Capture This: Software Demo Solutions

By | January 25, 2017 at 9:11 am | No comments | Multimedia in Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

So you’ve built a new mobile app, video game, or desktop software and you’d like to demo for your customers how to navigate through the interface. The goal may be to create a short marketing video which introduces key features of the app, or it may be to demonstrate a detailed walkthrough of the application for training purposes. A number of screen capture applications exist on the market but finding a solution that renders repeatable, quality results is challenging. There are a few solutions we offer our clients that guarantee high quality software walkthroughs. And if going it alone, we offer a few tips for getting it right. It’s your software – don’t let a bad screen capture demo take away from how great it is.

Screen Capture Service
Rapid Eye offers custom screen capture services for mobile and desktop applications and games. We will install your application and spend some time learning how it works. We will typically follow an outline or script, directing us on which features to call out or what path to take through the software. We perform captures from smartphones, tablets, and desktop/laptops. As many of our customers are demonstrating yet unreleased applications, we will sign a non-disclosure agreement and hold the capture process and file handling to the highest level of security. We provide the captured videos to the client for review. The video clips are then edited, cut together typically with voiceover, all according to the script or timecoded notes from the client. We can crop, zoom, animate, or highlight portions of the screen to call attention to specific features along the navigation. Overall this solution can work for long or short application demos.

Simulated Interface Walkthrough
Another solution we offer our clients is a method of simulated software walkthroughs. Typically during the interface design process, layered Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator files are created for each screen within the application. These are the base files before they are broken up and coded into a working interface. You can ask your interface designer if these type files exist and if so, provide them to us. We can take these layered design files and animate them to simulate navigation through the application. This approach offers the animator creative license to expand on or exaggerate the process of navigation in order to call attention to features or to create a more visually interesting, impactful demonstration. This solution works really well for short marketing or training (tips and tricks) videos.

Tips for Recording
At the end of the day, nobody knows your software better than you. So you may opt to do your own screen captures. There are a few things to consider so we put together a few tips and guidelines to follow.
1. First, understand your goals for the video. Will it be a long, detailed training video or a short marketing promo? The pace of navigating should reflect the goal.

2. Create a detailed outline for what features you want to showcase, in which order, and to what level of detail. It is very important to have deliberate movement through out the application. A wavering mouse or mis-clicking on links can be confusing and distracting. Practice several times before recording and record a few takes to get it right.

3. Video Specs: We recommend recording at the largest resolution possible. It is very important to record at a standard video aspect ratio – NOT YOUR SCREEN RESOLUTION. In the settings, you should see options for 1920×1080 or 1280×720. These are standard HD video dimensions. The reason is that non-standard aspect ratios require the video capture be awkwardly cropped or stretched in the edit to fit within a standard frame. This is aesthetically displeasing and could result in critical information being cropped out.

4. Frame Rate: Some capturing software allows you to adjust the capture frame rate. This is how many frames of video are captured per second. A standard video has 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. Ideally, you should select an option that matches one of these standards. Note that many capturing softwares limit or default to 15 frames per second.

5. Output: After recording, the capture software will direct you to edit or export the recording to a final video clip. For our purposes, we ask that the client not edit the recordings but deliver raw footage instead. Clips should be exported to Quicktime (.mov) format if available and uncompressed or with as little compression as possible. Each time you compress a video, the quality is reduced. So if the goal is to edit the recorded clips and then export again to a final video, the video will have been compressed twice and the resulting video will be less sharp.

6. A note about Webinars: Webinars make for excellent live demonstrations but in our opinion are horrible recordings. What makes a webinar great is the live interaction between presenter and viewers. Taken out of context, the webcast recording is often confusing, rambling, and not very interesting to watch. As we mentioned in tip #2 above, having a detailed path to follow through your application, makes for a more clear, concise, and interesting video. While many webcast platforms offer some method of saving or recording the webinar to a video file, they typically employ poor quality specs and compression settings. For these reasons, we recommend a separate screen capture recording session just for creating your training or marketing video.

Software walkthroughs are a powerful tool to demonstrate the functionality and features of your application. Whether preparing assets for us to do the recording or doing your own captures, we are always happy to assist and answer questions.

The R.E.D. Team
www.rapideyedigital.com
www.rapideyedigital.com/blog

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