Category Archives: Multimedia

You’ve got 2 years to convert your SWFs…

Flash Player vs ToolThere is a lot to “Flash”.

The Flash Player will finally be EOL’d at the end of 2020. So all of us who still have Flash *player* published content out there have about 2 years to get it migrated to a non-Flash solution.

I think the above image is being a bit nitpicky but its a valid point, and a somewhat sore point for thousands of developers who spent years refining their Flash skills – and who struggle to find as an effective rich media development platform.

Indeed, apparently “Adobe AIR for desktop and mobile will continue with a re-energized roadmap.”

Most audio and video can be converted in a straight-forward manner and natively supported by current browsers. ‘Protected’ video via RTMP still has a bit to go, as I understand.

The HTML5 canvas element and CSS/SVG animations are the substitute approaches for Flash animations. Adobe Animate (CC), the newest version of Flash Professional, will continue to be developed and support. So hopefully they will (significantly) improve the methods to export rich media to a native HTML5 format – and significantly improve their ‘create.js’ approach which reminds me of Dreamweaver’s code in 1997…
As it stands now, there are a variety of tools to help mimic Flash output to HTML but none as featureful and capable (that I’ve seen. I’d love to be corrected!)

Here’s a decent writeup by Adobe on the whole HTML conversion process.

One last thing – I do hope the Flash Player continues to be available for installation if someone wants it. There is a LOT of SWF-published content out there and to completely cut it off from folks who may want to view it would be…unfortunate.

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Kaltura Virtual Education Summit – 2016

Online education continues to see the use of video on a rapid rise, especially with the popularity (deserved or not) of MOOCs. Thankfully the speed of most home and mobile connections has finally allowed high-quality video to be a substantial medium in eLearning. I’m sure many remember the small 15fps videos that we had to make do with a decade ago…and how many remember the even smaller, more-compressed video we had to optimize when authoring CD-based training?! Ah, Cinepak

Kaltura is a provider of online video solutions and moving up in the world right along with video itself. We’ve worked with Kaltura fairly extensively over the past year and find its capabilities and features to be mostly excellent. There are, of course, a few areas to be improved…but the core video-streaming capabilities, to a variety of client devices, is simply solid.

I try to be fair and/or somewhat agnostic in this blog, so don’t think of this promotion something specific only to Kaltura. There are other solid video providers out there (i.e. Panopto, MediaCore [now owned by Workday], Vimeo, etc.), each with variations in toolsets, features, and focus… I just don’t have a lot of direct experience with most of them (well, maybe Vimeo a bit) and have been working deeply with Kaltura…plus, ‘open source’ is nice.

SO, to the point, Kaltura is presenting their Education Virtual Summit on May 19th (2016). From their page,

“Through MOOCs, lecture capture, flipped classrooms, media libraries, alumni relations, and more, educational institutions are using video to transform the way we teach and learn. Join leading educators to explore how to use video from the classroom to the dorm room to the library to the admissions department. At the Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit, you will find the best practices to inspire your educational institution through video.”

Kaltura Connect Panel-2016Certainly the best part of the summit will be the very first panel session, “Empowering Faculty and Students to Create and Engage” – though perhaps I’m a little biased :).

10:10am EST, May 19th – be there!

And of course, the subsequent presentations are also of high-value with some pretty darn impressive and qualified institutional experts. Check out the registration and agenda page – it’s sure to be an informational blast of knowledge!

Other topics on the agenda:

  • Changing the Learning Paradigm Without Breaking the Bank
  • The Secret Weapon for Video
  • Improving Learning Outcomes
  • Tear Down the Walled Garden
  • How University of Georgia Crowd-Funded Video
  • Melding DIY and Professional Video
  • State of the Union in Edu

Also note this virtual conference is targeted for the Education sector, but Kaltura also has another targeting the Enterprise sector on June 16th.

 

Screen Capture Tools and Resources

screencap-IntroA significant amount of the eLearning development I’ve been involved with, from production to project management, has included software training. A key element for that subject is, of course, recording the computer (or mobile device) screen to show the software, introducing the user to the UI and stepping them through the particular process.

There are lots of ways to capture the screen, from still shots to video recordings, some more preferred than others. I’ve compiled my ‘favorite’ list here in hopes it may save you some search time when you encounter such a requirement. Continue reading Screen Capture Tools and Resources

How and Why: GreenScreen eLearning Video

When I started in video production, learning how to ‘Chroma Key’ was a high-end skill (that, and learning how to use the ‘Chyron’).  It was very cool to see the weather-person pointing to a blank screen as the control room overlay the forecast images…as well as see the imperfections when the announcer wore a color a bit too close to the bluescreen behind them and the keying came through on their clothing!

One lesson learned from those earlier days; blue was not a good color to key against as it’s a pretty common in everyone’s wardrobe …thus the move to the more uncommon, luminescent green we see today, and the now more recent event of ‘greenscreening’ becoming a verb.

Keying (or greenscreening, or color overlay, etc) is a lot easier these days, as so many things, with advances in computer power and tools. Continue reading How and Why: GreenScreen eLearning Video

Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

This has apparently been in the works for over a year, but it’s just recently popped-up on my radar as a I’ve received a browser extension warnings for a few tools…

Plugin Blocked‘NPAPI’ is the ‘Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface’ architecture used for a majority of web browser plugins – such as Quicktime, Flash, etc. It was initiated by the fine folks at Abobe in order to help integrate their PDF technology (Acrobat) with the web experience. You can read more about the history of NPAPI at Wikipedia.

