13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 7, 2006 11:46 AM by kambot

    Creating long (ish) tutorials

      Having googled this subject fairly well (and come up with nothing) I want to see if anyone else is having the same issue.

      I'm creating Photoshop tutorials which require quite long periods of captured animation. I've created the tutorials in Captivate and then exported to flash / html for inclusion as part of a web-based course. The problem I have is when you play them back.

      With the snapshot slides, with each slide the amount of memory consumed by the Flash Player goes up (memory is never freed up), that's bad enough but when you include captured animation, memory usage increases by tens of Megabytes every second!!!

      I've got a 5 minute section of captured animation (illustrating drawing techniques so it has to be) and when you play it back it uses all the memory in my workstation ( 2GB) and then displays a bright red screen (is this a red screen of death?). And, it does this on every computer I've tried it on!!!

      So, is anyone else having the same memory usage / playback issue?

      PS: please don't suggest that I drop the screen size / duration - these are not options as they would render the tutorials difficult to use. My captivate movie is only 800 x 600 @ 5 minutes in length - Captivate should be able to deal with this.

      PPS: This doesn't happen with ordinary Flash movie creation (which is my usual stomping ground) - I figure the captured animation is being stored as Flash video - so what normally happens is it uses a bit of memory to load the Flash Video movie clip and then decompresses and displays it on the fly - With the Captivate FLVs it seems to be decompressing the video and not freeing the memory - or maybe I'm taking rubbish - any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
        • 1. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
          3dmund Level 1
          Alright having stopped using Google I've found a possible answer to this, and I thought I'd share it with you.

          My tutorials (above) are created with Captivate 1 and are played back with Flash Player 8 - this is the standard that is installed across the college where I work (so it's not going to change any time soon).

          As far as I can tell, Captured Animations (full-motion clips) are captured as AVIs and then converted to SWFs for playback in the Captivate project. But they are played back as bitmaps. Flash Player 8 has a bit of an issue with bitmaps because the internals of Flash don't clean up bitmaps after they are done with. See gSkinner.com Blog - Major Flash Player 8 Memory Leak

          If my contention is true, that means the only way to clear the leaked memory is:

          Install a new version of Flash Player site-wide - ho ho ho yeah, that's an option

          Pay for a new version of Captivate and cross my fingers that it doesn't do the same thing

          Hope that I'm wrong and that some helpful soul will point me in the right direction

          Please help, I'm tearing my hair out here.
          • 2. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
            3dmund Level 1
            Aha!! My hair is safe.

            There is an answer to all the shouting and screaming ... Captivate 1.01 - of course!!!

            If you get the update from Adobe / Macromedia then Captivate generates files that don't eat the insides of your computer.

            Does this mean that every Captivate 1.0 tutorial has to be re-published using Captivate 1.01 in order to work properly with Flash Player 8 / 9? What a fantastic upgrade path, I just didn't have enough to do without adding this to my workflow!!!

            Thanks Macromedia / Adobe.

            This topic is probably dead now, but it might just alleviate some people's Captivate troubles ... might ...
            • 3. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
              frank.hanfland Level 1
              Glad you found the answer - yes, you must re-publish.

              If you want to add a bit more to your workflow, you could publish in 1.01, then upgrade to CP2 and re-publish again <grin>
              • 4. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                3dmund Level 1

                It's happening again ... Having upgraded to Cap'te 1.01 and re-exported everything and it was all working fine.

                Now Adobe releases Flash Player 9 and all that hard work is undone !!!! Flash Player 9 plays back all my captivate stuff with the same massive memory usage so I get the red screen of death that I got before (see earlier post)

                So my predicament goes -> use Captivate 1.0, all Flash Player 8 & 9 users can't view the tutorials because they run out of memory; or use Captivate 1.01 and all users who upgrade to Flash Player 9 can't view my tutorials for the same reason.

                Can us Captivate 1 users expect another update to patch this behaviour with the new Flash Player 9?

