We are working furiously on the new build and will have details and updates to share with you next week. In the meantime, I wanted to respond to another overdue question that many of you have been asking about: the video production. This was one of the popular queries that we received through email and now have as a post on the forum.
“This is the most amazing video! It is crystal clear and looks great on youtube. Can you share with me the video settings that you used for size of screen capture, sizeing, format uploaded to youtube (mov, avi, wmv???) and compression algorythm, codec and all related settings?”
Guys, getting this video right took just about a million attempts with the settings and iterations before we got around to making the final version.
You make a video clip, produce it with certain settings, put it up as a private video, see how it comes out, and if you don’t like it, then you try all over again.
All of this is of course, other than those sleepless nights which we spent on finalizing the content.
Eventually, when you finally nail both the video and the content right, you realize that YouTube picks up the exact center frame to create a thumbnail and that thumbnail is not catchy or interesting enough. So then what you do is reorder the clips and compile a new video to see what comes as a center frame while ensuring that the order continues to make sense.
First, we put up a longer version of our video on YouTube and, to this date, it has fewer viewings than the first week’s viewings of the video you all liked so much; one of the reasons for that being that the first one’s thumbnail is an unexplainable white dialog, and why would anyone want to watch that? Plus, it was a bit too long for anyone to comfortably view it and recommend it to their peers etc.
We actually inserted our current thumbnail way at the end, just as something that would grab attention. This was a very long and tiring exercise too, however, absolutely worth it at the end.
Another interesting aspect to making this video was ironing out last minute quirks in the software. You are trying to demo a certain cool feature, but it needs more visual cues to make sure that the next person understands your point. Our team is awesome that way because, they okayed those last minute requests and changes, even though they were ready to freeze code for Beta 1. In a way, this exercise also became one of the usability tests for Scrybe.
Now, I am going to outline the specific details of the video production.
- Introductory clips before each feature were high resolution Photoshop images.
- The fluid context explanation was actual snapshots we took in our meeting room. We used Freakonomics and Tipping Point from our small collection of interesting book.
- ThoughtPad explanation was an actual video capture using one of our friend’s organizers.
- The end Why Scrybe explanation is a large zoomed and panned image.
- We captured all the software clips in Camtasia. YouTube recommends the following settings for best results:
· MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format
· 320×240 resolution
· MP3 audio
· 30 frames per second
We followed these recommendations to get the results right.
- Capture the video at the fixed region setting either 320×240, or increase the size in proportion to this resolution, e.g. 640×480 and so on.
- Produce the video as an AVI. Use the custom size option to set the video size to 320×240.
- In our experience it was easier to compress the video in other video editing application, as an example Adobe Premier.
- Convert the video into MP4 format. You may have to tinker with the settings on your own to make it fit within the 100 MB size for YouTube.
So that’s how we made our demo. We do believe however, that at the end of the day the video technology doesn’t help if what you are offering doesn’t solve problems that real users are interested in. The video struck a chord because it addresses simple needs that all of us have.
Hope our two bits on demo making will provide some insight in creating your own demos.