Nov 27, 2006

Making Online Video Demos

I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people who just want to know how we made our online MailChimp demo.

I used Adobe Captivate. It’s $599, and requires no Flash or programming experience whatsoever. That’s a lot cheaper than what a good Flash developer would charge for a demo. A complete idiot (like me) can use it. This is like Snagit on steroids.

It’s got loads of features (I spent most of my time learning how to turn them all off). You can even record voiceovers and set background music.

All you do is turn it on, set it to record, and start clicking in your browser. Then you go back and edit your movie. You can even edit each screenshot in the movie, such as to disguise login names, etc.

Basically, the "screen" you see in Captivate is a background image. The mouse movements and dialog boxes are on separate layers. So I just open the screen images in Fireworks, tweak the slide as necessary, and copy-paste back into Captivate.

If you’ve ever wanted to do an online demo, I highly recommend Captivate. The MailChimp demo took me one full day to complete. About 1 hour of actual recording, 8 hours of planning and editing, 2 hours of goofing off at the local coffee shop, 2 hours of losing all my files and going back and starting over, and 1 hour of getting the movie uploaded to our website.