                This "out of memory" behaviour is limited to Captivate 1.01 tutorials with more than 90 secs of "captured animation" and all users of Flash Player 9. Has anyone else experienced the same thing.


                Mr Angry of Gateshead
                • 5. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                  Hi there Mr. Angry

                  I think the real issue here is that you are trying to use Captivate in a manner in which it was never designed. Even 90 Seconds of full motion video is way way way too much full motion. Captivate used full motion extremely sparingly. At best, only occasional clips here and there that might struggle to be five or six seconds long.

                  So what to do?

                  Well, you might want to try a different tool that is more suited for recording in full motion. I am a huge Captivate fan, but I also recognize the weak spots. Full motion video is definitely a weak spot for Captivate. You might give Techsmith's Camtasia Studio a try. Actually, I easily see an eLearning developer having both packages in their quiver for use when needed.

                  I'm sure there will be some that raise their eyebrows when I mention using another product. But I don't think any of us would really be doing Adobe any favors by trying to talk you into continuing to try and force Captivate to do something it simply doesn't do well.

                  Sincerely... Rick
                  • 6. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                    DilbertG Adobe Employee
                    But if you are not looking for creating such long animations, and just want to get rid of the red block, I will suggest you to give Captivate 2 also one try. Its trial version is available for free.

                    • 7. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                      3dmund Level 1
                      Cheers Rick,

                      I'm very glad to hear someone say that Captivate is no good for what I'm trying to do. It is always frustrating when the (yet another) piece of software fails to meet the hype.

                      But it's not even as though Captivate can't do it - it can - I have working tutorials with 5 minutes or so of capture animation (800x600@30fps) which playback fine on four year old laptops! The problem is that Macromedia (Adobe ... whatever) are obstinately not working together to sort out the bugs between Flash & Captivate (and god knows what else). So with another version of Flash we find that bits of Captivate don't work properly (and probably Breeze and loads of other Macromedia products). I'm sorry it is such a cop-out to hide behind the "it was never designed to do that", because it was. It was designed to captured full motion video and play it back effectively (because it does) - it is not supposed to lever a bug in Flash that consumes all available memory. Macromedia (Adobe) need to accept this and patch it or offer a upgrade if the solution is to get Captivate 2!

                      Rant rant rant - maybe I'll just shut up

                      For those of you out there in Internetland trying to create long captured animations the winning combination is Captivate 1.01 and Flash Player 8 or lower. Or for those of you who weren't stupid enough to buy Captivate 1 - well done, congratulations.

                      Wouldn't it be nice to have the money to waste on Captivate 2.

                      Signing off - Mr Shouty
                      • 8. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                        Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                        LOL, hey there again Mr. Shouty

                        May I please respectfully disagree with some of the points you made?

                        You said: The problem is that Macromedia (Adobe ... whatever) are obstinately not working together to sort out the bugs between Flash & Captivate (and god knows what else).

                        It's all Adobe now. To be totally fair, they are dealing with an influx of many new software applications. I'm confident that they do actually care a great deal about interoperability. To get there will simply take time. I'm also confident that they would never intentionally cause applications to misbehave or not work correctly otherwise. Many have voiced complaints about Captivate not working well with Flash. But you have to understand that Captivate was never created initially to do this. Yes, prior to being known as Captivate, it was known as RoboDemo. And was massaged and edited and sold by the folks at eHelp corporation. But even THEY acquired the technology from a different company. RoboDemo was formerly known as a product called FlashCam. It's come a long way and has a ways to go yet. I'm sure we'll get there.

                        Your statement: I'm sorry it is such a cop-out to hide behind the "it was never designed to do that", because it was. may sound to you like a cop out. It further seems to imply that you feel the Adobe Community Expert group are Adobe employees. We aren't. We are simple users the same as you. We have just been recognized for sharing our knowledge and being helpful.

