There is no simple answer to your question, because you have to take into account several parameters such as:
- how is the CP-movie deployed: in a web browser, a LMS, ...?
- what is the screen resolution, set by the users (can be very different)?
- do they use netbooks?
- if you are creating a software demonstration or simulation: what is the minimum size needed to record all of the software window (which depends on the kind of software)?
- will you show the TOC (takes up space at the left side) or a playbar (takes up place in CP4)?
Try to have the smallest resolution possible. Myself I always try to have a maximum resolution of 800pixels for the width and 600px for the height. This will normally be sufficient (no scrolling needed) when using normal screens or laptops, but if a student uses a netbook (often a resolution of 600 in the height) he will have to scroll, since the CP-movie is deployed in a Flash player.
When I need a greater resolution because of the software window to be captured (and if I do not want to use panning), I do the capturing at a higher resolution (p.e. 1024x768) and afterwards do some downscaling (to a resolution with the same Width/Height ratio) to avoid the need of scrolling.
If one opens the SWF-file directly instead of the HTML the movie will adapt to the window in which it is opened, but you lose some of the functionalities.
I think many folks use 800x600 as a common size.
Choosing the "Best" resolution is nearly always a bit of an art form. You need to consider the lowest common denominator. For example, are your tutorials intended for senior citizens? If so, then you need to consider that they may be running an older computer configured for a smaller resolution.
There are ways to coax the video to play back at whatever resolution is available, but they all will involve a sacrifice in quality. This is because any time you play back your project at a different size than it was recorded, the quality will suffer. The degree to which it suffers depends entirely on how much scaling is happening. Scale just a little and it's not too bad. Scale a lot and things go downhill.
One way to allow scaling is to link to the .SWF instead of the .HTM that is produced. Another way is to edit the HTML page Captivate creates. Remove the pixel values and insert percentages.
LOL - Sorry Lilybiri!
Didn't notice you sneaked in there. Could have sworn I looked and nothing. Posted and there you were!
Strange... I never wear sneakers
I concur with Lilybiri and Rick. A problem I see is that apps are developed (by whippersnapper with good eyesight?) at higher and higher resolutions while you have to assume that some laptop and PC users (especially baby-boomers with bifocals) may not set their display resolutions much higher than 1024x768. (Maybe we need to add a geragogy section to this forum!)
Here's a trick I use to choose the best resolution for the app I plan to capture.
1. Fire up the app and Captivate.
2. Set Captivate to 800 by 600 and snap to fit the app.
3. Go through some/all of the steps you're going to capture without recording. If you have to scroll within your app, then increase the resolution and try again. This takes some time, but it might save you major headaches later.
So an end-user with a 1024x768 setting doesn't have to scroll, your max finished size for SWF with HTML output is 1000 x 680. This allows for browser bars. For the apps I'm working with now, I've asked my SME to capture at 1000 x 620. Then I resize to 1000 x 680, giving me room for a 30-pixel graphical/text header and footer, while ensuring the end-user doesn't have to scroll. --Leslie
P.S. If you absolutely need more space, you can always prompt the user to press F11 to go to full browser screen. The downside of that is they really need to F11 again before they leave the training, otherwise funky stuff can happen to Windows, they have to reboot, and you're left with egg on your face.
Thanks to all who responded,