Google’s Chrome browser has planned dropping support for NPAPI plugins since 2013, according to that article, due to “NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture [becoming] a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.”NPAPI support deprecated

So more recent versions of Chrome have blocked any such plugins from running without explicit permission which, to me, was fine (in the guise of a bit more secure). But now, with Chrome v42, such plugins just won’t start at all!

 

Continue reading Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

Caffeinated Lectora News

LectoraLogoThe pace at which Trivantis strives to improve their Lectora product is like the Avengers on coffee drips. Just a few months after the 12.0.1 and 12.0.2 updates comes a significant 12.1 release. While some features are more an effort to catch-up to competitors (i.e. character libraries), others are setting new bars. With the Lectora Inspire 12.1 release, there are several notable updates… Continue reading Caffeinated Lectora News

Interactive Video in Adobe Captivate 8

We’ve talked about this a bit on our Recipes page, but eLearning Brothers asked for a more detailed contribution, so here it is:

Helpful Tip: Interactive Video in Adobe Captivate 8

In brief, Captivate allows you “to place a video on the actual Captivate timeline as ‘synchronized’ video. With the video playback extended along the timeline itself, you can match other Captivate components with that playback….So not only can you time captions and callouts with the video, you can also overlay click boxes.”

Need to step someone through the any particular process? Film the process, integrate the video into a Captivate project, then overlay click boxes to stop the video and ask the learner to ‘click the next step’ – maybe it’s a button to press, or select the correct piece of equipment, or identify a safety hazard…

Provide feedback on the learner’s click and continue the video playback, showing the correct ‘next step’ in the process.

Video is a great way to demonstrate any given procedure…and you can enhance actual *learning* by asking the user to actually interact with the video (albeit to a limited degree).

Visit the eLearning Brothers site to learn more and for links to a sample published project and the source file (Captivate 8). The sample project uses two videos from the eLearning Brothers rather deep ‘Stock Assets’ portfolio.

Any other tips or suggestions regarding video and Captivate 8? Share those thoughts here in our Comments, or head on over to the ‘eLB’ site and share there!

TED Blog: video editing tips

Very informative article on the TED Blog covering 10 tips for video editing. I’m surprised I’ve not come across this before, the post is almost a year old! While these are focused on edits of live sessions (i.e. TED), they’re timeless and certainly can apply to a variety of settings.

http://blog.ted.com/2014/05/12/10-tips-for-editing-video/

Cutting angles on movement and words is a long-standing principle, as is editing out mistakes. In this article, I specially like the interview example with Bill Gates.

Great suggestions overall by the author, Kari Mulholland, and an excellent use of good/bad examples throughout.

eLearning Tech and Trends for 2015

There are a few articles out there each year predicting what the hot topics will be (for a variety of things) in the New Year…so we’ll jump on that bandwagon.

SCORM, xAPI, LTI, CMI-5

SCORM will continue to be popular, it’s still far too entrenched. xAPI (TinCan) will grow as more vendors integrate the technology into their products and the general understanding grows. LTI *should* continue to grow, especially since academics tend to move slowly, but I’m not sure how much momentum it has. CMI-5 will be an interesting to watch with the move to ADL. I don’t see that moving forward much in the next year (but I’ve not explored their roadmap). One potential issue I’m surprised not to see more concern about is privacy in relation to xAPI. Anything can be tracked? Anytime? Do the users KNOW that? Remember the furor over cookies, which are not even centralized…

Authoring

Captivate and Storyline will continue to dominate. Watch for Lectora to push harder to re-assert their product. Lesser-known tools like iSpring, Brainshark, Claro, SmartBuilder, and even ZebraZapps will grow as more folks look for tools to enable self-production.  With Microsoft Mix, PowerPoint may enjoy even more growth as an eLearning dev tool. Camtasia should retain a solid position as well. Those tools that can really improve upon Responsive Design delivery and significant cross-platform compatibility will have a strong advantage.
Reference sites like eLearning Brothers and online tools like PowToon will also grow and see more demand. Continue reading eLearning Tech and Trends for 2015

ELearning Audio and Narration – sites, notes, suggestions

Since last detailed post about recording narration for your eLearning projects, additional discussions have brought about a few more ideas, notes, and resources.

Here’s a nice post (and a great overall eLearning site) by Connie Malamed. In brief, she lists her suggestions on ‘Best Stock Music for Multimedia Projects’ where “you will find online providers of stock music and sound effects (SFX). These sites offer pricing and tracks suitable for online learning, videos, presentations and other multimedia projects.”

An additional, newer resource is eLearning Brothers, who have recently jumped into stock media offering “over 500,000 stock photos, graphics, vectors, videos and audio files to the training and development community.” One thing they point out, which should always be a concern, is proper licensing. Per the eLearning Brothers post, “One thing that really differentiates this offering is that our customers don’t have to worry about complex licensing models that charge extra if an image is used incorrectly. Once it is part of their course, they keep the asset forever.” Continue reading ELearning Audio and Narration – sites, notes, suggestions