things that Captivate can't do in its line of work, but somethimes you have to do the "thinking" for it.
Have a really great day!!
Thanks for your response. Written like a true old-timer, well expert I should say.
I empathize with you regarding keeping up with the marketing department. The application I train (and offer advice similar to yours) suffers from the same problem. Too many salespeople out there telling people what the program is capable of, but not really explaining what it takes to achieve it. Having said that please understand that I am under no false illusion that Captivate will do everything for me. Otherwise it would just have a 'Read My Mind' button and a 'Publish' button right? As you can understand the challenge is finding out exactly what it can do automatically (which is still quite a lot!) and what we have to find workarounds for.
As for your direct solutions to my problems: 1. I was hoping luck wouldn't factor in, but as you've pointed out, with a little planning, it can be avoided. 2. Was still unable to prevent this shadowing effect. This one I'd like to investigate further if I could, because the workaround is much more inconvenient than the first. It only ever happens after I OK the New Movie Options dialog, and it only happens with my specific application. So there must be a conflict there somewhere. I will contact the developers of my software and see if they have any answers.
Your advice on the PrtSc button and unchecking 'Record keystrokes' was gold and I'm keen to hear further tips like that, as well as answers to some rather basic questions that I still cannot find answers to in the Help, here, or in Tom Green's Visual Quick Start Guide, which is never far away. Questions that you may have dismissed with your experience, but I'll post those soon enough.
As a beta tester for my application, I was wondering if there is a place here to report bugs & wishes? Is the Feature Request the best place for that? More importantly, does Adobe/Macromedia actively listen to it's users as such? I have noticed that we've been on release 1.01 for quite some time now. I am surprised by this as I thought that since it's such a new product (as Captivate anyway) that there would have been a rush of updates. Is this a reflection of the work that is going into development do you think, or are they busily programming new functions in? Maybe the amalgamation is affecting development?
Thanks again Larry and I do look forward to your reply.
In no particular order, "Yes", the feature request is the place to go - it is a combination Feature Request and Bug Report and is located at this link.
Absolutely love the part about " . . . understand that I am under no false illusion that Captivate will do everything for me. Otherwise it would just have a ' Read My Mind' button and a ' Publish' button, right?. You mean you didn't know that it DOES have just those two buttons?
The conflict you suspect with Captivate and your own application . . . I know this is simplistic, but you might also want to check (with Task Manager or MSCONFIG) for other memory resident programs that quietly grab your keystroke logging on startup. Some might be on-board that you are not aware of - they are called "malware" as you know. Anyway that might be worth a check with one of the mentioned utilities or with a system scanner like "Spyware Doctor".
About Captivate 1.0.1 being "around for a long time". LOL! Funny how our perspectives reflect our work. Captivate 2.0 will be out soon - said like the Dad whose answer to " Are we almost there, Dad?" is always " Be patient, kids, It's just over the next hill." Hah! Seriously (and I already was being so),keep in mind that Adobe just finalized the purchase of Macromedia 7 months ago (just seems like forever ago), and having decided to continue the "Captivate" product (whew!), they want very much for it to live up to Adobe System's very high software standards. You will love Captivate 2.0 ... I can almost guarantee it.
As far as Captivate being a relatively new product itself, it's not really, but it is. It has been through two ownerships but is still a Macromedia product, "RoboDemo" having been largely rewritten and rebranded since 2003.
Have a good one - gotta run!
Thanks for your reply.
I am downloaded the latest DirectX drivers (Google Earth has reported errors with this lately) and my latest video card drivers. I have also unchecked just about everything non-Windows related in the Start Up tab of my MSCONFIG, but I still have no luck. I'm at my wits end!
No doubt I will be using Feature Request aplenty, once I get to a level where I know the product well enough not to be asking for features that already exist. I also think it's worth waiting for release 2 before submitting wishes and bugs. In fact the arrival date of 2.0 will play in important role as to when I will really get down to business with Captivate (I have a lot of other things to do as well unfortunately). I know software vendors are usually quite tight-lipped about their release dates, but is there any information as to when it may be? Even a ballpark date? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?;-)
I'm really glad to see that RoboDemo>Captivate made it through the merger. And to hear that it will live up to Adobe's high standards is very encouraging.
I also like the news that I've researchd about new features in 2.0. Especially, accorording to Silke Fleischer, direct image editing in Fireworks, although I thought (and hope) they would let us edit directly in Photoshop too (now with the Merger and all). Other high falutiin features look promising too, although I do hope they have updated some of the basic shortcomings I have noticed so far too.
I mean at this stage I can't even see a way to rewind the audio file all the way to the beginning easily, or turn down the microphone level. Unless that's just my inexperience showing (which is most probably the case but I would love to be proven wrong!) these seem like some pretty basic functions that are missing.
Looking forward to hearing from you.