                        Sorry, but I would have to respectfully disagree that Captivate was designed to capture full motion. I would think if this were the case, it would simply behave in much the same manner as Camtasia Studio, where it simply begins from the onset as full motion video. Simply because it worked fine in this manner for other projects is not really a valid indication. I would contrast that with using a car as a transport to haul cement. Can it work? Sure, technically speaking. So simply because it will allow cement to be poured through the window and it can be driven to a different location doesn't mean it was designed to do this.

                        I'm not trying to argue with you, simply offering up an alternate view of things. And if you honestly feel it's a bug, please click here and report it as such.

                        Sincerely... Rick
                        • 9. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                          DilbertG Adobe Employee
                          Hi Shouty,

                          I am sorry if I sound like a sales guy, but I still feel that you should try Captivate 2, to check if the issues are resolved. If there are issues with Captivate 1, and Flash, they can be correct only in the latest versions of both the softwares.

                          Here I am not saying that Captivate 2 will not have issues, but i still feel its worth trying, may be the issue you are facing is either resolved or is limited to an extent.

                          Another important point to note here is, Captivate 1 used to publish SWF to flash version 6 only. Whereas Captivate 2 can publish to SWF 7 and SWF 8. This may also effect the output.

                          • 10. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                            3dmund Level 1

                            I don't mean to vent spleen at you guys as this is not your fault, or your problem.

                            I appreciate that you are not Adobe employees and are doing this because you are Community Experts so you are in no way responsible for Adobe or any of it's products.

                            Apologies, I'm sorry it is such a cop-out to hide behind the "it was never designed to do that", because it was was my bad grammar, I meant that Captivate was designed to capture full motion, not that the statement was a cop-out.

                            In summary if I might paraphrase your help
                            - What you are trying to do can't be done
                            - Buy Captivate 2 / Camtasia Studio it might solve your problem

                            Cheers, thanks for your suggestions, can I bring this topic back on point?

                            "has anyone else seen the described behaviour with Captivate 1 content"?
                            • 11. Creating long (ish) tutorials
                              I don't know if this will help or not, but when I first read your message, I thought I'm not seeing that and I've made some really long demos. But then I read your problem again and realized that you aren't talking about the overall length of the whole demonstration, but of just the captured animation. So my suggestion would be to break up your captured animations with some picture / powerpoint / blank slides. You will have to be the judge on whether that fits in with what you are doing or not. In my case, I already have them in there because the people I got to initially critique my stuff said it was moving too fast, so I periodically inserted slides to summarize what I had just demonstrated or was about to demonstrate depending on the project and how I structured that one. And for what it's worth I essentially agree with you on this. I haven't experienced your problem apparently just because of luck, but if I had, I would have been just as disappointed. I don't know what Captivated was designed to do, I'm new to this, but I know what it was advertised to do, and according to what I read when deciding to ask my company to buy this, I would have expected it to record as much animation as I needed it to for a project.
                              Hope that helps at least a little. Good Luck.
                              • 12. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                                Boxing Boom Level 1

                                At last, someone with an understanding of the real truth; I totally agree with you, entirely. Captivate was advertised as you so rightly have stated; to prove this, has anyone seen any documentation stating any restrictions on recording full motion. I have throughly read the user guide and purchased a few books - all absolutely useless.

                                Who agrees with me that Captivate 2 should be a free upgrade to everyone who purchased Captivate 1? Let us debate!

                                Kind Regards,

                                Boxing Boom
                                • 13. Re: Creating long (ish) tutorials
                                  kambot Level 1
                                  I would think that they would provide it for free at least to people who bought 1 less than 6 months before they released 2. But then I would be one of those people, so I would think that. I am disappointed that they didn't bother to mention to me that a new release was coming when I purchased. If it was Marketing hoping that I would make a second purchase this year, it was a bad move on their part, my company isn't going to let me spend the money on 2 until they feel they've got their money from 1. And then I'll still have to find some function in 2 that 1 doesn't have that justifies the purchase <sigh>. Why can't they just get me the newest toys because I want them?